Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm's way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint. It's war in the shadows, with the U.S. public largely in the dark. The high-tech warfare allows Obama to target what the administration sees as the greatest threats to U.S. security, without the cost and liabilities of sending a swarm of ground troops to capture territory; some of them almost certainly would come home maimed or dead. But it also raises questions about accountability and the implications for international norms regarding the use of force outside of traditional armed conflict. "Congressional oversight of these operations appears to be cursory and insufficient," said Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy issues for the Federation of American Scientists, a private group. "It is Congress' responsibility to declare war under the Constitution, but instead it appears to have adopted a largely passive role while the executive takes the initiative in war fighting," Aftergood said in an interview. That's partly because lawmakers relinquished their authority by passing a law just after the Sept. 11 [attacks]. In this shroud of secrecy, leaks to the news media of classified details about certain covert operations have led to charges that the White House orchestrated the revelations to bolster Obama's national security credentials and thereby improve his re-election chances.
Note: For deeper analysis of the threats posed to American citizens by military and police drones in the skies, click here. For information on a federal recent law compelling the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to fly in US skies, click here. For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.
The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane finally returned to Earth Saturday (June 16), wrapping up a mysterious mission that lasted more than year in orbit. The unmanned X-37B spacecraft, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle-2 (OTV-2), glided back to Earth on autopilot, touching down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:48 a.m. PDT. The landing brought to an end the X-37B program's second-ever spaceflight, a mission that lasted more than 15 months with objectives that remain shrouded in secrecy. The X-37B stayed in orbit for 469 days this time, more than doubling the 225 days its sister ship, OTV-1, spent in space last year on the program's maiden flight. Officials at Vandenberg said the spacecraft conducted "on-orbit experiments" during its mission. The space plane was designed to stay aloft for 270 days, but the Air Force kept it flying well beyond that milestone. Exactly what the spacecraft, which is built by Boeing's Phantom Works division, was doing up there for so long is a secret. The details of the X-37B's mission ... are classified, as is its payload. This secrecy has led to some speculation, especially online and abroad, that the X-37B could be a space weapon of some sort — perhaps a sophisticated satellite-killer. Some experts also suspect that the vehicle may be an orbital spy platform.
Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
A controversial ban preventing a nine-year-old girl from photographing her school meals has been lifted following a storm of protest on the internet. Martha Payne, from Argyll, has now recorded more than three million hits on her NeverSeconds blog. Martha began publishing photographs of her Lochgilphead Primary School lunches on 30 April. She gave each meal a 'food-o-meter' and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it. She had been using the blog to raise money for the Mary's Meals charity. But in a post published on Thursday evening, Martha said her headteacher told her not to take any more photographs for the blog "because of a headline in a newspaper." The council's decision to impose the ban came after the Daily Record newspaper published a photograph of Martha alongside chef Nick Nairn under the headline "Time to fire the dinner ladies." Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme Mr Payne said his daughter was not happy about the council's decision. By Friday morning, the council's decision had sparked a furious reaction on social media. Local MSP Mike Russell, Scotland's education secretary, tweeted he would be writing to the council's chief executive in his capacity as local MSP, calling for the "daft" ban to be overturned. Officials [lifted] the ban. Publicity caused by the ban helped the schoolgirl smash through her Ł7,000 fundraising target for the Mary's Meals charity - with total pledges of more than Ł30,000.
Note: Read this awesome article and watch the accompanying TedX talk about how kids are using technology to transform their live and our world. So cool!!!
The National Archives is refusing to release 1,171 classified CIA documents related to the assassination [of President John F. Kennedy] in time for the [50th] anniversary as it had promised. In 2010, deputy archivist Michael Kurtz announced that the secret records would be declassified by November 22, 2013. But the National Archives has since [retracted] that promise in a letter to Jim Lesar of the Assassination Archives and Research Center, who requested the release. [This] frustrates Lesar, whose nonprofit is devoted to collecting and disseminating information about political assassinations. "In 1992, Congress unanimously passed legislation that was designed to get all of the JFK assassination-related records released," he said. "There was supposed to be only a very few records whose release could be postponed for periods of time including up until the year 2017, but basically everything was supposed to be released well before then." Of course, the CIA and National Archives won't say exactly what is contained in the documents, not even the number of pages. "The National Archives does not have a page count, but it appears that there are at least several thousand pages that are still being withheld, and they appear to be on some very important subjects." The CIA and National Archives' intransigence certainly doesn't help deflate the bubble of speculation about what really happened at the Grassy Knoll. It's been 49 years. Most of the people involved are dead. What's to hide, unless the government is shown in an embarrassing or criminal light?
Note: See our excellent information center filled with reliable verifiable information on the John Kennedy assassination at this link. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the John Kennedy assassination, click here.
A new documentary by director Kirby Dick, "The Invisible War," about systemic rape of women in the military and the retaliations and coverups victims face, has won awards in many film festivals, and recently even triggered congressional response. The examples of what happens to women soldiers who are raped in the military are stunning, both in the violence that these often young women face, and in the viciousness they encounter after attacks. The level of sex assault in the military [is] staggering. There is so much of this going on in the US military that women soldiers' advocacy groups have created a new term for it: military sexual trauma or MST. Last year, there were 3,158 cases of sexual assault reported within the military. The Service Women's Action Network notes that rape is always under-reported, and that a military context offers additional hurdles to rape victims: the Department of Defense, they point out, estimates that these numbers are misleading because fewer than 14% of survivors report an assault. The DoD estimates that in 2010 alone, over 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military. "Prosecution rates for sexual predators are astoundingly low," they note. In 2011, "officials received 3,192 sexual assault reports. But only 1,518 of those reports led to referrals for possible disciplinary action, and only 191 military members were convicted at courts martial."
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of rape in the US military and other institutional settings, click here.
There's been a lot of speculation about the cufflinks [JPMorgan Chase CEO] Jamie Dimon wore during [his Congressional] testimony. They caught the eye of folks because they seemed to bear some sort of official government stamp. As it turns out, they were emblazoned with the seal of the President of the United States. CNN's Lizzie O'Leary first confirmed the story last night over Twitter. They were, in fact, a gift from a resident of the White House. But people close to the JPMorgan Chase CEO won't say which president gave them to him. Dimon's got a bunch of official U.S. government cufflinks. Search for images of him and you'll see FBI cufflinks, for example. Was Dimon trying to send any particular message by wearing the presidential cufflinks? Was he, for instance, trying to remind the Democrats he supported Obama? Or subtly hinting that he's really the guy in charge?
Note: For powerful reports on financial corruption, click here.
For four decades, from 1929 until 1971, a Monsanto plant in West Anniston produced chemicals called PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls. Somehow – even today no one is quite sure how – the chemicals got into the soil and waterways. As the Environmental Protection Agency's oversight of the cleanup of this neighborhood stretches into its eighth year, new research has linked PCBs exposure to a high rate of diabetes in this community of about 4,000 people, nearly all African American and half living in poverty. It's the latest chapter in a saga that this poverty-stricken, powerless community feels has dragged on far too long. PCBs were one of the most widely used industrial substances on Earth until they were banned in the United States, and most other developed countries, in the late 1970s. PCBs are stubborn chemicals. They persist in soil and sediment for decades, perhaps centuries, and are locked away in the fatty tissues of animals, building up in food webs. Seventy percent of all the PCBs ever made are still in the environment. In Anniston, class action lawsuits were filed and settled. The national media came and went. Monsanto split up and left town. Some residents took buyouts and moved. Other houses were abandoned and with fenced off. In 2003, Solutia and Monsanto paid a $600 million settlement to more than 20,000 people based on their exposure to PCBs. An additional $100 million was to be spent on cleanup and other programs. Anniston’s PCBs contamination qualifies as a Superfund site, making it one of the most contaminated places in the country.
Even before NATO forces begin leaving Afghanistan, [other countries are] trying to win access to the nation's vast natural resources after Western troops leave. Chief among them are China, Iran and India. For example, in Beijing late last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a deal allowing China to pursue mineral resources, energy development and agricultural opportunities. Over the past decade, China has given the Afghan government $246 million in aid -- while spending $3.5 billion to develop a cooper mine there. India ... has won rights to mine iron ore. And Iran ... is promising copious aid and assistance after NATO leaves. Underlying all of this is the discovery that Afghanistan holds at least $1 trillion in untapped natural resources, including oil, cobalt, iron ore, gold and precious metals, among them lithium, used to power batteries. An internal Pentagon memo, now widely quoted, calls Afghanistan "the Saudi Arabia of lithium."
The Obama administration is the most forceful, vigilant and merciless in cracking down on whistle-blowers and leakers in nearly a century. The liberal law professor in the White House is no softie when it comes to punishing voices who undercut his pronouncements and policies. Since 1917, when the Espionage Act was passed to safeguard national secrets, prior presidents have brought three cases. Since taking office, Obama has used the law six times. In most of these cases, the White House went after whistle-blowers and leakers whose claims embarrassed the Obama administration. Examples of such prosecutions include the massive WikiLeaks disclosure of some 250,000 diplomatic cables along with lesser-known instances such as information about rough interrogations and botched computer operations. The common thread: The White House looked bad. Similar prosecution could happen again with the drone and cyber-war stories, but don't count on it. In these two cases, the results enhanced Obama's image, a result that won't draw presidential ire. Also, the news accounts that showed the president in charge of drone targets and approving a computer-jamming worm didn't disclose direct intelligence details or names. But there's a disturbing pattern, especially as the November election draws closer. This White House is bothered by the ever-present suggestion that it's weak on terrorism or hesitant to look tough against looming enemies - and it's willing to go to extraordinary means to pursue leaks of unflattering stories.
The average American family's net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, according to a triennial study released [on June 11] by the Federal Reserve. The stunning drop in median net worth -- from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 -- indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families. The results ... highlight the marked deterioration in household finances brought on by the financial crisis and ensuing recession. Much of the drop off in net worth -- to levels not seen since 1992 -- was attributable to a sharp decline in housing values, the Fed said. In 2007, the median homeowner had a net worth of $246,000. Three years later that number had fallen to $174,500, a loss of more than $70,000 on average. Making matters worse, income levels also fell during the tumultuous three-year period, with median pre-tax income falling 7.7% as earnings from capital gains all but disappeared. The loss of income and net worth appears to have impacted savings rates, as the number of Americans who said they saved in the prior year fell from 56.4% in 2007 to 52.0% in 2010 -- the lowest level recorded since the early 1990s. Families in the top 10% of income actually saw their net worth increase over the period, rising from a median of $1.17 million in 2007 to $1.19 million in 2010. Middle-class families who ranked in the 40th to 60th percentile of income earners reported that their median net worth fell from $92,300 to $65,900 over the same time period.
Note: What this article fails to emphasize sufficiently is that while most people have lost vast amounts of wealth, the wealthiest 1% has grown incredibly richer even through the recession. Is something wrong here? For key reports from reliable sources on wealth inequality, click here.
Pennsylvania prosecutors are considering criminal charges against former top Penn State University officials for allegedly concealing what they knew about the conduct of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. As Sandusky's trial began [on June 11] on 52 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years, the sources said investigators had obtained new evidence, including internal university email messages and other documents. Prosecutors [said] they included a file on Sandusky that was “created, maintained and possessed” by former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz. In addition, prosecutors said, the recently discovered emails “contradict” the testimony of Schultz, former athletic director Tim Curley “and others” before a grand jury about what they knew about an allegation of possible sexual misconduct by Sandusky. Both men were charged with perjury for their testimony regarding Sandusky last November. The documents, the sources say, show that former university President Graham Spanier and others discussed whether they were obligated to tell authorities about a 2001 allegation involving a late-night encounter in a Penn State shower room between Sandusky and a young boy, both of whom were naked. The documents allegedly show that university officials even did legal research on whether such conduct might be a crime. But in one email exchange, Spanier and Schultz agreed that it would be "humane” -- to Sandusky -- not to inform social services agencies.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of sexual abuse scandals in institutional settings, click here.
The number of crimes reported to police dropped again last year compared with 2010. Last year marked the fifth straight year of year-to-year improvement for the number of violent crimes reported to authorities. It was the ninth consecutive year of declines for property crimes, according to preliminary FBI data for 2011. The FBI says murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault all went down in 2011. Violent crime decreased in all four regions: 4.9 percent in the Midwest; 4.7 percent in the West; 4.5 percent in the South and 0.8 percent in the Northeast. There was, however, an increase in murder in the Midwest — 0.6 percent — and an 18.3 percent jump in murder in cities with populations of less than 10,000. In the property crime category, motor vehicle theft dropped 3.3 percent, and larceny-theft decreased 0.9 percent. However, burglary offenses increased 0.3 percent, rising 3.2 percent in the Northeast, 1.3 percent in the Midwest and 0.7 percent in the West. The preliminary data is based on information the FBI gathered from 14,009 law enforcement agencies around the United States.
Note: This article is a great example of how the media consistently downplay any good news about the massive drop in crimes over the past 20 years. The entire article fails to mention the inspiring news that violent crime rates are now less than 1/3 what they were in 1994. That's awesome! For lots more on this inspiring news and the media's penchant for playing it down, click here.
Anti-Mafia prosecutors have asked the secretive Vatican Bank to disclose details of an account held by a priest in connection with a money laundering and fraud investigation. The official request was made more than a month ago but so far the Vatican Bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, has refused to disclose any records of the account held by father Ninni Treppiedi – who is currently suspended from serving as a priest. Investigators want to know more about vast sums of money that are said to have passed through his account to establish if they were money laundering operations by [the fugitive] Mafia Godfather, Matteo Messina Denaro. The reports emerged in the Italian media and came just two weeks after the head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was sacked amid claims of power struggles and corruption within the Holy See which have been linked to the leaking of sensitive documents belonging to Pope Benedict XVI. It is not the first time that the Vatican Bank has been embroiled in claims of Mafia money laundering. Thirty years ago this month financier Roberto Calvi was found hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge with cash and bricks stuffed into his pockets. Initially City of London police recorded the death as suicide but Italian authorities believe it was murder after it emerged Calvi, known as God's Banker because of his links to the Vatican Bank, had been trying to launder millions of pounds of mob money via its accounts and through his own Banco Ambrosiano which had collapsed spectacularly.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on institutional secrecy, click here.
The world's oldest female bodybuilder wakes up every day at 02:30 to fit in a 10 mile (16km) run before hitting the gym. But 75-year-old Ernestine Shepherd insists that "age is nothing but a number". "Miss Ernie", as she is known in the world of competitive bodybuilding, began training at the tender age of 71. She says her true calling in life, however, is helping others to follow a more healthy lifestyle. The BBC caught up with her at an exercise class at her church in the US city of Baltimore, Maryland, to find out why she started bodybuilding.
Note: Click on the link above to watch an amazing three-minute video with this inspiring grandmother.
For decades, a handful of teachers at the Horace Mann school, an elite prep school in the Bronx [in New York City], sexually abused both their male and female students with various levels of impunity, according to the exposé [in the New York Times Magazine] by screenwriter Amos Kamil. In the article, Kamil, a Horace Mann alumnus, recalls his friends and classmates privately confiding in him the abuse that they endured at the hands of their teachers. Very few of the victims ever reported the abuse, instead resorting to silence, apathy, therapy, alcohol and even suicide. On the two occasions when complaints were made, the offenders were swiftly relieved of their duties; but as Kamil alleges, the school took no action to investigate other similar crimes or to address the mental or other needs of the victims. The case is the latest in a series of New York-area school sex abuse scandals that have come to light lately. At Poly Prep, a prestigious Brooklyn private school, a former football coach was accused of preying on boys in his charge while the school administration turned a blind eye. In April, a former math teacher at Riverdale County School in the Bronx was arrested on charges of sexually abusing a teenaged student. Meanwhile, several New York City public school teachers have been arrested for sexually assaulting students, sparking a district-wide investigation.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of sexual abuse scandals in institutional settings, click here. For powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government, click here.
Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the celebrated "Magnificent 7" gymnasts who won team gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. But behind the broad smile and shining medals she hid heartache and pain inflicted by some of the people she trusted the most. Moceanu would ultimately file for emancipation from her parents when she was 17, and got a restraining order against her father. After an injury quashed her bid for the 2000 Olympics, she went to college and was married in 2006 to a fellow gymnast named Mike Canales. She became pregnant with her first child soon after her marriage to Canales. But two weeks before giving birth, Moceanu learned some shocking news. She received a package containing a letter and photos of a young woman who looked surprisingly similar to her younger sister Christina. Reading the letter, she learned that the 20-year-old woman, named Jen Bricker, had been adopted and had recently learned that her birth name was Moceanu. "It was the biggest bombshell of my life," Dominique Moceanu remembered. "I had this sister that was born who was given up for adoption, and I never knew it." When Moceanu reached out to her new sister, Bricker [told her] "Oh by the way. I have no legs. But people forget that within minutes of meeting me." Five years later, they have met many times and have developed a friendship and bond that only sisters could have. They're athletic, do gymnastics -- Bricker even competed in the Junior Olympics -- and have discovered other striking similarities.
Note: For a touching video on this showing the amazing gymnastic abilities and inspiring can-do attitude of this woman with no legs, click here.
Derek Amato is one of just 30 “acquired savants” worldwide. Each discovered an inexplicable ability that was unleashed after an incident. Amato was 40 years old [when he hit his head hard after diving into the shallow end of a pool]. “I remember the impact being really loud. I knew I was hurt badly,” he described in a Science Channel documentary. He was taken to the hospital with a serious concussion, and suffered some memory loss and hearing loss. After the accident, Amato visited a friend who had a keyboard and felt inexplicably drawn to the instrument. He sat down to play and beautiful, fully structured, original music flowed from his hands. He played until 2 a.m. “I could not only play and compose, but I would later discover that I could recall a prior played piece of music as if it had been etched in my minds eye,” [Amato said]. Though he had dabbled in the guitar before, he’d never touched a piano. Rare cases like this open up a whole new realm of scientific exploration, as scientists investigate how this can happen. The big question is: do we all have this superhuman ability built in, if we could just tap into it and release it? Amato [reported] that though he still gets painful migraines and has lost 35% of his hearing, it’s well worth it. Amato left his corporate job and became a professional musician.
Note: Watch a fascinating video of Derek's story.
Rep. Darrell Issa [contends] that the Department of Justice in Washington and perhaps the Obama White House were aware of the flawed tactics in the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation in Arizona that allowed more than 2,000 firearms to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. A month before the operation was stopped, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Terry was killed in a December 2010 shootout and two Fast and Furious weapons were discovered at the crime scene between the Mexican border and Tucson. Scores of more weapons have been found at violent crimes in Mexico. Issa contends [that] wiretap documents, signed by top Justice officials in support of Fast and Furious, are proof that administration officials knew the tactics were flawed and should have stopped the operation long before the agent and others were killed. “The tactics of Fast and Furious were known,” he said. “They were known and are contained in these wiretaps.” Issa said he obtained the materials from “a furious group of whistle-blowers” who are angry with the Justice Department and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. for not providing more material to Issa’s investigation into Fast and Furious. The whistle-blowers, he told Holder at the hearing, “are tired of your stonewalling.”
Today a tidal wave of aging boomers want income, but traditional sources are lacking. But there’s [a] source of high yield that relatively few consider. Peer-to-peer lending, or making personal loans via the Internet using websites like LendingClub.com and Prosper.com. After six years of experience and some bumps, including a financial crisis and ensuing recession, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has finally earned its place on an income investor’s menu. The basic premise of these bank disintermediaries is that they harness the networking power of the Web to match people who have excess cash with people in need of it or those who simply want to refinance credit card debt. The key to its success has been how the sites have managed the inherent riskiness of unsecured personal loans. Believe it or not, it is now possible to earn yields of 6% or more, making relatively safe loans to complete strangers. San Francisco’s Lending Club is the largest P2P lender, followed by its crosstown rival Prosper. Lending Club and Prosper have loaned a total of more than $1 billion since inception, in 112,000 loans. Lending Club currently issues about $45 million in loans a month versus Prosper’s $13 million per month. Of course defaults happen. Lending Club’s top-rated three-year loans expect a default rate of around 1.4%, and the riskiest loans, offering rates as high as 25%, have a 9.8% default rate.
Note: A 1.4 default rate is much lower than that of the average bank. For those who want to borrow or loan money free of the banks with excellent rates, check out www.lendingclub.com and www.prosper.com.
An investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General found that many providers of immunizations meant for low-income children don't store the vaccines at proper temperatures, potentially rendering them ineffective and placing children at risk for contracting serious diseases. Inspectors visited the offices of 45 providers in five states who offered free immunizations as part of the government's Vaccines for Children Program. Nationwide, about 44,000 offices and clinics participate in the program. The investigation found that 76 percent of the providers stored the vaccines at temperatures that were either too hot or too cold. They also found that 13 providers stored expired vaccines along with nonexpired vaccines. "As a result, the 20,252 VFC vaccine doses that we observed during site visits may not provide children with maximum protection against preventable diseases and may be vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse," according to the report. "These doses were worth approximately $800,000."
Note: The videos available on the ABC webpage above are also very revealing about the dangers of vaccines. For excellent summaries of other revealing media articles raising serious questions about the risks and dangers of vaccines, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.