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Revealing News For a Better World

Corporate Corruption Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Corporate Corruption Media Articles in Major Media


Below are key excerpts of revealing news articles on corporate corruption 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.


Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Banana giant held liable for funding paramilitaries
2024-06-11, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c6pprpd3x96o

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 (Ł30m) 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.


Big Food, Big Profits, Big Lies
2024-06-03, The Lever
https://www.levernews.com/big-food-big-profits-big-lies/

Food costs have skyrocketed. Americans paid roughly 25 percent more on groceries and dining out this March than they paid in January 2020, outpacing the rate of general inflation. Over that same period, the companies behind the country's 10 largest grocery and restaurant brands have together returned or pledged to return more than $77 billion to shareholders. The Department of Agriculture calculates that the average American spent 11 percent of their disposable income on food in 2022, the highest amount in nearly four decades. Grocery prices rose over 10 percent that year alone, the largest annual increase since the 1970s. According to an analysis by Food and Water Watch, a corporate watchdog group, food costs for an average family of four living on a "thrifty" budget increased 50 percent from January 2020 to January 2024, from $654 to $976 a month. The number of households facing food insecurity grew by 3.5 million between 2020 and 2022. Some 28 million adults in America lack constant access to enough food to lead an active and healthy life, forcing them to eat unbalanced diets, cut portion sizes, and skip meals. The nation's biggest food processors and retailers [are] spending billions of their record profits buying back their own shares on the open market to inflate stock value and issuing generous dividends. The main purpose of buybacks is to enrich senior corporate executives and hedge-fund managers.

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


News Publishers Try To Sic the Government on Google AI
2024-06-03, Reason
https://reason.com/2024/06/03/news-publishers-try-to-sic-the-government-on-go...

"Agency intervention is necessary to stop the existential threat Google poses to original content creators," the News/Media Alliance–a major news industry trade group–wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It asked the agencies to use antitrust authority "to stop Google's latest expansion of AI Overviews," a search engine innovation that Google has been rolling out recently. Overviews offer up short, AI-generated summaries paired with brief bits of text from linked websites. Overviews give "comprehensive answers without the user ever having to click to another page," the The New York Times warns. And this worries websites that rely on Google to drive much of their traffic. "It potentially chokes off the original creators of the content," Frank Pine, executive editor of MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing (owner of 68 daily newspapers), told the Times. Media websites have gotten used to Google searches sending them a certain amount of traffic. But that doesn't mean Google is obligated to continue sending them that same amount of traffic forever. It is possible that Google's pivot to AI was hastened by how hostile news media has been to tech companies. We've seen publishers demanding that search engines and social platforms pay them for the privilege of sharing news links, even though this arrangement benefits publications (arguably more than it does tech companies) by driving traffic.

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


NIH scientists made $710M in royalties from drug makers – a fact they tried to hide
2024-06-02, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2024/06/02/opinion/nih-scientists-made-710m-in-royalties-f...

New data from the National Institutes of Health reveal the agency and its scientists collected $710 million in royalties during the pandemic, from late 2021 through 2023. These are payments made by private companies, like pharmaceuticals, to license medical innovations from government scientists. Almost all that cash – $690 million – went to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the subagency led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, and 260 of its scientists. Information about this vast private royalty complex is tightly held by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). My organization, OpenTheBooks.com, was forced to sue to uncover the royalties paid from September 2009 to October 2021, which amounted to $325 million over 56,000 transactions. Payments skyrocketed during the pandemic era: Those years saw more than double the amount of cash flow to NIH from the private sector, compared to the prior 12 combined. All told, it's $1.036 billion. NIH is still redacting pieces of the data that would help us more easily connect therapeutics with their government-paid inventors. For example, they refuse to show us the amount of royalties paid to each individual scientist. So we still can't entirely follow the money. In the meantime, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has sponsored the Royalty Transparency Act, which sailed unanimously through the committee process and deserves a floor vote immediately.

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


Sure, Google's AI overviews could be useful – if you like eating rocks
2024-06-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/article/2024/jun/01/sure-googles-ai...

Once upon a time, Google was great. They intensively monitored what people searched for, and then used that information continually to improve the engine's performance. Their big idea was that the information thus derived had a commercial value; it indicated what people were interested in and might therefore be of value to advertisers who wanted to sell them stuff. Thus was born what Shoshana Zuboff christened "surveillance capitalism", the dominant money machine of the networked world. The launch of generative AIs such as ChatGPT clearly took Google by surprise, which is odd given that the company had for years been working on the technology. The question became: how will Google respond to the threat? Now we know: it's something called AI overviews, in which an increasing number of search queries are initially answered by AI-generated responses. Users have been told that glue is useful for ensuring that cheese sticks to pizza, that they could stare at the sun for for up to 30 minutes, and that geologists suggest eating one rock per day. There's a quaint air of desperation in the publicity for this sudden pivot from search engine to answerbot. The really big question about the pivot, though, is what its systemic impact on the link economy will be. Already, the news is not great. Gartner, a market-research consultancy, for example, predicts that search engine volume will drop 25% by 2026 owing to AI chatbots and other virtual agents.

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


'I was misidentified as shoplifter by facial recognition tech'
2024-05-25, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-69055945

Sara needed some chocolate - she had had one of those days - so wandered into a Home Bargains store. "Within less than a minute, I'm approached by a store worker who comes up to me and says, 'You're a thief, you need to leave the store'." Sara ... was wrongly accused after being flagged by a facial-recognition system called Facewatch. She says after her bag was searched she was led out of the shop, and told she was banned from all stores using the technology. Facewatch later wrote to Sara and acknowledged it had made an error. Facewatch is used in numerous stores in the UK. It's not just retailers who are turning to the technology. On the day we were filming, the Metropolitan Police said they made six arrests with the assistance of the tech. 192 arrests have been made so far this year as a result of it. But civil liberty groups are worried that its accuracy is yet to be fully established, and point to cases such as Shaun Thompson's. Mr Thompson, who works for youth-advocacy group Streetfathers, didn't think much of it when he walked by a white van near London Bridge. Within a few seconds, he was approached by police and told he was a wanted man. But it was a case of mistaken identity. "It felt intrusive ... I was treated guilty until proven innocent," he says. Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, has filmed the police on numerous facial-recognition deployments. She says that anyone's face who is scanned is effectively part of a digital police line-up.

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


Cats on the moon? Google's AI tool is producing misleading responses that have experts worried
2024-05-24, Associated Press
https://apnews.com/article/google-ai-overviews-96e763ea2a6203978f581ca9c10f1b07

Ask Google if cats have been on the moon and it used to spit out a ranked list of websites so you could discover the answer for yourself. Now it comes up with an instant answer generated by artificial intelligence - which may or may not be correct. "Yes, astronauts have met cats on the moon, played with them, and provided care," said Google's newly retooled search engine. It added: "For example, Neil Armstrong said, ‘One small step for man' because it was a cat's step. Buzz Aldrin also deployed cats on the Apollo 11 mission." None of this is true. Similar errors – some funny, others harmful falsehoods – have been shared on social media since Google this month unleashed AI overviews, a makeover of its search page that frequently puts the summaries on top of search results. It's hard to reproduce errors made by AI language models – in part because they're inherently random. They work by predicting what words would best answer the questions asked of them based on the data they've been trained on. They're prone to making things up – a widely studied problem known as hallucination. Another concern was a deeper one – that ceding information retrieval to chatbots was degrading the serendipity of human search for knowledge, literacy about what we see online, and the value of connecting in online forums with other people who are going through the same thing.Those forums and other websites count on Google sending people to them, but Google's new AI overviews threaten to disrupt the flow of money-making internet traffic.

Note: Read more about the potential dangers of Google's new AI tool. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on artificial intelligence controversies from reliable major media sources.


New Bipartisan Bill Allows Military Contractors To Fleece Taxpayers
2024-05-21, The Lever
https://www.levernews.com/new-bipartisan-bill-allows-military-contractors-to-...

After receiving more than $3.8 million in 2024 campaign donations from political action committees and individuals associated with the military industry, members of the House committee overseeing Pentagon spending just inserted two provisions into an upcoming bill that would exempt many more private products and services from competitive pricing guidelines and provide contractors far more leeway in what they can charge the Defense Department. Last year's Pentagon spending bill totaled nearly $884 billion. Over the past decade, more than half of that budget has gone to military contractors. Many of the top military contractors – including Boeing, RTX Corporation, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman – have seen sizable stock-value increases since the war in Gaza began in October 2023 while shooting down shareholder efforts at increased transparency. The provisions in the 2025 Pentagon spending bill are part of the 344-page National Defense Authorization Act of 2025 (NDAA). The provisions in question – Sections 811 and 812 – make good on a wishlist of policy changes that many military companies have been lobbying on for years. "As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I'm disappointed to see provisions in the NDAA that would allow contractors to further obscure pricing data," Rep. Ro Khanna [said]. "This would lead to more inflated costs and waste taxpayer money when we could be investing it instead."

Note: Learn more about unaccountable military spending in our comprehensive Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.


The US food industry has long buried the truth about their products. Is that coming to an end?
2024-05-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/may/20/food-companies-nu...

More than a dozen countries require that companies print nutritional labels on the front of food packages – a move that's come as the rate of diet-related diseases, like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity, increases worldwide. So far, the United States does not require any front-of-package nutrition labels. But that could soon change. The US Food and Drug Administration is currently developing front-of-package labels that it could require corporations to begin printing as early as 2027. Despite significant opposition from food companies ... the FDA is evaluating different mandatory label designs to determine which is most effective at informing consumers, but also which is legal under US corporate free speech laws. The labels under consideration by the FDA ... mark only "nutrients of concern", like sugar and sodium – not-ultra processed foods. But many advocates say that should change. UPFs are industrially formulated products made out of substances extracted from foods, like sugars, salts, hydrogenated fats, bulking agents and starches. Today, UPFs make up 73% of the US food supply, according to Northeastern University's Network Science Institute, and provide the average US adult with more than 60% of their daily calories. But research is increasingly linking UPFs to a whole host of health issues: from cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes to colorectal cancer and depression.

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


Biden Administration Strips Federal Funding From Nonprofit at Center of COVID Lab Leak Controversy
2024-05-15, Aol News/Reason
https://www.aol.com/news/biden-administration-strips-federal-funding-21253768...

The Biden administration suspended federal funding to the scientific nonprofit whose research is at the center of credible theories that the COVID-19 pandemic was started via a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was immediately suspending three grants provided to the New York-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) as it starts the process of debarring the organization from receiving any federal funds. For years now, EcoHealth has generated immense controversy for its use of federal grant money to support gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan lab. HHS said that EcoHealth had failed to properly monitor the work it was supporting at Wuhan. It also failed to properly report on the results of experiments showing that the hybrid viruses it was creating there had an improved ability to infect human cells. In testimony to the House's coronavirus subcommittee, [EcoHealth President Peter ] Daszak claimed that EcoHealth attempted to report the results of its gain-of-function experiments on time in 2019, but was frozen out of NIH's reporting system. [An] HHS memo released today says a forensic investigation found no evidence that EcoHealth was locked out of NIH's reporting system. The department also said that EcoHealth had failed to produce requested lab notes and other materials from the Wuhan lab detailing the work being done there.

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 COVID and government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Weight Loss Drugs Go Hand-in-Hand With Junk Food Industry
2024-05-14, CounterPunch
https://www.counterpunch.org/2024/05/14/weight-loss-drugs-go-hand-in-hand-wit...

What Americans eat, how they diet and exercise, what nutritional supplements they take, the sugar content of their sodas, the high fructose corn syrup in their processed foods, and the price of their diabetes medication have long been objects of endless gambling on Wall Street. Now, with drugs like Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Ozempic in the mix, new vistas of corporate exploitation have opened up. It's not a conspiracy theory that food addiction is a tool of corporate profiteering. Consider that tobacco companies, upon being regulated out of the business of addictive smoking, turned their sights onto addictive eating. Health columnist Anahad O'Connor wrote, "In America, the steepest increase in the prevalence of hyper-palatable foods occurred between 1988 and 2001–the era when Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds owned the world's leading food companies." Many of these ultra-processed foods are specially marketed to children, which in turn can change their brain chemistry to desire those foods for life. Alongside the aggressive marketing of hyper-palatable foods is a massively profitable weight-loss industry that preys upon individual shame to the tune of more than $60 billion a year. In fact, some of the same companies pushing high-calorie foods are in the business of weight loss. The ultra-processed food industry is becoming symbiotic with the weight-loss drug industry. The former ensures we eat poorly and the latter is there to feed off our shame.

Note: This is strangely comparable to when pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma LP secretly pursued a plan to become "an end-to-end pain provider" by selling both opioids and drugs to treat opioid addiction. It is now estimated that 1 in 8 adults in the US have taken Ozempic or another weight-loss drug. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Pfizer agrees to settle over 10K lawsuits linking Zantac to cancer
2024-05-08, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2024/05/08/business/pfizer-to-settle-over-10k-lawsuits-lin...

Pfizer has agreed to settle more than 10,000 lawsuits which alleged that the company failed to warn patients about possible cancer risks caused by the anti-heartburn medication Zantac. The lawsuits were filed in state courts across the country, but the agreements don't completely resolve Pfizer's exposure to the claims linking Zantac and cancer. Zantac was brought to market in 1983 by Glaxo Holdings, a company that is now part of the GlaxoSmithKline company. By 1988, it was the world's best selling drug as patients reported benefits for conditions such as heartburn, ulcers and acid reflux. In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration asked drugmakers to pull Zantac and its generic versions off the market after a cancer-causing substance called NDMA was found in samples of the drug. Thousands of lawsuits began piling up in federal and state courts against Pfizer, GSK, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim. Last month, Sanofi reached an agreement in principle to settle 4,000 lawsuits linking Zantac to cancer. Sanofi did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but Bloomberg News reported that the company will pay $100 million – or $25,000 to each plaintiff. Sanofi still faces about 20,000 lawsuits over Zantac in Delaware state court. A judge in Delaware Superior Court in Wilmington is weighing the fate of about 70,000 cases filed against Sanofi and other defendants, including GSK, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

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


A college professor wants to use Section 230 against Big Tech
2024-05-08, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/08/college-professor-wants-us...

Ethan Zuckerman, a longtime technologist and social media scholar, thought he fully understood Section 230, the 1996 statute that contains the famous "26 words that created the internet." But three years ago, he was reading its full text aloud to his class at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst when suddenly, in his words, "a lightbulb went off in my head." It struck him that the law, widely understood to shield tech companies from being sued for their users' posts, also protects users. In particular, it protects people who build tools to filter or moderate online content. People like Zuckerman's friend Louis Barclay, a developer who in 2021 was permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram for developing a tool called "Unfollow Everything" that lets users, well, unfollow everything and restart their feeds fresh. Three years later, that eureka moment has turned into a lawsuit – one that, if successful, could loosen Big Tech's grip on how people use social media. The suit ... asks a California court to declare that Meta can't ban or sue him for building an unfollowing tool inspired by Barclay's. If the suit succeeds, Zuckerman plans to release the tool, called "Unfollow Everything 2.0," and hopes a wave of other tools to give users more control over their online lives will follow. Such tools are sometimes called "middleware" and have been touted by the Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama as a way to break Silicon Valley's chokehold on online speech.

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


Columbia Crackdown Led by University Prof Doubling as NYPD Spook
2024-05-03, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2024/05/03/columbia-crackdown-led-by-university-prof-d...

The violent crackdown carried out on Columbia University students protesting Israel's genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip was led by a member of the school's own faculty, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has declared. During a May 1 press conference, just hours after the New York Police Department arrested nearly 300 people on university grounds, Adams praised adjunct Columbia professor Rebecca Weiner, who moonlights as the head of the NYPD counter-terrorism bureau, for giving police the green light to clear out anti-genocide students by force. Weiner maintained an office at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Her SIPA bio describes her as an "Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs" who simultaneously serves as the "civilian executive in charge of the New York City Police Department's Intelligence & Counterterrorism Bureau." In that role ... Weiner "develops policy and strategic priorities for the Intelligence & Counterterrorism Bureau and publicly represents the NYPD in matters involving counterterrorism and intelligence." A 2011 AP investigation revealed that a so-called "Demographics Unit" operated secretly within the NYPD's Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureau. This shadowy outfit spied on Muslims around the New York City area. The unit was developed in tandem with the CIA. As a former police official told the AP, the unit attempted to "map the city's human terrain" through a program "modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Israeli Weapons Firms Required To Buy Cloud Services From Google And Amazon
2024-05-01, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2024/05/01/google-amazon-nimbus-israel-weapons-arms-...

Google and Amazon are both loath to discuss security aspects of the cloud services they provide through their joint contract with the Israeli government, known as Project Nimbus. Both the Ministry of Defense and Israel Defense Forces are Nimbus customers. According to a 63-page Israeli government procurement document ... two of Israel's leading state-owned weapons manufacturers are required to use Amazon and Google for cloud computing needs. Though details of Google and Amazon's contractual work with the Israeli arms industry aren't laid out in the tender document, which outlines how Israeli agencies will obtain software services through Nimbus, the firms are responsible for manufacturing drones, missiles, and other weapons Israel has used to bombard Gaza. Project Nimbus ... has already created a public uproar. Google and Amazon have faced backlash ranging from street protests to employee revolts. Following anti-Nimbus sit-ins organized at the company's New York and Sunnyvale, California, offices, Google fired 50 employees. Emaan Haseem, [was] a cloud computing engineer at Google until she was fired after participating in the Sunnyvale protest. "A lot of us signed up or applied to work at Google because we were trying to avoid working at terrible unethical companies," she said. "Why are we pretending that because my logo is colorful and has round letters that I'm any better than Raytheon?"

Note: When Google employees protested Project Maven, a DoD drone program that used Google technology, the Big Tech giant dropped the contract with the Pentagon in 2018. Read about how Silicon Valley has been infiltrated by intelligence agencies.


The Publicly Funded Defense Contractor Revolving Door
2024-04-23, Jacobin
https://jacobin.com/2024/04/pentagon-fellows-program-sdef-defense-contractors

The Department of Defense has used taxpayer money to send elite military officers to work for some of the Pentagon's top private contractors. From 1995 to 2021, more than 315 military officers with elite ranks as high as colonel and rear admiral have been placed at top weapons manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, as well as other companies with billion-dollar government contracts. The arrangement has also coincided with a dramatic rise in Defense Department spending on private contractors valued in the trillions of dollars. The arrangement, called the Secretary of Defense Executive Fellows (SDEF) program, sends officers with promising military careers to work for top corporations in the defense, tech, finance, and other industries for one year. These fellows then report on how the Defense Department could incorporate some of these companies' business practices and policies. The program has helped place corporate interests at the very heart of US military strategy. [A] report from Quincy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, is the first detailed examination of the SDEF program. The report casts doubt on the integrity of the fellowship program, calling it a "de facto lobbying tool" for private companies and a "taxpayer-funded revolving door" where more than 40 percent of the fellows have gone on to work for government contractors at some point in their postmilitary careers.

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


Report Sounds Alarm Over Growing Role of Big Tech in US Military-Industrial Complex
2024-04-17, Common Dreams
https://www.commondreams.org/news/military-industrial-complex-big-tech

The center of the U.S. military-industrial complex has been shifting over the past decade from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to Northern California–a shift that is accelerating with the rise of artificial intelligence-based systems, according to a report published Wednesday. "Although much of the Pentagon's $886 billion budget is spent on conventional weapon systems and goes to well-established defense giants such as Lockheed Martin, RTX, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, and BAE Systems, a new political economy is emerging, driven by the imperatives of big tech companies, venture capital (VC), and private equity firms," [report author Roberto J.] González wrote. "Defense Department officials have ... awarded large multibillion-dollar contracts to Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Oracle." González found that the five largest military contracts to major tech firms between 2018 and 2022 "had contract ceilings totaling at least $53 billion combined." There's also the danger of a "revolving door" between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon as many senior government officials "are now gravitating towards defense-related VC or private equity firms as executives or advisers after they retire from public service." "Members of the armed services and civilians are in danger of being harmed by inadequately tested–or algorithmically flawed–AI-enabled technologies. By nature, VC firms seek rapid returns on investment by quickly bringing a product to market, and then 'cashing out' by either selling the startup or going public. This means that VC-funded defense tech companies are under pressure to produce prototypes quickly and then move to production before adequate testing has occurred."

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 military corruption from reliable major media sources.


Americans Are Paying Billions to Take Drugs That Don't Work
2024-04-15, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-04-15/cancer-als-drugs-that-don-...

One ALS drug made $400 million in sales for its maker. It doesn't work. A cancer treatment brought in $500 million. That one turned out to have no effect on survival. A blood cancer medication made nearly $850 million before being withdrawn for two of its uses. That drug had been linked to patient deaths years prior. All of them were allowed to be sold to Americans because of the US Food and Drug Administration's drive to get new drugs to patients quickly – sometimes even before they're done testing. Drug companies are profiting, though. Since 2014, they've made at least $3.6 billion in global sales of medications that have either later been shown to be ineffective or had most or all of their uses withdrawn in the US. There are a number of ways a drug company can get its treatment to patients faster: There's the "priority review" pathway, then "fast track," "accelerated approval" and "breakthrough therapy." The majority of new drugs in the US are approved through one or more of these sped-up pathways. Last year two thirds of all new drugs reached the market this way. One of the problems is that sometimes drugmakers resist pulling a drug off the market, even after it's obvious it doesn't work. Makena, a drug to reduce the risk of premature birth, received a sped-up approval in 2011. Eight years later, a large trial found it didn't work. Yet it took another four years for the FDA to force it off the market. Makena ... generated over $1.6 billion in sales.

Note: The US spends the most on health care but has the worst health outcomes among high-income countries. More than half of children now have chronic health conditions. What is behind this? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of important news articles on Big Pharma corruption and health from reliable media sources.


Democracy Dies Behind Paywalls
2024-04-14, The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2024/04/paywall-problems-media-trus...

According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, more than 75 percent of America's leading newspapers, magazines, and journals are behind online paywalls. And how do American news consumers react to that? Almost 80 percent of Americans steer around those paywalls and seek out a free option. Paywalls create a two-tiered system: credible, fact-based information for people who are willing to pay for it, and murkier, less-reliable information for everyone else. Simply put, paywalls get in the way of informing the public, which is the mission of journalism. And they get in the way of the public being informed, which is the foundation of democracy. It is a terrible time for the press to be failing at reaching people, during an election in which democracy is on the line. There's a simple, temporary solution: Publications should suspend their paywalls for all 2024 election coverage and all information that is beneficial to voters. Democracy does not die in darkness–it dies behind paywalls. Less than a third of Americans in a recent Gallup poll say they have "a fair amount" or a "a great deal" of trust that the news is fair and accurate. Part of the problem ... is that the platform companies, which are the largest distributors of free news, have deprioritized news. Meta has long had an uncomfortable relationship with news on Facebook. In the past year ... Meta has changed its algorithm in a way that has cost some news outlets 30 to 40 percent of their traffic.

Note: It's ironic that this story is behind a paywall. Read the complete article here using Textise, an excellent tool that converts most webpages into text-only versions. For a powerful reflection on the rise of paywalls and online ads in news outlets, read this Substack piece written by our news editor Mark Bailey. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption from reliable sources.


The Slow Death of a Prison Profiteer: How Activism Brought Securus to the Brink
2024-04-12, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2024/04/12/the-slow-death-of-a-prison-profiteer-how-ac...

Last week, the nation's largest prison and jail telecom corporation, Securus, effectively defaulted on more than a billion dollars of debt. After decades of preying on incarcerated people and their loved ones with exploitative call rates and other predatory practices that have driven millions of families into debt, Securus is being crushed under the weight of its own. Securus is one of two corporations that dominate roughly 80 percent of the U.S. prison telecom industry. Both companies are owned by private-equity firms: Securus, by Platinum Equity, and ViaPath (previously Global Tel Link), by American Securities. Together, Securus and ViaPath contract with 43 state prison systems and over 800 county jails. Their dominance of the market allows them to routinely charge incarcerated people and their families egregious rates for rudimentary communications services: A 15-minute phone call can run as high as $8.25; a 25-minute video call up to $15; and basic emails as much as $0.50, or more with attachments. The nature of agreements between these telecom providers and correctional agencies often further incentivizes the financial exploitation of the incarcerated, creating profit-sharing kickback schemes that provide prisons and jails with a portion of sales revenue. The ... tactics that brought Securus down–narrative change, policy campaigns, regulatory efforts, and investor activism–offer a roadmap for tackling exploitative corporate profiteers across the prison industry.

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