US Army Loses $1 Billion in Weapons, Teddy Bear 'Weaponized' to Steal Data, James Bond of Philanthropy
May 30, 2017
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on the US Army's loss of $1 billion worth of arms transfers to Iraq and Kuwait causing American weapons to end up in the hands of ISIS, the 11-year-old prodigy who showed a cybersecurity conference how to 'weaponize' an internet-connected teddy bear for use as a data theft device, 21 people charged by US authorities for their role in a major international sex-trafficking conspiracy, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the 'James Bond' of philanthropy, one man's heroic protection of Africa's oldest national park from poachers and corrupt government officials, how Israel's new desalination technology is making inexpensive fresh water accessible in the Middle East, 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: Listen to an unbelievable story of synchronicity by scientist Dean Radin.
Quote of the week: "In societies with strong power elites, the powerholders' power is dependent on the co-operation, acquiescence, and tacit support of the great majority of common citizens." ~~ Bill Moyer
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US Army Lost Track of $1 Billion Worth of Weapons and Equipment: Report
May 24, 2017, Newsweek
The U.S. Army failed to properly monitor more than $1 billion worth of arms transfers in Iraq and Kuwait, according to a declassified government audit obtained by Amnesty International. Amnesty obtained the documents through Freedom of Information law requests. The group’s research documents lax controls and record-keeping ... which has resulted in arms manufactured in the U.S. and other countries winding up in the hands of armed groups known to be committing war crimes and other atrocities, such as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). The U.S. Department of Defense audit from September 2016 shows that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of ... tens of thousands of assault rifles (worth $28 million), hundreds of mortar rounds and hundreds of Humvee armored vehicles destined for use by the central Iraqi Army. A previous DoD audit, in 2015, pointed to even less rigorous stockpile monitoring procedures being enforced by the Iraqi armed forces. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has overbilled the U.S. military for fuel by almost $6 billion over the past seven years, and then used the money to bolster underfunded or mismanaged defense programs, according to a report in The Washington Post on Saturday. Earlier, the federal Government Accountability Office criticized the U.S. for failing to account for thousands of rifles issued to Afghan security forces. The 2009 report said some weapons were documented to be in the hands of insurgents.
Note: Since 1996, approximately $10 trillion in taxpayer money has gone unaccounted for at the US Dept. of Defense. Read a verifiable and carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
This 11-Year-Old Just Schooled Cybersecurity Experts By ‘Weaponizing’ a Teddy Bear
May 16, 2017, Fortune
Cybersecurity experts were shocked Tuesday when a sixth grader showed them just how easy it would be to hack their mobile devices and weaponize a seemingly innocuous item - in this case, his smart teddy bear. At a cyber safety conference in the Hague, Netherlands, 11-year-old prodigy Reuben Paul used a small computer called a "raspberry pi" to hack into audience members' bluetooth devices and download phone numbers. Paul then reportedly used one of the numbers to hack into the teddy bear, which connects to the Internet via Bluetooth or WiFi, and used the toy to record a message from the audience by using a computer language program called Python. "I basically showed how I could connect to [a remote Internet-connected device], and send commands to it," Paul told AFP. He warned that Internet-enabled everyday objects "can be used and weaponized to spy on us or harm us," for example by scraping private information like passwords. Toys could even be programmed to say "meet me at this location and I will pick you up," he added. Though not yet a teenager, Paul is already well known among his community in Austin, Texas, and beyond. In 2014, the wunderkind founded his own company, an educational gaming website called PrudentGames. Paul is now the company's CEO.
Note: An internet-connected toy doll was recently banned in Germany because it operates "as an espionage device". A 2015 New York Times article called "smart objects" a "train wreck in privacy and security". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
21 Across U.S. Are Indicted in ‘Modern-Day Sex Slave’ Ring
May 25, 2017, New York Times
The young women, many of them from poor families in Thailand, were promised trips to the United States. They would also receive visas. But the promises, the federal authorities say, came with an enormous toll: The women were required to work as prostitutes in cities all over this country until they could pay off exorbitant “bondage debts.” Law enforcement authorities on Thursday announced federal sex-trafficking conspiracy charges against 21 people, part of what they described as one of the most elaborate ... sex-trafficking operations they had seen. The operation had gone on for at least eight years, netted tens of millions of dollars, and involved hundreds of women. “The women ... were modern-day sex slaves,” an indictment unsealed on Thursday in Federal District Court in Minnesota said, laying out criminal counts against a long list of defendants, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. [United States attorney] Gregory Brooker ... described the ring as “a multimillion-dollar, modern-day organized crime operation.” While still in Thailand, the women were usually told that they would work as prostitutes, the indictment said, but the terms of the deals shifted substantially once they arrived in the United States. Threats were made. Bondage debts suddenly skyrocketed. Some women were even told to have plastic surgery to make them more “appealing” to customers, then ordered to reimburse the cost of surgery as part of their ever-growing debt.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
New Lawsuit Alleges Baylor Players Gang-Raped Women As 'Bonding Experience'
May 17, 2017, NPR
A new federal lawsuit against Baylor University accuses football players of drugging and gang-raping young women as part of a hazing or bonding ritual - and the university of failing to investigate the pervasive sexual assault. The suit ... was filed by "Jane Doe," who says she was raped by four to eight Baylor players in February 2012. Her Title IX suit says the school's "deliberately indifferent response" effectively denied her educational opportunities. The alleged assaults and other criminal activities took place during former head football coach Art Briles' tenure at the school in Waco, Texas. Briles and former university President Ken Starr were both removed from their posts last year after a wave of sexual assault allegations against Baylor players. Earlier this year, a lawsuit by "Elizabeth Doe" alleged that ... at least 52 rapes and at least five gang rapes were carried out by more than 30 Baylor players. The suit also describes a culture of sexual assault woven into hazing rituals: "Members of the Baylor football team ... developed a system of hazing their freshman recruits by having them bring or invite freshman females to house parties hosted by members of the football team. At these parties, the girls would be drugged and gang raped. "The gang rapes were considered a 'bonding' experience for the football players. "Photographs and videotapes of the semi-conscious girls would be taken during the gang rapes and circulated amongst the football players."
U.S. Customs Officers Allegedly Assaulted Coworkers In ‘Rape Table’ Ritual
May 13, 2017, Huffington Post
Several officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency have come forward with bombshell allegations against their colleagues at Newark Airport in New Jersey. Three officers told NBC New York they were sexually assaulted as part of disturbing rituals that involved being duct-taped to a table other officers called the “rape table.” While no one ever removed their clothes, other officers would forcibly rub their genital areas on the victims strapped to the table, as well as grab them. This practice has been happening for years. “Hazing wouldn’t do this justice,” CBP officer Vito Degironimo told NBC. “This is complete assault. They take you in a room and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you.” Diana Cifuentes and Dan Arencibia told the station they managed to avoid the table, but experienced other horrific harassment from colleagues. At one point, Cifuentes said, someone pointed a gun at her in the office. CBP agent [Charlie Smith] corroborated the trio’s allegations in an interview with the Daily Beast, saying he’s heard stories of 17 similar assaults. Smith, who began working at Newark in 2015, said he was “recently” transferred out for his own protection after he reported the assault against Degironimo to whistleblower hotlines. He also [said] that Degironimo had already reported the attack to his own supervisors, but instead of launching an internal investigation, management simply removed the table.
Trump Administration Conflicts Of Interest: How Gary Cohn Could Sell U.S. Infrastructure To Goldman Sachs
May 26, 2017, International Business Times
President Donald Trump's administration this week touted an infrastructure plan that would sell off public assets to private financial firms. Leading the White House privatization initiative is Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, who received a $285 million dollar payout upon ... taking a job as the director of Trump’s National Economic Council. As Cohn has led the infrastructure privatization initiative from that perch, Goldman Sachs declared that it continues to look at “new business initiatives” that revolve around taking ownership of public assets, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Cohn is spearheading the administration’s infrastructure policy despite a White House official telling Bloomberg News in February that he “will recuse himself from participating in any matter directly involving his former employer.” That pledge seemed at the time to show that Cohn was following ethics rules ... enacted in January. Those rules require federal officials to sign an ethics pledge in which they agree to wait two years before they “participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer.” Those rules, however, empower Trump to waive the restrictions whenever he wants. Whether or not Cohn has received such a waiver remains secret: the administration has not released a list of waivers, and has moved to block federal agencies from disclosing such waivers to federal ethics regulators.
'CIA created ISIS', says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables
November 29, 2016, Sunday Express (One of the UK's most popular newspapers)
On the sixth anniversary of the first infamous "Cablegate" by WikiLeaks ... it has expanded its Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with 531,525 new diplomatic cables from 1979. In a statement to coincide with the release of the cables, known as "Carter Cables III", Mr Assange explained how events which unfolded in 1979 had begun a series of events that led to the rise of ISIS: "The Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world. "The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan." He said at this point Osama bin Laden left his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen. He added: "The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union." The rise of al-Qaeda eventually bore the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, enabling the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS."
Note: Read a well-researched essay from the profound online book Lifting the Veil suggesting the War on Terror is a fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
Federal Court Revives Wikimedia’s Challenge to N.S.A. Surveillance
May 23, 2017, New York Times
A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a high-profile challenge to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of internet communications. The ruling ... increases the chances that the Supreme Court may someday scrutinize whether the N.S.A.’s so-called upstream system for internet surveillance complies with Fourth Amendment privacy rights. The ruling reversed a Federal District Court judge’s decision to throw out the case. The district judge had ruled that the plaintiffs - including the Wikimedia Foundation - lacked standing to sue because they could not prove that their messages had been intercepted. Because of how the internet works, surveillance of communications crossing network switches is different from traditional circuit-based phone wiretapping. While the government can target a specific phone call without touching anyone else’s communications, it cannot simply intercept a surveillance target’s email. Instead ... to find such emails it is necessary first to systematically copy data packets crossing a network switch and sift them in search of components from any messages involving a target. Documents provided by [Edward] Snowden and declassified by the government have shown that this system works through equipment installed at the facilities of companies, like AT&T, that [connect] the American internet to the rest of the world. Privacy advocates contend that the initial copying and searching of all those data packets ... violates Fourth Amendment protections against government search and seizure.
Saudis gave the U.S. $360b in deals. Now they want Trump to rescind 9/11 lawsuit law.
May 22, 2017, Miami Herald
President Donald Trump struck a series of deals with Saudi Arabia on his two-day visit but the kingdom is still anxiously waiting for him to deliver on something else: the repeal of a contentious 2016 law that allows relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the kingdom for their deaths. Saudi officials have been quietly lobbying the administration and Congress to overturn the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which led more than 800 families to file suit. Trump supported the bill and can’t do much to change it. Still, Saudis are convinced the man they consider the ultimate salesman will make a deal. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Khalid al Falih, said in an interview in March that his nation believed that the new administration and Congress would eventually reverse course. “If Trump supports the JASTA, he will lose the relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Mohammed Alhamza, a social researcher and writer, said bluntly through a translator. “Do you expect Trump will pass JASTA after (billions of) Saudi riyals went to the United States?” Alhamza asked, a reference to a series of agreements Trump and Saudi King Salman had signed totaling $360 billion in weapons sales and economic development. Congress passed [JASTA] last September ... after the release of a long-withheld 28-page section of the first U.S. report on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks outlining possible links between the hijackers and Saudi officials. Saudi Arabia organized a massive lobbying to stop the legislation.
Note: An Obama-era presidential veto did not stop JASTA from moving forward. Neither did Saudi Arabia's influential charm offensive, or its $750 billion threat. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
Swiss vote to withdraw country from use of nuclear power
May 21, 2017, ABC News/Associated Press
Swiss voters are supporting a referendum to withdraw the country from nuclear power in favor of renewable energy. A projection from Sunday's referendum shows a majority of cantons (states) voted for the plan. Under Switzerland's direct democracy system, initiatives need a majority of both cantons and votes to pass. The projection for SRF public television showed 58 percent of voters in favor and 42 percent against the proposal. The Swiss government wants to ban the construction of new nuclear power plants and decommission the country's five existing ones at the end of their technically safe operating lives. The plan would also boost renewable energies such as water and wind and make cars and electronic devices more energy efficient.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Years Past
Is Wi-Fi making your child ill?
May 9, 2015, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Six years ago, Dr Erica Mallery-Blythe moved to the country, stopped carrying a mobile phone and sacrificed a successful career in emergency medicine to focus on ... radiation emitted by Wi-Fi, mobiles and other wireless devices. Her interest in EMFs started in 2009 after she began noticing increasing trends in certain symptoms – headaches, insomnia, fatigue and palpitations, but also more serious conditions including brain tumours in young people, fertility problems and accelerating neurological diseases. As Wi-Fi, laptops and iPads have become increasingly prevalent in classrooms, Mallery-Blythe says “hundreds” of families have sought her help with what they believe to be EMF-related diseases and health issues. “RF is currently classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a ... possible cause of cancer in humans," [says Mallery-Blythe]. "There is a vast amount of published literature documenting the harmful effects on every biological system.” In February the French government banned Wi-Fi in nursery schools and restricted use in primary schools. The German government has recommended that the use of Wi-Fi in the workplace or home should be avoided where possible. LA has reduced student exposure to Wi-Fi radiation to 10,000 times below US government standard. A 2008 study found a fivefold increase in the risk of glioma (a form of brain cancer ... linked to mobile phone usage) for those starting mobile phone use under 20 years of age.
Note: For lots more reliable information on cellphone risk, read this well researched article. In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the US to reassess cell phone safety standards for children. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Duke Researchers Perfect The Original Invisibility Cloak
November 14, 2012, Forbes
In 2006, researchers at Duke unveiled the world's first "invisibility cloak," which used metamaterials to hide a small object from microwaves. While it didn't hide things from human view, keeping it hidden from microwaves was an important first step to pushing the technology of cloaking forward. But while it worked, it wasn't perfect. It left small reflections, which prevented it from completely hiding an object. Fast forward to six years later to Duke grad student Nathan Landy, and it looks like that problem has been solved. Landy worked with David R. Smith, one of the researchers on the original Duke cloaking device, to create a "perfect" cloaking device. “We built the cloak, and it worked,” he said in a press release. “It split light into two waves which traveled around an object in the center and re-emerged as the single wave minimal loss due to reflections.” The next step is working to build a clocking device that can hide bigger objects in three-dimensions. The Duke researchers aren't the only team pursuing cloaking devices, either. Last year, an international team of researchers used a "carpet cloak" to hide an object from the visible spectrum, and another team from Cornell dispersed light to hide an event in time. One constant so far, though, is that all of the objects being hidden are stationary and very, very small. [Don't] count on having your own invisibility cloak anytime soon.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality from reliable major media sources.
‘James Bond of Philanthropy’ Gives Away the Last of His Fortune
January 5, 2017, New York Times
Nearly five years ago, Charles F. Feeney sat in a cushy armchair in an apartment on the east side of Manhattan, grandchildren’s artwork taped to the walls, and said that by the end of 2016, he was going to hand out the last of a great fortune that he had made. It was a race: Mr. Feeney was then 81, and Atlantic Philanthropies, a collection of private foundations he had started and funded, still had about $1.5 billion left. Writing checks willy-nilly was not Mr. Feeney’s way. Last month, Mr. Feeney and Atlantic completed the sprint and made a final grant, $7 million to Cornell University, to support students doing community service work. He had officially emptied his pockets, meeting his aspiration of “giving while living.” Altogether, he had contributed $8 billion to his philanthropies, which have supported higher education, public health, human rights and scientific research. None of the major American philanthropists have given away a greater proportion of their wealth, and starting in 1982, Mr. Feeney did most of this in complete secrecy, leading Forbes magazine to call him the “James Bond of philanthropy.” For years, Atlantic’s support came with a requirement that the beneficiaries not publicize its involvement. Beyond Mr. Feeney’s reticence about blowing his own horn, “it was also a way to leverage more donations - some other individual might contribute to get the naming rights,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, the president and chief executive officer of Atlantic.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Former child soldier wins prize for risking his life to protect Congo's wildlife
April 24, 2017, CNN
He has been beaten, threatened and imprisoned. But the former child soldier and winner of this year's Goldman Environmental Prize says he will not stop until those wanting to destroy the Democratic Republic of Congo's protected wildlife "are held responsible for their actions." "Even if I or others are not able to (make this happen)," says Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, "then the future generations will have this information and will do it." Katembo ... has been awarded the top environmental prize in recognition of the heroism he showed in preventing oil exploration inside Virunga - Africa's oldest national park. His dangerous undercover investigations exposed bribery and corruption among officials. The park is home to a quarter of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas, there are less than 900 left globally. Covering the size of a small country, Virunga is more than 3,000 square miles packed with volcanoes, lush forests and mountain glaciers that tear through the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. As a park ranger, Katembo has one of the most dangerous jobs in the region. Amidst political instability, armed poachers and rebels - who have been warring in the park for the past 20 years - outnumber park rangers ten to one. Protecting Virunga hasn't been easy. In 2013, Katembo was arrested and held for 17 days [after attempting] to stop construction of an oil communication device within the park. Local chiefs have [also] offered him bribes, "to help them get oil exploration going in the park," he says.
Note: A Netflix documentary called "Virunga" follows Katembo, colleagues André Bauma, Emmanuel du Merode and French investigative journalist Mélanie Gouby, as they battle oil exploration and armed conflict in the park.
Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here
July 29, 2016, Scientific American
Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. That remarkable turnaround was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s meager water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants. Desal works by pushing saltwater into membranes containing microscopic pores. Breakthroughs in membrane technology ... have made desalination much more efficient. Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination. Water stress has been a major factor in the turmoil tearing apart the Middle East, but [Edo] Bar-Zeev [with the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research] believes that Israel’s solutions can help its parched neighbors, too - and in the process, bring together old enemies in common cause. Bar-Zeev acknowledges that water will likely be a source of conflict in the Middle East in the future. “But I believe water can be a bridge,” he says. Bar-Zeev has ambitious plans for a Water Knows No Boundaries conference in 2018, which will bring together water scientists from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for a meeting of the minds.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
India cancels plans for huge coal power stations as solar energy prices hit record low
May 24, 2017, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
India has cancelled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – about the same as the total amount in the UK – with the price for solar electricity “free falling” to levels once considered impossible. Analyst Tim Buckley said the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in India would have “profound” implications on global energy markets. According to his article on the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’s website, 13.7GW of planned coal power projects have been cancelled so far this month – in a stark indication of the pace of change. In January last year, Finnish company Fortum agreed to generate electricity in Rajasthan with a record low tariff, or guaranteed price, of 4.34 rupees per kilowatt-hour. At the time analysts said this price was so low would never be repeated. But, 16 months later, an auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility resulted in a tariff of just 2.44 rupees – compared to the wholesale price charged by a major coal-power utility of 3.2 rupees (about 31 per cent higher). “For the first time solar is cheaper than coal in India,” Mr Buckley said. “Measures taken by the Indian Government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable ... because of the prohibitively high cost of imported coal relative to the long-term electricity supply contracts”.
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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