News Stories
Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media


Below are many highly revealing excerpts of key news stories from the major media that suggest major cover-ups and corruption. Links are provided to the full stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These news stories are listed by date posted. You can explore the same list by order of importance or by date of news story. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


 News stories


Note: This comprehensive list of news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater
2014-06-30, New York Times
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:26:27
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/us/before-shooting-in-iraq-warning-on-black...

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq.” American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country. After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.” “The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves,” the investigator, Jean C. Richter, wrote in an Aug. 31, 2007, memo to State Department officials. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” he said, adding that the “hands off” management resulted in a situation in which “the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and in control.”

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




Court gave NSA broad leeway in surveillance, documents show
2014-06-30, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:25:08
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/court-gave-nsa-broad-le...

A classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well. The certification — approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — lists 193 countries that would be of valid interest for U.S. intelligence. The certification also permitted the agency to gather intelligence about entities including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The documents underscore the remarkable breadth of potential “foreign intelligence” collection. An affidavit in support of the 2010 foreign-government certification said the NSA believes that foreigners who will be targeted for collection “possess, are expected to receive and/or are likely to communicate foreign intelligence information concerning these foreign powers.” That language could allow for surveillance of academics, journalists and human rights researchers. A Swiss academic who has information on the German government’s position in the run-up to an international trade negotiation, for instance, could be targeted if the government has determined there is a foreign-intelligence need for that information. If a U.S. college professor e-mails the Swiss professor’s e-mail address or phone number to a colleague, the American’s e-mail could be collected as well, under the program’s court-approved rules.

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




Leaders Get Immunity at New African Rights Court
2014-07-01, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:23:47
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/leaders-immunity-african-rights...

Leaders at an African summit have voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from prosecution for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at a new African Court of Justice and Human Rights. The continent ... has two sitting presidents and one ousted president facing charges at the International Criminal Court. Amnesty International called it "a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights." The decision came [on June 27] at an African Union summit vote in Equatorial Guinea from which journalists were excluded, Amnesty International said. News of the vote was imparted obliquely in a statement [on June 30] about the summit outcomes. A paragraph listing legal instruments agreed at the meeting included the "Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights." That amendment bars the court from prosecuting sitting African leaders and vaguely identified "senior officials." Forty-two African and international civil society and rights groups had objected to the amendment, noting in an open letter before the summit that the impunity violates international and domestic laws as well as the constitution of the African Union.

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




Elizabeth Warren says the U.S. economy is rigged. Many conservatives agree.
2014-06-27, Washington Post blog
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:22:31
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/27/elizabeth-warren-sa...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has built a sizable political profile — including the requisite presidential speculation — by espousing a simple idea: that the system is "rigged" against average Americans. And you might be surprised who agrees with her: A whole bunch of conservatives. According to a new Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans think that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent think that too much power is concentrated in too few companies. The discontent isn't limited to those who share Warren's liberal ideology; 69 percent of young conservative-leaning voters and 48 percent of the most conservative voters agree that the system favors the powerful, according to Pew. Although Warren seems an outlier in the legislative branch for her fiery discontent with inequality — and the role she says Wall Street plays in exacerbating it — the Pew survey suggests that the vast majority of Americans are at least open to her underlying premise.

Note: Watch Chris Matthews of Fox News interview Elizabeth Warren to see how the right is opening to support of good people on the left. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.




Former Downing Street adviser charged over child abuse images
2014-06-28, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:21:20
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/former-downing-street-adviser-char...

A former Downing Street adviser has been charged with making and possessing indecent images of children. Patrick Rock ... was involved in Government policy on filtering online child abuse images. The 63-year-old has had a glittering career as a Conservative Party adviser spanning 30 years. On Friday, he was charged with three offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of possession of 59 indecent images of children. [He] resigned shortly before his arrest in February. Mr Rock has been an influential figure behind the scenes in the Conservative Party for decades and unsuccessfully stood as an MP three times. He met David Cameron when they were fellow advisers to the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, in the 1990s and the Prime Minister brought him into the Downing Street policy unit in 2011. Judith Reed, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service's organised crime division, said: “We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.” Mr Rock has been bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 3 July.

Note: Why is it mentioned so casually that this man was involved in setting policy on child abuse images? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandals news articles from reliable major media sources.




Vatican ex-ambassador convicted of sex abuse
2014-06-27, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:20:08
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jozef-wesolowski-vatican-ex-ambassador-convicted-...

The Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been convicted by a church tribunal of sex abuse and has been defrocked, the first such sentence handed down against a top papal representative. The Vatican said [on June 27] that Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski was found guilty by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in recent days, and sentenced to the harshest penalty possible against a cleric: laicization, meaning he can no longer perform priestly duties or present himself as a priest. He also faces other charges by the criminal tribunal of Vatican City, since as a papal diplomat he is a citizen of the tiny city state. The Holy See recalled the Polish-born Wesolowski on Aug. 21, 2013, and relieved him of his job after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, told Pope Francis about rumors that Wesolowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic. Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sex abuse, and his case raised questions about whether the Vatican, by removing him from Dominican jurisdiction, was protecting him and placing its own investigations ahead of that of authorities in the Caribbean nation. The case is particularly problematic for the Vatican since Wesolowski was a representative of the pope, accused of grave crimes that the Holy See has previously sought to distance itself from by blaming the worldwide sex abuse scandal on wayward priests and their bishops who failed to discipline them, not Vatican officials.

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




Rolf Harris child sex abuse education video surfaces after entertainer found guilty in London court
2014-07-01, Sydney Morning Herald (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:18:59
http://www.smh.com.au/world/rolf-harris-child-sex-abuse-education-video-surfa...

Rolf Harris, then a trusted and beloved entertainer, strolls into [the] shot flanked by four youngsters [in] what is now an unsettling 20-minute long anti-child-abuse video that prosecutors planned to play for the jury at Harris’ indecent assault trial. Overnight, Harris was declared guilty of all 12 charges of indecent assault against four girls, from 1968 to 1986. The video, called 'Kids Can Say No', was developed in the mid-1980s, when he was indecently assaulting young women and girls - including one as young as seven or eight. Harris had commissioned and fronted the child protection video, with endorsement from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, after being inspired by similar programs in Australia. In the period when the video began to be widely shown in schools, youth clubs and health institutes in the United Kingdom, the court found he was also having sexual encounters with his daughter’s best friend. In 1986, he had sexually abused an eight-year-old girl at a community centre near her home when Harris performed ‘Two Little Boys’ for the children.

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




How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater
2013-08-25, New York Times
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:17:40
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/health/exploring-salines-secret-costs.html?...

It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater. Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1. Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as [revealed by] the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York. Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution. At every step from manufacturer to patient, there are confidential deals among the major players, including drug companies, purchasing organizations and distributors, and insurers. These deals so obscure prices and profits that even participants cannot say what the simplest component of care actually costs, let alone what it should cost. And that leaves taxpayers and patients alike with an inflated bottom line and little or no way to challenge it. The real cost of a bag of normal saline, like the true cost of medical supplies from gauze to heart implants, disappears into an opaque realm of byzantine contracts, confidential rebates and fees that would be considered illegal kickbacks in many other industries.

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




Red Cross: How we spent Sandy money is a “trade secret”
2014-06-28, Salon/ProPublica
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:16:07
http://www.salon.com/2014/06/28/red_cross_how_we_spent_sandy_money_is_a_trade...

Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy? The charity has hired [law firm Gibson Dunn] to fight a public request [ProPublica] filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a “trade secret.” The Red Cross’ “trade secret” argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it’s not clear yet how much since the documents haven’t yet been released. The Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent. An attorney from [Gibson Dunn] appealed to the attorney general to block disclosure of some of the Sandy information, citing the state Freedom of Information Law’s trade secret exemption. Doug White, a nonprofit expert who directs the fundraising management program at Columbia University, said that it’s possible for nonprofits to have trade interests — the logo of a university, for example — but it’s not clear what a “trade secret” would be in the case of the Red Cross. He called the lawyer’s letter an apparent “delaying tactic.” Ben Smilowitz of the Disaster Accountability Project, a watchdog group, said, “Invoking a ‘trade secret’ exemption is not something you would expect from an organization that purports to be ‘transparent and accountable.’”

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




Insights challenging science's unshakable 'truths'
2014-06-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:14:55
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/29/five-insights-challenging-scie...

We have come to think that if something is "in our genes", it is our inevitable destiny. However, this is a gross oversimplification. We have each inherited a particular set of genes, but the outcome of that inheritance is not fixed. Our environment, diet and circumstance flood our bodies with molecules that switch the genes on or off. The result can make a huge difference to our destiny – and that of our descendants. One example of these "epigenetic" changes occurs when a bundle of carbon and hydrogen atoms known as a methyl group attaches itself to the DNA and changes the way its instructions are carried out. Methyl groups often come from what we eat. Lack of food seems to have an epigenetic effect, too. A study of Dutch women starved by the Nazis during the second world war ... found elevated levels of schizophrenia, breast cancer and heart disease. The data suggest that the alterations to which genes are turned on or off survive at least two generations: the one that suffered in the womb during the famine, and their children. They may go much further. A 2011 study published by researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, demonstrated epigenetic mutations that lasted for at least 30 generations in plants. What you eat, what your mother ate, the age when your grandfather started smoking, the amount of pollution in your neighbourhood – these factors have all been linked to epigenetic changes that get passed down through the generations. Armed with this new insight, we can take far more control of our health – and the health of future generations.

Note: For a truly engaging and revolutionary book on this topic, read The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, a top researcher in the field of cell biology. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.




Psychedelic mushrooms put your brain in a “waking dream,” study finds
2014-07-03, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:13:21
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/07/03/psychedelic-d...

Psychedelic mushrooms can do more than make you see the world in kaleidoscope. Research suggests they may have permanent, positive effects on the human brain. In fact, a mind-altering compound found in some 200 species of mushroom is already being explored as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety. People who consume these mushrooms, after “trips” that can be a bit scary and unpleasant, report feeling more optimistic, less self-centered, and even happier for months after the fact. But why do these trips change the way people see the world? According to a study published today in Human Brain Mapping, the mushroom compounds could be unlocking brain states usually only experienced when we dream, changes in activity that could help unlock permanent shifts in perspective. The study examined brain activity in those who’d received injections of psilocybin, which gives “shrooms” their psychedelic punch. After injections, the 15 participants were found to have increased brain function in areas associated with emotion and memory. The effect was strikingly similar to a brain in dream sleep, according to Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, a post-doctoral researcher in neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and co-author of the study. Administration of the drug just before or during sleep seemed to promote higher activity levels during Rapid Eye Movement sleep, when dreams occur. An intriguing finding, Carhart-Harris says, given that people tend to describe their experience on psychedelic drugs as being like “a waking dream.”

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




Guiding Rage Into Power
2014-06-30, Daily Good
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:12:02
http://www.dailygood.org/story/770/guiding-rage-into-power-janis-daddona

“Us versus them” is not a paradigm that Jacques Verduin buys into. As the founder and director of the prison program Insight-Out, he believes that prison serves a purpose for people who cannot contain themselves when they act dangerously, but he has also learned that none of us is much different from the incarcerated. Thankfully Jacques has shown that the empowerment and transformation of prisoners is a big part of what prison reform looks like, and San Quentin State Prison has become a successful social experiment that is one of the best-kept secrets around. His programs, the Insight Prison Project and Insight-Out, are teaching prisoners to transform rage and pain into a positive force in the prison community as well as their own neighborhoods. In a year-long program participants make bonds with each other that transcend age [and] racial, economic, and gang differences. It takes time, but as group members get comfortable with the concept, they practice “sitting in the fire.” As Jacques explains, “By sitting with their own primary pain—the pain that initiated them into a suppression of their feelings—and their secondary pain—the pain associated with hurting others—they find strength in the midst of their overwhelming emotions. They need a support system to share their struggle of living up to these expectations. Shame runs deep in all of us. We all need a support system to help us connect with our wounded but more authentic self. Rather than fix ourselves, which assumes something is wrong with us, let’s accept and talk about our warts. By being vulnerable we take the power out of shame. That’s where authenticity lies.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Worker-Owned Co-ops Get $1 Million in NYC Spending
2014-06-27, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:10:53
http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/worker-owned-co-ops-get-one-million-do...

New York City’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes a new item that supporters of a fairer economy will want to celebrate: $1.2 million set aside for the development of worker-owned cooperative businesses. The spending is a small fraction of the $75 billion budget, which the City Council approved on June 26. But, according to a statement by U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, it's the largest investment in the sector ever made by a city government in the United States. Cooperative businesses are both owned and operated by employees. They focus on maximizing value for all their members as well as creating fair and quality jobs. “This is a great step forward for worker cooperatives,” Melissa Hoover, executive director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, said in a press release. According to Hoover the co-op funding received widespread support from city council members, which “shows that they understand cooperatives can be a viable tool for economic development that creates real opportunity." Here’s how the city’s newly adopted budget describes the program: "Funding will support the creation of 234 jobs in worker cooperative businesses by coordinating education and training resources and by providing technical, legal and financial assistance. The initiative will fund a comprehensive citywide effort to reach 920 cooperative entrepreneurs, provide for the start-up of 28 new worker cooperative small businesses and assists another 20 existing cooperatives."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




After Finding $40,000 In Thrift-Store Couch, Roommates Return Money
2014-05-16, NPR
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:09:21
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/16/313118337/thrift-store-couch-y...

Many of us have stories about old couches — particularly ones we had in college, or shortly after. But not many stories are like the one three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y., can now tell. After the trio realized their beat-up couch was stuffed with more than $40,000, they decided to return the money to its rightful owner. It all started when roommates Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo realized that the lumps in their couch's pillows were actually envelopes stuffed with money. Just two months earlier, they'd bought the couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store. "It had these bubble wrap envelopes, just like two or three of them," Werkhoven tells. They kept finding more envelopes in the couch, pulling money out of it like an upholstered ATM. As they counted the money, they talked about what they might do with it; Werkhoven says he wanted to buy his mom a new car. But then they spotted a name among the envelopes, and realized "that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to ... it's their money." A phone number led them to the family that had donated the couch — and to answers about why it was full of money. It turned out that the money was socked away out of the woman's late husband's concerns that he wouldn't always be there for his wife. It represented decades of savings. "This was her life savings and she actually said something really beautiful, like 'This is my husband looking down on me and this was supposed to happen,' " Guasti [said]. After they returned the money to the woman, Guasti, Russo and Werkhoven received $1,000 as a reward.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Laughing Makes Your Brain Work Better, New Study Finds
2014-04-20, ABC News
Posted: 2014-07-07 08:08:01
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/laughing-makes-brain-work-study-finds/story?id=2...

Ever have trouble remembering where you just left your keys? Just laugh it off. New research suggests that humor can improve short-term memory in older adults. In a recent small study conducted at Loma Linda University in Southern California, 20 normal, healthy, older adults watched a funny video distraction-free for 20 minutes, while a control group sat calmly with no video. Afterwards, they performed memory tests and had saliva samples analyzed for stress hormones. You guessed it; those who got to laugh the 20 minutes away with the funny video scored better on short-term memory tests, researchers said. And salivary levels of the stress hormone cortisol -- a memory enemy of sorts -- were significantly decreased in the humor group. The less stress you have, researchers said, the better your memory. It works like this: humor reduces stress hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and increases your mood state, according to Dr. Lee Berk, a co-author of the study. The act of laughter -- or simply enjoying some humor -- increases endorphins, sending dopamine to the brain to provide a sense of pleasure and reward, Berk said. That, in turn, makes the immune system work better and changes brain wave activity towards what's called a "gamma frequency," amping up memory and recall.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




This Is Why Your Local Police Department Might Have a Tank
2014-06-24, Time Magazine
Posted: 2014-07-01 10:37:51
http://time.com/2907307/aclu-swat-local-police/

As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have wound down, police departments have been obtaining military equipment, vehicles and uniforms that have flowed directly from the Department of Defense. According to a new report by the ACLU, the federal government has funneled $4.3 billion of military property to law enforcement agencies since the late 1990s, including $450 million worth in 2013. Five hundred law enforcement agencies have received Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, built to withstand bomb blasts. More than 15,000 items of military protective equipment and “battle dress uniforms” have been transferred. “More Americans are becoming aware of the militarization of policing, but the use of paramilitary tactics to fight the war on drugs has been going on for a very long time,” says the ACLU’s Kara Dansky. As police departments have added military gear, they’ve also upped the number of SWAT deployments, especially for use in drug warrants. Almost two-thirds of SWAT deployments between 2011 and 2012 were for drug raids. Many of those units, says Kraska, base their strategy and tactics on military special operations like Navy SEALs. “When people refer to the militarization of police, it’s not in a pejorative or judgmental sense,” [Peter Kraska, a criminal justice professor at Eastern Kentucky University] says. “Contemporary police agencies have moved significantly along a continuum culturally, materially, operationally, while using a Navy SEALs model. All of those are clear indications that they’re moving away from a civilian model of policing.”

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




The Pentagon's slush fund is arming a War Zone on Main Street
2014-06-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-07-01 10:36:24
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/26/pentagon-war-zone-main-s...

A few years ago, the police chief in Keene, New Hampshire (population: 23,000) announced plans to patrol the [town's] "Pumpkin Festival and other dangerous situations" with a 19,000-pound armored vehicle called the BearCat (price tag: $285,933, courtesy of a federal Homeland Security grant). "The police are already pretty brutal," said one resident. "The last thing they need is this big piece of military equipment to make them think they're soldiers." What many other communities across America have learned since is that we're living in what the writer Radley Balko calls the age of the "warrior cop". And when warrior cops want a straight-outta-Baghdad toy, it's increasingly and unnecessarily simple for them to use a federally enabled slush-fund to wreak havoc – particularly against minorities. "Before another small town's police force gets a $700,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can't maintain or manage," Rep Hank Johnson of Georgia [said] this week, "we need to press pause and revisit the merits of a militarized America." The ACLU released a devastating report this week examining more than 800 incidents of SWAT team deployments conducted by 20 law enforcement agencies between 2010 and 2013. It's a small sample of the estimated 45,000 deployments that occur in the US each year. According to the ACLU study, 79% of the incidents surveyed involved a SWAT team searching a person's home, and more than 62% of the cases involved searches for drugs. That's not what SWAT teams were made for.

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




Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws
2014-06-26, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-07-01 10:34:50
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/06/26/massachusetts-swat...

As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. A number of SWAT teams in [Massachusetts] are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments. Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against. From the ACLU of Massachusetts’s report on police militarization in that state: "Due to the weakness of Massachusetts public records law and the culture of secrecy that has infected local police departments and Law Enforcement Councils, procuring empirical records from police departments and regional SWAT teams in Massachusetts about police militarization was universally difficult and, in most instances, impossible."

Note: The author of this article, Radley Balko, is the author of the book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For more on this topic, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.




Supreme Court says police must get warrants for most cellphone searches
2014-06-25, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-07-01 10:32:58
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/supreme-court-police-must-get-warrants...

The Supreme Court unequivocally ruled [on June 25] that privacy rights are not sacrificed to 21st-century technology, saying unanimously that police generally must obtain a warrant before searching the cellphone of someone they arrest. While the specific protection may not affect the average American, the court made a bold statement that the same concern about government prying that animated the nation’s birth applies to the abundance of digital information about an individual in the modern world. Modern cellphones “hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a court united behind the opinion’s expansive language. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” Roberts said that in most cases when police seize a cellphone from a suspect, the answer is simple: “Get a warrant.” The ruling has no impact on National Security Agency data-collection programs revealed in the past year or law enforcement use of aggregated digital information. But lawyers involved in those issues said the emphatic declarations signaled the justices’ interest in the dangers of government overreach. Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University, said the decision is more than simply a warning to government officials employing high-tech forms of government surveillance. “This is a cruise missile across the bow of lawyers defending warrantless search programs,” Vladeck said.

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




High Court: Whistleblowers' Testimony Is Protected
2014-06-19, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-07-01 10:31:20
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/high-court-whistleblower-testimony-p...

The First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they are called to testify in court about official corruption, the Supreme Court ruled [on June 19]. The unanimous decision cheered whistleblower advocates, who said it could encourage more government workers to cooperate with prosecutors in public fraud cases without fear of losing their livelihoods. The justices decided in favor of Edward Lane, a former Alabama community college official who says he was fired after testifying at the criminal fraud trial of a state lawmaker. Lower courts had ruled against Lane, finding that he was testifying as a college employee, not as a citizen. Writing for the court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Lane's testimony was constitutionally protected because he was speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern, even if it covered facts he learned at work. In past cases, the court has said that public employees generally do not have free-speech rights when they discuss matters learned at their jobs. "This ruling gives a green light to all public employees who have information concerning official corruption and fraud and want to expose these crimes," said Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. He predicted the decision [will] have a "wide impact" on investigations of securities, banking and tax fraud. Lane was director of a college youth program at Central Alabama Community College in 2006 when he discovered that a state lawmaker, Sue Schmitz, was on the payroll but not showing up for work. Lane fired Schmitz despite warnings that doing so could jeopardize his own job.

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