Six Organizations with a Shady History

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Six Organizations with a Shady History

Madison Casteele, Author

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Organizations are founded to protect others, and charities are founded to help. But what happens when organizations and charities sweep their dirt under the rug to hide their real intentions? Here’s a closer look at the inner workings of a few notable organizations and charities.

Kids Wish Network:  

Kids Wish Network is a 501 non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Each year they claim to raise millions in the names of kids and their families. Unfortunately, the data shows something else.  

Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids. Most of the rest gets diverted to the charity’s operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish Network hires to get donations. 

In the past decade alone, KWN has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity’s founder and his consulting firms.  

 

Facebook:

Facebook is one of the most popular and least secure social media apps. In the past, they’ve had issues with security leaks and false news incidents.  

In mid-2017, Facebook’s chief security officer made public that the company was paid some $100,000 for ads connected to 470 inauthentic Facebook pages. These pages were likely operated out of Russia.  

security breach in September of 2018 exposed information from 50 million users. This was the largest breach in Facebook’s 14-year history. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts and potentially take control of them.  

 

BP:

BP is a British multinational oil and gas company. It’s one of the world’s seven oil and gas supermajors. BP came under scrutiny after the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.  

The Deepwater Horizon incident began April 20th, 2010 and ended on September 19, 2010. It’s considered to be the biggest oil spill in petroleum history. Investigations pointed the blame towards BP, Transocean, and contractor Halliburton. 

In 2011, BP pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and a felony of lying to Congress. In 2014, a US District Court judge found that BP was mainly responsible due to gross negligence and reckless conduct.  

In 2017, BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion in fines, the largest settlement in US history.  

The rig ended up spilling a total of 4.9 million barrels (about 210,000,000 gallons). Brett Cocales, BP’s Operations Drilling Engineer, emailed drilling engineer Brian Morel confirming the approach they had taken should be adequate to obtain a proper cement seal. “Who cares, it’s done, end of story, will probably be fine and we’ll get a good cement job,” he wrote.  

After three years the Coast Guard ended its clean-up effort in Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama.  

 

Autism Speaks: 

Autism speaks is one of the most well-known charities for autism awareness. They claim to help research and families that autism affects.  

But in 2017, they donated 32% to research and less than 2% towards family services. They spent most of the money on awareness and lobbying.  

Out of 26 Board of Directors members, only 2 are people with autism. By contrast, 19 out of 26 board members represent major corporations, including current and former CEOs and senior executives of PayPal, Samsung, CBS, Goldman Sachs, White Castle, Viacom, American Express, FX Networks, Virgin Mobile, SiriusXM, and Sprint. 

Their advertising tactics have also been known to promote fear of autism and people with autism 

 

Greenpeace:

Greenpeace is an environmental organization trying to end global warming and protect forests, oceans, food.  

But in 1995 Greenpeace mounted a successful campaign to force Royal Dutch Shell, an oil company, to dismantle a platform on land. After it had happened, it came to light that Greenpeace miscalculated the amount of oil aboard the Brent Spar, and more oil was spilled than Greenpeace had thought.  

And a change of the times didn’t change their organization. In December of 2014, Greenpeace came under fire for following a publicity stunt within the Nazca lines. The Nazca lines are a group of very large geoglyphs formed by depressions or shallow incisions made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. Demonstrators entered the area surrounding the Hummingbird lineslike the Nazca lines, and laid down banners. While doing so, they tracked footprints and damaged the line and the area around it. Peru’s deputy minister for culture criticized Greenpeace and called them “thoughtless, insensitive, illegal, irresponsible, and absolutely premeditated.” 

 

The National Security Agency (NSA): 

The National Security Agency is a national-level intelligence agency of the US Department of Defense. It was founded by Harry Truman in 1952, and its headquarters are in Maryland.  

But in 2013, information about the NSA started leaking, specifically, top secret documents. The cause of the leak was Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and contractor. The leaked documents revealed many global surveillance programs.  

Secret court orders allowed the NSA to collect American phone records. At first it was believed that only Verizon was a part of it, but later it was revealed to be almost every cell phone carrier. In 2018, the NSA tripled the amount of data they collect from US phone companies.  

It was also revealed that the NSA spies on world leaders and their countries. Other stories have named some, including leaders from Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and France.  

A program called XKeyScore is a tool the NSA uses to search “nearly everything a user does on the internet,” through data it intercepts across the world. In the leaked documents, the NSA describes the program as the widest reaching system to search through internet data.  

The NSA has also made efforts to crack encryption and undermine internet security. Encryption makes data on the internet unreadable to hackers and spies, but that didn’t stop the NSA from developing a series of techniques to get around it.  

Also, in the leaks were details about the NSA’s elite hacking techniques. The NSA has a “tailored access operations” that hacks into computers worldwide and infects them with malware.  

But these programs are usually only used when there’s criminal activity, right? Well, maybe not. 

Snowden also revealed that the NSA was collecting text messages every day worldwide. Even though this was leaked to the public, it seemingly hasn’t stopped. The NSA intercepts 200 million text messages every day, calling them a “goldmine to exploit” for all kinds of personal data.  

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Some organizations and charities are only formed for their own profit. These are sometimes hard to spot until you look deeply at their history. Do your research before you donate to ensure that the charity you’re spending money on goes where it’s intended to.