Cops Track Protestors on Facebook, Cyber Vulnerabilities in Pentagon Weapons, 'Comfort Cases' for Foster Kids
Revealing News Articles
October 15, 2018
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on cops who are breaking facebook rules as they track activists, a Government Accountability Office report finding major cyber vulnerabilities in new Pentagon weapons systems, Amazon removing child sex dolls after protests, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on more than 20,000 "comfort cases" made for foster children by a former foster child, one amazing woman's inspiring capacity for humor and happiness despite a lifetime of major health problems, an Italian farming cooperative using former Mafia land to help disadvantaged people earn a sustainable living, 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 (sources may be less reliable): Read the informative article "10 Tips for Getting People to Talk Across Political Differences." Learn about the intense debate on the HPV vaccine now under way by top scientists, particularly as HPV has yet to be proven to cause cervical cancer. Read an excellent alternative view to what is going on in Syria showing how this war is a pretext for something much deeper. Read how facebook continues to ban major alternative websites like the Free Thought Project. More here.
Quote of the week: "Don't ignore the bad stuff, but make a point of celebrating the beautiful stuff with all the exuberant devotion you can muster." ~~ Rob Brezsny in his fun, profound book Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia
Video of the week: Watch a most fascinating 1983 BBC documentary titled "The Case of ESP." This once lost film is the best presentation on remote viewing we've ever seen. And check out our excellent resource page on the topic, too.
Undercover cops break Facebook rules to track protesters, ensnare criminals
October 5, 2018, NBC News
In the summer of 2015, as Memphis exploded with protests over the police killing of a 19-year-old man, activists began hearing on Facebook from someone called Bob Smith. His profile picture [was] a Guy Fawkes mask, the symbol of anti-government dissent. Smith acted as if he supported the protesters. Over the next three years, dozens of them accepted his friend requests, allowing him to observe private discussions. He described himself as a far-left Democrat, a “fellow protester” and a “man of color.” But Smith was not real. He was the creation of a white detective in the Memphis Police Department’s Office of Homeland Security whose job was to keep tabs on local activists. The detective, Tim Reynolds, outed himself in August under questioning by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, which sued the police department for allegedly violating a 1978 agreement that prohibited police from conducting surveillance of lawful protests. The revelation validated many activists’ distrust of local authorities. It also provided a rare look into the ways American law enforcement operates online. Social media monitoring - including the use of software to crunch data about people’s online activity - illustrates a policing “revolution” that has allowed authorities to not only track people but also map out their networks, said Rachel Levinson-Waldman, senior counsel at [the] Brennan Center for Justice. But there are few laws governing this kind of monitoring.
Note: Memphis police were recently reported to have systematically spied on community activists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Cyber Tests Showed 'Nearly All' New Pentagon Weapons Vulnerable To Attack, GAO Says
October 9, 2018, NPR
Passwords that took seconds to guess, or were never changed from their factory settings. Cyber vulnerabilities that were known, but never fixed. Those are two common problems plaguing some of the Department of Defense's newest weapons systems, according to the Government Accountability Office. The flaws are highlighted in a new GAO report, which found the Pentagon is "just beginning to grapple" with the scale of vulnerabilities in its weapons systems. Drawing data from cybersecurity tests conducted on Department of Defense weapons systems from 2012 to 2017, the report says that by using "relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected" because of basic security vulnerabilities. The GAO says the problems were widespread: "DOD testers routinely found mission critical cyber vulnerabilities in nearly all weapon systems that were under development." The Pentagon has only recently made it a priority to ensure the cybersecurity of its weapons systems. It's still determining how to achieve that goal - and at this point, the report states, "DOD does not know the full scale of its weapon system vulnerabilities." Part of the reason for the ongoing uncertainty ... is that the Defense Department's hacking and cyber tests have been "limited in scope and sophistication." When problems were identified, they were often left unresolved. The GAO cites a test report in which only one of 20 vulnerabilities that were previously found had been addressed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Amazon pulls child sex dolls after criticism from UK watchdog
April 12, 2018, Reuters
Child sex dolls have been pulled from sale by online retail giant Amazon.com Inc after widespread criticism from a watchdog and charities in Britain over concerns that people who use such lifelike dolls may go on to sexually abuse children. More than a dozen child sex dolls were removed from sale, having been listed by third-party sellers, according to Amazon. “All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesman said in a statement. England Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, said Amazon should explain how the dolls were permitted to be posted on their website, and ensure they cannot be put back up for sale. Britain allows people to manufacture and own child sex dolls yet it is illegal to import them. A British man was convicted last year for doing so in what police said was a landmark case in the fight against a new form of sex crime against children. Opinion is divided over the use of child sex dolls, which have the appearance, weight and anatomy of real children. Some charities argue such dolls should be made available on prescription to help prevent people who are sexually attracted to children acting on their desires. Other organizations, such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), say sex dolls can be dangerous proxies to act out fantasies like rape or child abuse.
Note: Though the US House of Representatives passed a bill in June of 2018 banning sex dolls that look like children, it has yet to be approved by the Senate as of Oct., 2018. And this article shows amazon is still selling child-like sex dolls, though they are not listed as children.
The San Onofre nuclear plant is a 'Fukushima waiting to happen'
August 15, 2018, Los Angeles Times
Southern California Edison is keeping 3.6 million pounds of lethal radioactive waste at the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant in San Clemente. The waste poses a significant threat to the health, safety and economic vitality of the region’s more than 8 million residents. But Edison’s plan for storing it is unnerving at best. The idea is to bury the spent fuel on site, about 100 feet from the ocean and just a few feet above the water table. Edison has already begun transferring the waste from cooling pools into specially designed steel canisters. The containers are prone to corrosion and cracking, and cannot be monitored or repaired. Work crews even discovered a loose bolt inside one of the canisters earlier this year. But flawed storage containers are just one of many worrisome aspects of the scheme. San Onofre sits on an active earthquake fault, in an area where there is a record of past tsunamis. The ocean is expected to keep rising over the next few decades, bringing seawater closer to the canisters. If hairline cracks or pinholes in the containers were to let in even a little bit of air, it could make the waste explosive. Unlike the case of Fukushima, there are no federal or state evacuation plans for a disaster at San Onofre. Experts say there are safer storage configurations that Southern California Edison could implement. But these are all short-term solutions. The only real long-term solution is for Edison to develop adequate storage technology — a system that is not prone to severe leaks.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
New Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom
October 9, 2018, Bloomberg
A major U.S. telecommunications company discovered manipulated hardware from Super Micro Computer Inc. in its network and removed it in August, fresh evidence of tampering in China of critical technology components bound for the U.S., according to a security expert working for the telecom company. The security expert, Yossi Appleboum, provided ... evidence of the discovery following the publication of an investigative report in Bloomberg Businessweek that detailed how China’s intelligence services had ordered subcontractors to plant malicious chips in Supermicro server motherboards over a two-year period ending in 2015. [Appleboum’s company] was hired to scan several large data centers belonging to the telecommunications company. Unusual communications from a Supermicro server and a subsequent physical inspection revealed an implant built into the server’s Ethernet connector. The executive said he has seen similar manipulations of different vendors' computer hardware made by contractors in China, not just products from Supermicro. “Supermicro is a victim - so is everyone else,” he said. There are countless points in the supply chain in China where manipulations can be introduced, and deducing them can in many cases be impossible. The manipulation of the Ethernet connector appeared to be similar to a method also used by the U.S. National Security Agency, details of which were leaked in 2013.
How 20 years of stop and search has widened America’s racial divide
October 9, 2018, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Not all stops are created equal. Sometimes the police pull people over for traffic-safety reasons – for speeding or running a red light, for example. More nefariously, recent reports ... have shown that police departments ... have used traffic enforcement to generate fines to fund local government. But [another] kind of stop – an investigatory or pretext stop – uses the traffic laws to uncover more serious crime. Such stops (and subsequent searches) exploded in popularity in the 1990s. Pretext stops are responsible for most of the racial disparity in traffic stops in the US. Political scientist Charles Epp found that when the police are actually enforcing traffic safety laws, they tend to do so without regard to race. But when they are carrying out investigatory or pretext stops, they are much more likely to stop black and other minority drivers: black people are about two-and-a-half times more likely to be pulled over for pretext stops. The damage from a pretext stop – of a driver, a pedestrian, a loiterer – doesn’t end with the stop itself. The pretext-stop regime ... propels disparities in the rest of the criminal justice system. By ... 2000, we had been steadily, incrementally, building the punitive criminal justice system we still live with today. Most of the pieces – the aggressive prosecutions and policing, longer sentences, prison-building, collateral consequences of convictions such as losing the right to vote or the chance to live in public housing – had been put in place. The years since [have] been primarily dedicated to maintaining ... that basic architecture.
The mushroom dream of a 'long-haired hippie' could help save the world's bees
October 6, 2018, Chicago Tribune/Seattle Times
The epiphany that mushrooms could help save the world's ailing bee colonies struck Paul Stamets while he was in bed. In 1984, Stamets had noticed a "continuous convoy of bees" traveling from a patch of mushrooms he was growing and his beehives. The bees actually moved wood chips to access his mushroom's mycelium, the branching fibers of fungus. Decades later, he and a friend began a conversation about bee colony collapse that left Stamets ... puzzling over a problem. Bees across the world have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Parasites like mites, fast-spreading viruses, agricultural chemicals and lack of forage area have ... threatened wild and commercial bees alike. Waking up one morning, "I connected the dots," he said. "Mycelium have sugars and antiviral properties," he said. What if it wasn't just sugar that was useful to those mushroom-suckling bees so long ago? Research published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports ... describes how bees given a small amount of his mushroom mycelia extract exhibited remarkable reductions in the presence of viruses associated with parasitic mites that have been attacking, and infecting, bee colonies for decades. To test Stamets' theory, the researchers ... separated two groups of mite-exposed bees into cages, feeding one group sugar syrup with a mushroom-based additive and the other, syrup without the additive. For several virus strains, the extract "reduced the virus to almost nothing," said [researcher] Brandon Hopkins.
Georgia Republican candidate for governor puts 53,000 voter registrations on hold
October 11, 2018, USA Today/Associated Press
Marsha Appling-Nunez was showing the college students she teaches how to check online if they're registered to vote when she made a troubling discovery. Despite being an active Georgia voter who had cast ballots in recent elections, she was no longer registered. She tried re-registering, but with about one month left before a November election ... Appling-Nunez's application is one of over 53,000 sitting on hold with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office. Kemp, who's also the Republican candidate for governor, is in charge of elections and voter registration in Georgia. His Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Stacey Abrams, and voting rights advocacy groups charge that Kemp is systematically using his office to suppress votes and tilt the election, and that his policies disproportionately affect black and minority voters. Through a process that Kemp calls voter roll maintenance and his opponents call voter roll purges, Kemp's office has cancelled over 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012. Nearly 670,000 registrations were cancelled in 2017 alone. According to records obtained from Kemp's office through a public records request, Appling-Nunez's application - like many of the 53,000 registrations on hold with Kemp's office - was flagged because it ran afoul of the state's "exact match" verification process. An analysis of the records obtained by The Associated Press reveals racial disparity in the process. Georgia's population is approximately 32 percent black, according to the U.S. Census, but the list of voter registrations on hold with Kemp's office is nearly 70 percent black.
Peer-reviewed homeopathy study sparks uproar in Italy
October 9, 2018, Nature
A study that claims to show that a homeopathic treatment can ease pain in rats has caused uproar after it was published in a peer-reviewed journal. Groups that promote homeopathy in Italy, where there is currently a debate about how to label homeopathic remedies, have held the study up as evidence that the practice works. But several researchers have cast doubt on its claims. The authors acknowledge some errors ... but stand by its overall conclusions. This latest claim has attracted attention, in part, because it passed peer review at the journal Scientific Reports. “Either the paper is true, so it’s of extraordinary importance, or it’s false and should be closely scrutinized,” says Enrico Bucci, the researcher who carried out [an] analysis of the paper. Homeopathy is based on the claim that illnesses can be treated using substances that produce similar symptoms. Mostly, these have been heavily diluted in water or alcohol so that none or only a few molecules of the active ingredient are present. Some supporters of the practice say that the water or alcohol ‘remembers’ the substance, which triggers a healing response. In the ... study, Patil and colleagues report that a homeopathic product - a heavily diluted extract from Toxicodendron pubescens, a plant commonly known as Atlantic poison oak - is as effective as the prescription drug gabapentin in reducing inflammation and pain responses in both cells grown in the lab and in animals.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Years Past
Human-Pig Hybrid Created in the Lab—Here Are the Facts
January 26, 2017, National Geographic
Scientists announced today that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs. This biomedical advance has long been a dream and a quandary for scientists hoping to address a critical shortage of donor organs. An international team of researchers led by the Salk Institute ... created what’s known scientifically as a chimera: an organism that contains cells from two different species. Such experiments are currently ineligible for public funding in the United States. Public opinion, too, has hampered the creation of organisms that are part human, part animal. The Salk-led group [used] the genome editing tool called CRISPR to hack into mouse blastocysts—the precursors of embryos. There, they deleted genes that mice need to grow certain organs. When they introduced rat stem cells capable of producing those organs, those cells flourished. The mice that resulted managed to live into adulthood. Pigs have a notable similarity to humans. Not that these similarities made the task any easier. In order to introduce human cells into the pigs without killing them, [the team] had to get the timing just right. When those just-right human cells were injected into the pig embryos, the embryos survived. Then they were put into adult pigs, which carried the embryos for between three and four weeks before they were removed. In all, the team created 186 later-stage chimeric embryos that survived.
Note: For lots more on the disturbing topic of human-animal hybrids, see this Washington Post article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on genetically modified organisms and health.
When contemplating war, beware of babies in incubators
September 6, 2002, Christian Science Monitor
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. The Kuwait government had to find a way to "sell the war" to the American public. The Kuwait government in exile [hired] the American PR firm Hill & Knowlton ... for $10.7 million to devise a campaign to win American support for the war. It's wasn't an easy sell. The Sept. 5 edition of the London Daily Telegraph ... ran a claim by the exiled Kuwait housing minister that, "babies in the premature unit of one of the hospitals had been removed from their incubators." The Hill & Knowlton people jumped on the story. On October 10 ... a young woman named Nayirah [told a congressional] committee, "I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die." Hill & Knowlton immediately faxed details of her speech to newsrooms across the country. The babies in incubator stories became a lead item in newspapers, and on radio and TV. The young woman ... was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, and actually hadn't seen the "atrocities" she described. Similar unsubstantiated stories appeared at the UN a few weeks later, where a team of "witnesses," coached by Hill & Knowlton, gave "testimony" ... about atrocities in Iraq. Seven witnesses used false names. On November 29, 1990, the UN authorized use of "all means necessary" to eject Iraq from Kuwait. On January 12, 1991, Congress authorized the use of force. The story was later discredited.
F.B.I. Admits Planting a Rumor To Discredit Jean Seberg in 1970 - 1979
September 15, 1979, New York Times
The Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged today that its agents plotted in 1970 to besmirch the reputation of Jean Seberg, the actress who committed suicide last week, by planting a rumor with news organizations that she was pregnant by [a] high-ranking member of the Black Panther Party. The action against Miss Seberg, part of the F.B.I.'s counterintelligence program COINTELPRO, was intended to discredit her support of the black nationalist movement. According to a document dated April 27, 1970, the Los Angeles office of the F.B.I. requested permission from J. Edgar Hoover, then Director of the bureau, to publicize Miss Seberg's pregnancy, saying it was “felt the possible publication of Seberg's plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the general public.” Romain Gary, the prominent French author and diplomat who was Miss Seberg's husband in 1970, said at a news conference in Paris last week that the baby was his and that the F.B.I. had destroyed the actress's life. The bureau could not say today how many celebrities or others had been harassed or otherwise adversely affected by COINTELPRO activities similar to those directed at Miss Seberg. However, the bureau's animus toward the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and its activities against him are well documented. As with all documents released by the F.B.I., those relating to Miss Seberg were issued with names of all other living persons deleted.
How a nightmare childhood inspired his one-of-a-kind gifts
June 14, 2018, CNN News
When Rob Scheer was 12 years old, he ended up in foster care after a childhood filled with violence and abuse. As he moved through the system, he carried his limited belongings in a trash bag. Yet he was determined to overcome the obstacles. He went on to join the US Navy and launch a successful corporate career, and he always knew he wanted to be a father. In 2008, Scheer and his husband, Reece Scheer, decided they would adopt children out of foster care. All the children showed up with their belongings in trash bags. "I couldn't believe it. The trash bag that I had carried so many years prior to that had found its way back into my life," Rob Scheer said. "It's just not acceptable that any child should carry their belongings in something that we all throw our trash in." The couple adopted the four children, and as a family, the Scheers began compiling supplies to donate to local foster children. Their nonprofit, Comfort Cases, was born. "We started building cases for kids that came into foster care, making sure that they had the basics," Scheer said. The backpacks are loaded with necessities like soap and toothbrushes, along with a book, journal, blanket, stuffed animal and other items. Since 2013, the group has assembled more than 20,000 Comfort Cases for children in foster care all over the country. "We want to make them feel loved," Scheer said. "I want them to know that even though they started their life in the system, the system still is not defining them. They deserve more."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Smiling in the Face of Adversity: The Paula Hickey Story
May 9, 2016, Huffington Post
In the short time that I’ve gotten to know Paula Hickey, I’ve found her to be a revelation. Listening to her bright, cheerful voice and her words of optimism and wisdom, it seems impossible that she is speaking to me from a hospice bed. And I found myself wondering...how is it that a woman facing death seems so much more present, more alive, than many of the healthy, able-bodied people I’ve met over the years? While the other kids her age were busy with school, playdates, and after-school sports, Paula was forced to spend her childhood in and out of hospitals. And after a traumatic brain aneurysm burst in her head at age nineteen, Paula’s go-to joke became, “I need that like I need a hole in my head!” Instead of feeling sorry for herself, or self-conscious in front of her classmates, Paula took the remarkable approach of looking at life as a comedy. She was nobody’s victim; she was like the star of her own quirky sitcom. And that’s what drew people toward her. Paula made it to college—and when everyone doubted that she would graduate after her brain hemorrhage at age nineteen, which caused her to lose her math skills and regressed her reading level to that of a fifth grader, Paula was resolute in her desire to not be a statistic. “I was determined to make something of my life, so I picked myself up and graduated college within three-and-a-half years... I’ve never given up. I’ve always kicked my own butt.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In Italy, how one cooperative is trying to counter the Mafia’s influence
June 20, 2018, Christian Science Monitor
The first time Simmaco Perillo arrived in the Italian hamlet of Maiano di Sessa Aurunca, everything around him was abandoned. It was 2005, and nobody wanted to cultivate former Mafia land. “We wanted to make a farm for the reintegration of disadvantaged people,” says Mr. Perillo. Today, the social cooperative Al di là dei sogni, or Beyond the Dreams, is making pasta and growing organic vegetables on land that once belonged to the powerful Camorra Mafia. The cooperative [works] with ... those recovering from addiction, former prisoners, and people who were released from public mental hospitals, to provide sustainable livelihoods and combat the influence of the Mafia. Perillo and others in the cooperative ... were able to [acquire the land] thanks to national law 109/96, passed in 1996, which permits the social reuse of property confiscated from the criminal organizations. The cooperative was granted the land, but threats and attacks were not long in coming. “After the keys were handed to us, they [Mafia gangsters] arrived at night. They pulled down walls, broke through the windows, severed the electrical system, destroyed the plumbing. So we decided to sleep inside” to guard the property, Perillo recalls with a proud smile. Despite the setting of several intimidating fires, among other tactics, the cooperative was able to set up a sustainable business. Today 32 people are members of the cooperative, and more than half are disadvantaged people.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Strongest Dad in the World
September 17, 2005, Canadian Runner/Sports Illustrated
Eighty-five times [Dick Hoyt has] pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars -- all in the same day. Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. And what has Rick done for his father? Not much -- except save his life. This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him. But the Hoyts weren't buying it. [Eventually,] rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was...able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that." Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks." That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"
Note: Don't miss the entire incredibly moving story with links to the Hoyt's beautiful website, inspiring photos, a deeply touching video clip, and lots more at www.weboflove.org/050917dadtrulycares.
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