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.
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F.B.I. Counterterrorism Agents Monitored Occupy Movement
2012-12-25, New York Times
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:42:41
The Federal Bureau of Investigation used counterterrorism agents to investigate the Occupy Wall Street movement, including its communications and planning, according to newly disclosed agency records. The F.B.I. records show that as early as September 2011, an agent from a counterterrorism task force in New York notified officials of two landmarks in Lower Manhattan — Federal Hall and the Museum of American Finance — “that their building was identified as a point of interest for the Occupy Wall Street.” In the following months, F.B.I. personnel around the country were routinely involved in exchanging information about the movement with businesses, local law-enforcement agencies and universities. An October 2011 memo from the bureau’s Jacksonville, Fla., field office was titled Domain Program Management Domestic Terrorist. The memo said agents discussed “past and upcoming meetings” of the movement, and its spread. It said agents should contact Occupy Wall Street activists to ascertain whether people who attended their events had “violent tendencies.” Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the F.B.I. has come under criticism for deploying counterterrorism agents to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on organizations active in environmental, animal-cruelty and poverty issues. The records were obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, a civil-rights organization in Washington, through a Freedom of Information request to the F.B.I.
Note: For analysis of these amazing documents revealing the use of joint government and corporate counterterrorism structures against peaceful protestors of financial corruption, click here and here. For a Democracy Now! video segment on this, click here.
GOP and Feinstein join to fulfill Obama's demand for renewed warrantless eavesdropping
2012-12-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:40:37
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 did much more than shield lawbreaking telecoms from all forms of legal accountability. It also legalized vast new, sweeping and almost certainly unconstitutional forms of warrantless government eavesdropping. [The] 2008 law gutted the 30-year-old FISA statute that had [barred] the government from eavesdropping on the communications of Americans without first obtaining a warrant from a court. Worst of all, the 2008 law legalized ... the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program secretly implemented by George Bush after the 9/11 attack. The 2008 FISA law provided that it would expire in four years unless renewed. Yesterday, the Senate debated its renewal. Several Senators - Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon along with Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul - each attempted to attach amendments to the law simply to provide some modest amounts of transparency and oversight to ensure that the government's warrantless eavesdropping powers were constrained and checked from abuse. The Democratic Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein ... demanded renewal of the FISA law without any reforms. And then predictably, in virtually identical 37-54 votes, Feinstein and her conservative-Democratic comrades joined with virtually the entire GOP caucus ... to reject each one of the proposed amendments and thus give Obama exactly what he demanded: reform-free renewal of the law.
Note: For analysis of this Senate vote, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.
The coming drone attack on America
2012-12-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:39:10
With the importation of what will be tens of thousands of drones, by both US military and by commercial interests, into US airspace, with a specific mandate to engage in surveillance and with the capacity for weaponization – which is due to begin in earnest at the start of the new year – it means that the police state is now officially here. In February of this year, Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, with its provision to deploy fleets of drones domestically. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that this followed a major lobbying effort, "a huge push by … the defense sector" to promote the use of drones in American skies: 30,000 of them are expected to be in use by 2020, some as small as hummingbirds. Others will be as big as passenger planes. Business-friendly media stress their planned abundant use by corporations: police in Seattle have already deployed them. An unclassified US Air Force document reported by CBS News expands on this unprecedented and unconstitutional step – one that formally brings the military into the role of controlling domestic populations on US soil. This document accompanies a major federal push for drone deployment this year in the United States, accompanied by federal policies to encourage law enforcement agencies to obtain and use them locally, as well as by federal support for their commercial deployment. That is to say: now HSBC, Chase, Halliburton etc can have their very own fleets of domestic surveillance drones.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
FBI Lab's woes cast a growing shadow
2012-12-23, The Independent/Washington Post
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:37:15
Thousands of criminal cases at the state and local level may have relied on exaggerated testimony or false forensic evidence to convict defendants of murder, rape and other felonies. The forensic experts in these cases were trained by the same elite FBI team whose members gave misleading court testimony about hair matches and later taught the local examiners to follow the same suspect practices, according to interviews and documents. In July, the Justice Department announced a nationwide review of all cases handled by the FBI Laboratory's hair and fibers unit before 2000 — at least 21,000 cases — to determine whether improper lab reports or testimony might have contributed to wrongful convictions. But about three dozen FBI agents trained 600 to 1,000 state and local examiners to apply the same standards that have proved problematic. None of the local cases is included in the federal review. As a result, legal experts say, although the federal inquiry is laudable, the number of flawed cases at the state and local levels could be even higher, and those are going uncorrected. The FBI review was prompted by a series of articles in The Washington Post about errors at the bureau's renowned crime lab involving microscopic hair comparisons. The articles highlighted the cases of two District of Columbia men who each spent more than 20 years in prison based on false hair matches by FBI experts. Since The Post's articles, the men have been declared innocent by D.C. Superior Court judges.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country?
2012-12-16, New York Times
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:35:42
Packed into hand luggage and tucked into jacket pockets, roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and American officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country. Most of the gold is being carried on commercial flights destined for Dubai. One courier, for instance, carried nearly 60 pounds of gold bars, each about the size of an iPhone, aboard an early morning flight in mid-October, according to an airport security report. The load was worth more than $1.5 million. The gold is fully declared and legal to fly. Some, if not most, is legitimately being sent by gold dealers seeking to have old and damaged jewelry refashioned into new pieces by skilled craftsmen in the Persian Gulf, said Afghan officials and gold dealers. But gold dealers in Kabul and current and former Kabul airport officials say there has been a surge in shipments since early summer. The talk of a growing exodus of gold from Afghanistan has been spreading among the business community here, and in recent weeks has caught the attention of Afghan and American officials. The officials are now puzzling over the origin of the gold — very little is mined in Afghanistan, although larger mines are planned — and why so much appears to be heading for Dubai. As a European official who tracks the Afghan economy put it, “new mysteries abound”. There is reason to be suspicious: the gold shipments track with the far larger problem of cash smuggling.
Note: Remember that under US supervision Afghanistan regained its status as the #1 opium and heroin producer in the world. Could this gold somehow be linked to the drug trade which evidence suggests is being monitored if not facilitated by rogue elements of the US government?
'Zero Dark Thirty': Why the fabrication?
2012-12-23, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:34:01
The new Kathryn Bigelow movie "Zero Dark Thirty" has renewed the debate on the efficacy of torture. The film obliquely credits the discovery of the key piece of information in the search for [Osama] Bin Laden to the torture of an Al Qaeda prisoner held by the CIA. This is at odds with the facts as they have been recounted by journalists reporting on the manhunt, by Obama administration intelligence officials and by legislative leaders. Bigelow and her writing partner, Mark Boal, are promoting "Zero Dark Thirty" in part by stressing its basis in fact. It's curious that they could have gotten this central, contentious point wrong. And because they originally set out to make a movie about the frustrating failure to find Bin Laden, it's hard to believe their aim was to celebrate torture. But that's in effect what they've done. It was Dick Cheney's idea that the United States could solve complicated problems just by being brave enough, or tough enough, or both. Despite the fact that the world doesn't seem to work that way, Cheney's argument had a force and a tenor that fits with our national narrative of exceptionalism. It's satisfying. We are willing to believe there is something heroic, justifiable about torture. There is not. The moral objection ought to be obvious. We've had laws against torture for decades. We've had these laws for the simplest of reasons — we decided it was wrong. In almost no contemporary culture is it presumed to be not wrong.
Note: There have been numerous reports of bin Laden's death before the "official" killing. Click here and here for two intriguing BBC reports on this. WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's book establishing the likelihood that Osama bin Laden died in December 2001, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, is available here.
National Rifle Association moves to block UN treaty on gun control
2012-12-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:31:40
The National Rifle Association continues to block any gun control laws whatsoever, and even trumpets its efforts to block the global arms trade treaty, slated for negotiations at the United Nations this March. On Christmas Eve, the same day as the attack in Webster, the UN general assembly voted to move ahead with 10 days of negotiations on the arms trade treaty, to commence 18 March. The NRA succeeded in helping to scuttle the global arms trade treaty, delivering to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter opposing the treaty signed by 50 US senators, including eight Democrats, and 130 members of the House of Representatives. The global treaty shouldn't be controversial. By signing on, governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate "the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes" or other violations of international humanitarian law. Amnesty International last week called on the NRA to "immediately drop its campaign of distortions and lies about the pending United Nations' global arms trade treaty". Amnesty USA's Michelle Ringuette elaborated: "These unregulated weapons are used to force tens of thousands of children into armed conflict and to rape women and girls in conflict zones. More than 26 million people around the globe are forced from their homes, and their livelihoods destroyed, by armed conflict. The NRA must immediately stand down on its campaign to block a global arms trade treaty."
Homeland Security grant spending questioned
2012-12-05, Seattle Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:29:53
The Homeland Security Department paid for an underwater robot in a Midwest city with no major rivers or lakes nearby, a hog catcher in rural Texas and a fish tank in a Texas town, according to a new congressional report highlighting what it described as wasteful spending of tax money. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said in his report that while much of the spending for the department's Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) appeared to be allowed under the program's rules, it was inappropriate in an age of budget austerity and as the federal government faces a $16 trillion national debt. Since 2003, the Homeland Security program has ballooned from 12 major metropolitan areas to 31 jurisdictions. The study found that some cities and towns had created implausible attack scenarios to win federal grants, and had scrambled at the end of each fiscal year to buy extra, unnecessary gadgets to spend excess cash. The Homeland Security Department has pumped billions to states in the past decade under the program that puts states in control of how the money is spent. The department has no way of tracking how the money is spent and has not produced adequate measures to gauge what states and communities need, Coburn said.
Note: Could it be that the "war on terror", even domestically, is really just a ruse to allow corrupt government and corporate profiteering? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on war profiteering, click here.
Victims of child pornography seek restitution from men who downloaded and traded horrific images
2012-12-27, Boston Globe
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:28:32
The woman, now in her twenties, lives in relative anonymity on the West Coast, but to child pornography collectors worldwide she will always be known as “Vicky,” a little girl raped by her father in a series of videos illegally disseminated online thousands of times during more than a decade. Now the woman and a small but growing number of other child pornography victims are seeking restitution from those who collected or traded pictures and videos depicting their abuse, filing claims for damages against convicted child pornographers in Massachusetts and around the country. In court papers, victims describe living with the knowledge that their images can never be cleansed from the Internet. Since 2008, six federal child pornography cases in Massachusetts have resulted in defendants being ordered to pay restitution, according to the US attorney’s office in Boston. The amounts range between $2,000 and $2.5 million. The recent restitution efforts come as the scourge of child pornography has accelerated during the last decade, aided by improved technology and the Web’s promise of anonymity. While most sexually exploited children go unidentified, nearly 5,000 nationwide have been located during the last 10 years by law enforcement officials and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The Virginia nonprofit manages a database to aid prosecutors and help identify exploited children.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse of children, click here.
Whistleblower Frank Serpico is never too far from his NYPD past
2012-12-22, New York Daily News
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:27:11
If you’re searching for the Frank Serpico of the ’70s, the whistle-blowing hippie cop of cinematic renown, pay a visit to Netflix. The real thing is now 76, his famous beard close-cropped and gray. Wiry and fit, Serpico sports tinted glasses and a Keith Richards-style skull ring with ruby red eyes. He lives alone in the woods upstate, far from his Greenwich Village haunts of yore. But despite the distance and the decades, Serpico is never too far away from his NYPD past. The long-retired cop speaks just weeks after the death of his Knapp Commission cohort David Durk, the ex-detective who helped expose the NYPD’s massive corruption. For the record: Serpico never received a gold first-grade detective’s shield. His NYPD Medal of Honor was handed to him without ceremony, like a pack of cigarettes. And he still wants to know why fellow cops never called in a code 10-13 — officer down — after he took a bullet in the face on Feb. 3, 1971. As for the movie, the man who broke through the Blue Wall of Silence is succinct: “Pacino played Serpico better than I did.” Serpico, left with a bullet in the head and a deaf ear from the on-duty shooting, still collects a regular NYPD disability check. And he still maintains skepticism toward the department.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Finding healing for the healers
2012-07-17, Boston Globe
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:25:44
Seventeen years ago today, in the Boston Globe Magazine, a dying man issued a plea for greater compassion in medicine. He worried that medical professionals faced increasing work demands that prioritized efficiency over empathy. Kenneth Schwartz died of lung cancer two months later, but not before founding an organization that would bring increased attention to the importance of human interactions in medicine. Research suggests that without intervention, physicians may risk becoming less empathetic over time. A recent survey of 18 studies found that medical students and residents tended to report declining feelings of empathy over the course of their training. Another study found that self-perceived empathy dropped sharply after the third year of medical school, when students start working with patients in the hospital. The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare’s flagship program, which started at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1997, encourages doctors, nurses, and other health professionals to share the complex and often distressing feelings that arise from patient care. In recent years, the Schwartz Center Rounds have expanded rapidly, spreading to more than 260 institutions in the country and 14 hospitals in the United Kingdom. The program’s growth reflects an increasing recognition that traditional ideals of the stoic, superhuman medical professional may not be healthy — for either the patient or the caregiver. Schwartz Center Rounds highlight feelings — guilt, fear, anger, or sadness — that might lead caregivers to withdraw emotionally from their work.
Berkeley center funds gratitude research
2012-12-04, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:23:52
At UC Berkeley ... a group of researchers thinks about gratitude year-round. Formed in 2001, the Greater Good Science Center is dedicated to unpacking the neuroscience and sociology behind traits such as altruism, compassion and empathy. The goal is not only to understand how gratitude works, but also to build a healthier, kinder society, said Dacher Keltner, the center's faculty director and a UC Berkeley psychology professor. "The U.S. underperforms in terms of the well-being of children, the well-being of adults and the physical health of children and adults," he said. "We also have one of the most individualistic, self-focused societies in human history. And I put those two facts together." Thanks to a $3.1 million grant recently awarded by the center, 14 researchers nationwide are studying various aspects of gratitude, from its role in initiating friendships to its effects on children's socializing. The grant is part of a three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, in collaboration with UC Davis. And last month, the center launched Thnx4.org, an online journal where visitors explain what they're thankful for and researchers analyze their responses to understand gratitude's influence.
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.
America on the cusp of social change
Posted: 2013-01-01 08:21:50
As the final days of 2012 trickle away, an uncommon emotional intensity hangs in the air in America. The country stands on the cusp of major change. Today, a majority of Americans support stricter gun laws, a majority support a more progressive tax system and most favor same-sex marriage. A majority of voters even support the idea of legalizing marijuana. The laws have not caught up with this dramatic change in attitudes, and entrenched interests will fight what amounts to a quiet but pivotal social revolution. The coming year will see continuing battles in the courts, in the media and in legislatures, as the forces of change -- now representing the majority -- seek to upset the status quo. Attitudes are changing [in] ways that seemed unthinkable not long ago. Who would have thought Americans would favor legalizing drugs? Two-thirds of voters under age 30 support legalizing pot, bringing the overall total to 51%. Truly radical transformation has come in the area of gay rights. For the first time, Gallup Polls show a majority of Americans support full marriage equality for gay couples. That's an astonishing change. But it's not as astonishing as the wholesale acceptance of gay people that has suffused American society in the last few years. Once again, the people are leading their leaders. Public views, especially among the young, hold that discrimination is not only wrong, it's silly. Something is happening in America.
Note: For other rich and inspiring articles from major media sources, click here.
Keep thimerosal in vaccines, pediatricians urge
2012-12-17, NBC News/Reuters
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:58:39
A mercury-containing preservative should not be banned as an ingredient in vaccines, U.S. pediatricians said [on December 17], in a move that may be controversial. In its statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed calls from a World Health Organization (WHO) committee that the preservative, thimerosal, not be considered a hazardous source of mercury that could be banned by the United Nations. Back in 1999, a concern that kids receiving multiple shots containing thimerosal might get too much mercury - and develop autism or other neurodevelopmental problems as a result - led the AAP to call for its removal, despite the lack of hard evidence at the time. In a 2004 safety review ... the independent U.S. Institute of Medicine concluded there was no evidence thimerosal-containing vaccines could cause autism. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came to the same conclusion in 2010. Thimerosal contains a type of mercury called ethyl mercury. Toxic effects have been tied to its cousin, methyl mercury, which stays in the body for much longer. Earlier this year, the WHO said replacing thimerosal with an alternative preservative could affect vaccine safety and might cause some vaccines to become unavailable. Mercury, however, is still on the list of global health hazards to be banned in a draft treaty from the United Nations Environment Program - which would mean a ban on thimerosal.
Note: Can you believe that a group of doctors is advocating for continued use of mercury in vaccines? For two informative articles raising serious questions about vaccines in general and thimerosal in particular, click here and here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the risks of vaccines, click here.
Jimmy Savile abuse: Number of alleged victims reaches 450
2012-12-12, BBC News
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:57:04
Police have confirmed that the number of alleged sex abuse victims of the late Jimmy Savile has reached 450. 589 alleged victims have come forward during their investigation of offences committed by Savile and others. Of the alleged victims, 82% were female and 80% were children or young people. The level of allegations against Savile - 450 in total - is unprecedented - never before have police received that number of allegations against a single person. Meanwhile, police have set up Operation Fairbank to investigate allegations by Labour MP Tom Watson of a paedophile ring in high places. Mr Watson said in October that police should investigate claims of a "powerful paedophile ring" linked to a previous prime minister's "senior adviser" and Parliament. Police have a total of 20 suspects whom they wish to interview. They have interviewed seven people in total - six of whom were arrested. Police are looking at three strands within their inquiry - claims against Savile, those against Savile and others, and those against others only. High-profile names arrested in connection with the investigation are PR consultant Max Clifford, comedian Freddie Starr, DJ Dave Lee Travis and former TV producer Wilfred De'Ath, who all deny any wrongdoing. Gary Glitter, who was also arrested, has not yet made a statement.
Note: WantToKnow.info has presented evidence of "a paedophile ring in high places" for years. If you want to know how pervasive this is, you must watch the banned Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence" at this link. Thankfully the word is slowly getting out. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
Newtown kids v Yemenis and Pakistanis: what explains the disparate reactions?
2012-12-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:55:10
Numerous commentators have lamented the vastly different reactions in the US to the heinous shooting of children in Newtown, Connecticut ... compared to the continuous killing of (far more) children and innocent adults by the US government in Pakistan and Yemen, among other places. It is well worth asking what accounts for this radically different reaction to the killing of children and other innocents. There are ... two key issues highlighted by the intense grief for the Newtown victims compared to the utter indifference to the victims of Obama's militarism. The first is that it underscores how potent and effective the last decade's anti-Muslim dehumanization campaign has been. Every war - particularly protracted ones like the "War on Terror" - demands sustained dehumanization campaigns against the targets of the violence. Few populations will tolerate continuous killings if they have to confront the humanity of those who are being killed. That's what dehumanization is: their humanity is disappeared so that we don't have to face it. [The] other issue highlighted by this disparate reaction: the question of agency and culpability. It's easy to express rage over the Newtown shooting because so few of us bear any responsibility for it. Exactly the opposite is true for the violence that continuously kills children and other innocent people in the Muslim world. US citizens pay for it, enable it, and now under Obama, most at the very least acquiesce to it if not support it. It's always much more difficult to acknowledge the deaths that we play a role in causing than it is to protest those to which we believe we have no connection.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on war crimes committed in the US wars of aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, click here. For a key article raising serious questions about the official story of the Newtown shooting, click here.
Group aids reporting that exposes secrecy
2012-12-17, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:49:02
A group of journalists, activists and celebrities has formed the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit that will crowdsource funding for journalism that exposes secrecy and corruption in government and corporations. The impetus for the group dates to 2010, when whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks released thousands of pages of cables sent to and from U.S. State Department officials. Soon after, at the urging of the federal government, companies such as Bank of America, PayPal and Visa blocked donations to WikiLeaks, strangling the organization's finances. Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Daniel Ellsberg - who released the infamous 1971 Pentagon Papers - said the foundation's goal is to give organizations like WikiLeaks financial independence. "We don't think that what the public needs to know should be determined by the executive branch of the government," Ellsberg says. "We hope that it will be impossible for the government to bring pressure to bear to close down important journalistic institutions. That's a threat to all of journalism." Not only will the organization function as a financial lifeline to WikiLeaks, it will bring publicity to other organizations investigating government activities. The group has started by providing tools to fund four groups: WikiLeaks, government transparency advocates MuckRock News, military investigators the National Security Archive, and general investigative journalism outfit the UpTake. Supporters can go to its website (www.pressfreedomfoundation.org) and donate - anonymously - to any of the organizations.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government secrecy, click here.
HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system
2012-12-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:47:24
The US is the world's largest prison state, imprisoning more of its citizens than any nation on earth, both in absolute numbers and proportionally. It imprisons people for longer periods of time, more mercilessly, and for more trivial transgressions than any nation in the west. This sprawling penal state has been constructed over decades, by both political parties, and it punishes the poor and racial minorities at overwhelmingly disproportionate rates. But not everyone is subjected to that system of penal harshness. It all changes radically when the nation's most powerful actors are caught breaking the law. With few exceptions, they are gifted not merely with leniency, but full-scale immunity from criminal punishment. Thus have the most egregious crimes of the last decade been fully shielded from prosecution when committed by those with the greatest political and economic power: the construction of a worldwide torture regime, spying on Americans' communications without the warrants required by criminal law by government agencies and the telecom industry, an aggressive war launched on false pretenses, and massive, systemic financial fraud in the banking and credit industry that triggered the 2008 financial crisis. This two-tiered justice system was the subject of [the] book, With Liberty and Justice for Some. On Tuesday, not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Breaking the hold of corporate welfare on America's incarceration industry
2012-12-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:46:01
The US Department of Justice released a report this week showing that 26 states have recorded decreases in their prison populations during 2011. California boasted the biggest decline of over 15,000 prisoners and several other states including New York and Michigan reported drops of around 1,000 prisoners each. This is the third consecutive year that the population has declined, and as a result, at least six states have closed or are attempting to close approximately 20 prisons. But sadly, because incarceration has become a virtual jobs program in many states and because certain corporations are profiting handsomely from the incarceration binge that has been in place for the past few decades, the reduction in prison populations and prison closures is being met with huge resistance. According to a recent report by the Sentencing Project called On the Chopping Block (pdf), which detailed all the prison closures and attempted closures in the past year, several state governors have been dragged into legal battles with state employees and unions who want the prisons to stay open. The private prisons, which are funded by the taxpayer ... need to generate revenue to keep their shareholders happy. For them, the bottom line is keeping their prisons full, regardless of need or cost. Last year, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) came under fire when it emerged that they sent a letter to 48 states offering to take over any prisons going spare – with the small caveat that they be guaranteed 90% occupancy for the next 20 years.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the prison/industrial complex, click here.
The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico
2012-12-18, New York Times
Posted: 2012-12-24 08:44:24
After years of study, [San Juan Teotihuacán]’s elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town’s main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development [there]. But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision. Instead, records and interviews show, they decided to undo the damage with one well-placed $52,000 bribe. The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning ... was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart’s store. Problem solved. Wal-Mart de Mexico broke ground months later, provoking fierce opposition. The Times’s examination reveals that ... Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited. It used bribes to subvert democratic governance — public votes, open debates, transparent procedures. It used bribes to circumvent regulatory safeguards that protect Mexican citizens from unsafe construction. It used bribes to outflank rivals. Through confidential Wal-Mart documents, The Times identified 19 store sites across Mexico that were the target of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s bribes.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.