Billions in Iraqi Aid Stolen, Cancer Nonprofit Promoting Carcinogens, Medical Kindness
December 1, 2014
See inspiring story on this photo
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on over a billion US dollars of stolen Iraq War aid that turned up in a Lebanese cave, cancer nonprofit Komen's collaboration with fracking companies which produce carcinogens, military drones that kill the wrong target almost every time, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the story behind the beautiful photo to the right, measurable improvement of medical care due to simple kindness, the healthy uses of natural anger, and more. You can also skip to this section now.
Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: Watch and excellent 20-minute interview with a top financial fraud expert on how the US government completely failed in prosecuting the big banks and targeted those who wanted to do so. Watch a touching five-minute video where a group of homeless people are treated to a high-class meal where many eat filet mignon for the first time ever. Read an excellent article on the success of the only state-owned bank in the US.
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Investigation Into Missing Iraqi Cash Ended in Lebanon Bunker
October 12, 2014, New York Times
In 2003, caravans of trucks began to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington on a regular basis, unloading an unusual cargo – pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills. The cash, withdrawn from Iraqi government accounts held in the United States, was loaded onto Air Force C-17 transport planes bound for Baghdad. Exactly what happened to that money after it arrived? Finding the answer became first the job and then the obsession of Stuart W Bowen Jr. His investigators finally had a breakthrough, discovering that $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion had been stolen and moved to a bunker in rural Lebanon. Bowen kept the discovery and his investigation of the cash-filled bunker ... secret. He has never publicly discussed it until now. "Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last ten years illegally," he said. The money ... came from the Development Fund of Iraq, which was created by a United Nations resolution in May 2003 to hold Iraqi oil revenue. An advantage of using the cash from the Development Fund instead of money appropriated by Congress for Iraq was that there were not a lot of rules governing its use, and no federal regulations or congressional oversight of what happened to it. The CIA expressed little interest in pursuing the matter, and the FBI said it lacked jurisdiction, Bowen recalled. An informant told [Bowen] about the bunker, which in addition to the cash, was believed to also have held approximately $200 million in gold belonging to the Iraqi government.
Komen is supposed to be curing breast cancer. So why is its pink ribbon on so many carcinogenic products?
October 21, 2014, Washington Post
Breast cancer giant Susan G. Komen has found its strangest bedfellow yet in one of the world's largest oilfield services corporations, Baker Hughes. The two have teamed up for a second year to distribute 1,000 pink drill bits to oil fields worldwide. This is just the latest example of "pinkwashing" – when a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribbon product but at the same time manufactures or sells products that are linked to the disease. Pinkwashing has become a central component of the breast cancer industry: a web of relationships and financial arrangements between corporations that cause cancer, companies making billions off diagnosis and treatment, nonprofits seeking to support patients or even to cure cancer, and public relations agencies that divert attention from the root causes of disease. The partnership with fracking company Baker Hughes is among the worst examples of Komen's pinkwashing so far. More than 700 chemicals are used in the process of drilling and fracking for oil and gas. In a study of about 350 of those chemicals, researchers found that up to half can cause health problems, including nervous, immune and cardiovascular symptoms. More than one-third can disrupt the hormone system. And a quarter of the chemicals, such as benzene and formaldehyde, increase the risk of cancer. Baker Hughes is doing more to cause breast cancer than to cure it. And Komen, with its poisonous partnerships, is giving Baker Hughes – and many other companies – the perfect pink disguise.
Note: For more along these lines, read this Los Angeles Times article about how fracking introduces carcinogens into drinking water, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground
November 24, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls "targeted killing" – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November. Reprieve [focused on] cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence. The analysis is a partial estimate. "Drone strikes ... are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every 'bad guy' the US goes after, "said Reprieve's Jennifer Gibson. The data cohort is only a fraction of those killed by US drones. Neither Reprieve nor the Guardian examined ... the so-called "signature strikes" that attack people based on a pattern of behavior considered suspicious, rather than intelligence tying their targets to terrorist activity. An analytically conservative Council on Foreign Relations tally assesses that 500 drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan have killed 3,674 people. Like all weapons, drones will inevitably miss their targets. But the secrecy surrounding them obscures how often misses occur and the reasons for them.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources, including this NPR article that reports on the possibility of future drone strikes taking place within the US.
On Media Outlets That Continue to Describe Unknown Drone Victims As "Militants"
November 18, 2014, The Intercept
It has been more than two years since The New York Times revealed that "Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties" of his drone strikes which "in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants ... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent." The paper noted that "this counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths," and even quoted CIA officials as deeply "troubled" by this decision. After the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as "militants" – even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been "re-defined" by the Obama administration. Like the U.S. drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated. The U.S. government itself –let alone the media outlets calling them "militants"– often has no idea who has been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. The Intercept previously reported that targeting decisions can even be made on the basis of nothing more than metadata analysis and tracking of SIM cards in mobile phones. Just last month, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that "fewer than 4% of the people killed have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda."
Media 'gagged over bid to report MP child sex cases'
November 22, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed. Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. One executive said he had been accosted in his office by 15 uniformed and two non-uniformed police over a dossier on Westminster paedophiles passed to him by the former Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle. The other said that his newspaper had received a D-notice when a reporter sought to write about a police investigation into Elm Guest House, in southwest London, where a group of high-profile paedophiles was said to have operated. Theresa May, home secretary, this month told the Commons that an official review into whether there had been a cover-up of the Home Office's handling of child-abuse allegations in the 1980s ... was prompted by the discovery that 114 Home Office files related to child abuse in the 1980s had gone missing. The two journalists, Don Hale, the former editor of the Bury Messenger, and Hilton Tims, news editor of the Surrey Comet between 1980 and 1988, both recall their publications being issued with D-notices around 1984.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals also reach to the highest levels of government in the US. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption and sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable sources.
Westminster child abuse claims: what do we know?
November 19, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Police are investigating possible murders linked to Elm Guest House in south-west London after claims of a cover-up. A number of allegations have been made. So far the only politician to have been implicated is the Liberal MP Cyril Smith, who died in 2010, but other unnamed politicians were also alleged to have been involved in a Westminster paedophile ring. Smith is alleged to have abused boys at Knowl View residential school in Rochdale and at Elm Guest House, in Barnes in south-west London, in the 1970s and 80s. Greater Manchester police are investigating allegations of abuse by Smith at Knowl View, where Smith was a governor. Other MPs were said to have attended the Elm Guest House. After claims made by the Labour MP Tom Watson in 2012, the Metropolitan police launched Operation Fairbank into child abuse at the guesthouse. Watson said there was "clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and No 10". A dossier of evidence of an alleged paedophile ring, involving several MPs, including Smith, and other public figures, was handed to the Home Office in 1983, by the Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens, who died in 1995. The 40-page dossier has since been destroyed or lost, according to a Home Office review. At least three MPs were reported to have been questioned in 1982 after a police raid on the guesthouse. It was reported at the time that it was being used as a brothel where children as young as 10 were abused. Two children living in the house were taken into care.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals also reach to the highest levels of government in the US. And read an abundance of major media news articles showing rampant child sexual abuse at high levels in many prominent organizations.
HSBC and Goldman sued for allegedly fixing metal price
November 26, 2014, BBC News
Goldman Sachs and HSBC are among four platinum and palladium dealers to be sued in New York for allegedly fixing the price of the metals. The four companies are said to have rigged prices for eight years. BASF and Standard bank were also sued in the first lawsuit of its kind in the US. The four defendants declined to comment. Modern Settings, a Florida-based maker of jewellery and police badges, said purchasers lost millions of dollars. The Florida company filed the complaint in Manhattan federal court. The companies were accused of having conspired since 2007 to rig the twice-daily platinum and palladium fixings. It is alleged that the companies illegally shared customer data and then used that information to engage in front running ... a form of market manipulation in which traders profit by using information about their clients' trading intentions. Traders will often know how a particular client order will affect the market and can place their own trades ahead of that order to benefit. The four companies in this case are also accused of manufacturing "spoof" orders. Goldman, HSBC and Standard Bank declined to comment. International regulators have tightened scrutiny of pricing benchmarks in recent years. The tighter regulation comes after a currency trading scandal and the Libor scandal, which fixed a benchmark interest rate.
Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
New Scrutiny of Goldman's Ties to the New York Fed After a Leak
November 19, 2014, New York Times
From his desk in Lower Manhattan, a banker at Goldman Sachs thumbed through confidential documents – courtesy of a source inside the United States government. The banker came to Goldman through the so-called revolving door ... that connects financial regulators to Wall Street. He joined in July after spending seven years as a regulator at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the government's front line in overseeing the financial industry. He received the confidential information, lawyers briefed on the matter suspect, from a former colleague who was still working at the New York Fed. The previously unreported leak, recounted in interviews with the lawyers briefed on the matter who spoke anonymously ... illustrates the blurred lines between Wall Street and the government. When Goldman hired the former New York Fed regulator, who is 29, it assigned him to advise the same type of banks that he once policed. And the banker obtained confidential information [that] provided Goldman a window into the New York Fed's private insights. The emergence of the leak comes as questions mount about a perceived coziness between the New York Fed and Wall Street banks – Goldman in particular. Revelations from a former New York Fed employee, Carmen Segarra, recently stoked that debate. Ms. Segarra released taped conversations suggesting that her supervisors went soft on Goldman. The new accounts of a regulator and a banker actually sharing confidential documents – violating a cardinal rule of the regulatory world – suggest that ... Goldman, perhaps more than any other Wall Street bank, appears to be entwined with the New York Fed.
Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance. For additional information, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
Sentence for agender teen's attacker: missed chance for justice
November 20, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Last Friday, Richard Thomas was sentenced to seven years in prison for lighting the skirt of Sasha Fleischman on fire on an Oakland AC Transit bus. Thomas, who is 17 years old, was tried as an adult for his crime, and many, including Fleischman's parents, Debbie Crandall and Karl Fleischman, have said the sentence was too harsh. The case represents a clear missed opportunity for a restorative justice solution. Restorative justice provides an effective alternative to the punishment focused model that dominates our criminal justice system. Instead of focusing on what laws have been broken, restorative justice brings the victim and the offender together to determine how to repair harm to the survivor and the community, hold the offender accountable, and reduce future harm. Crandall was supportive of the restorative-justice process, and after Thomas accepted a plea deal, she told KQED: "I wish there had been another way for this to be resolved that did not involve adult court – a place where Richard would really have the chance for rehabilitation." Juveniles who serve time in adult prisons have significantly higher recidivism rates than those who remain in juvenile facilities. Placing juveniles in community-based centers can help to further decrease recidivism rates. Restorative-justice provider Community Works West's Restorative Community Conferencing Program illustrates [this]. There is a 15 percent recidivism rate for youth six months after completing Community Works West's program, compared with 45 percent to 75 percent recidivism rates for youth in and out of the Alameda County Juvenile Justice system.
Note: This teen was sent to prison for seven years despite objections from his victim and his victim's parents. How does that happen? See these excellent, concise summaries of prison corruption news stories from major media sources.
Liberal 2016 poll: Elizabeth Warren beating Clinton by double digits
November 20, 2014, CNN News
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- not Hillary Clinton -- is the top progressive choice for president in 2016, according to a new poll. Forty two percent of respondents favor Warren, and Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders also edges out Clinton with 24% compared to her 23%, according to results from the 2016 Presidential Pulse Poll commissioned by progressive grassroots organization Democracy for America. These results come amid a groundswell of activism from the Democratic party's more liberal wing, which has called for a contested 2016 primary and has often questioned Clinton's financial ties to Wall Street. "Elizabeth Warren won by a large margin because she inspires Democrats by valiantly fighting for populist progressive policies to address income inequality in the face of Wall Street resistance -- and because she regularly engages with the grassroots base of her party," said Charles Chamberlain, the group's executive director, in a release of the poll. He noted, however, that the poll's biggest finding is not that support for Warren among liberal voters is widespread, but that progressives want to make sure that the Democratic nomination process is a "contest, not a coronation." Warren repeatedly told CNN's Gloria Borger in an interview that she has no intention of running for president.
Note: Watch a great video of Warren at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing election process news articles from reliable major media sources.
Solar and Wind Energy Start to Win on Price vs. Conventional Fuels
November 23, 2014, New York Times
For the solar and wind industries in the United States, it has been a long-held dream: to produce energy at a cost equal to conventional sources like coal and natural gas. That day appears to be dawning. In some markets renewable generation is now cheaper than coal or natural gas. Utility executives say the trend has accelerated this year, with several companies signing contracts, known as power purchase agreements, for solar or wind at prices below that of natural gas, especially in the Great Plains and Southwest, where wind and sunlight are abundant. Those prices were made possible by generous subsidies that could soon diminish or expire, but recent analyses show that even without those subsidies, alternative energies can often compete with traditional sources. According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low as 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents. In comparison, natural gas comes at 6.1 cents a kilowatt-hour on the low end and coal at 6.6 cents. Without subsidies, the firm's analysis shows, solar costs about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour at the low end, with wind at 3.7 cents. "It is really quite notable, when compared to where we were just five years ago, to see the decline in the cost of these technologies," said Jonathan Mir, a managing director at Lazard, which has been comparing the economics of power generation technologies since 2008.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of energy news articles from reliable major media sources. To learn about new energy technologies, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our New Energy Information Center.
Key Articles From Years Past
Vaccine Makers Enjoy Immunity
February 23, 2009, Wall Street Journal
A special "vaccines court" hears cases brought by parents who claim their children have been harmed by routine vaccinations. The court buffers Wyeth and other makers of childhood-disease vaccines from ... litigation risk. The legal shield, known as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, was put into place in 1986. Vaccines ... are poised to generate $21.5 billion in annual sales for their makers by 2012, according to France's Sanofi-Aventis SA, a leading producer of inoculations. Vaccines' transformation into a lucrative business has some observers questioning whether the shield law is still appropriate. Critics ... underscored the limited recourse families have in claiming injury from vaccines. "When you've got a monopoly and can dictate price in a way that you couldn't before, I'm not sure you need the liability protection," said Lars Noah, a specialist in medical technology. Kevin Conway, an attorney at Boston law firm Conway, Homer & Chin-Caplan PC, which specializes in vaccine cases and brought one of the recent autism suits, says the lack of liability for the pharmaceutical industry compromises safety. Even if they had won their cases, the families of autistic children wouldn't have been paid by the companies that make the vaccines. Instead, the government would have footed the bill, using the funds from a tax levied on inoculations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources showing huge corruption and deception.
Ferguson hug between protester and police officer goes viral
November 30, 2014, CNN
In the wake of a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Americans have grown accustomed to images of police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. One such image is now going viral, but not for the reason one might think. The photo ... shows 12-year-old Devonte Hart and Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum embraced in a hug outside of a Ferguson rally on Tuesday. Hart's mother ... explained that she and Hart went to downtown Portland "with the intention of spreading love and kindness." Hart brandished a "Free Hugs" sign as he stood alone in front of a police barricade. His mother says he started to get emotional during the rally: "He wonders if someday when he no longer wears a 'Free Hugs' sign around his neck, when he's a full-grown black male, if his life will be in danger for simply being." That's when Sgt. Barnum noticed Hart crying and called the boy over to him. Barnum ... asked why he was crying. Hart's mother says his response was "about his concerns regarding the level of police brutality towards young black kids was met with an unexpected: "Yes. I know. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Next, Sgt Barnum asked if he could have one of the "Free Hugs" advertised on his sign. Barnum [said] "it's a blessing for me that I didn't miss an opportunity to impact this child." The image has now been shared widely across social media. Hart's mother called the tearful hug "one of the most emotionally charged experiences I've had as a mother."
Note: Read lots more on this inspiring incident and the challenging background of Devonte Hart. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Healing Power of Kindness
November 16, 2014, Huffington Post
An extensive scientific literature review sponsored by Dignity Health and conducted by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University reveals a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates kindness holds the power to heal. This often overlooked, virtually cost-free remedy has a statistically significant impact on our physical health. For example, the positive effect of kindness is even greater than that of taking aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack or the influence of smoking on male mortality. The review shows that when patients are treated with kindness -- when there is an effort made to get to know them, empathize with them, communicate with them, listen to them and respond to their needs -- it can lead to: faster healing of wounds, reduced pain, reduced anxiety, reduced blood pressure, and shorter hospital stays. The research also shows that when doctors and nurses act compassionately, patients are more likely to be forthcoming in divulging medical information, which in turn leads to more accurate diagnoses. Patients aren't the only ones who see better results from kind treatment -- the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who provide the kind treatment benefit as well. This research review proves that in the context of health care and medicine, kindness should be viewed as an indispensable part of the healing process.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Right Way to Get Angry
October 20, 2014, Greater Good
Anger is best viewed as a tool that helps us read and respond to upsetting social situations. Feeling angry increases optimism, creativity, [and] effective performance. Research suggests that expressing anger can lead to more successful negotiations, in life or on the job. In fact, repressing anger can actually hurt you. Dr. Ernest Harburg and his team at the University of Michigan School of Public Health spent several decades tracking the same adults in a longitudinal study of anger. They found that men and women who hid the anger they felt in response to an unjust attack subsequently found themselves more likely to get bronchitis and heart attacks, and were more likely to die earlier than peers who let their anger be known when other people were annoying. When anger arises, we feel called upon to prevent or terminate immediate threats to our welfare, or to the well-being of those we care about. Altruism is often born from anger; when it comes to mobilizing other people and creating support for a cause, no emotion is stronger. It's a mistake to presume that kindness, compassion, love, and fairness line up on one side of a continuum, and anger, rage, and dislike, on another side. Positivity alone is insufficient to the task of helping us navigate social interactions and relationships. A healthy society is not an anger-free society. The expression of authentic anger can be entirely appropriate with certain people in certain situations. The question is how you do that without letting it go too far.
Note: Read the entire article to learn simple, healthy anger management tricks. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Dutch Company Powers Streetlights With Living Plants; Will Your Cell Phone Be Next?
November 21, 2014, Yes! Magazine
This month more than 300 LED lights were illuminated by the Dutch company Plant-e in a new energy project called "Starry Sky." Although the bulbs were ordinary, the electricity running through them derived from a new process that harnesses the power of living plants. "Starry Sky" and a similar project an hour's drive away, near Plant-e's Wageningen headquarters, are the two first commercial installations of the company's emerging technology ... fueled by the byproducts of living plants. Plant-e's co-founder and CEO, Marjolein Helder, believes that this technology could be revolutionary. For decades, middle schoolers have been engineering clocks made from potatoes, which run on a similar principle. Plant-e's technology is the first to produce electricity from plants without damaging them. Both projects that lit up the Netherlands this month involved native aquatic plants that were supplied by local greenhouses. The process involves plants growing in modules–two-square-foot plastic containers connected to other modules–where they undergo the process of photosynthesis and convert sunlight, air, and water into sugars. The plants use some of the sugars to grow, but they also discharge a lot of it back into the soil as waste. As the waste breaks down, it releases protons and electrons. Plant-e conducts electricity by placing electrodes into the soil.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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