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.
From Pakistan to Somalia, CIA-controlled pilotless aircraft rain down Hellfire missiles on an ever-expanding hit list of terrorist suspects – they have already killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilians in the process. At least 15 drone strikes have been launched in Yemen this month, as many as in the whole of the past decade, killing dozens; while in Pakistan, a string of US attacks has been launched against supposed "militant" targets in the past week, incinerating up to 35 people and hitting a mosque and a bakery. But then Predators and Reapers are Barack Obama's weapons of choice and coercion, deployed only on the territory of troublesome US allies, such as Pakistan and Yemen – and the drone war is Obama's war. In his first two years in office, the US president more than tripled the number of attacks in Pakistan alone. Since 2004, between 2,464 and 3,145 people are reported to have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan, of whom up to 828 were civilians (535 under Obama) and 175 children. Some Pakistani estimates put the civilian death toll much higher – plausibly, given the tendency to claim as "militants" victims later demonstrated to be nothing of the sort. The US president insisted recently that the civilian death toll was not a "huge number". These killings are, in reality, summary executions and widely regarded as potential war crimes by international lawyers. The CIA's now retired counsel, John Rizzo, who authorised drone attacks, himself talked about having been involved in "murder".
Note: For a deep analysis of how killer drone technology and the concept of ‘remote war’ have altered the balance of options available to our political and military leaders and made the political cost of military intervention much lower than it had previously been, click here.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF boss who caused international outrage after she suggested ... that beleaguered Greeks might do well to pay their taxes, pays no taxes, it has emerged. As an official of an international institution, her salary of $467,940 (Ł298,675) a year plus $83,760 additional allowance a year is not subject to any taxes. Lagarde, 56, receives a pay and benefits package worth more than American president Barack Obama earns from the United States government, and he pays taxes on it. According to Lagarde's contract she is also entitled to a pay rise on 1 July every year during her five-year contract. For many years critics have complained that IMF, World Bank, and United Nations employees are able to live large at international taxpayers' expense. During the 1944 economic conference at Bretton Woods, where the IMF was created, American and British politicians disagreed over salaries for the bureaucrats. British delegates, including the economist John Maynard Keynes, considered the American proposals for salaries to be "monstrous", but lost the argument.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Today marks two years of imprisonment of Private Bradley Manning. The US government was going to use Manning as a warning to anyone else who might feel compelled to report on war crimes, or any other crimes they witness from within the system. Blow the whistle, goes the warning, and you will be buried alive by the state, shredded by the same secrecy machine a whistleblower would try to expose. Because of courage and creativity of activists, Bradley Manning has not been forgotten, even if that was the aim of authorities, and he never shall be forgotten. His case has been largely shunned by most of the mainstream media, especially in the US. This needs to change, because if he is indeed found guilty of being a whistleblower of such magnitude that it shook the entire secrecy machine of our world out of its comfort zone, his acts would need to be honored as an inspiration to change the way governments hide the reality of their actions from the people they are supposed to be serving and informing. Manning should not be convicted in secret: the media should be given access to the court filings; and the media should be pushing harder for the first amendment of the US constitution to be honored in the Manning case.
Note: For key reports on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.
German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday. Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs. "Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," Allnoch [said]. The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world's leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed. Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20 percent of its overall annual electricity from those sources. Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone. It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020. "This shows Germany is capable of meeting a large share of its electricity needs with solar power," Allnoch said. "It also shows Germany can do with fewer coal-burning power plants, gas-burning plants and nuclear plants."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on developments in alternative energy technologies, click here.
Fourteen months after the accident [at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant], a pool brimming with used fuel rods and filled with vast quantities of radioactive cesium still sits on the top floor of a heavily damaged reactor building, covered only with plastic. The public’s fears about the pool have grown in recent months as some scientists have warned that it has the most potential for setting off a new catastrophe ... as frequent quakes continue to rattle the region. The jury-rigged cooling system for the pool has already malfunctioned several times, including a 24-hour failure in April. Had the outages continued, they would have left the rods at risk of dangerous overheating. “The No. 4 reactor is visibly damaged and in a fragile state, down to the floor that holds the spent fuel pool,” said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute and one of the experts raising concerns. “Any radioactive release could be huge and go directly into the environment.” The worst-case situations for Reactor No. 4 would be for the pool to run dry if there is another problem with the cooling system and the rods catch fire, releasing enormous amounts of radioactive material, or for fission to restart if the metal panels that separate the rods are knocked over in a quake. That would be especially bad because the pool, unlike reactors, lacks containment vessels to hold in radioactive materials.
Note: For extensive coverage from reliable sources on corruption in the nuclear power industry, click here.
“Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana’s incarceration rate is nearly triple Iran’s, seven times China’s and 10 times Germany’s.” That paragraph opens a devastating eight-part series published this month by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans about how the state’s largely private prison system profits from high incarceration rates and tough sentencing, and how many with the power to curtail the system actually have a financial incentive to perpetuate it. The picture that emerges is one of convicts as chattel and a legal system essentially based on human commodification. • One in 86 Louisiana adults is in the prison system, which is nearly double the national average. • More than 50 percent of Louisiana’s inmates are in local prisons, which is more than any other state. The national average is 5 percent. • Louisiana leads the nation in the percentage of its prisoners serving life without parole. • Nearly two-thirds of Louisiana’s prisoners are nonviolent offenders. The national average is less than half. In the early 1990s, the state was under a federal court order to reduce overcrowding, but instead of releasing prisoners or loosening sentencing guidelines, the state incentivized the building of private prisons. But, in what the newspaper called “a uniquely Louisiana twist,” most of the prison entrepreneurs were actually rural sheriffs. They saw a way to make a profit and did.
Note: To read the powerful 8-part investigation of the Louisiana prison system from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, click here. For more on the cruelty and corruption of the prison-industrial complex, click here.
Demonstrators in Montreal have continued to defy an emergency law passed by the provincial government in Quebec to restrict protests by students against planned tuition fee hikes. On Wednesday, more than 500 Montrealers were arrested – more than during the entire October 1970 crisis when martial law was declared in the city in response to actions by Quebec nationalists. The total number of those arrested in the current protests has now exceeded 2,500. The protest ... was declared illegal before it began, because organizers had not provided police with an itinerary, as required by a controversial new emergency law. Helicopters and riot police are an increasingly common sight on the streets of Montreal as a province-wide student strike passed the 100-day mark, but popular support only seems to be growing as the government attempts to clamp down on the strike. Small red squares, the symbol of the strike historically worn by Montreal students supporting free tuition, are everywhere in the city – cloth pinned to people's lapels and daubed onto signs and walls. Families and older residents are increasingly common sights at protests as well, demonstrating against Bill 78, which places restrictions on protests of more than 50 people. The bill imposes fines of $125,000 a day on student unions that defy its provisions, and student leaders shown to support unplanned protests can be fined up to a maximum of $5,000.
Note: For lots more on this important, yet underreported news, do a search on "Montreal protests."
Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative? It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong. The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House.. So, how do the actual Obama annual budgets look? In fiscal 2010 (the first Obama budget) spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion. In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion. In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August. Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion.
Note: The chart included with this article comparing amount spent by recent president's is quite revealing.
Political gridlock. High national debt. Rock-bottom bond rates. An aging population. Warnings about more downgrades. Sound like the United States? Indeed. But those characteristics also describe Japan -- the country that fiscal experts often point to as a cautionary tale about the risk of carrying too much national debt for too long. Ever since a stock market crash and banking crisis more than 20 years ago, Japan has suffered from anemic growth for much of that time and its debt has soared. The country's debt is projected to be 239% of the size of its economy by the end of this year. U.S. gross debt, by contrast, is a little over 100% of GDP. On almost every economic and demographic measure, U.S. fiscal problems are still less urgent than the ones facing Japan today, said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight. In his view, the biggest debt-related problem facing Americans today is gridlock in Washington. "We have a political crisis in the United States," he said. There are plenty of ideas for how Washington could curb the growth in debt without undermining the economy. For example, lawmakers could phase in tax increases and spending cuts over time. They could agree on a credible plan that puts off serious fiscal restraint until the economy is stronger. What's missing though is political cooperation. But, Behravesh said, "If we're careful, we can resolve this sensibly."
Note: For an alternative analysis by Paul Craig Roberts, click here. He notes that "Unlike Japan, whose national debt is the largest of all, Americans do not own their own public debt. Much of US debt is owned abroad, especially by China, Japan, and OPEC, the oil exporting countries. This places the US economy in foreign hands." Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week, and professor of economics.
The Legion of Christ religious order, already discredited for concealing the crimes of its pedophile founder, suffered another blow to its credibility Tuesday after its superior admitted he knew in 2005 that his most prominent priest had fathered a child, yet allowed him to keep teaching and preaching about morality. The admission by the Rev. Alvaro Corcuera is likely to enrage members of the Legion and its lay branch who have endured years of apologies, hypocrisy and explanations for the crimes of the Catholic order's founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, who sexually abused his seminarians and fathered three children with two women. The Rev. Thomas Williams, the public face of the Legion in America, admitted last week that he had violated his vow of celibacy and fathered a child several years ago, going public with a statement after the Associated Press presented the Legion with the accusation. On Tuesday, Corcuera wrote a letter to all Legion members admitting that he had heard rumors of the child before he became superior in 2005 but took Williams' word that they were false. Williams is a well-known U.S. television personality, author and moral theologian. Corcuera said that after becoming superior in 2005, he confirmed Williams' paternity and asked him to withdraw from public ministry. Yet he did nothing to prevent him from teaching morality to seminarians or preaching about ethics on television, in his many speaking engagements or in his 14 books, including Knowing Right From Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals within elite institutions like churches and governments, click here. And for a shocking Discovery Channel documentary showing that sophisticated child abuse rings lead to the very highest levels of government, click here.
If you thought that the fires at the World Trade Center twin towers, set off by the horrific jetliner impacts of September 11, 2001, were the cause of the destruction of those iconic skyscrapers, you may be mistaken. Experts now cite evidence showing that high-temperature incendiaries and explosives were planted throughout the twin towers and the lesser-known 47-story Building 7, also destroyed later the same day. So says a group of architects and engineers nearly 1700 strong, represented by Richard Gage, AIA, founder of Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth and the director/producer of a new documentary. Two years in the making, the documentary "9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out - FINAL EDITION " officially debuted today. The film features 43 experts in building engineering, physics, chemistry, and other technical fields, plus a half-dozen psychologists who discussed the denial of the evidence that the AE911Truth engineers have been seeking to get attention to since the founding of the nonprofit organization in 2007. The group's petition, signed by 14,000 concerned citizens in addition to the architectural and engineering experts, calls upon the U.S. Congress to initiate a new independent investigation. "The official story about the attacks of September 11 falls apart when you look squarely at the facts and apply basic scientific principles to interpret them," says Gage.
A teenage girl whose disappearance in Rome has remained a mystery for 30 years was kidnapped for sex parties by a gang involving Vatican police and foreign diplomats, the Roman Catholic Church's leading exorcist has claimed. The tomb of a mafia don buried in a basilica in Rome is to be opened in an attempt to solve a mystery that has dogged the Vatican for three decades. Emanuela Orlandi, who was 15 at the time of her disappearance, was the daughter of a Vatican employee. Father Gabriele Amorth, who was appointed by the late John Paul II as the Vatican's chief exorcist and claims to have performed thousands of exorcisms, said Emanuela Orlandi was later murdered and her body disposed of. In the latest twist in one of the Holy See's most enduring mysteries, he said the 15-year-old schoolgirl was snatched from the streets of central Rome in the summer of 1983 and forced to take part in sex parties. "This was a crime with a sexual motive. Parties were organised, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the 'recruiter' of the girls. "The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle," Father Amorth, the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists, told La Stampa newspaper.
Note: Though Father Amorth is a controversial figure, these claims most certainly deserve to be investigated. For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals within elite institutions like the Vatican and governments, click here. And for a shocking Discovery Channel documentary showing that sophisticated child abuse rings lead to the very highest levels of government, click here.
Scientists have for the first time succeeded in taking skin cells from patients with heart failure and transforming them into healthy, beating heart tissue that could one day be used to treat the condition. The researchers, based in Haifa, Israel, said there were still many years of testing and refining ahead. But the results meant they might eventually be able to reprogram patients' cells to repair their own damaged hearts. "We have shown that it's possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young - the equivalent to the stage of his heart cells when he was just born," said Lior Gepstein from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who led the work. The researchers, whose study was published in the European Heart Journal on Wednesday, said clinical trials of the technique could begin within 10 years. Gepstein's team took skin cells from two men with heart failure - aged 51 and 61 - and transformed them by adding three genes and then a small molecule called valproic acid to the cell nucleus. They found that the resulting hiPSCs [Human induced pluripotent stem cells] were able to differentiate to become heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, just as effectively as hiPSCs that had been developed from healthy, young volunteers who acted as controls for the study. The team was then able to make the cardiomyocytes develop into heart muscle tissue, which they grew in a laboratory dish together with existing cardiac tissue.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on important health issues, click here.
This week science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon argues that everyone should be given a barcode at birth. “If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached - a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals. It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is. Having such a unique barcode would have many advantages. In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from non combatants. This could prevent mistakes in identity, mistakes that result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Weapons systems would record the code of the use, identifying how fired which shot and leading to more accountability in the field. Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war.”
Note: For a powerful essay showing that the plan to microchip the masses has been part of the global elite's agenda for control for a long time, click here.
France's attempt to ban the planting of a Monsanto strain of genetically modified maize was rejected by the EU's food safety body. In response to scientific evidence submitted by France [EFSA] backing its bid to ban the GM maize, the European Food Safety Authority ruled that "there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment" to support a ban. In 2008, France banned the the strain MON 810 following public protests against the GM maize, but this was overturned by a French court in 2011. However, in March the French government reinstated the ban, with the then agricultural minister Bruno Le Maire saying the move was "to protect the environment". The Monsanto-owned strain, marketed as YieldGard by the US company, is an insect-resistant strain of maize that was introduced in 1997. The ruling follows a renewed focus on GM food in the UK, with researchers making a plea to anti-GM activists not to rip up a test site of GM wheat.
Note: The risks of genetically-modified foods are well established, including many deaths of lab animals fed GM diets; click here to read an excellent summary. For more on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
The US criminal justice system is a broken machine that wrongfully convicts innocent people, sentencing thousands of people to prison or to death for the crimes of others, as a new study reveals. The University of Michigan law school and Northwestern University have compiled a new National Registry of Exonerations – a database of over 2,000 prisoners exonerated between 1989 and the present day, when DNA evidence has been widely used to clear the names of innocent people convicted of rape and murder. Of these, 885 have profiles developed for the registry's website, exonerationregistry.org. The details are shocking. Death row inmates were exonerated nine times more frequently than others convicted of murder. One-fourth of those exonerated of murder had received a death sentence, while half of those who had been wrongfully convicted of rape or murder faced death or a life behind bars. Ten of the inmates went to their grave before their names were cleared. The leading causes of wrongful convictions include perjury, flawed eyewitness identification and prosecutorial misconduct. "The most important thing we know about false convictions is that they happen and on a regular basis … Most false convictions never see the light of the day," said University of Michigan law professors Samuel Gross and Michael Shaffer, who wrote the study. "Nobody had an inkling of the serious problem of false confessions until we had this data," said Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the injustices and corruption of the prison-industrial complex, click here.
Wall Street bankers could have averted the global financial crisis, so why didn't they? In this exclusive extract from his book Inside Job: The Financiers Who Pulled Off the Heist of the Century, Charles Ferguson argues that they should be prosecuted: The Securities and Exchanges Commission has been deservedly criticised for not following up on years of complaints about [Bernard L.] Madoff. But not a single bank that had suspicions about Madoff made such a call. Instead, they assumed he was probably a crook, but either just left him alone or were happy to make money from him. It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the global financial sector has become criminalised, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behaviour that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis of 2008 was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident. This behaviour is criminal. We are talking about deliberate concealment of financial transactions that aided terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation and large-scale tax evasion; assisting in major financial frauds and in concealment of criminal assets; and committing frauds that substantially worsened the worst financial bubbles and crises since the Depression. And yet none of this conduct has been punished in any significant way.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corruption and criminality in the finance industry, click here.
Congress gets into the JPMorgan Chase affair Tuesday with the first in a series of hearings into how a federally insured bank incurred [huge] losses on the kind of risky bets some, mistakenly, thought were a thing of the past. The losses, as suspected, look to be far higher than the $2 billion initially estimated. As of Friday, the number was $5 billion. What did CEO Jamie Dimon know, and when did he know it? "Dimon personally approved the concept behind the disastrous trades," according to the Wall Street Journal. Reportedly, similar trades, involving credit derivatives, date to 2006, ramping up with ever bigger bets as risk controls were eased in 2011.On the one hand, JPMorgan and other U.S. corporations are banking record profits and ever-growing piles of cash - $2 trillion at last count. On the other, U.S. unemployment remains unacceptably high, people are still losing their homes, small businesses are screaming for credit, local governments are cutting services left and right, and the nation's infrastructure is crumbling. Tons of money [are] sloshing around, courtesy of the Federal Reserve, but banks and corporations ... are hoarding it.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corruption and criminality in the finance industry, click here.
In the next few weeks, half a dozen US states are expected to pass legislation that will for the first time protect companies which value their social impact as much as the bottom line. Whether it's buying locally, protecting the environment or launching community projects, the new "benefit corporations" have a common mission - to do well by doing good. "It's becoming a national movement," says Penny Jones-Napier, owner of the Big Bad Woof pet store in Hyattsville, Maryland, the first business in the US to adopt the new benefit corporation designation. "What started with small businesses is moving into the mainstream." As a benefit corporation, Big Bad Woof is protected from legal action if it makes decisions that aren't in the financial interests of its shareholders. The company can support local suppliers for instance, even though that might not be the cheapest option and could reduce the profit margin. Seven states, including New York and California, have already adopted the new business class. These seven states combined produce a third of America's annual economic output, which makes their support for benefit corporations significant.
Note: Many are not aware that corporations legally are not allowed to do make socially responsible choices if those choices don't benefit shareholders. Isn't it time to put more pressure on companies to make socially responsible choices more important than big profits?
A duo of developers from Brooklyn, New York, have built a sleeping mask designed to allow people to have lucid dreams that they can control. While it may look like a standard sleeping mask, Remee has been billed as a special REM (Rapid Eye Movement) enhancing device that is supposed to help steer the sleeper into lucid dreaming by making the brain aware that it is dreaming. The goal of the product is to allow people to have the dreams of their choice, from driving a race car to flying to having lunch with Abraham Lincoln. The inside of the sleeping mask features a series of six red LED lights that are too faint to wake the sleeper up, but visible enough for the brain to register them. The lights can be programed to produce a sequence designed by the user. Sleep stages are divided into two main categories: non-REM and REM. People go back and forth between these stages throughout the night, with REM stages, where most dreaming occurs, lasting the longest towards morning. Remee apparently notices these longer REM stages and ‘enters’ the dream via the flashing lights. The device will wait for four to five hours for the sleeper to get into the heavy REM stages before the red lights turn on. The idea is simple: you are playing a perfect round of golf in a dream, and you see a pattern of red lights flashing in the distance. Because the pattern is in a particular sequence, it would signal to you that you are dreaming. Once you realize you are in a dream, you can then decide what happens next, whether it be a quick trip to Antarctica or time travel.
Note: For more on this most intriguing invention, see the inventors' website at this link.
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.