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The Archbishop of Dublin said there are groups in the Vatican and the Irish hierarchy trying to undermine child protection measures. Dr Diarmuid Martin said there were systems in place that were ignored. His comments come after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched an attack in parliament on the Catholic Church. Mr Kenny said the recent Cloyne Report into allegations of priest sex abuse showed change was needed. In an unprecedented attack, the taoiseach said the historic relationship between church and state in Ireland could not be the same again and the report exposed the "elitism, dysfunction, disconnection, and narcissism that dominated the Vatican". Dr Martin said he was "impressed by the emotion that the taoiseach brought into this". He said he was also "angry, ashamed and appalled" by those "who felt they were able to play tricks" and "by anybody who does that, whether they be in the Irish church, the Vatican or anybody else who faces child protection". "I'm very disappointed and annoyed. What do you do when you've got systems in place and somebody ignores them?" he said. "What do you do when you have got groups either in the Vatican or in Ireland who try to undermine what is being done or simply refuse to understand what is being done?" Dr Martin said he had delivered over 70,000 documents to the Murphy Commission.
After giving a nearly six-month tryout for the Internet talk show host Cenk Uygur, the cable news channel MSNBC is preparing to instead hand its 6 p.m. time slot to the Rev. Al Sharpton. Cenk Uygur said MSNBC's management decided that they did not care for his aggressive style. Mr. Uygur, who had been made a paid contributor to MSNBC months earlier, was handed 6 p.m., a big coup given that he had earlier campaigned to have his progressive Web show “The Young Turks” picked up by MSNBC. Mr. Uygur, who by most accounts was well liked within MSNBC, said in an interview that he turned down the new contract because he felt [MSNBC President Phil] Griffin had been the recipient of political pressure. In April, he said, Mr. Griffin “called me into his office and said that he’d been talking to people in Washington, and that they did not like my tone.” He said he guessed Mr. Griffin was referring to White House officials, though he had no evidence for the assertion. He also said that Mr. Griffin said the channel was part of the “establishment,” and “that you need to act like it.”
Note: To understand why Uygur was forced out by powerful forces behind the scenes, watch the amazing 10-minute video of him exposing the blatant corruption of the bankers at this link. For an interview of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Uygur's resignation, click here.
Ireland's prime minister has launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers. Enda Kenny said in parliament that the Cloyne report, released on 13 July, had exposed the Vatican's attempt to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse. During a debate on the fallout from the Cloyne findings, the taoiseach said the report had illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominant in the Vatican. Kenny told the Dáil on Wednesday that Rome seemed more interested in upholding the church's power and reputation than confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders. The Vatican's attitude to investigations in Cloyne, which covers County Cork, was the "polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the church had been founded on", he said. Kenny said the rape and torture of children had been downplayed or "managed" to uphold the institution's power and reputation. One of the most damning findings of the Cloyne report was that the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which "very clearly should have been reported". The report, coming after a string of inquiries into Catholic clerical sex abuse across Ireland, has set the Irish government on a collision course with the church.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on institutional secrecy, click here.
Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company's already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects. Its use has set off alarms with some who are concerned about possible civil liberties and privacy issues. The smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, is made by BI2 Technologies in Plymouth, Massachusetts. An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person's eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it takes to identify a suspect in custody. When attached to an iPhone, MORIS can photograph a person's face and run the image through software that hunts for a match in a BI2-managed database of U.S. criminal records. Constitutional rights advocates are concerned, in part because the device can accurately scan an individual's face from up to four feet away, potentially without a person's being aware of it. Experts also say that before police administer an iris scan, they should have probable cause a crime has been committed. "What we don't want is for them to become a general surveillance tool, where the police start using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people," said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the national ACLU in Washington, D.C.
In the nine years Mark Stroman has been on death row in Texas, he says he has watched 208 people walk past him on the way to be executed. This week it is his turn. Following 11 September, 2001, Stroman attacked three people, killing two of them. He was targeting anyone he considered an "Arab", calling it revenge for 9/11. "What Mark Stroman did was a hate crime, and hate crimes come from ignorance," said Rais Bhuiyan, 37, the only man to survive the shooting[s]. "His execution will not eradicate hate crimes from this world, we will just simply lose another human life." [Bhuiyan] needed many operations, has lost the sight in his right eye and still carries shotgun pellets in his face, but is now campaigning hard to prevent his attacker from being put to death. "This campaign is all about passion, forgiveness, tolerance and healing. We should not stay in the past," he said. "If I can forgive my offender who tried to take my life, we can all work together to forgive each other and move forward and take a new narrative on the 10th anniversary of 11 September." He had been in touch with Stroman, who he would like to see as "a spokesperson, an educator, teaching a lot of people as ignorant as him what is wrong". Stroman says he has asked himself the question a thousand times - would he be able to forgive the man who shot him in the face? He said he would find it very hard. "I tried to kill this man, and this man is now trying to save my life. This man is inspiring to me."
The phone hacking scandal in Britain claimed another high-profile casualty on [July 18] when John Yates, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, resigned his post. His departure comes a day after the country’s top police officer quit and Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, was arrested on suspicion of illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing the police. Such is the severity of the crisis swirling around the Murdoch empire and Britain’s public life that Prime Minister David Cameron cut short an African trip on Monday and, bowing to opposition pressure, called a special parliamentary session on Wednesday to debate the widening scandal. Mr. Murdoch, his son James and Ms. Brooks are set to testify before a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal on Tuesday. The home secretary, Theresa May, said on Monday that the country’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, a police oversight body that reports to her, would investigate possible corruption in the links between the police and journalists. Mr. Yates has been criticized for his decision not to reopen the investigation even though the police under his command possessed some 11,000 pages of largely unexamined evidence. “I’m not going to go down and look at bin bags,” Mr. Yates said.
David Cameron flew abroad last night for a long-arranged trip to Africa leaving behind the carnage inside Britain's most important police force, tumult inside the news organisation with which he has closest links, and open disdain from his deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, over his appointment of Andy Coulson to No 10. The "firestorm" he himself described is still raging, and as the body count rises in the form of arrests or resignations, he looks increasingly exposed. Every day as the crisis continues, his judgment, and that of the chancellor, George Osborne, in appointing the former editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson as his director of communications looks increasingly inexplicable. The problems Cameron faces come from all directions. There is no evidence that the Conservative party either in the Home Office or in the London mayoralty of Boris Johnson took seriously the suggestion, repeatedly raised by Labour, that the connections between News International and the Met were unhealthy. Thirdly, the record of meetings between Cameron and News International executives released on Friday does not reveal a modernising prime minister governing in the national interest, but a victim of a vested interest. His meetings with News International executives in a year exceed those with all other news organisations put together. Not a single figure from the BBC was granted an audience.
Britain’s top police official resigned on [July 17], the latest casualty of the phone-hacking scandal engulfing British public life, just hours after Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, was arrested on suspicion of illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing the police. The official, Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, commonly known as the Met or Scotland Yard, said that he had decided to step down [but] that he had done nothing wrong and that he would not “lose sleep over my personal integrity.” The commissioner’s resignation came as the London political establishment was still digesting the stunning news about the arrest of Ms. Brooks — who apparently was surprised herself. A consummate networker who has always been assiduously courted by politicians and whose friends include Prime Minister David Cameron, Ms. Brooks, 43, is the 10th and by far the most powerful person to be arrested so far in the phone-hacking scandal. The arrest was a shock to the News Corporation, the parent company of News International, and the other properties in Mr. Murdoch’s media empire, which is reeling from the traumas of last week: the forced withdrawal of its cherished $12 billion takeover bid for British Sky Broadcasting and the resignations not only of Ms. Brooks but also of Les Hinton, a longtime Murdoch ally and friend who was the chairman of Dow Jones and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbusiness reporter who was the first named journalist to allege that Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead. Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but said in a statement: "The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious." There was an unexplained delay in the arrival of forensics officers at the scene. There was no police presence at the scene at all for several hours. Hoare was in his mid-40s. He first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World. He told the newspaper that not only did Coulson know of the hacking, but he also actively encouraged his staff to intercept the calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives. In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged he was personally asked by his editor at the time, Coulson, to tap into phones. Hoare returned to the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the NoW were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals, in exchange for payments to police officers. He said journalists were able to use "pinging", which measured the distance between a mobile handset and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.
The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist accused of mailing the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized Congress a decade ago. Shortly after Ivins committed suicide in 2008, federal investigators announced that they had identified him as the mass murderer who sent the letters to members of Congress and the media. The case was circumstantial, with federal officials arguing that the scientist had the means, motive and opportunity to make the deadly powder at a U.S. Army research facility at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md. On July 15, however, Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins' lab -- the so-called hot suite -- did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001. The government's statements deepen the questions about the case against Ivins. Searches of his car and home in 2007 found no anthrax spores, and the FBI's eight-year, $100 million investigation never proved he mailed the letters or identified another location where he might have secretly dried the anthrax into an easily inhaled powder.
Note: For more doubts on the FBI's case against Ivins, click here. For a detailed analysis of the anthrax attacks by Prof. Graeme MacQueen of McMaster University, showing that it was an integral part, with the 9/11 attacks, of a larger operation to launch two wars, click here.
For nearly four years they lay piled in a Scotland Yard evidence room, six overstuffed plastic bags gathering dust and little else. Inside was a treasure-trove of evidence: 11,000 pages of handwritten notes listing nearly 4,000 celebrities, politicians, sports stars, police officials and crime victims whose phones may have been hacked by The News of the World, a now defunct British tabloid newspaper. Yet from August 2006, when the items were seized, until the autumn of 2010, no one at the Metropolitan Police Service, commonly referred to as Scotland Yard, bothered to sort through all the material and catalog every page. During that same time, senior Scotland Yard officials assured Parliament, judges, lawyers, potential hacking victims, the news media and the public that there was no evidence of widespread hacking by the tabloid. After the past week, that assertion has been reduced to tatters, torn apart by a spectacular avalanche of contradictory evidence. The testimony and evidence that emerged last week, as well as interviews with current and former officials, indicate that the police agency and News International, the British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the publisher of The News of the World, became so intertwined that they wound up sharing the goal of containing the investigation. Members of Parliament said in interviews that they were troubled by a “revolving door” between the police and News International.
Note: Media and government corruption could hardly get worse than seen in this case of the Murdoch phone hacking scandal. Scotland Yard's primary responsibility is to protect the UK public from criminal activity; instead it enabled the activity to continue and shared high-level information and personnel with News Corporation. For lots more on media and government corruption click here and here.
With the first anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law on July 21, ... what has it accomplished? Consumer advocates, many congressional Democrats and some economists say banks are still too big, the derivatives market remains untamed and opaque, and regulators have been slow to write hundreds of rules. Rules forcing most derivatives trades to be processed through clearinghouses, and backed by collateral, should ... be accepted globally to avoid regulatory arbitrage, in which trading firms move to countries with the least intrusive, and lowest cost, oversight. Less than three years ago, the financial system almost buckled under the weight of worthless mortgages, and the country narrowly avoided another Great Depression. Regulators had been blind to the credit boom and bust; banks took huge risks that exploited regulatory gaps. Today, the economy remains weak ... because of the lingering fallout of the financial crisis. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect, but already its influence on the financial system has been positive, in ways big and small. Accounting is more transparent; off-balance-sheet assets are largely a thing of the past. [Yet] with the top 10 U.S. banks holding 77 percent of the industry’s domestic assets, compared with 55 percent in 2002, too-big-to-fail is an even bigger worry today. Thomas M. Hoenig, the Kansas City Federal Reserve president, has said that the incentives for risk-taking that existed before the crisis all remain in place.
Note: For many of the most informative reports from major media sources on the financial meltdown and government bailout of the biggest banks, click here.
The Obama administration is facing criticism for prosecutions brought under the US Espionage Act against government employees accused of leaking sensitive information. Mark Feldstein, professor of media at the University of Maryland, sees a worrying trend of espionage prosecutions since President Obama took office. "To everyone's surprise, the Obama administration has escalated the war against whistleblowers and the attacks on information that journalists and the public were depending on to get evidence of wrongdoing by powerful institutions and individuals," Prof Feldstein says. On Friday, Thomas Drake, a former senior official at the National Security Agency, a highly secretive US spy agency, was sentenced to one year's probation, after the Department of Justice's case against him collapsed. He had been accused of passing on information to a journalist about a government computer programme he considered wasteful. Outside court, Mr Drake said the government's prosecution had been "vindictive and malicious". According his lawyer Jesselyn Radack, the charge that he passed on secret information was a ''bald-faced lie''. Critics say the US classification system is often arbitrary, with documents often stamped ''classified'' when the content is not secret or that sensitive.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
With little notice and only occasional complaints, the American military and local authorities have been engaged in an ambitious effort to record biometric identifying information on a remarkable number of people in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly men of fighting age. Information about more than 1.5 million Afghans has been put in databases operated by American, NATO and local forces. In Iraq, an even larger number of people, and a larger percentage of the population, have been registered. Data have been gathered on roughly 2.2 million Iraqis. A citizen in Afghanistan or Iraq would almost have to spend every minute in a home village and never seek government services to avoid ever crossing paths with a biometric system. What is different from traditional fingerprinting is that the government can scan through millions of digital files in a matter of seconds. While the systems are attractive to American law enforcement agencies, there is serious legal and political opposition to imposing routine collection on American citizens. Various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have discussed biometric scanning, and many have even spent money on hand-held devices. But the proposed uses are much more limited, with questions being raised about constitutional rights of privacy and protection from warrantless searches.
Note: Many new technologies for domestic population control are developed, deployed, and tested by the US military in war theaters abroad, and then shared with police agencies in the US. For many examples see our "Non-lethal" Weapons article archive available here.
The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009, long after it issued guidelines meant to protect children, and the Vatican tacitly encouraged the cover-up by ignoring the guidelines, according to a scathing report issued Wednesday by the Irish government. Abuse victims called the report more evidence that the church sought to protect priests rather than children. The Cloyne Report, as it is known, drafted by an independent investigative committee headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, found that the clergy in the Diocese of Cloyne, a rural area of County Cork, did not act on complaints against 19 priests from 1996 to 2009. The Cloyne Report is the Irish government’s fourth in recent years on aspects of the scandal. It shows that abuses were still occurring and being covered up 13 years after the church in Ireland issued child protection guidelines in 1996, and that civil officials were failing to investigate allegations. The report warned that other dioceses might have similar failings. Most damaging, the report said that the Congregation for the Clergy, an arm of the Vatican that oversees the priesthood, had not recognized the 1996 guidelines. That “effectively gave individual Irish bishops the freedom to ignore the procedures” and “gave comfort and support” to priests who “dissented from the stated Irish church policy,” the report said.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on institutional secrecy, click here.
U.S. officials ... defended a tactic used by the CIA to attempt to verify the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden — the covert creation of a vaccine program in Abbottabad, the town in Pakistan where he was later killed in a U.S. raid. The vaccine drive was conducted shortly before the raid in early May ... and was overseen by a Pakistani doctor who traveled to Abbottabad. A senior U.S. official said the campaign involved actual hepatitis vaccine and should not be construed as a “fake public health effort. The vaccination campaign was part of the hunt for the world’s top terrorist, and nothing else.” The doctor who oversaw the effort has since been arrested by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency for cooperating with the CIA. U.S. officials have said they are seeking to have him released. The senior U.S. official declined to say whether DNA from bin Laden’s relatives was collected as part of the vaccine program. Officials have previously said, however, that they used DNA analysis to confirm bin Laden’s identify after he was killed. In doing so, they used samples taken from known relatives.
Note: For information about a disturbing Pentagon program using vaccinations to combat religious fundamentalism, click here.
As recently as a decade ago, farms in the Midwest [commonly contained] unruly patches of milkweed amid the neat rows of emerging corn or soybeans. Not anymore. Fields are now planted with genetically modified corn and soybeans resistant to the herbicide Roundup, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to eradicate weeds, including milkweed. A growing number of scientists fear it is imperiling the monarch butterfly, whose spectacular migrations make it one of the most beloved of insects. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, and their larvae eat it. Experts like Chip Taylor say the growing use of genetically modified crops is threatening the orange-and-black butterfly by depriving it of habitat. “This milkweed has disappeared from at least 100 million acres of these row crops,” said Dr. Taylor, an insect ecologist at the University of Kansas and director of the research and conservation program Monarch Watch. “Your milkweed is virtually gone.” About five times as much of the weed killer was used on farmland in 2007 as in 1997, a year after the Roundup Ready crops were introduced, and roughly 10 times as much as in 1993. “It kills everything,” said Lincoln P. Brower, an entomologist at Sweet Briar College who is also an author of the paper documenting the decline of monarch winter populations in Mexico. “It’s like absolute Armageddon for biodiversity over a huge area.” A spokesman for Monsanto, the inventor of the Roundup Ready crops and the manufacturer of Roundup, agreed.
In the months before Osama bin Laden was [allegedly] killed, the Central Intelligence Agency ran a phony vaccination program in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as a ruse to obtain DNA evidence from members of Bin Laden’s family thought to be holed up in an expansive compound there, according to an American official. The vaccination program ... adds a new twist to the months of spy games that preceded the nighttime raid in early May. It has also aggravated already strained tensions between the United States and Pakistan. The operation was run by a Pakistan doctor, Shakil Afridi, whom Pakistani spies have since arrested for his suspected collaboration with the Americans. Dr. Afridi remains in Pakistani custody, the American official said. Obama administration officials have said publicly they were not sure whether Bin Laden was in Abbottabad when dozens of Navy Seals commandos stormed the house in May. Pakistani military and intelligence operatives were furious about the American raid ... and relations between the United States and Pakistan have only plummeted since. Pakistani officials have suggested that they might use troops to repel another incursion into Pakistan.
Note: For WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's book, Osama bin Laden: Dead of Alive?, demonstrating the high likelihood that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001, click here. For a four-minute leaked Pentagon video revealing plans to use vaccines to secretly modify behavior, click here.
For Muoy You, "the power of education" isn't an abstract concept. She's seen it transform the life of her family. Her father was a bicycle repairman, and her mother an illiterate street vendor. Yet her four children are all university graduates. Muoy grew up poor in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during the Vietnam War. In 1972 she won a scholarship to study in France. It would save her from Pol Pot's killing fields, where her parents and siblings were among the 2 million dead. She spent the next two decades in exile, raising a family and working as a teacher in Africa and the Middle East. Now Muoy wants to transform the prospects of other Cambodian families by giving children of low-income cleaners, laborers, farmers, and tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw) drivers a high-quality education. "I don't just want to teach them to read and write," she stresses. "I want them to become professionals, writers, thinkers, artists – to make their country proud." Upon returning home to Phnom Penh in 2003, Muoy set up the Seametrey Children's Village, a private initiative. "You shouldn't just stick children behind desks," Muoy explains. "You need to help them retain their childlike curiosity and spontaneity." Word of her school spread. Parents pay according to their means. The poorest pay nothing; some pay small sums they can afford. Expatriates and better-off locals pay the full monthly fee of $290. Currently, the school has 80 students, from toddlers to teens.
Note: Visit seametreycambodia.org
However much they might deplore tabloid methods and articles — the photographers lurking in the bushes; the reporters in disguise entrapping subjects into sexual indiscretion or financial malfeasance; the editors paying tens of thousands of dollars for exclusive access to the mistresses of politicians and sports stars; the hidden taping devices; the constant stream of stories about illicit sex romps — politicians have often been afraid to say so publicly, for fear of losing the papers’ support or finding themselves the target of their wrath. If showering politicians with political rewards for cultivating his support has been the carrot in the Murdoch equation, then punishing them for speaking out has generally been the stick. But the latest revelations in the phone-hacking scandal appear to have broken the spell, emboldening even Murdoch allies like Prime Minister David Cameron to criticize his organization and convene a commission to examine press regulation. The power to harass and intimidate is hardly limited to the Murdoch newspapers; British tabloids are all guilty to some extent of using their power to discredit those who cross them, politicians and analysts say.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, 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.