US Supports Syrian Terrorists, CIA Psychics Spied on Iran, The Rise of Urban Farming
February 14, 2017
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's attempts to end US support for Islamic State militants, how the CIA has used psychics to spy on Iran, al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist groups in Syria, the disastrously high radiation levels recently found at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the rise of urban farming, the outpouring of support for a Texas Muslim community after their mosque burned down, 105-year-old cyclist Robert Marchand's new world record, 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: Read an inspiring piece by Dan Rather on the politics of fear. Watch an excellent interview of Edward Snowden by CNN's Katie Couric. Read undeniable evidence Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon embraces ideas of apocalyptic war. New US Attorney General Jeff Sessions' first act was to sign an executive order on stopping transnational criminal organizations and preventing international trafficking, including "trafficking and smuggling of human beings." May this expose and stop the sexual trafficking of children.
Quote of the week: "I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law." ~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Video of the week: Watch an incisive interview with economic expert Catherine Austin Fitts about current deep politics. Catherine is one of the best, most sane voices we watch for what's really going on behind the scenes. See her website at http://solari.com. For a taste of the quality of her work, see this webpage, which includes a powerful documentary on child sex trafficking.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard makes unannounced trip to Syria
January 18, 2017, Washington Post
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who has charged the Obama administration with funneling money to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, visited Damascus this week on what her office called a “fact-finding trip ... to promote and work for peace.” A member of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees, Gabbard has called for the administration to abandon all assistance to armed groups and stop seeking Assad’s overthrow, saying that the effort undermines the fight against the Islamic State there. Gabbard last month introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would bar the U.S. government from providing money or other support to the Islamic State ... or to any of their allies or to any countries that support them directly or indirectly. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail,” she said in announcing the legislation. “Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL ... and other terrorist groups with money, weapons and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.” Citing news reports detailing CIA and other support to groups fighting against Assad ... Gabbard compared the U.S. effort to the Reagan administration’s secret funding of Nicaraguan rebels who sought to overthrow that country’s government in the 1980s, despite a congressional ban.
Note: A powerful and well researched article shows the key role the U.S. played in the formation and support of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and terrorism.
CIA files reveal how U.S. used psychics to spy on Iran
February 10, 2017, Miami Herald
The dozens of American diplomats taken hostage by revolutionary students who seized the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979 might have had some secret company during their 15-month captivity: U.S. intelligence agencies had a squad of military-trained psychics using ESP to watch them, according to declassified documents in a newly available CIA database. In an operation code-named Grill Flame, half a dozen psychics ... on more than 200 occasions tried to peer through the ether to see where the hostages were being held, how closely they were guarded and the state of their health. Whether the psychics provided any useful intelligence was the subject of a debate among intelligence officials as heated as it was secret. The debate continues today. “The stuff that the CIA has declassified is garbage,” one of the Grill Flame psychics, Joseph McMoneagle, told the Miami Herald. “They haven’t declassified any of the stuff that worked.” Agreed Edwin May, a physicist who oversaw parapsychology research for government intelligence agencies for 20 years: “The psychics were able to tell, in some cases, where the hostages were moved to. They were able to see the degree of their health.” Operation Grill Flame was just one part of a broader U.S. intelligence project involving psychics and ESP that continued for 20 years. It went through as many as 10 different code names as its management shifted from agency to agency ... and carried out 26,000 telepathic forays by 227 psychics before the government shut it down in 1995.
Note: Read more on McMoneagle's work as a psychic for the US military. For more excellent, well resourced material on remote viewing and why the intelligence community continues to deny its successes, see this webpage.
Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation at highest level since 2011 meltdown
February 3, 2017, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Extremely high radiation levels have been recorded inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, almost six years after the plant suffered a triple meltdown. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled. Even if a 30-percent margin of error is taken into account, the recent reading, described by some experts as “unimaginable”, is far higher than the previous record of 73 sieverts an hour detected by sensors in 2012. A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks. Quantities of melted fuel are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the damaged reactors’ containment vessels, but dangerously high radiation has prevented engineers from accurately gauging the state of the fuel deposits. The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades. In December, the government said the estimated cost of decommissioning the plant and decontaminating the surrounding area ... had risen to 21.5tn yen (£150bn), nearly double an estimate released in 2013.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
Trove of Stolen Data Is Said to Include Top-Secret U.S. Hacking Tools
October 19, 2016, New York Times
Investigators pursuing what they believe to be the largest case of mishandling classified documents in United States history have found that the huge trove of stolen documents in the possession of a National Security Agency contractor included top-secret N.S.A. hacking tools that two months ago were offered for sale on the internet. They have been hunting for electronic clues that could link those cybertools - computer code posted online for auction by an anonymous group calling itself the Shadow Brokers - to the home computers of the contractor, Harold T. Martin III, who was arrested in late August. But so far, the investigators have been frustrated in their attempt to prove that Mr. Martin deliberately leaked or sold the hacking tools. Mr. Martin ... has insisted that he got in the habit of taking material home so he could improve his skills and be better at his job. The material the F.B.I. found in his possession added up to “many terabytes” of information ... which would make it by far the largest unauthorized leak of classified material from the classified sector. That volume dwarfs the hundreds of thousands of N.S.A. documents taken by Edward J. Snowden. [Mr. Martin] long held a high-level clearance and for a time worked with the N.S.A.’s premier hacking unit, called Tailored Access Operations, which breaks into the computer networks of foreign countries and which developed the hacking tools.
Note: It was reported in 2014 that the NSA had developed specialized tools to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
Big pharma approach to drug R&D challenged by UN panel
September 14, 2016, CBC News/Reuters
The world cannot rely solely on free markets to deliver medicines needed by billions of people in poor countries, so governments should commit to a legally binding convention to coordinate and fund research and development. That's the conclusion of a major United Nations report. The high-level panel was set up last year by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to find solutions to the "policy incoherence" between the rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health needs. The final report ... calls for a de-linkage of R&D costs and drug prices — at least in areas where the system is failing, such as tropical diseases and the hunt for new antibiotics against "superbug" resistant bacteria. The report attacks the "implicit threats" it says are sometimes used by Western governments and companies to stop poorer countries from exercising their right to over-ride drug patents under World Trade Organization rules. That may not go down well in Washington, given the United States' long-standing defence of the international intellectual property system, which has governed world trade for more than two decades. The panel also calls for greater transparency on the true cost of developing a new drug, citing estimates of anything between $150 million US and $4 billion US per medicine. And it wants disclosure on the real prices paid by insurers and governments for drugs, after discounts. The UN panel consisted of representatives from government, academia, health activism and industry.
Note: Big Pharma has long lobbied for protection of its rights to huge profits from new medicines and kept secret its costs for R&D by refusing to separate these costs from marketing costs. For lots more, read a profoundly revealing essay by the former head of one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and income inequality.
Extreme Vetting, But Not for Banks
February 3, 2017, Rolling Stone
Donald Trump, the man who positioned himself as the common man's shield against Wall Street, signed a series of orders today calling for reviews or rollbacks of financial regulations. Before he ordered a review of both the Dodd-Frank Act and the fiduciary rule requiring investment advisors to act in their clients' interests, [Trump met] with leading CEOs, including JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman, and BlackRock's Larry Fink. Former Goldman honcho Gary Cohn [is] Trump's chief economic advisor. It would be hard to put together a group of people less sympathetic to the non-wealthy. The two primary disasters in American history this century ... have been 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis, which cost 8.7 million people their jobs and may have destroyed as much as 45 percent of the world's wealth. The response to 9/11 we know: major military actions all over the world, plus a radical reshaping of our legal structure, with voters embracing warrantless surveillance, a suspension of habeas corpus, even torture. But the crisis response? Basically, we gave trillions of dollars to bail out the very actors who caused the mess. Now ... we've triumphantly put those same actors back in charge. These egomaniacal Wall Street titans want ... to get rid of the fiduciary rule, because they don't think it's anyone's business if they choose to bet against their clients (as Cohn's Goldman famously did), or overcharge them, or otherwise screw them.
From Headline to Photograph, a Fake News Masterpiece
January 18, 2017, New York Times
[Cameron] Harris started by crafting the headline: “BREAKING: ‘Tens of thousands’ of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.” In a raucous election year defined by made-up stories, Mr. Harris ... and his ersatz-news website, ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, make for an illuminating tale. Contacted by a reporter who had discovered an electronic clue that revealed his secret authorship of ChristianTimesNewspaper.com, he was wary at first. “This topic is rather sensitive,” Mr. Harris said, noting that he was trying to build a political consulting business. But eventually he agreed to tell the story of his foray into fake news, a very part-time gig that ... paid him about $1,000 an hour in web advertising revenue. He seemed to regard his experience with a combination of guilt about having spread falsehoods and pride at doing it so skillfully. He pushed the button and the story was launched on Sept. 30, blazing across the web like some kind of counterfeit comet. “Even before I posted it, I knew it would take off,” Mr. Harris recalled. He was correct. The ballot box story, promoted by a half-dozen Facebook pages Mr. Harris had created for the purpose, flew around the web, fueled by indignant comments from people who were certain that Mrs. Clinton was going to cheat Mr. Trump of victory and who welcomed the proof. It was eventually shared with six million people. The money, not the politics, was the point, he insisted. Mr. Harris said he would have been willing to promote Mrs. Clinton and smear Mr. Trump had those tactics been lucrative.
Key Articles From Years Past
'Who Took Johnny'
April 3, 2014, Chicago Tribune
In 1982, 12-year-old Johnny Gosch disappeared while on his early morning paper route in suburban Des Moines, Iowa. The case remains unsolved, but there are clues to what might have happened. Filmmakers David Beilinson, Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky tackle the story from the point of view of the boy's mother, Noreen Gosch. When she and her husband first reported Johnny's disappearance, police assumed he had run away and declined to involve the FBI. Gosch expressed her displeasure with regularity, prompting this quote in the newspaper from the local police chief: "I really don't give a damn what Noreen Gosch has to say. I really don't give a damn what she thinks. I'm interested in the boy and what we can do to find him. I'm kind of sick of her." The story takes several unusual turns. A dollar bill surfaces at a store with a handwritten message: "I am alive. Johnny Gosch." A young man incarcerated in Nebraska admits some involvement in Johnny's abduction as part of an organized child prostitution ring. Gosch then admits to seeing her son one time, on her doorstep, decades after his disappearance. A swirl of conspiracy theories, professional incompetence, grief, finger-pointing and bizarre details, the story only gets stranger as it goes. And more disturbing. Decades after his disappearance, Gosch received photos of boys who were bound and gagged. The images, though PG, are upsetting on such a deep level. What really happened to Johnny, at least according to his mother, sounds outlandish. Horrifying. But it's not implausible.
Note: This film is intimately related to one of the most revealing documentaries ever made - "Conspiracy of Silence" - which you can learn about and watch on this webpage. Learn lots more on the website put up by the mother of Johnny Gosch and on this webpage.
Groups begin bailing out strangers to free poor from jail
January 30, 2017, Seattle Times (One of Seattle, WA's leading newspapers)
Activists who say too many poor people are unfairly languishing in U.S. jails because they can’t afford to post cash bail are increasingly deploying a new tactic: Bailing out strangers. Community groups are collecting donations from individuals, churches, cities and other organizations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and Nashville, to bail out indigent prisoners. They’ve freed several thousand people in the last few years, and the number is growing. The overwhelming majority of defendants still show up for court. Once free, the defendants are better able to fight their case, often leading to charges being dropped or reduced. “Many, many people are having their lives ruined pre-trial because they can’t afford to get out of jail,” said Max Suchan, who co-founded the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which had bailed out 50 people as of December. The bail funds are a step toward a larger goal for some legal reform activists: abolishing the cash bail system. Advocates say it creates two unequal tiers of justice: one for people who can afford bail and one for people who can’t. In Chicago the anti-cash bail movement has a seemingly unlikely ally in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. He argues the cash system should be abolished and replaced with more thorough background checks; if a person is considered dangerous, they stay in jail and if they’re not, they go free, with access to services such as drug-addiction counseling if needed.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Man holding 'You belong' sign outside North Texas Islamic Center identifies himself
November 29, 2016, Houston Chronicle
On Saturday, a white-bearded man in a cowboy hat held a sign outside of a Texas mosque. His sign read "You belong. Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America" and he - as well as his message - quickly went viral. America, meet Justin Normand. He reveals that he had the sign made in the sign shop he manages and stood outside of the [Irving, Texas] mosque as a practice of his own Presbyterian religion. "This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us," Normand writes. "Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother's feet." He continues to write, while citing scriptures from the Bible, about the human call to be generous and kind to our neighbors - no matter their background. "Lastly, it worked. I felt better for the impact it had on my neighbors. They genuinely needed this encouragement," Normand concludes [in a] Facebook post. "They need us. They need all of us. They need you. We ARE one America." Normand's actions come at a crucial time as hate crimes against Muslims have spiked in America by 67 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 6 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the New York Times. The Islamic Center of Irving is where a group of armed protesters gathered outside last year in order to "Stop the Islamization of America," according to the Dallas Morning News.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Oregon cowboy lassoes attempted bike thief
September 30, 2016, CBS News
Twenty-eight-year-old Robert Borba is one of the last of a kind; A real, honest-to-goodness, cow roping cowboy. Robert works at a ranch outside Eagle Point, Oregon. But he recently gained notoriety ... because of what he did among the cart corrals of a Walmart parking lot. This past June, Robert says he moseyed over to the Walmart for some dog food, and on the way out he heard a woman screaming. “’Stop him! Stop him! He stole my bike! He stole my bike!’ And I kind of look around and all of a sudden this guy goes whizzing by me on a bicycle,” Robert said. As security cameras show, there was no way to catch him on foot. So the cowboy did what cowboys do. He saddled up to save the day, armed with little more than a lasso. “A couple swings and then I threw it at him, just like I would a steer,” Robert said. Robert called 911 himself, describing to the incredulous operator how he was able to detain the suspect. “We got a guy who just stole a bike here at Walmart. I got him roped and tied to a tree,” he said on the call. “What!?” the operator said. “I got him roped from a horse and he’s tied to a tree.” The cavalry arrived moments later, led by Eagle Point police officer Chris Adams. “I looked up and from the horse there was a rope connected to the ankle of a gentleman on the ground holding onto a tree,” Adams said. John Wayne couldn’t have it done better. “I’d take him by my side any day,” Adams said. “I told the cop, I said, ‘Man, you guys ought to pick up a rope and throw that gun away’,” Robert said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
'Rumi's Secret' offers an expanded view of the 13th-century poet and mystic
January 25, 2017, Christian Science Monitor
The name Rumi is synonymous with love poetry. But [many readers] don’t know much about the life of the beloved 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. The new biography Rumi’s Secret, by Brad Gooch ... provides important insights. The idea of Rumi’s secret came from a conversation Gooch had with a merchant named Sebastian, [who] compared Rumi to the American Walt Whitman – another poet revered for the universality of his writing – who “never tells his secret!” Gooch follows that fascinating statement with one of his own: “Rumi did have secrets – personal, poetic, and theological – that he was always both revealing and concealing.” The book’s first section ... opens with Rumi, at five years old, seeing angels. His father, an esteemed Muslim preacher and teacher, explained that the beings had come to bring him favor and invisible gifts. The Rumi we know today might never have emerged if not for three profound friendships. The first and most impactful was with Shams of Tabriz, a mystic. Shams urged Rumi ... to be honest and heartfelt, rather than refined, and to ... use music, sung poetry, and whirling to “literally spin loose of language and logic, while opening and warming his heart.” Rumi had two other cherished friends: a goldsmith named Salah, who had studied with Rumi’s tutor from childhood, and Hosam, one of Rumi’s loyal followers. Each man helped the poet learn about love (both human and divine), the process of giving up the self to make room for something purer and higher, and transcendence.
The rise of urban farming
September 21, 2011, Christian Science Monitor
Greg Peterson's 1950s tract home looks like any other house on his block in Phoenix, with one notable difference: Practically everything in his yard is edible. Mr. Peterson calls his oasis of bounty on one-third of an acre "The Urban Farm." Once an anomaly among the manicured lawns in his neighborhood, Peterson's place has been so convincing an example over the past decade that scores of other suburban dwellers have traded decorative bushes for raised vegetable beds and straw-filled chicken coops. Slowly, across the past decade, more Americans like Peterson have been proving that growing and preserving food is possible in all kinds of populated settings. Whether it is a tilapia farm in garden tubs in Kansas City, Mo., beekeeping in Chicago, or jars of homemade pickles in an apartment pantry in Austin, Texas, urban homesteaders are rebelling against the industrial food system by shouldering more of the responsibility for producing their own food. "There is a population and culture that is finally saying that all this processed stuff is not good and the only way we can guarantee that food we use is safe is to grow it ourselves," says Joyce Miles, a family and consumer science expert. These advances come in the midst of a struggling economy, a changing climate, a global food system in peril, rising food prices, concern over lax food safety, and dwindling resources. For homesteaders, cultivating a corner of the yard ... into a tangle of edible things has become one small way to regain purpose and control in an unpredictable time.
Note: Watch this inspiring video of an urban farm helping to break the cycle of violence and poverty in Kansas city.
Jews hand Muslims keys to synagogue after Texas mosque burns
February 2, 2017, CNN News
The congregation of the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas was devastated. Its mosque was destroyed over the weekend in a fire, the cause of which is unknown. Then an act of kindness revived their spirits - the leaders of the local Jewish congregation gave them the keys to their synagogue so they could continue to worship. The leader of the mosque said he wasn't surprised by the gesture. "I never doubted the support that we were going to get" after the fire, Dr. Shahid Hashmi, a surgeon and president of Victoria Islamic Center, told CNN. "We've always had a good relationship with the community here." Hashmi said Dr. Gary Branfman - a member of Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria, as well as a fellow surgeon and friend - just came by his house and gave him the keys. And that wasn't the only offer of a temporary worship space that was extended. Hashmi said three local churches said his congregation could use their buildings. Also offered up was an empty office building, which the congregation used for three days before moving into a mobile home on the mosque property. Though Hashmi always knew his own east Texas community would support the mosque, he was stunned by the outpouring of support from people outside Victoria. So far, a GoFundMe page set up to help raise money for the mosque's reconstruction has taken in more than $1 million. Thanks to all of the financial contributions, he expects they'll be able to rebuild it in less than a year.
105-year-old cyclist breaks an hour-long distance record
January 5, 2017, Washington Post
Ninety-two times the Frenchman raced around the velodrome, a curved indoor bicyclist track, at an average speed of 14 mph. That speed would be impressive for just about anyone on two wheels, but it was probably particularly satisfying for Robert Marchand. Mostly because, when he was young, one of his coaches told him to give up the sport. It’s even more impressive when one considers Marchand is 105 years old. As the clock signaled that he’d been riding for one hour, the crowd of hundreds in Le Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris, chanted his name, but it’s likely no one wondered whether he had captured a new world record. Of course he had — the category was created by the International Cycling Union specifically for him. And now it has been set: the record for longest official distance ridden in an hour in the newly minted older-than-105 class is 22.5 kilometers (14 miles). “I’m now waiting for a rival,” Marchand told the AP. Still, he said he could have gone faster, if he had not run into a little trouble on the track. “I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,” he told the Guardian. “Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time.”
Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
March 20, 2015, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy. Which makes it all the more remarkable that Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation state – scrapping traditional “teaching by subject” in favour of “teaching by topic”. Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools. They are being replaced by what the Finns call “phenomenon” teaching – or teaching by topic. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take “cafeteria services” lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills. More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union - which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography. There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned. Instead there will be a more collaborative approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems. The reforms reflect growing calls ... for education to promote character, resilience and communication skills, rather than just pushing children through “exam factories”.
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