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Pentagon Needs Forever Chemicals, Police Undermine Body Cameras, Batteries of the Future
Revealing News Articles
December 26, 2023

Dear friends,

This week we've summarized key news articles on Pentagon officials telling Congress that the U.S. military uses PFAS substances on a massive scale despite these "forever chemicals" being linked to serious health problems, a 1,500 percent increase in poison control center calls related to a popular weight loss medication, major problems in the U.S. military's $1.7 trillion F-35 program, and more.

In our independent media section, don't miss articles on how police have undermined the promise of body cameras and conditions in Israel that some are calling "automated apartheid."

Our inspiring stories this week include batteries of the future made from burned cotton, a waterproof and biodegradable insulation made from popcorn, a dad with no arms or legs raising two kids, and more. You can also skip to this section now.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the news source listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can work together to create a more free and informed society.

With faith in a transforming world,
Mark Bailey and Amber Yang for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Special note: We wish our WantToKnow.info community warm blessings and good health for this holiday season, and a meaningful transition to a new year! May we continue to shine a constructive light into the darkest of shadows together.

Quote of the week: Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution. ― George L. Jackson


US military says national security depends on ‘forever chemicals’
November 17, 2023, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/11/17/us-military...

The Department of Defense relies on hundreds, if not thousands, of weapons and products such as uniforms, batteries, and microelectronics that contain PFAS, a family of chemicals linked to serious health conditions. Now, as regulators propose restrictions on their use or manufacturing, Pentagon officials have told Congress that eliminating the chemicals would undermine military readiness. PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment and can build up in the human body, have been associated with such health problems as cancer. In July, a new federal study showed a direct link between testicular cancer and PFOS, a PFAS chemical that has been found in the blood of thousands of military personnel. In a report delivered to Congress in August, Defense Department officials pushed back against health concerns raised by environmental groups and regulators. According to the report, most major weapons systems, their components, microelectronic chips, lithium-ion batteries, and other products contain PFAS chemicals. These include helicopters, airplanes, submarines, missiles, torpedoes, tanks, and assault vehicles; munitions; semiconductors and microelectronics; and metalworking, cooling, and fire suppression systems. Beyond cancer, some types of PFAS have been linked to low birth weight, developmental delays in children, thyroid dysfunction, and reduced response to immunizations.

Note: If the above link fails, you can read the article here.  PFAS are linked to serious health conditions: cancer, liver damage, hormonal disruption, reproductive issuesreduced sperm count, reduced immune response, and more. PFAS have also been found in 45% of US tap water. Read more on how war is hazardous to our health and environment in our Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center.


Poison centers see nearly 1,500% increase in calls related to injected weight-loss drugs as people accidentally overdose
December 18, 2023, CNN News
https://edition.cnn.com/2023/12/13/health/semaglutide-overdoses...

Poison control centers across the US say they are seeing a steep increase in calls related to semaglutide, an injected medication used for diabetes and weight loss, with some people reporting symptoms related to accidental overdoses. Some have even needed to be hospitalized for severe nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, but their cases seem to have resolved after they were given intravenous fluids and medications to control nausea. From January through November, the America’s Poison Centers reports nearly 3,000 calls involving semaglutide, an increase of more than 15-fold since 2019. In 94% of calls, this medication was the only substance reported. In most of the calls, people reported dosing errors, said Dr. Kait Brown, clinical managing director of the association. “Oftentimes, it’s a person who maybe accidentally took a double dose or took the wrong dose,” Brown said. Semaglutide was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2017. It is sold as Ozempic when used for diabetes and Wegovy when used for weight loss. Even when used as directed by a doctor, people can have stomach and bowel side effects, including nausea, vomiting and constipation, especially when they start the drugs. After celebrities began openly embracing Ozempic on social media in 2022 as a way to lose weight, demand overwhelmed supply. There’s no specific antidote for a semaglutide overdose.

Note: The money behind the makers of weight-loss drugs is staggering, with the economic value of Wegovy's Novo Nordisk soaring to over $420 billion―exceeding the entire GDP of Denmark, its home country. Read more on the significant adverse effects associated with these drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.


That jet the Marines lost? Taxpayers will pay $1.7 trillion for the F-35 program
September 18, 2023, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/18/politics/f-35-missing-jet-what...

“How in the hell do you lose an F-35?” wondered Rep. Nancy Mace, the South Carolina Republican, in a post on social media Sunday that speaks for everyone who read the headline about the state-of-the-art military plane that went missing earlier in the day. A more general ... question could be asked of the F-35 program: How in the heck can you spend so much money on a plane that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to? The exact amount of money for a single aircraft like the one that went missing is somewhere around $100 million. The entire F-35 program is on track to cost $1.7 trillion. The Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan watchdog group, has written extensively on the F-35 and its cost overruns. I asked Dan Grazier, an F-35 expert for POGO, what has gone wrong. It all boils down to “failure at the conceptual level,” he told me in an email. “The architects of the program attempted to build a single aircraft to meet multiple mission requirements for not just three separate services but also those of multiple countries,” Grazier said. The jet has never reached its full operational capability and already needs updates and tweaks, including a new engine. “Every F-35 built until now is nothing more than a very expensive prototype,” Grazier told me. The Government Accountability Office ... earlier this year described the F-35 program as “more than a decade behind schedule and $183 billion over original cost estimates.”

Note: Watch a brief, 2-min video about the F-35 fighter jet. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.


Congress Clashes Over the Future of America’s Global Spy Program
December 11, 2023, Wired
https://www.wired.com/story/section-702-house-bills-plewsa-frra/

Under ... Section 702 [of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], the US government collects hundreds of millions of phone calls, emails, and text messages each year. An inestimable chunk belongs to American citizens, permanent residents, and others in the United States neither suspected nor accused of any crime. Police and intelligence agencies buy their way around the Fourth Amendment by paying US companies for information that they’d otherwise demand a warrant to disclose. The House Intelligence Committee’s bill—the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act, or FRRA—does nothing to address this privacy threat. What the FRRA does appear to do, despite its name, is explode the number of companies the US government may compel to cooperate with wiretaps under Section 702. That was the assessment on Friday of Marc Zwillinger, amicus curiae to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR). Section 702 currently allows the government to compel a class of companies called “electronic communications providers” to collect communications. If the FRRA becomes law, according to Zwillinger, that category would be greatly expanded to include a slew of new businesses, including “data centers, colocation providers, business landlords, and shared workspaces,” as well as, he says, “hotels where guests connect to the internet.” Communications may be seized under 702 and only years later dug up for an entirely different reason.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Defying presidents and Congress, the ATF, DEA, FBI and U.S. Marshals shroud their shootings in secrecy
December 5, 2023, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/defying-presidents-congress...

In 2021, bullets flew outside a 7-Eleven during a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The same year, U.S. Marshals fired shots inside a barbecue restaurant in the Chicago area, and a firefight erupted during a Drug Enforcement Administration search aboard an Amtrak passenger train in Tucson, Arizona. Three suspects and a federal officer were killed. Miraculously, no bystanders were struck. Had they been local police shootings, they might have generated public demands to release body camera video and use-of-force investigation reports. But they were federal operations, conducted by agents and task forces with four federal law enforcement agencies — the FBI, the ATF, the DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service — in which the use of force remains largely a black box, free from public scrutiny. Those four agencies overseen by the Justice Department, among the most prestigious in the country, have been slow to adopt reforms long embraced by big-city police departments, such as the use of body cameras and the release of comprehensive use-of-force data. From 2018 to 2022, 223 people were shot by an on-duty federal officer, a member of a federal task force or a local officer participating in an operation with federal agents, according to an NBC News analysis. A total of 151 were killed. More than 100 of the shootings were investigated by local prosecutors, with only two resulting in criminal charges for officers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in intelligence agencies and in police departments from reliable major media sources.


How Palantir Is Shaping the Future of Warfare
July 10, 2023, Time Magazine
https://time.com/6293398/palantir-future-of-warfare-ukraine/

Palantir’s founding team, led by investor Peter Thiel and Alex Karp, wanted to create a company capable of using new data integration and data analytics technology — some of it developed to fight online payments fraud — to solve problems of law enforcement, national security, military tactics, and warfare. Palantir, founded in 2003, developed its tools fighting terrorism after September 11, and has done extensive work for government agencies and corporations though much of its work is secret. Palantir’s MetaConstellation platform allows the user to task ... satellites to answer a specific query. Imagine you want to know what is happening in a certain location and time in the Arctic. Click on a button and MetaConstelation will schedule the right combination of satellites to survey the designated area. The platform is able to integrate data from multiple and disparate sources — think satellites, drones, and open-source intelligence — while allowing a new level of decentralised decision-making. Just as a deep learning algorithm knows how to recognise a picture of a dog after some hours of supervised learning, the Palantir algorithms can become extraordinarily apt at identifying an enemy command and control centre. Alex Karp, Palantir’s CEO, has argued that “the power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems is now so great that it equates to having tactical nuclear weapons against an adversary with only conventional ones.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Independent Media


How Police Have Undermined the Promise of Body Cameras
December 14, 2023, ProPublica
https://www.propublica.org/article/how-police-undermined-promise...

When body-worn cameras were introduced a decade ago, they seemed to hold the promise of a revolution. Once police officers knew they were being filmed, surely they would think twice about engaging in misconduct. And if they crossed the line, they would be held accountable: The public, no longer having to rely on official accounts, would know about wrongdoing. Police and civilian oversight agencies would be able to use footage to punish officers and improve training. In an outlay that would ultimately cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the technology represented the largest new investment in policing in a generation. It was a fix bound to fall far short. As policymakers rushed to equip the police with cameras, they often failed to grapple with a fundamental question: Who would control the footage? They defaulted to leaving police departments ... with the power to decide what is recorded, who can see it and when. Departments across the country have routinely delayed releasing footage, released only partial or redacted video or refused to release it at all. They have frequently failed to discipline or fire officers when body cameras document abuse. We conducted a review of civilians killed by police officers in June 2022, roughly a decade after the first body cameras were rolled out. We counted 79 killings in which there was body-worn-camera footage. A year and a half later, the police have released footage in just 33 cases — or about 42%.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


Palestine: “Peace to Prosperity” Through Technocracy
December 12, 2023, Unlimited Hangout
https://unlimitedhangout.com/2023/12/investigative-reports/palestine...

The Palestinian population is intimately familiar with how new technological innovations are first weaponized against them–ranging from electric fences and unmanned drones to trap people in Gaza—to the facial recognition software monitoring Palestinians in the West Bank. Groups like Amnesty International have called Israel an Automated Apartheid and repeatedly highlight stories, testimonies, and reports about cyber-intelligence firms, including the infamous NSO Group (the Israeli surveillance company behind the Pegasus software) conducting field tests and experiments on Palestinians. Reports have highlighted: “Testing and deployment of AI surveillance and predictive policing systems in Palestinian territories. In the occupied West Bank, Israel increasingly utilizes facial recognition technology to monitor and regulate the movement of Palestinians. Israeli military leaders described AI as a significant force multiplier, allowing the IDF to use autonomous robotic drone swarms to gather surveillance data, identify targets, and streamline wartime logistics.” The Palestinian towns and villages near Israeli settlements have been described as laboratories for security solutions companies to experiment their technologies on Palestinians before marketing them to places like Colombia. The Israeli government hopes to crystalize its “automated apartheid” through the tokenization and privatization of various industries and establishing a technocratic government in Gaza.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Years Past


The number of people with Top Secret clearance will shock you
August 16, 2022, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/15/politics/classified-information...

It’s actually a very large universe of people with access to Top Secret data. The Director of National Intelligence publishes what is described as an annual report, “Security Clearance Determinations,” although the most recent one I could find was from 2017. In it, more than 2.8 million people are described as having security clearance as of October 2017 – more than 1.6 million have access to either Confidential or Secret information and nearly 1.2 million are described as having access to Top Secret information. There are additional people who have security clearance but don’t currently have access to information. This includes civilian employees, contractors and members of the military. Each agency that deals in classification has its own system. Top Secret ... is the highest level of classification. Information is classified as Top Secret if it “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security,” according to a 2009 executive order. A subset of Top Secret documents known as SCI, or sensitive compartmented information, is reserved for certain information derived from intelligence sources. Access to an SCI document can be even further restricted to a smaller group of people with specific security clearances. Information is classified as Secret if the information is deemed to be able to cause “serious damage” to national security if revealed. Confidential is the least sensitive level of classification.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


US apologizes for infecting Guatemalans with STDs in the 1940s
October 1, 2010, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/01/us.guatemala.apology...

The United States apologized Friday for a 1946-1948 research study in which people in Guatemala were intentionally infected with sexually transmitted diseases. A statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the action "reprehensible." President Barack Obama called his Guatemalan counterpart Friday "offering profound apologies and asking pardon for the deeds of the 1940s," President Alvaro Colom told CNN. "Though it happened 64 years ago, it really is a profound violation of human rights," said Colom. The U.S. Public Health Service Sexually Transmitted Disease Inoculation Study of 1946-1948 aimed at determining the effectiveness of penicillin in treating or preventing syphilis after subjects were exposed to the disease. Gonorrhea and chancres were also studied. The tests were carried out on female commercial sex workers, prisoners in the national penitentiary, patients in the national mental hospital and soldiers. According to the study, more than 1,600 people were infected: 696 with syphilis, 772 with gonorrhea and 142 with chancres. The published literature contains more than 40 other U.S.-based studies "where intentional infection was carried out with what we could now consider to be completely inadequate consent in the United States." Many of those studies were funded by the Public Health Service.

Note: Read about the long history of humans being used as guinea pigs in unethical experiments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Inspiring Articles


Batteries of the future: How cotton and seawater might power our devices
November 8, 2023, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20231108-batteries-of-the-future...

The power's out. But on a street in India, there's a cash machine still happily dispensing banknotes. Thanks, in part, to burnt cotton. For this cash machine has a backup battery inside it – a battery that contains carbon from carefully combusted cotton. "The exact process is secret," says Inketsu Okina, chief intelligence officer at PJP Eye, the Japanese firm that made the battery. "The temperature is secret and atmosphere is secret. Pressure is secret," he continues. Okina does say that a high temperature is required, above 3,000C (5,432F). And that 1kg (2.2lbs) of cotton yields 200g (7oz) of carbon – with just 2g (0.07oz) needed for each battery cell. PJP Eye also touts the possibility of improving battery performance as well as making batteries greener. "Our carbon has a bigger surface area than graphite," says Okina, describing how the chemistry of the anode in their Cambrian single carbon battery allows for a battery that charges very quickly, up to 10 times faster than existing lithium ion batteries, he claims. The battery's cathode is made from a "base metal" oxide. Although Okina won't disclose exactly which one, these metals include copper, lead, nickel and zinc. The company claims to be working on a dual carbon electrode battery, where both electrodes are made from plant-based carbon. Other researchers are looking at using materials as diverse as corn waste and melon seed shells to generate new types of electrodes for use in batteries.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Scientists invent popcorn-based home insulation material that’s waterproof and biodegradable
November 23, 2021, The Independent (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/popcorn-home-insulation...

Popcorn could soon be used to create sustainable insulation for buildings, replacing the current non-biodegradable materials. Scientists have invented a method to create sustainable building insulation boards using “granulated” popcorn with “excellent” thermal insulation properties and good protection against fire. The plant-based, environmentally friendly material is a sustainable alternative to current building insulation products that are derived from petroleum, said scientists from the University of Göttingen in Germany. About 90 per cent of the materials currently used to make insulation for buildings are made of plastics or mineral fibre, which are non-biodegradable, according to the scientists. These materials generate carbon dioxide during their manufacturing stages and are also rarely recycled when a building is torn down, contributing to pollution and making them unsustainable. Conventional insulating materials made of polystyrene also tend to damage the environment, the scientists pointed out. On the contrary, the researchers said, granulated popcorn is similar to polystyrene and just as lightweight, without having the synthetic material’s downsides. “This new process, based on that of the plastics industry, enables the cost-effective production of insulation boards at an industrial scale,” Alireza Kharazipour, head of the research group from the University of Göttingen, said in a statement.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


'Always Seen With a Smile': Dad With No Arms or Legs Raises Two Girls After Their Mom Abandons Them
May 8, 2023, Epoch Times
https://www.theepochtimes.com/bright/always-seen-with-a-smile...

A Paraguayan father of two with no arms or legs found the strength and determination to raise both his girls, despite his limitations, when their mother abandoned them. Pablo Acuña was born with a limb deformity, causing his arms and legs to not grow properly. Yet he's a happy, grateful man who lives in the city of Son Pedro del Parana, Paraguay. At 63 years old, he's a proud father of two daughters in their twenties, whom he has raised since they were babies with the help of his mother, Ignacia del Valle. Although Pablo has suffered from his condition since his birth, he said it has never affected him. Apart from not being able to attend high school and having his parents take care of him, he had a pretty normal childhood. His youngest daughter, Elida, 26, sings his praises for providing a "very nice" childhood despite him not having arms and legs. "I was raised by my dad and grandmother," Elida said. "My dad is incredible. He is a very wonderful person, he is always seen with a smile; never have I seen him depressed." Since Pablo cannot walk, he has used a wooden wheelbarrow as a sitting and sleeping platform for decades. He is known locally as "El Hombre Carretilla," or "The Wheelbarrow Man." According to Elida, Pablo's greatest wish is to own his home. Elida [said] that her family, who "lives for rent," is desperately saving to this end. Since her grandmother turned 93, Elida has returned to the family home ... to help take care of her father.

Note: After reading this article, one man spearheaded a campaign which enabled this amazing dad to buy his own home. Explore more stories like this in our inspiring disabled persons articles archive.


The secret to why exercise is so good for mental health? 'Hope molecules'
May 4, 2023, The Guardian (One of UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/may/04...

One of the most interesting health research projects of the past decade or so has looked at how exactly exercise makes us feel good. Research shows that there appears to be a clear scientific reason, that we can see at a cellular level. When muscles contract, they secrete chemicals into the bloodstream. Among these chemicals are myokines, which have been referred to as "hope molecules". These small proteins travel to the brain, cross the blood-brain barrier, and act as an antidepressant. They do this by improving our mood, our ability to learn, our capacity for locomotor activity, and protect the brain from the negative effects of ageing. This has been referred to as "muscle-brain cross-talk". They're also responsible for improved metabolism, reduced inflammation, and increased muscle strength. Myokines are not solely responsible for feeling good: exercise also releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin that have a positive impact on our brains. So when you're feeling low, it's tempting to do a Netflix binge, or spend hours scrolling on social media comparing others' lives to yours, and feeling increasingly sad. This is especially true for teenagers. The antidote we know clearly from epidemiology and biology is to just get moving: whether it's joining a team, going for a long walk, or finding a community gym or yoga class. You'll certainly feel more hopeful afterwards.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


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