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Top news: New York Times' war propaganda, Blackwater threatened investigators

New York Times' war propaganda, Blackwater threatened investigators
New York Times' war propaganda, Blackwater threatened investigatorsCreative Commons

Below are key excerpts of important news articles on the New York Times' blatant war propaganda, Blackwater's closure of a State Department investigation with a death threat to the principal investigator, the sweeping authority given to the NSA to spy on all countries, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on empowering prisoners in San Quentin by healing their rage and the healing powers of laughter. You can also skip to this section now.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Special note: Watch an inspiring video empowering girls to be girls. Watch an awesome 2 1/2 minute video on the choice between fear and love.

Quote of the Week: "It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel." ~~ Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, former CIA chief in New York Times on Feb. 28,1960

Covering New War, in Shadow of Old One
June 29, 2014, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/public-editor/covering-new-war...

The lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003 was not The Times’s finest hour. Some of the news reporting was flawed, driven by outside agendas and lacking in needed skepticism. Many Op-Ed columns promoted the idea of a war that turned out to be both unfounded and disastrous. Readers have not forgotten. In recent weeks, with Iraq in chaos, military intervention there again has been under consideration, and readers are on high alert. Given The Times’s troubled history when it comes to this subject, readers have good reason to be wary about what appears in the paper about military intervention in Iraq. Many readers have complained ... that The Times is amplifying the voices of hawkish neoconservatives and serving as a megaphone for anonymously sourced administration leaks, while failing to give voice to those who oppose intervention. The readers have a point worth considering. On the Op-Ed pages and in the news columns, there have been very few outside voices of those who opposed the war last time, or those who reject the use of force now. But the neoconservatives and interventionists are certainly being heard. A recent profile of the historian Robert Kagan, a leading proponent of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 who is once more in the news, was one focus of sharp reader criticism. The coverage has not featured the kind of in-depth attention that readers want as a counterbalance to pieces like the one on Mr. Kagan.

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

Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater
June 30, 2014, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/us/before-shooting-in-iraq-warning-on-blackwater.html

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq.” American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country. After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.” “The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves,” the investigator, Jean C. Richter, wrote in an Aug. 31, 2007, memo to State Department officials. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” he said, adding that the “hands off” management resulted in a situation in which “the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and in control.”

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.

Court gave NSA broad leeway in surveillance, documents show
June 30, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/court-gave-nsa-broad-leeway...

A classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well. The certification — approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — lists 193 countries that would be of valid interest for U.S. intelligence. The certification also permitted the agency to gather intelligence about entities including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The documents underscore the remarkable breadth of potential “foreign intelligence” collection. An affidavit in support of the 2010 foreign-government certification said the NSA believes that foreigners who will be targeted for collection “possess, are expected to receive and/or are likely to communicate foreign intelligence information concerning these foreign powers.” That language could allow for surveillance of academics, journalists and human rights researchers. A Swiss academic who has information on the German government’s position in the run-up to an international trade negotiation, for instance, could be targeted if the government has determined there is a foreign-intelligence need for that information. If a U.S. college professor e-mails the Swiss professor’s e-mail address or phone number to a colleague, the American’s e-mail could be collected as well, under the program’s court-approved rules.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency news articles from reliable major media sources.

Leaders Get Immunity at New African Rights Court
July 1, 2014, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/leaders-immunity-african-rights-court...

Leaders at an African summit have voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from prosecution for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at a new African Court of Justice and Human Rights. The continent ... has two sitting presidents and one ousted president facing charges at the International Criminal Court. Amnesty International called it "a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights." The decision came [on June 27] at an African Union summit vote in Equatorial Guinea from which journalists were excluded, Amnesty International said. News of the vote was imparted obliquely in a statement [on June 30] about the summit outcomes. A paragraph listing legal instruments agreed at the meeting included the "Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights." That amendment bars the court from prosecuting sitting African leaders and vaguely identified "senior officials." Forty-two African and international civil society and rights groups had objected to the amendment, noting in an open letter before the summit that the impunity violates international and domestic laws as well as the constitution of the African Union.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.

Elizabeth Warren says the U.S. economy is rigged. Many conservatives agree.
June 27, 2014, Washington Post blog
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/27/elizabeth-warren...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has built a sizable political profile — including the requisite presidential speculation — by espousing a simple idea: that the system is "rigged" against average Americans. And you might be surprised who agrees with her: A whole bunch of conservatives. According to a new Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans think that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent think that too much power is concentrated in too few companies. The discontent isn't limited to those who share Warren's liberal ideology; 69 percent of young conservative-leaning voters and 48 percent of the most conservative voters agree that the system favors the powerful, according to Pew. Although Warren seems an outlier in the legislative branch for her fiery discontent with inequality — and the role she says Wall Street plays in exacerbating it — the Pew survey suggests that the vast majority of Americans are at least open to her underlying premise.

Note: Watch Chris Matthews of Fox News interview Elizabeth Warren to see how the right is opening to support of good people on the left. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.

Former Downing Street adviser charged over child abuse images
June 28, 2014, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/former-downing-street-adviser...

A former Downing Street adviser has been charged with making and possessing indecent images of children. Patrick Rock ... was involved in Government policy on filtering online child abuse images. The 63-year-old has had a glittering career as a Conservative Party adviser spanning 30 years. On Friday, he was charged with three offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of possession of 59 indecent images of children. [He] resigned shortly before his arrest in February. Mr Rock has been an influential figure behind the scenes in the Conservative Party for decades and unsuccessfully stood as an MP three times. He met David Cameron when they were fellow advisers to the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, in the 1990s and the Prime Minister brought him into the Downing Street policy unit in 2011. Judith Reed, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service's organised crime division, said: “We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.” Mr Rock has been bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 3 July.

Note: Why is it mentioned so casually that this man was involved in setting policy on child abuse images? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandals news articles from reliable major media sources.

Vatican ex-ambassador convicted of sex abuse
June 27, 2014, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jozef-wesolowski-vatican-ex-ambassador-convicted...

The Vatican's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been convicted by a church tribunal of sex abuse and has been defrocked, the first such sentence handed down against a top papal representative. The Vatican said [on June 27] that Monsignor Jozef Wesolowski was found guilty by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in recent days, and sentenced to the harshest penalty possible against a cleric: laicization, meaning he can no longer perform priestly duties or present himself as a priest. He also faces other charges by the criminal tribunal of Vatican City, since as a papal diplomat he is a citizen of the tiny city state. The Holy See recalled the Polish-born Wesolowski on Aug. 21, 2013, and relieved him of his job after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, told Pope Francis about rumors that Wesolowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic. Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sex abuse, and his case raised questions about whether the Vatican, by removing him from Dominican jurisdiction, was protecting him and placing its own investigations ahead of that of authorities in the Caribbean nation. The case is particularly problematic for the Vatican since Wesolowski was a representative of the pope, accused of grave crimes that the Holy See has previously sought to distance itself from by blaming the worldwide sex abuse scandal on wayward priests and their bishops who failed to discipline them, not Vatican officials.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandals news articles from reliable major media sources.

Rolf Harris child sex abuse education video surfaces after entertainer found guilty in London court
July 1, 2014, Sydney Morning Herald (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
http://www.smh.com.au/world/rolf-harris-child-sex-abuse...

Rolf Harris, then a trusted and beloved entertainer, strolls into [the] shot flanked by four youngsters [in] what is now an unsettling 20-minute long anti-child-abuse video that prosecutors planned to play for the jury at Harris’ indecent assault trial. Overnight, Harris was declared guilty of all 12 charges of indecent assault against four girls, from 1968 to 1986. The video, called 'Kids Can Say No', was developed in the mid-1980s, when he was indecently assaulting young women and girls - including one as young as seven or eight. Harris had commissioned and fronted the child protection video, with endorsement from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, after being inspired by similar programs in Australia. In the period when the video began to be widely shown in schools, youth clubs and health institutes in the United Kingdom, the court found he was also having sexual encounters with his daughter’s best friend. In 1986, he had sexually abused an eight-year-old girl at a community centre near her home when Harris performed ‘Two Little Boys’ for the children.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandals news articles from reliable major media sources.

How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater
August 25, 2013, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/health/exploring-salines-secret-costs.html...

It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater. Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1. Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as [revealed by] the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York. Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution. At every step from manufacturer to patient, there are confidential deals among the major players, including drug companies, purchasing organizations and distributors, and insurers. These deals so obscure prices and profits that even participants cannot say what the simplest component of care actually costs, let alone what it should cost. And that leaves taxpayers and patients alike with an inflated bottom line and little or no way to challenge it. The real cost of a bag of normal saline, like the true cost of medical supplies from gauze to heart implants, disappears into an opaque realm of byzantine contracts, confidential rebates and fees that would be considered illegal kickbacks in many other industries.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing medical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Red Cross: How we spent Sandy money is a “trade secret”
June 28, 2014, Salon/ProPublica
http://www.salon.com/2014/06/28/red_cross_how_we_spent_sandy_money...

Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy? The charity has hired [law firm Gibson Dunn] to fight a public request [ProPublica] filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a “trade secret.” The Red Cross’ “trade secret” argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it’s not clear yet how much since the documents haven’t yet been released. The Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent. An attorney from [Gibson Dunn] appealed to the attorney general to block disclosure of some of the Sandy information, citing the state Freedom of Information Law’s trade secret exemption. Doug White, a nonprofit expert who directs the fundraising management program at Columbia University, said that it’s possible for nonprofits to have trade interests — the logo of a university, for example — but it’s not clear what a “trade secret” would be in the case of the Red Cross. He called the lawyer’s letter an apparent “delaying tactic.” Ben Smilowitz of the Disaster Accountability Project, a watchdog group, said, “Invoking a ‘trade secret’ exemption is not something you would expect from an organization that purports to be ‘transparent and accountable.’”

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Insights challenging science's unshakable 'truths'
June 29, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/29/five-insights...

We have come to think that if something is "in our genes", it is our inevitable destiny. However, this is a gross oversimplification. We have each inherited a particular set of genes, but the outcome of that inheritance is not fixed. Our environment, diet and circumstance flood our bodies with molecules that switch the genes on or off. The result can make a huge difference to our destiny – and that of our descendants. One example of these "epigenetic" changes occurs when a bundle of carbon and hydrogen atoms known as a methyl group attaches itself to the DNA and changes the way its instructions are carried out. Methyl groups often come from what we eat. Lack of food seems to have an epigenetic effect, too. A study of Dutch women starved by the Nazis during the second world war ... found elevated levels of schizophrenia, breast cancer and heart disease. The data suggest that the alterations to which genes are turned on or off survive at least two generations: the one that suffered in the womb during the famine, and their children. They may go much further. A 2011 study published by researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, demonstrated epigenetic mutations that lasted for at least 30 generations in plants. What you eat, what your mother ate, the age when your grandfather started smoking, the amount of pollution in your neighbourhood – these factors have all been linked to epigenetic changes that get passed down through the generations. Armed with this new insight, we can take far more control of our health – and the health of future generations.

Note: For a truly engaging and revolutionary book on this topic, read The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, a top researcher in the field of cell biology. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.

Psychedelic mushrooms put your brain in a “waking dream,” study finds
July 3, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/07/03/psychedelic-drugs...

Psychedelic mushrooms can do more than make you see the world in kaleidoscope. Research suggests they may have permanent, positive effects on the human brain. In fact, a mind-altering compound found in some 200 species of mushroom is already being explored as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety. People who consume these mushrooms, after “trips” that can be a bit scary and unpleasant, report feeling more optimistic, less self-centered, and even happier for months after the fact. But why do these trips change the way people see the world? According to a study published today in Human Brain Mapping, the mushroom compounds could be unlocking brain states usually only experienced when we dream, changes in activity that could help unlock permanent shifts in perspective. The study examined brain activity in those who’d received injections of psilocybin, which gives “shrooms” their psychedelic punch. After injections, the 15 participants were found to have increased brain function in areas associated with emotion and memory. The effect was strikingly similar to a brain in dream sleep, according to Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, a post-doctoral researcher in neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and co-author of the study. Administration of the drug just before or during sleep seemed to promote higher activity levels during Rapid Eye Movement sleep, when dreams occur. An intriguing finding, Carhart-Harris says, given that people tend to describe their experience on psychedelic drugs as being like “a waking dream.”

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind altering drugs news articles from reliable major media sources.

Inspiring Articles

Guiding Rage Into Power
June 30, 2014, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/770/guiding-rage-into-power-janis-daddona

“Us versus them” is not a paradigm that Jacques Verduin buys into. As the founder and director of the prison program Insight-Out, he believes that prison serves a purpose for people who cannot contain themselves when they act dangerously, but he has also learned that none of us is much different from the incarcerated. Thankfully Jacques has shown that the empowerment and transformation of prisoners is a big part of what prison reform looks like, and San Quentin State Prison has become a successful social experiment that is one of the best-kept secrets around. His programs, the Insight Prison Project and Insight-Out, are teaching prisoners to transform rage and pain into a positive force in the prison community as well as their own neighborhoods. In a year-long program participants make bonds with each other that transcend age [and] racial, economic, and gang differences. It takes time, but as group members get comfortable with the concept, they practice “sitting in the fire.” As Jacques explains, “By sitting with their own primary pain—the pain that initiated them into a suppression of their feelings—and their secondary pain—the pain associated with hurting others—they find strength in the midst of their overwhelming emotions. They need a support system to share their struggle of living up to these expectations. Shame runs deep in all of us. We all need a support system to help us connect with our wounded but more authentic self. Rather than fix ourselves, which assumes something is wrong with us, let’s accept and talk about our warts. By being vulnerable we take the power out of shame. That’s where authenticity lies.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Worker-Owned Co-ops Get $1 Million in NYC Spending
June 27, 2014, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/worker-owned-co-ops...

New York City’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes a new item that supporters of a fairer economy will want to celebrate: $1.2 million set aside for the development of worker-owned cooperative businesses. The spending is a small fraction of the $75 billion budget, which the City Council approved on June 26. But, according to a statement by U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, it's the largest investment in the sector ever made by a city government in the United States. Cooperative businesses are both owned and operated by employees. They focus on maximizing value for all their members as well as creating fair and quality jobs. “This is a great step forward for worker cooperatives,” Melissa Hoover, executive director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, said in a press release. According to Hoover the co-op funding received widespread support from city council members, which “shows that they understand cooperatives can be a viable tool for economic development that creates real opportunity." Here’s how the city’s newly adopted budget describes the program: "Funding will support the creation of 234 jobs in worker cooperative businesses by coordinating education and training resources and by providing technical, legal and financial assistance. The initiative will fund a comprehensive citywide effort to reach 920 cooperative entrepreneurs, provide for the start-up of 28 new worker cooperative small businesses and assists another 20 existing cooperatives."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

After Finding $40,000 In Thrift-Store Couch, Roommates Return Money
May 16, 2014, NPR
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/05/16/313118337/thrift-store-couch...

Many of us have stories about old couches — particularly ones we had in college, or shortly after. But not many stories are like the one three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y., can now tell. After the trio realized their beat-up couch was stuffed with more than $40,000, they decided to return the money to its rightful owner. It all started when roommates Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo realized that the lumps in their couch's pillows were actually envelopes stuffed with money. Just two months earlier, they'd bought the couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store. "It had these bubble wrap envelopes, just like two or three of them," Werkhoven tells. They kept finding more envelopes in the couch, pulling money out of it like an upholstered ATM. As they counted the money, they talked about what they might do with it; Werkhoven says he wanted to buy his mom a new car. But then they spotted a name among the envelopes, and realized "that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to ... it's their money." A phone number led them to the family that had donated the couch — and to answers about why it was full of money. It turned out that the money was socked away out of the woman's late husband's concerns that he wouldn't always be there for his wife. It represented decades of savings. "This was her life savings and she actually said something really beautiful, like 'This is my husband looking down on me and this was supposed to happen,' " Guasti [said]. After they returned the money to the woman, Guasti, Russo and Werkhoven received $1,000 as a reward.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Laughing Makes Your Brain Work Better, New Study Finds
April 20, 2014, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/laughing-makes-brain-work-study...

Ever have trouble remembering where you just left your keys? Just laugh it off. New research suggests that humor can improve short-term memory in older adults. In a recent small study conducted at Loma Linda University in Southern California, 20 normal, healthy, older adults watched a funny video distraction-free for 20 minutes, while a control group sat calmly with no video. Afterwards, they performed memory tests and had saliva samples analyzed for stress hormones. You guessed it; those who got to laugh the 20 minutes away with the funny video scored better on short-term memory tests, researchers said. And salivary levels of the stress hormone cortisol -- a memory enemy of sorts -- were significantly decreased in the humor group. The less stress you have, researchers said, the better your memory. It works like this: humor reduces stress hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and increases your mood state, according to Dr. Lee Berk, a co-author of the study. The act of laughter -- or simply enjoying some humor -- increases endorphins, sending dopamine to the brain to provide a sense of pleasure and reward, Berk said. That, in turn, makes the immune system work better and changes brain wave activity towards what's called a "gamma frequency," amping up memory and recall.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The section below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.

What you can do:

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