Corporate Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Corporate Corruption News Articles in Media
How much influence do private networks of the rich and powerful have on government policies and international relations? One group, the Bilderberg, has often attracted speculation that it forms a shadowy global government. Every year since 1954 [they have brought] together about 120 leading business people and politicians. At this year's meeting in Germany, the audience included the heads of the World Bank and European Central Bank, Chairmen or Chief Executives from Nokia, BP, Unilever, DaimlerChrysler and Pepsi ... editors from five major newspapers, members of parliament, ministers, European commissioners ... and the queen of the Netherlands. The chairman ... is 73-year-old Viscount Etienne Davignon. In an extremely rare interview, he played down the importance of Bilderberg. "I don't think (we are) a global ruling class because I don't think a global ruling class exists." Will Hutton ... who attended a Bilderberg meeting in 1997, says people take part in these networks in order to influence the way the world works, to create what he calls "the international common sense". And that "common sense" is one which supports the interests of Bilderberg's main participants. For Bilderberg's critics the fact that there is almost no publicity about the annual meetings is proof that they are up to no good. Bilderberg meetings often feature future political leaders shortly before they become household names. Bill Clinton went in 1991 while still governor of Arkansas, Tony Blair was there two years later while still an opposition MP. All the recent presidents of the European Commission attended Bilderberg meetings before they were appointed. Informal and private networks like Bilderberg have helped to oil the wheels of global politics and globalisation for the past half a century.
Note: Why is this meeting of top world leaders kept so secret? Why, until a few years ago, was there virtually no reporting on this influential group in the major media? Thankfully, the alternative media has had some good articles. And a Google search can be highly informative. Explore many other revealing major media news articles on powerful secret societies. And for those interested, check out reliable, eye-opening information covering the big picture of how and why these secret societies are using government-sponsored mind control programs to achieve their agenda.
Some of the world's biggest, most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do--that is, if they pay taxes at all. The most egregious example is General Electric. Last year the conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion. How did this happen? It's complicated. GE in effect consists of two divisions: General Electric Capital and everything else. The everything else--maker of engines, power plants, TV shows and the like--would have paid a 22% tax rate if it was a standalone company. It's GE Capital that keeps the overall tax bill so low. Over the last two years, GE Capital has displayed an uncanny ability to lose lots of money in the U.S. (posting a $6.5 billion loss in 2009), and make lots of money overseas (a $4.3 billion gain). Not only do the U.S. losses balance out the overseas gains, but GE can defer taxes on that overseas income indefinitely. It's the tax benefit of overseas operations that is the biggest reason why multinationals end up with lower tax rates than the rest of us.
Note: Can you believe that GE not only pays no taxes, they actually get credit from the US government? They ship US jobs overseas and then reap huge tax benefits as a result. What's wrong with this picture? For a wealth of media news articles on the hidden manipulations of major financial corporations, click here.
There are no magic bullets in the fight against cancer: that's the first thing every responsible scientist mentions when discussing a possible new treatment, no matter how promising. If there were a magic bullet, though, it might be something like dichloroacetate, or DCA, a drug that kills cancer cells by exploiting a fundamental weakness found in a wide range of solid tumors. So far, though, it kills them just in test tubes and in rats infected with human cancer cells; it has never been tested against cancer in living human beings. DCA ... is an existing drug whose side effects are well-studied and relatively tolerable. Also, it's a small molecule that might be able to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach otherwise intractable brain tumors. Within days after a technical paper on DCA appeared in the journal Cancer Cell last week, the lead author, Dr. Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta, was deluged with calls and e-mails from prospective patients—to whom he can say only, “Hang in there.” DCA is a remarkably simple molecule. It acts in the body to promote the activity of the mitochondria. Researchers have assumed that the mitochondria in cancer cells were irreparably damaged. But Michelakis wondered if that was really true. With his colleagues he used DCA to turn back on the mitochondria in cancer cells—which promptly died. One of the great things about DCA is that it's a simple compound, in the public domain, and could be produced for pennies a dose. But that's also a problem, because big drug companies are unlikely to spend a billion dollars or so on large-scale clinical trials for a compound they can't patent.
Note: For a 2010 follow-up by Dr. Michelakis with promising results, click here and watch a 10-minute video at this link. For the DCA website, click here. Thank you Newsweek for this important article. Why haven't any other mass media reported this major story? Why aren't many millions of dollars being poured into research? Notice even Newsweek acknowledges the drug companies are not interested in finding a cure for cancer if they can't make a profit from it. Some suspect the drug companies have even suppressed cancer cures found in the past. For one amazing example of this, click here.
Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who criticized Vioxx, according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. According to The Australian, Merck emails from 1999 showed company execs complaining about doctors who disliked using Vioxx. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors' names with the labels "neutralise," "neutralised" or "discredit" next to them. One email said: We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live. The plaintiffs' lawyer gave this assessment: "It gives you the dark side of the use of key opinion leaders and thought leaders. If (they) say things you don't like to hear, you have to neutralise them." The court was told that James Fries, professor of medicine at Stanford University, wrote to the then Merck head Ray Gilmartin in October 2000 to complain about the treatment of some of his researchers who had criticised the drug. "Even worse were allegations of Merck damage control by intimidation," he wrote. "This has happened to at least eight (clinical) investigators. I was mildly threatened myself, but I never have spoken or written on these issues." The allegations come on the heels of revelations that Merck created a fake medical journal -- the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine -- in which to publish studies about Vioxx; had pop songs commissioned about Vioxx to inspire its staff, and paid ghostwriters to draft articles about the drug.
Note: FDA analysts estimated that Vioxx caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, 30 to 40 percent of which were probably fatal, in the five years the drug was on the market. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It's something any bank would demand to know before handing out a loan: Where's the money going? But after receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending the money or they simply refuse to discuss it. "We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,"' said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to." The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest? None of the banks provided specific answers. "We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking," said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars. The answers highlight the secrecy surrounding the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which earmarked $700 billion—about the size of the Netherlands' economy—to help rescue the financial industry. There has been no accounting of how banks spend that money. "It is entirely appropriate for the American people to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent in private industry," said Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout. But, at least for now, there's no way for taxpayers to find that out.
They're some of the most trusted voices in the defense of vaccine safety: the American Academy of Pediatrics, Every Child By Two, and pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit. But CBS News has found these three have something more in common - strong financial ties to the industry whose products they promote and defend. The vaccine industry gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters. The totals are kept secret, but public documents reveal bits and pieces. A $342,000 payment from Wyeth, maker of the pneumococcal vaccine - which makes $2 billion a year in sales. A $433,000 contribution from Merck, the same year the academy endorsed Merck's HPV vaccine - which made $1.5 billion a year in sales. Every Child By Two, a group that promotes early immunization for all children, admits the group takes money from the vaccine industry, too - but wouldn't tell us how much. Then there's Paul Offit, perhaps the most widely-quoted defender of vaccine safety. He's gone so far as to say babies can tolerate "10,000 vaccines at once." In fact, he's a vaccine industry insider. Offit holds in a $1.5 million dollar research chair at Children's Hospital, funded by Merck. He holds the patent on an anti-diarrhea vaccine he developed with Merck. And future royalties for the vaccine were just sold for $182 million cash.
Note: An excellent report endorsed by dozens of respected doctors and nurses reveals the serious risks of vaccines. Read an excellent list of questions on the usefulness of vaccines that are rarely raised by the media. This US government webpage states, "Since 1988, over 18,897 petitions have been filed with the VICP [Vaccine Injury Compensation Program] ... with 5,205 of those determined to be compensable. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $3.7 billion." Why isn't that $3.7 billion price tag for vaccine injuries being talked about?
We could make faster progress against cancer by changing the way drugs are developed. In the current system, if a promising compound can’t be patented, it is highly unlikely ever to make it to market — no matter how well it performs in the laboratory. The development of new cancer drugs is crippled as a result. The reason for this problem is that bringing a new drug to market is extremely expensive. In 2001, the estimated cost was $802 million; today it is approximately $1 billion. To ensure a healthy return on such staggering investments, drug companies seek to formulate new drugs in a way that guarantees watertight patents. In the meantime, cancer patients miss out on treatments that may be highly effective and less expensive to boot. In 2004, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that an off-the-shelf compound called 3-bromopyruvate could arrest the growth of liver cancer in rats. The results were dramatic; moreover, the investigators estimated that the cost to treat patients would be around 70 cents per day. Yet, three years later, no major drug company has shown interest in developing this drug. The hormone melatonin, sold as an inexpensive food supplement in the United States, has repeatedly been shown to slow the growth of various cancers when used in conjunction with conventional treatments. Early this year, another readily available industrial chemical, dichloroacetate, was found by researchers at the University of Alberta to shrink tumors in laboratory animals by up to 75 percent. However ... dichloroacetate is not patentable, and the lead researcher is concerned that it may be difficult to find funding from private investors to test the chemical. Potential anticancer drugs should be judged on their scientific merit, not on their patentability.
Note: To explore several cancer cures which have shown dramatic potential, yet are not being studied for lack of funds due to inability to patent the process, click here. Why are these very promising treatments not being fast-tracked as the expensive AIDS drugs were? For a top MD's revealing comments on this, click here. And for why the media won't feature these promising cancer treatments in headlines, click here.
In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center ... to ensure complete secrecy. The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. A mercury-based preservative in the vaccines -- thimerosal -- appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism. But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry's bottom line. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to "rule out" the chemical's link to autism. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. More than 500,000 kids currently suffer from autism. The disease was unknown until 1943, when it was identified and diagnosed among 11 children born in the months after thimerosal was first added to baby vaccines in 1931. Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage -- and even death -- in both animals and humans.
Note: A good, though somewhat watered down version of the above article was published in the Boston Globe on July 1, 2005. To see this article on the Globe website, click here. For an excellent report endorsed by dozens of respected doctors and nurses on the serious risks and dangers of vaccines, click here.
Lockheed Martin doesn't run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it. Lockheed ... has built a formidable information-technology empire that now stretches from the Pentagon to the post office. It sorts your mail and totals your taxes. It cuts Social Security checks and counts the United States census. It runs space flights and monitors air traffic. Lockheed ... is best known for its weapons. But in the post-9/11 world, Lockheed has become more than just the biggest corporate cog in what Dwight D. Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. It is increasingly putting its stamp on the nation's military policies. Former Lockheed executives, lobbyists and lawyers hold crucial posts at the White House and the Pentagon, picking weapons and setting policies. War and crisis have been good for business. The company's stock has tripled in the last four years. Lockheed is creating robot soldiers and neural software - "intelligent agents" - to do their work. Israel spends much of the $1.8 billion in annual military aid from the United States to buy F-16 warplanes from Lockheed. Its own executives say the concentration of power among military contractors is more intense than in any other sector of business outside banking. AND, after 9/11 ... cost is essentially irrelevant. Former Lockheed executives serve on the Defense Policy Board ... and the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which help make military and intelligence policy and pick weapons for future battles. Lockheed's board includes E. C. Aldridge Jr. ... the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. To say that "war and crisis have been good for business" is quite an understatement. To read what one of the most highly decorated generals had to say about this, click here.
Marcia Angell [is] a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School [and one of the] former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine. Her new book, "The Truth About the Drug Companies," is a sober, clear-eyed attack on the excesses of drug company power. How does the drug industry deceive us? It plies attending physicians with expense-paid junkets to St. Croix and Key West, Fla., where they are given honoraria and consulting fees to listen to promotional presentations. It promotes new or little-known diseases such as "social anxiety disorder" and "premenstrual dysphoric disorder" as a way of selling the drugs that treat them. It sets up phony front groups disguised as "patient advocacy organizations." It hires ghostwriters to produce misleading scientific articles and then pays academic physicians to sign on as authors. It sends paid lackeys and shills out onto the academic lecture circuit to ''educate" doctors about a drug's unapproved uses. It hires multinational PR firms to trumpet dubious studies as scientific breakthroughs while burying the studies that are likely to harm sales. It buys up the results of publicly funded research. It maintains a political chokehold on the American public by donating more money to political campaigns than any other industry in the country. For many years the drug industry has reaped the highest profit margins of any industry in America. In 2002, the top 10 American drug companies had profit margins of 17 percent; Pfizer, the largest, had profit margins of 26 percent. So staggeringly profitable is the drug industry that in 2002 the combined profits for the top 10 drug companies in the Fortune 500 were greater than those of all the other 490 companies combined.
The Carlyle Group [is] an investment house famous as one of the most well-connected companies anywhere. Former president George H.W. Bush is a Carlyle adviser. Former British prime minister John Major heads its European arm. Former secretary of state James Baker is senior counselor, former White House budget chief Richard Darman is a partner, former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt is senior adviser -- the list goes on. Those associations have brought Carlyle enormous success. The Washington-based merchant bank controls nearly $14 billion in investments, making it the largest private equity manager in the world. It buys and sells whole companies the way some firms trade shares of stock. But the connections also have cost Carlyle. It has developed a reputation as the CIA of the business world -- omnipresent, powerful, a little sinister. Media outlets from the Village Voice to BusinessWeek have depicted Carlyle as manipulating the levers of government from shadowy back rooms. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) even suggested that Carlyle's and Bush's ties to the Middle East made them somehow complicitous in the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It didn't help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden. Former president Bush, a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day. Bush['s] primary function is to give speeches for Carlyle that attract wealthy foreigners in places where the former president is especially revered, such as Asia. The company has rewarded its faithful with a 36 percent average annual rate of return.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. To understand the amazingly powerful role of this low-profile, yet extremely wealthy and influential group, click here to view free a 48-minute documentary shown on Dutch national TV which clearly depicts the depths of corruption and deceit at the highest levels of government. You will be thankful that you watched this highly educational film.
Outside this country, there is a widespread belief that U.S. military deployments in Central Asia mostly are about oil. An article in the Guardian of London headlined, “A pro-western regime in Kabul should give the U.S. an Afghan route for Caspian oil,” foreshadowed the kind of skeptical coverage the U.S. war now receives in many countries. Author George Monbiot ... wrote that the U.S. oil company Unocal Corp. had been negotiating with the Taliban since 1995 to build "oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan and into Pakistani ports on the Arabian sea." Unocal pulled out of the deal after the 1998 terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were linked to terrorists based in Afghanistan. The terrorist acts of Sept. 11, though tragic, provided the Bush administration a [pretext] to invade Afghanistan, oust the recalcitrant Taliban and, coincidentally, smooth the way for the pipeline. To make things even smoother, the U.S. engineered the rise to power of two former Unocal employees: Hamid Karzai, the new interim president of Afghanistan, and Zalmay Khalizad, the Bush administration’s Afghanistan envoy. [Uri] Averny, a former member of the Israeli Knesset ... argues that the war on terrorism provides a perfect pretext for America’s imperial interests. “If one looks at the map of the big American bases created for the war, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean.” No wonder the rest of the world is a bit skeptical about our war on evildoers.
Note: Why do so few people know that these two top officials of Afghanistan were once paid by an American oil company? For important reports from major media sources on the realities of the "war on terror," click here.
Facebook wants to get up close and personal with its users after a patent was revealed detailing a desire to secretly watch users through their webcam or smartphone camera, spying on your mood in order to sell you tailored content or advertisements. The purpose behind the invasive idea is to analyse people through the camera in real time while they browse online and if it recognises you looking happy, bored or sad, it would deliver an advert fitting your emotion. If you were forlorn, for example, it would be able to serve an ad to perk you up, or know what products you had previously looked at online and put them under your nose at just the right time. The social network has filed several patents over the years on emotion-based technology but this, based on 'passive imaging data' is perhaps the most unnerving, considering it would take control of cameras that weren't even switched on by the user. As described by CB Insights: "This patent proposes capturing images of the user through smartphone or laptop cameras, even when the user is not actively using the camera. By visually tracking a user's facial expression, Facebook aims to monitor the user's emotional reactions to different types of content." Other patents listed by Facebook include a text messaging platform to detect a user's mood by measuring how hard and fast they were typing, then augment the message format, such as adding emojis or changing the font size, to match their emotion.
Wells Fargo Bank, one of the nation's largest banks, has been hit with $185 million in civil penalties for secretly opening millions of unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts that harmed customers, federal and state officials said Thursday. Employees of Wells Fargo (WFC) boosted sales figures by covertly opening the accounts and funding them by transferring money from customers' authorized accounts without permission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles city officials said. An analysis by the San Francisco-headquartered bank found that its employees opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Many of the transfers ran up fees or other charges for the customers, even as they helped employees make incentive goals. The bank agreed to pay full restitution to all victims and a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's civil penalty fund - the largest in the regulator's five-year operating history. Wells Fargo will pay a separate $35 million penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Additionally, Wells Fargo said it terminated approximately 5,300 employees and managers over a five-year period for their involvement with the unauthorized accounts.
Note: No Wells Fargo executives have been held responsible for this bank's institutionalized breach of customer trust. Do you think these actions were taken without approval from at least one executive? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
More than 2,400 U.S. doctors have been sanctioned for sexually abusing their patients, according to a new report that, for the first time, surveyed records from all 50 states and reveals the nationwide scope of a problem that may be almost as far-reaching as the scandal involving Catholic priests. State medical boards, which oversee physicians, allowed more than half the sanctioned doctors to keep their licenses even after the accusations of sexual abuse were determined to be true, according to a yearlong investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We found a culture of secrecy,” said Carrie Teegardin, a reporter on the paper’s investigative team. Even after being convicted of sex crimes and losing their licenses, doctors are often able to reapply to practice again. The Journal-Constitution investigation began with a story about one Georgia doctor that led to efforts to document the problem nationwide. By combing through news reports, state medical board records and court files going back 16 years, the Journal-Constitution's reporters compiled a list of physicians who were either convicted in criminal cases or disciplined by state medical boards. Many of the doctors were accused by large numbers of their patients, in most cases females being seen by male doctors. “One thing we found that was shocking to us is some of these doctors are the most prolific sex offenders in the country, with hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of victims,” Teegardin said.
Note: For more on this, see this excellent article from Atlanta's leading newspaper. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Iceland ... has just sentenced five senior bankers and one prominent investor to prison for crimes relating to the economic meltdown in 2008. The nation that gambled so heavily on the markets and lost so disastrously in the consequent crash has [now] sent 26 financiers to jail for combined sentences of 74 years. The authorities pursued bank bosses, chief executives, civil servants and corporate raiders for crimes ranging from insider trading to fraud, money laundering, misleading markets, breach of duties and lying to the authorities. Meanwhile the economy that collapsed so spectacularly has rebounded after letting banks go bust, imposing capital controls and protecting its own citizens over all other losers. This determination to hold people to account for actions that caused intense financial misery contrasts strongly with Britain, most of the rest of Europe and the United States. Britain never bothered holding a proper inquiry into the financial meltdown that still heavily impacts on public finances. In New York, a couple of minor British bankers have just been convicted of manipulating inter-bank lending rates. In London, the massive HSBC is playing political games ... to stave off regulatory pressures. This is the bank, remember, fined Ł1.2bn after a US investigation found it was laundering money for gangsters and rogue nations, then discovered to be helping wealthy clients evade tax in dozens of countries. Its former boss became a government minister and then chairman of the British Museum.
Note: So the one nation that jailed its big bankers and let banks go bust is doing very well. Why are so exceedingly few bankers in other countries being jailed for crimes involving trillions of dollars and bankrupting millions of citizens? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
Peer review is supposed to be the pride of the rigorous academic publishing process. But increasingly journals are finding out that those supposedly authoritative checks are being rigged. In the latest episode of the fake peer review phenomenon, one of the world’s largest academic publishers, Springer, has retracted 64 articles from 10 of its journals after discovering that their reviews were linked to fake e-mail addresses. The announcement comes nine months after 43 studies were retracted by BioMed Central (one of Springer’s imprints) for the same reason. Retraction Watch co-founder Ivan Oransky ... said he didn’t know of any instances of retractions for faked peer reviews before 2012. In a report for the journal Nature last fall, Oransky and his colleagues told the story of a ... researcher who wrote peer reviews for 28 of his own papers. Investigations ... have also uncovered a number of services selling names and contact information for made-up experts guaranteed to give an expedited, positive review. In a statement on its Web site in February, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) detailed these agencies’ “systematic, inappropriate attempts” to manipulate the process. COPE’s chair Ginny Barbour wrote in December, “The uncovering of companies systematically manipulating publications, by the use of fake reviewers and more, offers an alarming glimpse into what can happen if reward systems are implemented with no thought or oversight.”
Note: The editor of a top medical journal recently suggested that half all of scientific literature may simply be untrue. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in science.
A safe that tallies the cash that is placed in it. A sniper rifle equipped with advanced computer technology for improved accuracy. A car that lets you stream music from the Internet. All of these innovations sound great, until you learn the risks that this type of connectivity carries. Recently, two security researchers, sitting on a couch and armed only with laptops, remotely took over a Chrysler Jeep Cherokee speeding along the highway ... while a Wired reporter was driving. A hacked car is a high-profile example of what can go wrong with the coming Internet of Things — objects equipped with software and connected to digital networks. The selling point ... is added convenience and better safety. In reality, it is a ... train wreck in privacy and security. That smart safe? Hackers can empty it with a single USB stick while erasing all [evidence] of their crime. That high-tech rifle? Researchers managed to remotely manipulate its target selection without the shooter’s knowing. The Internet of Things is also a privacy nightmare. Databases that already have too much information about us will now be bursting with data on the places we’ve driven, the food we’ve purchased and more. Last week, at Def Con, the annual information security conference, researchers set up an Internet of Things Village to show how they could hack everyday objects like baby monitors, thermostats and security cameras. Connecting everyday objects introduces new risks if done at mass scale. Once a hacker is in - she's in everywhere.
Note: Read how a hacked vehicle may have resulted in journalist Michael Hastings' death in 2013. The networked computerization of everyday objects means that these objects can spy on you, accelerating the disappearance of privacy in the name of convenience. What will happen when the "internet of things" expands to include microchip implants in people?
Five of the world’s largest banks have agreed to pay more than $5 billion in fines to settle charges made by regulatory agencies and the Justice Department that the banks had acted in concert to manipulate international interest and foreign currency exchange rates. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the banks had engaged in “brazenly illegal behavior on a near-daily basis.” The scale of the price-fixing scandal is hard to grasp. It touched ... almost every company and individual in the financial markets. By tweaking global benchmarks used to set foreign exchange and interest rates for a staggering number of transactions a day, the banks — over several years — bilked billions of dollars of extra profits by altering rates in their favor. Critics complained that the Justice Department had failed to prosecute any additional individuals. Wall Street watchdog group Better Markets called it a “slap on the wrist,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in an e-mail: “That’s not accountability for Wall Street. It’s business as usual, and it stinks.” Barclays, along with JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Citigroup, will plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. currency and euros, authorities said. JPMorgan Chase said it had agreed to plead guilty to a single antitrust violation and pay a fine of $550 million. Under the resolution with the Fed, the firm will pay a fine of $342 million. The bank said it had previously set aside reserves for these settlements.
Note: When it comes to international banking, it appears that almost everything is rigged. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry.
Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. A report by the Justice Policy Institute ... identified the private-prison industry’s three-pronged approach to increase profits through political influence: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships and networks. Private-prison companies have indirectly supported policies that put more Americans and immigrants behind bars ... by donating to politicians who support them. With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit. For instance, privatization created the atmosphere that made the “Kids For Cash” scandal possible, in which two Pennsylvania judges received $2.6 million in kickbacks from for-profit juvenile detention centers for sending more kids to the facilities and with unusually long sentences.
Note: The "Cash for Kids" scandal mentioned in the article above resulted in the unlawful incarceration of thousands of kids. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison industry.
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