Below are key excerpts of important news articles on how government spies are able to manipulate the Internet, the Pope's statement that as 2% of priests are pedophiles, the DOJ's $7 billion fine against Citigroup for knowingly selling overvalued mortgage securities, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on a major scientific study showing that organic food is more nutritious and the demise of coal-based electricity. 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 a powerful 4-minute video showing a young woman's battle with mental illness, and notice the notes beside the photos as the video plays. Read an intriguing analysis of China's quasi-legal buying up of luxury homes in the US. Read a scientific article showing a link between vaccines and autoimmune disorders. Read an excellent article by CNET on the risks and dangers of cell phones. Watch an inspiring 15-minute interview of WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks by wearechange.org.
Quote of the Week: "In looking at the hierarchical power structures of the world we live in, I've come to realize that our perception of this all boils down to who we really believe is in power. To the extent we believe that the president or the world's leaders are in power (or the people secretly controlling them), then we are largely at their mercy. If, however, we know that the real power lies deep within each one of us, then we become powerful co-creators of the world and universe in which we live!" ~~ Fred Burks
Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet
July 14, 2014, The Intercept
The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call. The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users. A newly released top-secret GCHQ document called “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” provides a comprehensive, birds-eye view of just how underhanded and invasive this unit’s operations are. The document—available in full here—is designed to notify other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” when it comes to the dark internet arts, and serves as a sort of hacker’s buffet for wreaking online havoc.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency operations news articles from reliable major media sources.
Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client communications
July 17, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations. Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world. "What last year's revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default," he said. Snowden's plea for the professions to tighten security came during an extensive and revealing interview with the Guardian in Moscow. During the seven hours of interview, Snowden: • Said if he ended up in US detention in Guantánamo Bay he could live with it. • Does not have any regrets. • Said that ... he was independently secure, living on savings, and money from awards and speeches he has delivered online round the world. • Made a startling claim that a culture exists within the NSA in which, during surveillance, nude photographs picked up of people in "sexually compromising" situations are routinely passed around. He works online late into the night; a solitary, digital existence not that dissimilar to his earlier life. He said he was using part of that time to work on the new focus for his technical skills, designing encryption tools to help professionals such as journalists protect sources and data. He is negotiating foundation funding for the project, a contribution to addressing the problem of professions wanting to protect client or patient data, and in this case journalistic sources.
Note: Read the transcript of the Guardian's new interview of Edward Snowden. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.
Pope Francis: 'About 2%' of Catholic clergy paedophiles
July 13, 2014, BBC News
Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that reliable data indicates that "about 2%" of clergy in the Catholic Church are paedophiles. The Pope said that abuse of children was like "leprosy" infecting the Church, according to the Italian La Repubblica newspaper. He vowed to "confront it with the severity it demands". Until now, the Vatican has declined to quantify the extent of clerical sexual abuse scandals in the worldwide Church. Statistics are usually available only for countries in the developed world. In the developing world, information is usually only sketchy. In the interview, Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the 2% estimate came from advisers. It would represent around 8,000 priests out of a global number of about 414,000. While the incidence of paedophilia as a psychiatric disorder in the general population is not accurately known, some estimates have put it at less than five percent. "Among the 2% who are paedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason," Pope Francis was quoted as saying. "I find this state of affairs intolerable," he went on. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi denied that Pope Francis had said that there were cardinals who were paedophiles. Asked in the same La Repubblica interview about the celibacy rule for priests, Pope Francis recalled that it was adopted 900 years after the death of Jesus Christ and pointed out that the Eastern Catholic Church allows its priests to marry.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse news articles from reliable major media sources.
Why does everyone feel so sorry for men accused of being predators?
July 14, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Why is it – in a culture purporting to take allegations of sexual assault and harassment seriously – that victims suffer more social punishment than their accused attackers? Young women are shamed, harassed and called whores while the men accused get rallied around. The misplaced empathy makes predators' lives easier and assaults more difficult to punish. Immediately after a guilty verdict came down in the much-watched Steubenville sexual assault case, for example, CNN reporter Poppy Harlow bemoaned the lost "promising futures" of the two convicted rapists. She failed to observe, in that moment, that the verdict didn't ruin their lives – their decision to rape did. But at least those rapists actually served time; the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (Rainn) reports that only three out of every 100 rapists go to jail. This is in large part because of how under-reported sexual assault is: according to the US Justice Department, over 60% of rapes and 74% of sexual assaults aren't reported to police. Given the abysmal way female sexual assault survivors are treated by the criminal justice system – and society more broadly – these numbers shouldn't be shocking. Given all this, it seems odd that we continue to worry about the reputations of men who are accused of sexual wrong-doings. Until we shame attackers with the same contempt that so many people reserve for women who come forward – until we shift the disdain from victim to perpetrator – rape, sexual assault and harassment will continue to run rampant and predators will continue to attack.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse news articles from reliable major media sources.
Citigroup to pay $7 billion for ‘egregious misconduct’ leading up to financial crisis
July 14, 2014, PBS
JUDY WOODRUFF: “We should start praying. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of these loans went down” — that’s what a trader at Citigroup wrote in an e-mail in 2007, after reviewing thousands of mortgages bought and sold by the bank. Today, the Justice Department cited those very words as it announced a $7 billion settlement with the bank. The government said Citi committed egregious misconduct in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Of the $7 billion, Citigroup will pay $4 billion to the Justice Department. More than $2.5 billion is set aside for what’s described as consumer relief. Tony West is associate attorney general. And he was the government’s lead negotiator in this case. Lay out for us, what was this egregious conduct and how many people at Citigroup were engaged in it? TONY WEST: Citibank packaged securities, packaged loans, mortgage loans into these securities, which they sold to investors. What they didn’t tell investors was what the actual quality of those loans were. And so you had these mortgage bond deals that had quality that was far less than what Citi was representing to investors that they were. JUDY WOODRUFF: And how many people knew about this, and did the knowledge go all the way to the top? TONY WEST: We know from the evidence that bankers were warned that the quality of the loans that they were packaging into these securities wasn’t what they were telling investors they were, but they ignored those warning signs. They ignored that due diligence. Certainly enough ... bankers knew that we felt that we could demand a very high, in fact, an historically high, penalty from Citibank.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Underground Lab Tackles Japan Nuclear Waste Issue
July 14, 2014, ABC News/Associated Press
Reindeer farms and grazing Holstein cows dot a vast stretch of rolling green pasture here on Japan's northern tip. Underground it's a different story. Workers and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below this sleep dairy town that, despite government reassurances, some of Horonobe's 2,500 residents fear could turn their neighborhood into a nuclear waste storage site. Japanese utilities have more than 17,000 tons of "spent" fuel rods that have finished their useful life but will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. What to do with them is a vexing problem that nuclear-powered nations around the world face, and that has come to the fore as Japan debates whether to keep using nuclear energy after the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant. The answer to that problem may lie in the Horonobe Underground Research Center, which has been collecting geological data to determine if and how radioactive waste can be stored safely for as long as 100,000 years in a country that is susceptible to volcanic activity, earthquakes and shifting underground water flows. But as with America's doomed Yucca Mountain project, finding a community willing to host a radioactive dump site is proving difficult, even with a raft of financial enticements. One mayor expressed interest in 2007, and was booted from office in the next election.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
Phil Donahue’s vindication: Media icon unloads on Fox, Cheney and what happened at MSNBC
July 10, 2014, Salon
[Phil Donahue:] I [have] produced ... an anti-Iraq War documentary. It’s titled “Body of War,” and it is available on Netflix. I’d very much like you to see the behavior of the [US] congressmen [in my film]. They were summoned to the White House by WHIG, White House Iraq Group. This is a Karl Rove committee that included the advertising warriors who named our invasion “Shock and Awe,” and “Rolling Thunder,” like video games. And they gave them their talking points: “A smoking gun will become a mushroom cloud”; “The longer we wait, the more dangerous he becomes”; “Saddam has more weapons of mass destruction than Hitler ever had”; “I see Hitler in Saddam Hussein.” And they read this, they’re looking down at the piece of paper, in what was at most a shell debate, that led to the deaths of over 4,500 service people, men and women both, not to mention how many injuries, we’re not even sure, we’re not even sure how many Iraqis are dead, and the refugees are in the millions. This is unbelievable. You’ve got to see this debate. It’s truly a very instructive piece on what you can do if you scare the people. George Bush took this nation, the mainstream media included, and led it right into this war. It was an amazingly executed, brilliantly executed, plan. The politics of fear. We haven’t won a war, and we’re spending $2 billion a day on things that go “boom.” We have become a warrior nation. We have no respect for diplomacy. We have to be tough, and we don’t talk to people we don’t like.
Note: Learn lots more about the politics of fear by watching online the BBC documentary Power of Nightmares. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail
July 14, 2014, New York Times
Brutal attacks by correction officers on inmates — particularly those with mental health issues — are common occurrences inside Rikers [Island], the country’s second-largest jail. Reports of such abuses have seldom reached the outside world, even as alarm has grown this year over conditions at the sprawling jail complex. A dearth of whistle-blowers, coupled with the reluctance of the city’s Department of Correction to acknowledge the problem and the fact that guards are rarely punished, has kept the full extent of the violence hidden from public view. But [in a four-month-long investigation, The New York Times has] uncovered details on scores of assaults through interviews with current and former inmates, correction officers and mental health clinicians at the jail, and by reviewing hundreds of pages of legal, investigative and jail records. Among the documents obtained ... was a secret internal study completed this year by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which handles medical care at Rikers, on violence by officers. The report helps lay bare the culture of brutality on the island and makes clear that it is inmates with mental illnesses who absorb the overwhelming brunt of the violence. The study ... found that over an 11-month period last year, 129 inmates suffered “serious injuries” — ones beyond the capacity of doctors at the jail’s clinics to treat — in altercations with correction department staff members. The report cataloged in exacting detail the severity of injuries suffered by inmates: fractures, wounds requiring stitches, head injuries and the like. But it also explored who the victims were. Most significantly, 77 percent of the seriously injured inmates had received a mental illness diagnosis.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prisons corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Cyril Smith: MP's friend made 'veiled threats' to police
July 16, 2014, BBC News
A high-ranking friend of Cyril Smith tried to warn off police investigating claims that he had been sexually abusing boys, a report reveals. A senior detective investigating the claims against Smith said a magistrate made "veiled threats" to officers. The detective's 1970 report to the Chief Constable of Lancashire said there was "prima facie" evidence of the MP's guilt. The Director of Public Prosecution later advised against prosecuting. The 14-page report by the detective superintendent ... said that Smith would have been "at the mercy of a competent counsel", but also reported that the MP's magistrate "buddy" had warned of "unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale" should he be prosecuted. Smith was interviewed by the detective superintendent, who reported to former chief constable William Palfrey that "it seems impossible to excuse [Smith's] conduct". "Over a considerable period of time, while sheltering beneath a veneer of responsibility, he has used his unique position to indulge in a series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility," he wrote. He said Smith was "most unimpressive during my interview with him". The officer said: "He had difficulty in articulating and even the stock replies he proffered could only be obtained after repeated promptings from his solicitor. "Were he ever to be placed in the witness box, he would be at the mercy of any competent counsel. Prima facie, he appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault." The officer reported that he interviewed the magistrate who told him in his "personal opinion" he "sincerely hoped that this matter is not prosecuted before the court".
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse news articles from reliable major media sources.
Westminster child abuse inquiry: Former Met Police detective removed from post 'because he named suspected paedophiles'
July 16, 2014, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A former Metropolitan Police detective was removed from his post in an investigation into alleged child sex abuse after revealing politicians were suspects, he has claimed. Clive Driscoll, a Detective Chief Inspector who has since retired, [said] he was conducting an inquiry in 1998 into reported paedophile activity at children’s homes in Lambeth, south London, in the 1980s. Mr Driscoll said he had a list of suspects he wanted to look at, including local and national politicians in power during the period. Mr Driscoll said he had disclosed suspects’ names and was afterwards informed it was “inappropriate” and taken off the case. He added: "Whenever people spoke to you and shared their fears and their story about what they had seen, it was almost on the proviso that they wouldn't make a statement and that they would be scared if you released who those people were that were talking for fear of reprisals to both themselves and their families." Investigations are believed to have continued into more than 20 children's homes after Mr Driscoll was moved. Mr Driscoll ... claimed there were discussions within the Met about withholding documents from an independent inquiry into the original investigation. Some of the allegations could be considered in the Government’s inquiry into allegations of an establishment “cover-up” of child abuse allegations. A spokesman at Scotland Yard said the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards was looking into Mr Driscoll’s claims and they would be fully investigated.
Note: If you are ready to see how investigations into a massive child sex abuse ring have led to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence," available here. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse news articles from reliable major media sources.
Organic foods are more nutritious, according to review of 343 studies
July 14, 2014, Los Angeles Times
Most everyone who has ever selected their fruits and vegetables from the "organic" section while grocery shopping probably thought they were doing something good for their bodies and the environment. Yet the question of whether organic foods are in fact more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts remains a topic of heated scientific debate. On [July 14], the British Journal of Nutrition published research that disputed the notion that organic foods are essentially no more healthful than conventional foods. After reviewing 343 studies on the topic, researchers in Europe and the United States concluded that organic crops and organic-crop-based foods contained higher concentrations of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown foods. At the same time, the researchers found that conventional foods contained greater concentrations of residual pesticides and the toxic metal cadmium. "This shows clearly that organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains deliver tangible nutrition and food safety benefits," said study coauthor Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Note: Read more about this landmark study in this article.
Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn't compete
July 7, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Last week ... the wholesale price of electricity in Queensland fell into negative territory – in the middle of the day. For several days the price, normally around $40-$50 a megawatt hour, hovered in and around zero. Prices were deflated throughout the week, largely because of the influence of one of the newest, biggest power stations in the state – rooftop solar. “Negative pricing” moves, as they are known, are not uncommon. But they are only supposed to happen at night, when most of the population is mostly asleep, [and] demand is down That's not supposed to happen at lunchtime. Daytime prices are supposed to reflect higher demand, when people are awake, office buildings are in use, factories are in production. That's when fossil fuel generators would normally be making most of their money. The influx of rooftop solar has turned this model on its head. The impact has been so profound, and wholesale prices pushed down so low, that few coal generators in Australia made a profit last year. Hardly any are making a profit this year. State-owned generators like Stanwell are specifically blaming rooftop solar. The problem for Australian consumers [comes] in the cost of delivery of [electricity] through the transmission and distribution networks, and from retail costs and taxes. This is the cost which is driving households to take up rooftop solar, in such proportions that the level of rooftop solar is forecast ... to rise sixfold over the next decade. Households are tipped to spend up to $30bn on rooftop modules. It is not clear how centralised, fossil-fuel generation can adapt. In an energy democracy, even free coal has no value.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Tim's Place, Restaurant Run By 26-Year-Old With Down Syndrome, Serves Hugs With Lunch
June 22, 2012, Huffington Post
Tim Harris was born with Down syndrome and his father, Keith, admits that acceptance didn't come easily at first. But over the years, Keith's attitude shifted. "Tim is the second of four boys, and when he was growing up, we saw the challenges that his disability presented socially,” Keith [said]. “We started to ponder when he was young about his future and made the choice that we wanted to create a life for him that was as close to typical as possible.” Thanks to his parents' faith and support, Harris has not only accomplished the typical, but he's also made the world a little bit more extraordinary. Today, Harris is the proud owner of Tim's Place, a successful -- and unique -- restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M. Other than selling regular New Mexican fare, Tim's Place has a trademark special. It's called the Tim Hug -— a "calorie-free" and "guilt-free" treat that, according to the menu description, guarantees to "improve your lease on life." "I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends,” Harris told Albuquerque The Magazine. Tim's Place, which calls itself the "world's friendliest restaurant" opened its doors in 2010 and since then, Tim has given out more than 19,000 hugs. He keeps track using a Hug Counter. Only 26, Harris -- a college graduate -- is also an accomplished Special Olympian, an excellent sailor and an experienced offshore fisherman. In high school, Harris was also elected homecoming king and Student Of The Year.
Note: Don't miss the awesome three-minute video of Tim and his restaurant! 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.
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