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Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media

Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.

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AI’s ‘Oppenheimer moment’: autonomous weapons enter the battlefield
2024-07-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:37:15

The Ukrainian military has used AI-equipped drones mounted with explosives to fly into battlefields and strike at Russian oil refineries. American AI systems identified targets in Syria and Yemen for airstrikes earlier this year. The Israel Defense Forces used another kind of AI-enabled targeting system to label as many as 37,000 Palestinians as suspected militants during the first weeks of its war in Gaza. Growing conflicts around the world have acted as both accelerant and testing ground for AI warfare while making it even more evident how unregulated the nascent field is. The result is a multibillion-dollar AI arms race that is drawing in Silicon Valley giants and states around the world. Altogether, the US military has more than 800 active AI-related projects and requested $1.8bn worth of funding for AI in the 2024 budget alone. Many of these companies and technologies are able to operate with extremely little transparency and accountability. Defense contractors are generally protected from liability when their products accidentally do not work as intended, even when the results are deadly. The Pentagon plans to spend $1bn by 2025 on its Replicator Initiative, which aims to develop swarms of unmanned combat drones that will use artificial intelligence to seek out threats. The air force wants to allocate around $6bn over the next five years to research and development of unmanned collaborative combat aircraft, seeking to build a fleet of 1,000 AI-enabled fighter jets that can fly autonomously. The Department of Defense has also secured hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to fund its secretive AI initiative known as Project Maven, a venture focused on technologies like automated target recognition and surveillance.

Note:Learn more about emerging warfare technology in our comprehensive Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on AI from reliable major media sources.

Who’s the real purveyor of disinformation? Your government
2024-07-18, The Hill
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:35:08

According to the American Psychological Association, “Misinformation is false or inaccurate information — getting the facts wrong. Disinformation is false information which is deliberately intended to mislead — intentionally misstating the facts.” What we’ve seen over the past several years is our government purveying disinformation — deliberately misleading the public. When our government peddles disinformation, it undermines the public trust. That’s why only 22 percent of Americans say they trust the government. Hillary Clinton’s campaign made and paid for the Russian collusion hoax, which asserted that Donald Trump had “worked with the Russians to try to rig the 2016 election,” to quote then-House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Clinton and her campaign ... were working behind the scenes with government agents — including the FBI and elected Democrats — to spread disinformation. Several operatives within the FBI were promoting the hoax and giving it the appearance of fact, which allowed the media to cover the issue ad infinitum. One FBI agent, Kevin Clinesmith, even lied to the FISA Court so the government could continue monitoring the phone calls of U.S. citizens. The hoax cost taxpayers millions of dollars, first with the Mueller Report and then the Durham Report. Yet no collusion was found, just disinformation. Retired Dr. Anthony Fauci, who served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ... [asserted] the natural origin of the COVID-19 virus. Several years later, there is a widespread assumption that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Virility Institute in China. Fauci did not want people to believe the lab-leak theory, perhaps because he and others had worked with and provided federal funds to that laboratory.

Note: Watch our 15-min Mindful News Brief video on the strong evidence that bioweapons research created COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.

Stop mourning the Murthy case, start fighting the censorship-industrial complex
2024-07-11, The Hill
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:31:57

After government officials like former White House advisers Rob Flaherty and Andy Slavitt repeatedly harangued platforms such as Facebook to censor Americans who contested the government’s narrative on COVID-19 vaccines, Missouri and Louisiana sued. They claimed that the practice violates the First Amendment. Following years of litigation, the Supreme Court threw cold water on their efforts, ruling in Murthy v. Missouri that states and the individual plaintiffs lacked standing to sue the government for its actions. The government often disguised its censorship requests by coordinating with ostensibly “private” civil society groups to pressure tech companies to remove or shadow ban targeted content. According to the U.S. House Weaponization Committee’s November 2023 interim report, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency requested that the now-defunct Stanford Internet Observatory create a public-private partnership to counter election “misinformation” in 2020. This consortium of government and private entities took the form of the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP). EIP’s “private” civil society partners then forwarded the flagged content to Big Tech platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter. These “private” groups ... receive millions of taxpayer dollars from the National Science Foundation, the State Department and the U.S Department of Justice. Legislation like the COLLUDE Act would ... clarify that Section 230 does not apply when platforms censor legal speech “as a result of a communication” from a “governmental entity” or from an non-profit “acting at the request or behest of a governmental entity.”

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

‘We’ve got drone swarms, dirty bombs, radar-jamming’: the fake town where America practises for war
2024-05-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:28:56

Razish [is] a fake village built by the US army to train its soldiers for urban warfare. It is one of a dozen pretend settlements scattered across “the Box” (as in sandbox) – a vast landscape of unforgiving desert at the Fort Irwin National Training Center (NTC), the largest such training facility in the world. Covering more than 1,200 square miles, it is a place where soldiers come to practise liberating the citizens of the imaginary oil-rich nation Atropia from occupation by the evil authoritarian state of Donovia. Fake landmines dot the valleys, fake police stations are staffed by fake police, and fake villages populated by citizens of fake nation states are invaded daily by the US military – wielding very real artillery. It operates a fake cable news channel, on which officers are subjected to aggressive TV interviews, trained to win the media war as well as the physical one. Recently, it even introduced internal social media networks, called Tweeter and Fakebook, where mock civilians spread fake news about the battles – social media being the latest weapon in the arsenal of modern war. Razish may still have a Middle Eastern look, but the actors hawking chunks of plastic meat and veg in the street market speak not English or Arabic, but Russian. This military role-playing industry has ballooned since the early 2000s, now comprising a network of 256 companies across the US, receiving more than $250m a year in government contracts. The actors are often recent refugees, having fled one real-world conflict only to enter another, simulated one.

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

OnlyFans vows it's a safe space. Predators are exploiting kids there.
2024-07-02, Reuters
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:26:47

OnlyFans makes reassuring promises to the public: It’s strictly adults-only, with sophisticated measures to monitor every user, vet all content and swiftly remove and report any child sexual abuse material. Reuters documented 30 complaints in U.S. police and court records that child sexual abuse material appeared on the site between December 2019 and June 2024. The case files examined by the news organization cited more than 200 explicit videos and images of kids, including some adults having oral sex with toddlers. In one case, multiple videos of a minor remained on OnlyFans for more than a year, according to a child exploitation investigator who found them while assisting Reuters. OnlyFans “presents itself as a platform that provides unrivaled access to influencers, celebrities and models,” said Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist and researcher who focuses on preventing sexual abuse and reducing its impact. “This is an attractive mix to many teens, who are pulled into its world of commodified sex, unprepared for what this entails.” In 2021 ... 102 Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on the Justice Department to investigate child sexual abuse on OnlyFans. The Justice Department told the lawmakers three months later that it couldn’t confirm or deny it was investigating OnlyFans. Contacted recently, a department spokesperson declined to comment further.

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

Smartphones are bad for kids – we don’t need to call on scientific data to know it
2024-07-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:24:47

Jonathan Haidt is a man with a mission ... to alert us to the harms that social media and modern parenting are doing to our children. His latest book, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness ... writes of a “tidal wave” of increases in mental illness and distress beginning around 2012. Young adolescent girls are hit hardest, but boys are in pain, too. He sees two factors that have caused this. The first is the decline of play-based childhood caused by overanxious parenting, which allows children fewer opportunities for unsupervised play and restricts their movement. The second factor is the ubiquity of smartphones and the social media apps that thrive upon them. The result is the “great rewiring of childhood” of his book’s subtitle and an epidemic of mental illness and distress. You don’t have to be a statistician to know that ... Instagram is toxic for some – perhaps many – teenage girls. Ever since Frances Haugen’s revelations, we have known that Facebook itself knew that 13% of British teenage girls said that their suicidal thoughts became more frequent after starting on Instagram. And the company’s own researchers found that 32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. These findings might not meet the exacting standards of the best scientific research, but they tell you what you need to know.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Tech and mental health from reliable major media sources.

‘Forever chemicals’ used in lithium ion batteries threaten environment, research finds
2024-07-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:22:44

Toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” used in lithium ion batteries essential to the clean energy transition present a dangerous source of chemical pollution that new research finds threatens the environment and human health. The multipronged, peer-reviewed study zeroed in on a little-researched and unregulated subclass of PFAS called bis-FASI that are used in lithium ion batteries. Researchers found alarming levels of the chemicals in the environment near manufacturing plants, noted their presence in remote areas around the world, found they appear to be toxic to living organisms, and discovered that waste from batteries disposed of in landfills was a major pollution source. PFAS are a class of about 16,000 human-made compounds most often used to make products resistant to water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans. The chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, plummeting sperm counts and a range of other serious health problems. The paper notes that few end-of-life standards for PFAS battery waste exist, and the vast majority ends up in municipal dumps where it can leach into waterways, accumulate locally or be transported long distances. It looked at the presence of the chemicals in historical leachate samples and found none in those from prior to the mid-1990s, when the chemical class was commercialized.

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

Banana giant held liable for funding paramilitaries
2024-06-11, BBC News
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:20:35

A court in the United States has found multinational fruit company Chiquita Brands International liable for financing a Colombian paramilitary group. The group, the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), was designated by the US as a terrorist organisation at the time. Following a civil case brought by eight Colombian families whose relatives were killed by the AUC, Chiquita has been ordered to pay $38.3m (£30m) in damages to the families. The AUC engaged in widespread human rights abuses in Colombia, including murdering people it suspected of links with left-wing rebels. The victims ranged from trade unionists to banana workers. The case was brought by the families after Chiquita pleaded guilty in 2007 to making payments to the AUC. During the 2007 trial, it was revealed that Chiquita had made payments amounting to more than $1.7m to the AUC in the six years from 1997 to 2004. The banana giant said that it began making the payments after the leader of the AUC at the time, Carlos Castaño, implied that staff and property belonging to Chiquita's subsidiary in Colombia could be harmed if the money was not forthcoming. The AUC claimed to have been created to defend landowners from ... left-wing rebels, the paramilitary group more often acted as a death squad for drug traffickers. At its height, it had an estimated 30,000 members who engaged in intimidation, drug trafficking, extortion, forced displacement and killings.

Note: Read more about Chiquita's payments to this Colombian paramilitary group. Chiquita succeeded the United Fruit Company, which once owned most of the land in Guatemala and had close ties with the CIA. When Guatemala's democratically elected president aimed to nationalize land, US covert operations installed a military dictator, returning the land to United Fruit. This led to a bloody 40-year civil war and a series of repressive military regimes, armed with CIA-funded weapons.

The Companies Making It Easy To Buy In A West Bank Settlement
2024-07-09, The Intercept
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:17:49

Real estate companies are making an explicit appeal to wartime patriotism, leading with the conflict as a selling point and a reason to invest. In late June, a company called My Israel Home hosted an expo at a Los Angeles synagogue catering to a specific clientele: Jewish Americans looking to buy a new home in Israel — or on illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Similar real estate fairs have popped up across North America this year ... and several have faced protests as the war on Gaza has brought the issue of Israeli settlements and Palestinian sovereignty to the fore. On websites largely tailored for Jewish American buyers looking to move to Israel, prospective homeowners can browse properties that include listings for homes in settlement communities, which offer the typical trappings of suburban life. Around a dozen real estate firms have participated in real estate fairs organized by My Israel Home across North America this year. Six of these firms are actively marketing at least two dozen separate properties for sale located within eight different West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, according to their online listings. Other real estate firms commonly list dozens of West Bank properties on their sites. West Bank settlements have long drawn criticism from the international community, which regards the settlements as illegal, in violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions. Criticism of settlements have only intensified in recent months amid a spike in settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied territory.

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

How the United States Arms the Mexican Cartels
2024-04-16, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:16:02

Project Gunrunner [was] a nationwide initiative launched in Laredo, Texas, in 2005, which sought to reduce the smuggling of firearms across the U.S. southern border. But while the primary tactic of Gunrunner was the interdiction of buyers and sellers who were violating the laws, [ATF] agents in Phoenix had other plans. They wanted to see where the guns went if they were allowed to cross the border — to follow the small fish until they caught bigger ones. Agents named their operation “Fast and Furious,” after the popular movie about car racing. Between September 2009 and December 2010, a joint task force comprised of federal officials from ATF, FBI, DEA, and ICE, working under the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, let over two thousand guns “walk” to Mexico. The murder that made the flawed operation public and political in the United States was of an American citizen on US soil: the killing of US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Though the investigators could not identify the specific gun that fired the bullet, two AK-47 style WASR-10 rifles were recovered at the scene. Both were traced to ... one of the straw purchasers the agents were monitoring under the Fast and Furious operation. ATF agents who shared their experiences during interviews conducted by a congressional committee admitted they knew that the only way they would learn the whereabouts of the guns they let go would be when Mexican law enforcement recovered them at crime scenes.

Note: Read more about the thousands of illegal guns American officials allowed into Mexico during Operation Fast and Furious. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.

‘I saw a man transform before my eyes’
2024-06-15, Positive News
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:13:50

In A Band of Brothers, we believe that, when a man is willing to hold himself accountable and be supported by his community, magic can happen. And if you ask me what healthy masculinity looks like, it’s that. A man who has been arrogant, ignorant, selfish, rageful ... in short, who has made mistakes (and show me a human who hasn’t), having the courage to step into the circle and say: ‘I need help’. And other men holding him accountable without ever closing their hearts to him. I have compassion for all the men I meet who are still so focused on their own wounds that they cannot lift their heads to see the wounds of others. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK, which is the acute end of a much wider men’s mental health crisis. The young men who come to us are often torn between competing pressures: an old story about needing to be tough, to make money, to dominate, and a newer one about needing to be gentle, to value more than money, to stop dominating, to renounce the old values. Compassion and accountability – you need both. And the compassion comes first. I am still struck by the words of the young man who said: “No-one had ever actually asked me why I was angry.” He had also never been in a space where he was taught the difference between healthy anger, which is a natural and vital human emotion, and unhealthy anger, which leads to violence against yourself or others.

Note: This article was written by Conroy Harris, founder of A Band of Brothers. Explore more positive stories like this about healing social division.

The bid to ensure that no one dies alone
2024-07-16, Positive News
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:12:11

The No One Dies Alone (NODA) movement ... trains and supports volunteers to act as companions to people in the last hours of their lives. Award-winning Scottish nurse Alison Bunce was among the first to pioneer the concept in the UK, but as her team kept bedside vigils in homes, hospitals and hospices she began to ask herself: might they help people have good lives, too? “Being present and accompanying someone as they’re dying is such a privilege – it’s a profound, unique moment,” says Bunce. “But over the years, people were speaking to me about social isolation and loneliness, and I realised this was about life as well as death.” She set up Compassionate Inverclyde (CI) as a project funded by Ardgowan Hospice – where she worked as director of care – and recruited an initial 20 volunteers who could sit with people who were dying alone, initially in the hospice and a local hospital, but eventually in their own homes. Bunce soon realised her volunteers could do more and began curating a range of community care services which operate alongside healthcare professionals and support people at various stages of life. “Our very ethos is about being kind, and how ordinary people can make a difference together,” she says. Volunteers might lend a hand and a friendly ear to new mums, create ‘back home parcels’ for hospital leavers, visit socially isolated neighbours or keep the tea flowing out at CI’s bereavement cafe.

Note: Explore more positive stories about human interest topics.

Turning Brownfields to Blooming Meadows, With the Help of Fungi
2024-06-27, Yale Environment 360
Posted: 2024-07-21 19:10:33

Danielle Stevenson ... has been pioneering a nature-based technique for restoring contaminated land, using fungi and native plants to break down toxins like petroleum, plastics, and pesticides into less toxic chemicals. The usual way of dealing with tainted soil is to dig it up and cart it off to distant landfills. In a recent pilot project funded by the city of Los Angeles, Stevenson ... working with a team of UC Riverside students and other volunteers, significantly reduced petrochemical pollutants and heavy metals at an abandoned railyard and other industrial sites in Los Angeles. Stevenson says she believes her bioremediation methods can be scaled up to clean polluted landscapes worldwide. "Decomposer fungi can degrade petrochemicals the same way they would break down a dead tree," [said Stevenson]. "And in doing so, they reduce the toxicity of these petrochemicals and create soil that no longer has these contaminants or has much reduced concentrations of it. They can also eat plastic and other things made out of oil. People who live in a place impacted by pollution need to have a say in how their neighborhood is being cleaned up. We need to empower them with the tools to do this. That’s why along with doing these studies and pilot projects, I’ve been running workforce development programs. Potentially, they could bring economic opportunities and benefits to the community in addition to cleaning up the contaminated site."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this about healing the Earth.

Microsoft’s climbdown over its creepy Recall feature shows its AI strategy is far from intelligent
2024-07-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:20:50

Recall ... takes constant screenshots in the background while you go about your daily computer business. Microsoft’s Copilot+ machine-learning tech then scans (and “reads”) each of these screenshots in order to make a searchable database of every action performed on your computer and then stores it on the machine’s disk. “Recall is like bestowing a photographic memory on everyone who buys a Copilot+ PC,” [Microsoft marketing officer Yusuf] Mehdi said. “Anything you’ve ever seen or done, you’ll now more or less be able to find.” Charlie Stross, the sci-fi author and tech critic, called it a privacy “shit-show for any organisation that handles medical records or has a duty of legal confidentiality.” He also said: “Suddenly, every PC becomes a target for discovery during legal proceedings. Lawyers can subpoena your Recall database and search it, no longer being limited to email but being able to search for terms that came up in Teams or Slack or Signal messages, and potentially verbally via Zoom or Skype if speech-to-text is included in Recall data.” Faced with this pushback, Microsoft [announced] that Recall would be made opt-in instead of on by default, and also introducing extra security precautions – only producing results from Recall after user authentication, for example, and never decrypting data stored by the tool until after a search query. The only good news for Microsoft here is that it seems to have belatedly acknowledged that Recall has been a fiasco.

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

Revolving door: You are free to influence us “behind the scenes,” FDA tells staff leaving for industry jobs
2024-07-01, The BMJ (Formerly British Medical Journal)
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:18:59

During his final three years at the US Food and Drug Administration the physician scientist Doran Fink’s work focused on reviewing covid-19 vaccines. But a decade after joining the agency Fink had accepted a job with Moderna, the covid vaccine manufacturer. As he left for the private sector, the FDA’s ethics programme staff emailed him guidelines on post-employment restrictions, “tailored to your situation.” The email, obtained by The BMJ under a freedom of information request, explained that, although US law prohibits a variety of types of lobbying contact, “they do not prohibit the former employee from other activities, including working ‘behind the scenes.’” The legal ability to work “behind the scenes” is enshrined in federal regulations and highlights a “critical, critical loophole” in US revolving door policy. Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for the organisation Public Citizen, told The BMJ that the rules forbid various forms of direct lobbying contact but permit lobbying activity that is indirect. “So, people will leave government service and can immediately start doing influence peddling and lobbying,” Holman explained. “They can even run a lobbying campaign, as long as they don’t actually pick up the telephone and make the contact with their former officials.” A majority of former FDA reviewers take up jobs in industry. Since 2000 every FDA commissioner, the agency’s highest position, has gone on to work for industry.

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

Supreme Court opioid case makes it harder to shield wealth in bankruptcy
2024-06-29, Washington Post
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:16:32

A Supreme Court ruling against the opioid company Purdue Pharma ... substantially raised the bar for executives and owners trying to shield their wealth. Johnson & Johnson, Boy Scouts of America and Rite Aid are among the entities trying to handle a vast number of lawsuits in bankruptcy court, seeking to resolve all claims in a single settlement. These proceedings have echoes of the Purdue Pharma case decided by the Supreme Court on Thursday, in which the Sackler family, which owns the bankrupt opioid-maker, offered plaintiffs about $6 billion of the $11 billion they extracted from the company. In exchange, family members would have received immunity from future lawsuits, without filing for bankruptcy themselves. A 5-4 Supreme Court held that settlement was inadequate. Its ruling threw the massive bankruptcy case against Purdue Pharma into doubt after years of court battles over the company’s role in the nation’s opioid epidemic. The decision also adds a fresh wrinkle to a controversial legal strategy, called the Texas two-step, in which companies use a Texas law to split into separate companies and shift a large volume of legal claims onto the newly created entity. In the second step, the entity carrying the lawsuits files for bankruptcy and seeks to release its parent organization from all liability in exchange for a payout. Johnson & Johnson transferred some of its assets and all of the legal claims against it over asbestos-tainted talcum powder into a new legal entity that filed for Chapter 11. Boy Scouts of America ... agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle claims of sexual abuse in bankruptcy court, a deal that shields from future litigation insurance companies as well as schools, churches and community organizations involved with the nonprofit.

Note: For more like this, read about how powerful corporations use the bankruptcy system to dodge lawsuits over sexual abuse and deadly products. Along US opioid industry lines, read how the industry operated like a drug cartel. Watch our Mindful News Brief video on how the deadly War on Drugs protects the activities of the rich and powerful: military-intelligence interests within the US government, big banks, Big Pharma, and drug cartels.

More Than 10 Years Later, The Senate Torture Report Is Still Secret
2024-06-27, The Intercept
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:14:08

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence submitted its 6,700-page “torture report” about the CIA to the White House in April 2014. More than 10 years later, the full report remains secret after a federal appellate court dismissed a lawsuit I filed in the hopes of forcing its release. The document “includes comprehensive and excruciating detail” about the CIA’s “program of indefinite secret detention and the use of brutal interrogation techniques,” the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the Senate intelligence committee at the time, wrote in a 2014 summary. “The full report details how the CIA lied to the public, the Congress, the president, and to itself about the information produced by the torture program,” said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. So far, efforts to obtain the torture report using the federal Freedom of Information Act have been unsuccessful. In late 2016, despite the CIA director’s objections, former President Barack Obama placed a copy in his presidential papers. But that copy is not subject to FOIA until 2029 — 12 years after Obama left office. The CIA and a handful of federal agencies also have copies of the torture report, although the Trump administration returned several of these to the Senate intelligence committee vaults in 2017. The Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations all fought strenuously against FOIA requests for these agencies’ copies.

Note: The above was written by media law attorney Shawn Musgrave. No one been charged in connection with the unethical CIA torture program. Many of the architects and enablers of the program are now in powerful and esteemed positions in academia, high levels of government, the federal judiciary, and more. For more, read the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture" and check out our summary on US torture programs in our comprehensive Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center.

540 Days at CIA Black Sites. 18 Years at Guantanamo Without Charge. Hundreds of Paintings, Now Out in The World.
2023-08-12, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:11:53

In the early days of America’s war on terror, U.S. authorities detained Ahmed Rabbani thinking he was someone else. They soon realized their mistake. Rabbani ... was never charged with a crime. Rabbani’s lawyer says he ... was taken by Pakistani authorities who misidentified him and handed him over to U.S. intelligence officers for a $5,000 reward. Rabbani [was] a taxi driver in Karachi. He spoke three languages—Urdu, Arabic and English. When he was detained, on Sept. 10, 2002, Rabbani didn’t know his wife was pregnant. He said he found out about it three years later from a letter—the first communication he had received from her since his detention. He met his 20-year-old son, Jawwad, for the first time upon his return to Pakistan in February. After 18½ years at Guantanamo Bay, he stepped off a plane in Pakistan in February—a free but broken man. Years of hunger strikes and force feeding have left him unable to eat most solid food. “I never, never, ever sleep at night,” he said. His only means of escape was art. By the time of his release, he had made hundreds of paintings. In May, 20 of Rabbani’s paintings were shown at a gallery in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Rabbani said he was transferred several times to camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan known as black sites—secret CIA interrogation facilities. There, he said, he was tortured until he told his captors anything he thought they wanted to hear. A total of 779 men were at some point detained [at Guantanamo]. Like Rabbani, most were eventually released without ever having been charged with a crime. Rabbani says he doesn’t expect he will ever fully recover, physically or mentally. “Some things will never be fixed,” he said.

Note: Read more about Guantanamo Bay's horrors. Check out the incredible ships created by Moath al-Alwi, another prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay without charges since 2002. The Pentagon has declared that art produced at Guantánamo Bay belongs to the US government, and not the artists. Authorities have refused to release the artworks from prison.

The U.S. Says a Far-Right Ukrainian Army Unit Can Now Get Aid. A Photo Shows Training Was Already Happening.
2024-06-22, The Intercept
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:09:12

Last week, the Biden administration said it would allow the Azov Brigade, a Ukrainian military unit, to receive U.S. weaponry and training, freeing it from a purported ban imposed in response to concerns that it committed human rights violations and had neo-Nazi ties. A photo posted by the unit itself, however, seems to suggest that the U.S. was providing support as far back as December of last year. The photo, in tandem with the administration’s own statements, highlights the murky nature of the arms ban, how it was imposed, and under what U.S. authority. Two mechanisms could have barred arms transfers: a law passed by Congress specifically prohibiting assistance to Azov, and the so-called Leahy laws that block support to units responsible for grave rights violations. The State Department said this month that weapon shipments will now go forward after a Leahy law review, but won’t comment on if and when a Leahy ban was in effect. The congressional prohibition, the U.S. says, does not apply because it barred assistance to the Azov Battalion, a predecessor to the Azov Brigade. The original unit had earned scrutiny for alleged human rights violations and ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideologies. The U.S. has not made clear about when the apparent ban started, but a deputy Azov commander and media reports indicate some type of prohibition has been in effect for nearly a decade — though the congressional ban has only been in effect since 2018.

Note: Facebook changed its censorship policies to permit calls for the death of Russian soldiers and praise for the Azov Battalion. Learn more about US covert military support for Neo-Nazis in our comprehensive Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center.

In Fresh Hell, American Vending Machines are Selling Bullets Using Facial Recognition
2024-07-08, Futurism
Posted: 2024-07-16 13:06:53

A growing number of supermarkets in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas are selling bullets by way of AI-powered vending machines, as first reported by Alabama's Tuscaloosa Thread. The company behind the machines, a Texas-based venture dubbed American Rounds, claims on its website that its dystopian bullet kiosks are outfitted with "built-in AI technology" and "facial recognition software," which allegedly allow the devices to "meticulously verify the identity and age of each buyer." As showcased in a promotional video, using one is an astoundingly simple process: walk up to the kiosk, provide identification, and let a camera scan your face. If its embedded facial recognition tech says you are in fact who you say you are, the automated machine coughs up some bullets. According to American Rounds, the main objective is convenience. Its machines are accessible "24/7," its website reads, "ensuring that you can buy ammunition on your own schedule, free from the constraints of store hours and long lines." Though officials in Tuscaloosa, where two machines have been installed, [said] that the devices are in full compliance with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' standards ... at least one of the devices has been taken down amid a Tuscaloosa city council investigation into its legal standing. "We have over 200 store requests for AARM [Automated Ammo Retail Machine] units covering approximately nine states currently," [American Rounds CEO Grant Magers] told Newsweek, "and that number is growing daily."

Note: Facial recognition technology is far from reliable. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on artificial intelligence from reliable major media sources.

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