10 Donors Give Over $200 Million to US Super PACs, Pentagon's Fake ‘Al Qaeda’ Videos, Syria's 'White Helmet' Heroes
October 11, 2016
Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on the 10 mega-donors responsible for 20% of the record $1.1 billion that has so far been poured into super PACs to influence the 2016 US elections, the Pentagon's funding of a massive propaganda campaign in Iraq which included producing fake ‘Al Qaeda’ videos, the British Army's human rights abuses in Iraq now coming to light, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the 3,000 "White Helmet" rescue workers that have saved more than 60,000 lives in Syria, findings suggesting that trees might think, feel, and communicate in surprising ways, the Israeli company efficiently turning air into affordable drinking water, 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.
Elections note: We don't cover the craziness around Trump and Clinton as it is widely covered elsewhere. If we receive any verifiable information that is being hidden from the public on these matters, we will most certainly share that with you.
Special note: For the real history of Christopher Columbus and his extermination policy towards the peaceful natives, read Prof. Howard Zinn's excellent essay. Watch a 5-minute video of a personal jet pack which may one day allow anyone to fly. Check out a great symposium featuring some of the most renowned healers on alternative methods to healing cancer. Read an excellent Corbett Report on potential financial disaster including a quote direct from the IMF stating "Deutsche Bank appears to the most important net contributor to systemic risks in the global banking system."
Quote of the week: "If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things." ~~ Descartes
How 10 mega-donors already helped pour a record $1.1 billion into super PACs
October 5, 2016, Washington Post
Super PACs seeking to influence the 2016 elections have collected more than $1 billion, a record haul driven by jumbo-sized contributions from rich donors on both sides of the aisle. Just 10 mega-donor individuals and couples contributed nearly 20 percent of the $1.1 billion raised by super PACs by the end of August. The total exceeds the $853 million that super PACs collected in the entire 2012 cycle. The top givers were split roughly equally along party lines, with five Republicans, four Democrats and one independent. Together, super PACs seeking to sway the White House and congressional races have pumped more than $674 million into TV ads and other outreach through September, filings show. By the end of the 2012 elections, such groups had spent $608 million. The figures illustrate how American campaigns have been reordered by the ability to give unlimited sums to political committees. In the six years since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision created new paths for massive contributions to flow into elections, a tiny sliver of donors with immense financial capacity have rushed to participate. Along with the $1.1 billion raised by super PACs, hundreds of millions more has been directed into politically active nonprofits on both sides of the aisle that can keep the names of their contributors secret. The huge sums washing through campaigns are contributing to a growing estrangement between voters and the political system.
Note: Read more about how ghost corporations are funding the 2016 elections. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Pentagon Paid for Fake ‘Al Qaeda’ Videos
October 1, 2016, The Daily Beast
The Pentagon gave a controversial U.K. PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee. The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters. Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq. In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was “shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.” The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus - then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq - and on occasion by the White House, he said. Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. The ... most sensitive program described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. U.S. marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.
Note: So the Pentagon made propaganda films to recruit for Al Qaeda, bombed a place upsetting the people there, then seeded these films to try to capture anyone who was interested in the propaganda they spread. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
The truth about British army abuses in Iraq must come out
October 3, 2016, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In the past few days a number of politicians and former generals have criticised the so-called hounding of British soldiers by what they claim are just money-grabbing lawyers launching ill-founded cases into alleged wartime abuse. Criticising the work of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), Tim Collins, the retired colonel who led British troops in Iraq, said the allegations were being made by “parasitic lawyers”. Theresa May has said she wants to end the “industry” of vexatious claims. And Tony Blair, who launched the military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “I am very sorry that our soldiers and their families have been put through this ordeal.” The reality, of course, is somewhat different. The Ministry of Defence has already paid out £20m in compensation to victims of abuse in Iraq. Anyone who has been involved in litigation with the MoD knows that it will pay up only if a case is overwhelming or the ministry wants to cover something up. The complaints before the Ihat are not just from lawyers. They are also from serving and former members of the armed forces with no financial interest in the outcome. Even more disturbing, many of these investigations may lead to the door of the MoD itself. Many of the allegations concern physical, sexual and religious abuse during interrogation. The conduct appears systematic, and ... there were secret detention facilities in the UK area of operations which appear to have bypassed prisoner of war facilities. If this is correct, it is in violation of the Geneva conventions.
Note: The Chilcot inquiry recently concluded that Tony Blair deliberately lied to MPs and the public on Iraq to commit British troops to the US-led invasion in 2003. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
Yahoo 'secretly scanned customer emails' at request of US intelligence
October 4, 2016, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Yahoo has been accused of secretly building a customised software programme to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by US intelligence officials. The company complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI. Reuters said that a number of surveillance experts said this represented the first case to surface of a US Internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time. The agency also said it was unable to determine what data the company had handed over, and if the intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo. US phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad directive for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program. “I’ve never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a ‘selector’,” said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information. He added: “It would be really difficult for a provider to do that.”
In the Chicago Police Department, If the Bosses Say It Didn’t Happen, It Didn’t Happen
October 6, 2016, The Intercept
On May 31, the city of Chicago agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two police officers who allege they suffered retaliation for reporting and investigating criminal activity by fellow officers. The settlement, for $2 million, was announced moments before the trial was to begin. As the trial date approached, city lawyers had made a motion to exclude the words “code of silence” from the proceedings. Not only was the motion denied, but the judge ruled that Mayor Rahm Emanuel could be called to testify about what he meant when he used the term in a speech. The prevailing narrative in the press was that the city settled in order to avoid the possibility that Mayor Emanuel would be compelled to testify. But the mayor’s testimony, had it come to pass, would have been unlikely to provide much illumination. By contrast, that of the plaintiffs, Shannon Spalding and Danny Echeverria, promised to ... show extraordinarily serious retaliatory misconduct by officers at nearly all levels of the CPD hierarchy. Spalding ... and her partner, Danny Echeverria, spent over five years working undercover on a joint FBI-CPD internal affairs investigation that uncovered a massive criminal enterprise within the department. A gang tactical team led by a sergeant named Ronald Watts operated a protection racket in public housing developments on Chicago’s South Side. In exchange for “a tax,” Watts and his team shielded drug dealers from interference by law enforcement and targeted their competition. They were major players in the drug trade.
Note: Read the second article in this series titled "Corrupt Chicago Police Were Taxing Drug Dealers and Targeting Their Rivals." Read also how this criminal gang of police routinely framed people for crimes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Pesticide manufacturers' own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees
September 22, 2016, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Unpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research. The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides and there is clear scientific evidence that they harm bees at the levels found in fields. Neonicotinoids were banned from use on flowering crops in the EU in 2013, despite UK opposition. The newly revealed studies show Syngenta’s thiamethoxam and Bayer’s clothianidin seriously harmed colonies at high doses, but did not find significant effects below concentrations of 50 parts per billion (ppb) and 40ppb respectively. Such levels can sometimes be found in fields. However, scientists said all such research should be made public. “It is hard to see why the companies don’t make these kinds of studies available,” said Prof Dave Goulson, at the University of Sussex. “It does seem a little shady to do ... the very studies the companies say are the most important ones - and then not tell people what they find.” Syngenta had told Greenpeace in August that “none of the studies Syngenta has undertaken or commissioned for use by regulatory agencies have shown damages to the health of bee colonies”. Goulson said: “That clearly contradicts their own study.”
Note: CNN News reported in 2010 that Bayer covered up the link between its products and massive bee die-offs. Read more about how these pesticides sicken bees and harm food crops. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Ads disguised as news: A drug company's stealth marketing campaign exposed
October 5, 2016, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
It's rare to get a glimpse behind the curtain of pharmaceutical marketing. CBC [has] learned about a stealth marketing campaign involving a drug company, a well-known Canadian comedian, a doctor and a public relations firm. "Cathy Jones of This Hour Has 22 Minutes is on a mission to get women to start talking about female sexual health after menopause - and particularly, their vaginas," wrote PR company GCI Group in a press release, offering to arrange an interview. But nowhere did it say this "mission" was initiated and sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., which makes a vaginal hormone pill. Nor did GCI's release specify that Jones was paid to give media interviews about vaginal atrophy. When CBC asked if there was a drug company involved, the PR firm said yes, Novo Nordisk, but that was to be kept secret. "No parties including GCI want any mention of the drug or drug company," CBC was told. "It's an unbranded campaign." In other words, it's marketing that looks like any other lifestyle article in news. This is what it looks like on the Globe and Mail's website. There was originally no mention of Novo Nordisk sponsoring the campaign. Is it OK for a drug company, behind a curtain, to generate news about a condition and then encourage women to see their doctor? "No, it is not OK," says Dr. Jerilynn Prior [with] the University of British Columbia. "It is misrepresenting the marketing purpose behind it." This is a rare public example of something that happens all the time.
EpiPen outrage: Silicon Valley engineers figure real cost to make lifesaving auto-injector two-pack — about $8
October 1, 2016, The Mercury News (One of Silicon Valley's Leading Newspapers)
In his 93 years, Bob Wallace has seen some product-pricing doozies over the decades, but the nonstop national furor over the stratospheric price hikes for EpiPens - now retailing above $700 for a two-pack - was the final shot. Wallace and Roland Krevitt, a veteran Scotts Valley manufacturing and tooling consultant, set out to demystify the cost to produce the EpiPen, piece by piece. The auto-injector delivers a lifesaving dose of adrenaline to treat serious allergic reactions to everything from bee stings to food. [They crunched] the costs for molding and manufacturing the nozzle, needle, syringe, springs, safety cap - and 0.3 mg of epinephrine. Their startling estimate of the cost for a two-pack of EpiPens: $8.02. And that even included the bright-yellow box. The pharmaceutical giant Mylan is the latest drugmaker to withstand a public lashing over skyrocketing drug prices. While politicians and patients demand explanations ... policy experts and drug makers blame an American health care system built on an ever-expanding pool of middlemen whose piece of the action is driving up the final bill. [Mylan’s] chief executive, Heather Bresch, recently told a congressional committee her company pays $69 per two-pack to the firm that actually manufactures the EpiPen, [and] pointed to charts explaining why the company charges a $608 wholesale price for a two-pack. The Wall Street Journal ... reported last week that Mylan low-balled its calculation of EpiPen profits to Congress.
‘My therapist gave me a pill’: can MDMA help cure trauma?
September 26, 2016, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
For as long as Alice, now 32, can remember, her father, “a major drug dealer with freezers full of cocaine”, was physically abusive towards her and her mother. Alice’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ... went misdiagnosed for many years. She tried [many therapies]. Nothing worked. Then, two and a half years ago, Alice enrolled in a clinical trial for a treatment combining psychotherapy with MDMA. Her “trips” were accompanied by eight-hour therapy sessions. During the session[s], her psychiatrist guided the conversation according to goals she had set with Alice beforehand. Alice’s recovery was astonishing. The clinician-administered PTSD scale, or Caps ... uses a lengthy questionnaire to determine the severity of a patient’s symptoms. Any score over 60 is “severe”. Alice’s score went from 106 to two. It’s now at zero. In other words, her PTSD is gone. Alice is one of 136 patients who have undergone MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in trials run by the not-for-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), based in Santa Cruz, California. [In] one South Carolina study ... 83% of those given the MDMA no longer met the criteria for PTSD following treatment, compared with 25% of those who were not given the drug. Best of all? The results have held for several years. MDMA is not a silver bullet: treatment is heavily reliant on the accompanying therapy, and there is a lot of therapy: three monthly sessions with the drug, lasting eight hours each, punctuated by nine weekly 90-minute sessions without it.
Note: Read more about how MDMA has been found effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are beginning to gain mainstream scientific credibility.
U.S. to pay 17 Indian tribes $492 million to settle long-standing disputes
September 26, 2016, Washington Post
The Obama administration has settled lawsuits with 17 Native American tribes that accused the federal government of long mismanaging their funds and natural resources. With these settlements, the administration will have resolved the majority of outstanding claims, some dating back a century, with more than 100 tribes and totaling more than $3.3 billion. The settlements announced Monday, totaling $492.8 million, come at the same time that thousands of Native Americans representing tribes from across the country have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota to protest the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say threatens their water supply and traverses sacred Indian burial grounds. This month, a federal judge ruled against the Standing Rock tribe’s request to halt construction of the crude-oil pipeline. Meanwhile, thousands of Native Americans remain camped out in a nearby field in protest. Native leaders also protested the pipeline Monday in Washington outside the White House Tribal Nations Conference, where tribal leaders met with President Obama. The 17 tribes affected [by the settlements] had accused the federal government of mismanaging trust lands, which are leased for timber harvesting, farming, grazing, and oil and gas extraction, among other uses.
Note: Settling these lawsuits may be a step in the right direction, but the ongoing harm being done to tribal lands by government-protected industry suggests that there is still a long way to go. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Key Articles From Years Past
2 Paths of Bayer Drug in 80's: Riskier One Steered Overseas
May 22, 2003, New York Times
A division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs - medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS - to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The Bayer unit, Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas, [and] kept making the old medicine for several months more. In Hong Kong and Taiwan alone, more than 100 hemophiliacs got H.I.V. after using Cutter's old medicine. Many have since died. Cutter also continued to sell the older product ... in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Argentina. The Cutter documents, which were produced in connection with lawsuits filed by American hemophiliacs, went largely unnoticed until The Times began asking about them. Federal regulators helped keep the overseas sales out of the public eye. When a Hong Kong distributor in late 1984 expressed an interest in the new product, the records show, Cutter asked the distributor to "use up stocks" of the old medicine. Several months later, as hemophiliacs in Hong Kong began testing positive for H.I.V., some local doctors questioned whether Cutter was dumping "AIDS tainted" medicine into less-developed countries.
Note: Watch a three-minute MSNBC report on this decision by Bayer which resulted in thousands being infected with AIDS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Who Are Syria's 'White Helmets'?
October 3, 2016, NBC News
As the Syrian peace accord has crumbled - even threatening to reignite the Cold War - and barrel bombs continue to fall on the rebel-held city of Aleppo, many are fleeing the death and destruction. But one group of residents has vowed to stay behind and help. They are the "White Helmets," a volunteer team of first responders who plunge head-first into crumbling buildings to save civilians trapped in the rubble of Syria's brutal civil war. Named after their iconic protective headgear, the group of about 3,000 rescue workers have reportedly saved more than 60,000 lives since the civil war began. In August, their courage garnered international attention when they rescued 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, the stunned little boy covered in dust and blood whose photo shocked the world. They have since been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The heroism of these ordinary citizens - former doctors, shopkeepers, and teachers - is profiled in a 40-minute Netflix documentary. "These are very normal, ordinary people who now do one of the most extraordinary jobs on this planet," said the film's director, Orlando von Einsiedel. "They represent the best of what humanity can be," he said. "It has given us faith in humanity and has made us want to be better people."
Note: When the media seems to want us to hate Muslims, it's so important to read about the beautiful examples of these heroes. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Do trees have brains and talk to each other? They are intelligent, express emotions and make friends, claims a new book.
July 15, 2016, Daily Mail (One of the UK's most popular newspapers)
There's increasing evidence to show that trees are able to communicate with each other. More than that, trees can learn. When you discover how trees talk to each other, feel pain, nurture each other, even care for their close relatives and organise themselves into communities, it's hard to be sceptical. The support they give each other is not random. Research by Professor Massimo Maffei at the University of Turin shows trees can distinguish the roots of their own species from other plants, and even pick out their own relations from other trees. Some are so tightly connected at the roots that they even die together, like a devoted married couple. Diseased or hungry individuals can be identified, supported and nourished until they recover. They can also send warnings using chemical signals and electrical impulses through the fungal networks that stretch under the soil between sets of roots. These fungi operate like fibre-optic internet cables. Their thin filaments penetrate the earth, weaving through it in almost unbelievable density. One teaspoon of forest soil contains many miles of these tendrils. Over centuries, if left undisturbed, a single fungus can cover many square miles and create a network throughout an entire forest. Through these links, trees can send signals about insects, drought and other dangers. News bulletins are transmitted by chemical compounds and also by electricity. Most of us see trees as practically inanimate. But the truth is very different. They are just as intensely alive as we are ... and for much, much longer.
Note: The above article was adapted from Peter Wohlleben's book, "The Hidden Life Of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries From A Secret World." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Why An Israeli Company Is Sucking Water From The Sky
September 30, 2016, Huffington Post
In the face of a changing climate and the challenges that come with it, companies the world over have been attempting to pull solutions out of thin air - literally. There are firms turning air into fuel and others transforming it into stone. Some are even extracting clean drinking water from it. Israel’s Water-Gen has built devices that create and store drinking water by harvesting condensation from the air. It was among a group of Israeli firms that presented their technological innovations at the United Nations General Assembly last week. “Put simply, [our technology] leverages the same process as a dehumidifier, but instead captures and cleans the moisture,” said Arye Kohavi, Water-Gen’s CEO. “This ‘plug-and-drink’ technology is fully independent of existing water infrastructure. All we require is an electrical outlet and the humidity found in the air.” Water-Gen isn’t the only company to market such a technology, but it says its machines ... are far more energy-efficient than any other water production device. “Our technology takes one-fifth of the amount of energy used by other methods,” Kohavi said. Water-Gen estimates the water its machines generates would cost less than 10 cents per gallon. The smallest device can yield up to 5 gallons daily, while the largest can produce more than 800 gallons a day. “We think it’s possible to bring drinking water to all countries,” Maxim Pasik, Water-Gen’s chairman, [said] in an interview. “What’s important for us is to bring water to the people. This is a basic human right.”
When a Doctor Illegally Put the “HOME” Back Into Nursing Homes, Death Rates Plummeted
October 3, 2016, DaisyLuther.com
Thinking about aging conjures unpleasant imagery of becoming weak and frail, losing our autonomy, and being placed in a nursing home to live out the remainder of our days alone. Self-described “Nursing Home Abolitionist” Dr. Bill Thomas has been working on changing that, and his ideas and philosophy are reforming the traditional long-term care model. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1986, Dr. Thomas worked in emergency care. He went on to become the medical director of [a] nursing home in upstate New York. The institutionalized and depressing atmosphere of the facility prompted him to take action. Even though animals in nursing homes were illegal at the time, Dr. Thomas brought in two dogs, four cats, hens, rabbits, 100 parakeets, a multitude of plants, a flower garden, and vegetable patch. The Washington Post reported that the illegal act was a resounding success. There was a 50% drop in medical prescriptions along with a dramatic decrease in death rates – but most importantly, the residents were simply happier. It inspired Dr. Thomas to create The Green House Project, a national non-profit organization that creates alternative living environments to traditional nursing home care facilities. Traditional nursing homes are torn down and replaced with small, home-like environments where people can live a full and interactive life. In 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded ... a five-year $10 million grant to help the organization create Green House projects in all fifty states.
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