Nowadays, it sometimes seems like news goes away as quickly as it appears. It’s part of the 24-hour cable news cycle. Before we have time to process the last shocking event, another news story comes along to knock it out of the headlines. Sometimes it feels like even the big stories are forgotten. Stories where people die, journalists and politicians are assassinated, governments defraud their people, and journalists unearth huge data cashes that expose the dirty secrets of the rich and elite. These stories are so big and should be life-changing, yet it seems like they disappear in a day.
Where do they go? It almost seems impossible that we forget such huge, incredible scandals, and yet we do. Luckily for us, the folks over at Reddit remember some of those scandals that we forgot. Here are reminders of the 22 biggest unresolved scandals that the world collectively forgot.
About ten years ago two men with Japanese passports were caught trying to smuggle $134 billion in forged bearer bonds into Switzerland in the trunk of their car! They were caught by Italian police, and we still don’t know anything about who they were, where the bonds came from or why they were smuggling them.
21. War With Drugs
The fact that the CIA distributed crack cocaine into south central LA and left railroad cars full of automated weapons. Like is anyone ever gonna hold them responsible for all that?
20. Massive Forgotten Data Leak
Paradise papers!!! In case you have forgotten—the Paradise Papers were a massive data leak from a law firm that helped the wealthy hide their money offshore. Some of the key findings of the data leak revealed the offshore interests of over 120 world leaders including Queen Elizabeth. Trillions of dollars. All over the news for a couple of days, then nothing. Haven’t heard a peep about it since.
19. Gone Lama Gone
The disappearance of the 11th Panchen lama comes to mind
The disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama refers a young boy—Gendum Choekyi Nyima—who is supposed to be the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most important living figure in Buddhism next to the Dali Lama.
He was placed under house arrest by the Chinese government when it was announced he was the Panchan Lama, and human rights groups considered him to be the world’s youngest political prisoner at the time.
Richard Nixon committed treason by calling the Saigon government and keeping the Vietnam War going by having them refuse negotiations. He told them he would get them a better deal than LBJ.
LBJ knew about it and had the call on tape. But never released it because then everyone would know he had Saigon and American embassy bugged by CIA. Nixon won the election and committed other treasonous acts before Watergate.
All people remember is Watergate, and all he did was resign. How many more people died because of this treachery? How many families never saw their children again? How many more widows did this treachery create? Nixon should have been tried for treason.
17. Poison Pills
The 1982 Tylenol Cyanide poisonings that killed several innocent consumers and put manufacturer Johnson & Johnson in crisis mode.
Their handling of the aftermath is considered a textbook example of competent crisis management. It led to the market introduction of a wide array of safety packaging. No arrests ever made.
16. Data Breach
Equifax lost the personal data of almost every single adult. This is data we didn’t give them permission to access.
They are still in business.
*And still have government contracts!
15. Forgotten Crimes
Edit: TL;DR: the pedophilia scandal in the UK from the ’60s-’80s.
Following the death of (Sir) Jimmy Savile, a huge number of people came forward to expose him as a child sex offender.
This revelation seemed to give way to a tidal wave of other scandals in the UK during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Thousands of children, especially those in care, or even in hospital beds, were sexually exploited by entertainers, politicians and other people of power.
Despite a brief public witch hunt, very little seems to have been done to hold those accountable—nowhere near the scale of the offenses committed.
My mother fostered for the first 21 years of my life. I lived with tens of children who endured awful ordeals in their young lives. It still makes my blood boil, but it is so difficult to challenge the powerful over something that can be dismissed as historical hysteria and hard-to-find empirical evidence.
14. Seller Beware
ISIS buying Twitter ads.
13. Internet Outage
When the American government paid internet companies to install internet all over the country in the ’90s and they didn’t actually do it all. Nobody really remembers it but it was one of the biggest scandals America has ever seen.
I work in the tech industry. This is one of my biggest angry rant triggers. I grew up in middle-of-nowhere Missouri, when this act was signed it was like a whole new world of awesome network connectivity was just over the horizon. Instead, my parents literally had to clear tree-line to get a line of sight to the new local providers tower, literally on the horizon, to get a stable 7 mb connection with just about 100 ms latency.
That was 21 years later, and it’s better than the ATT DSL within the city limits in the nearest town (3 mb unless you live next to the hub.) Otherwise, it’s just sattelite internet out there.
12. Save Our Girls
The Boko Haram/Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. 276 abducted, 112 still missing. A little over a hundred have been released, many probably dead.
11. Left Alone
Daniel Chong. Wrongfully placed in a DEA cell for days without anybody checking up on him. The officers who accidentally detained him faced few consequences.
In a nutshell, DEA agents arrested a college kid for selling ecstasy. They took him into the office and placed him into an interrogation room and then promptly forgot about him. For almost a week IIRC. He wound up having to drink his own urine to survive. In addition, he was severely dehydrated and hallucinating, and wound up using the lenses from his glasses to carve “I’m sorry mom” into his arm as a final message because he was convinced he was going to die.
The DEA agents responsible received the “dire” punishment of up to seven days “unpaid suspension.” (some received less). #Accountability.
10. At Least The People Who Matter Didn’t Forget
Sarah Jones’ death on the set of Midnight Rider.
Sarah Jones was a 27-year-old camera assistant on the set of Midnight Rider. She was struck by a train and killed while filming in what appears to be a case of producers putting her in a unsafe situation.
IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) member here. My local is 5,000 strong and not one of us forgot. When there is a safety on set issue, Sarah comes up. Our slates and carts are adorned with S.O.S. The general public do not understand our working conditions.
Local 600 (International Cinematographers Guild) member here, every single slate we’ve had since then has had a memorial to Sarah Jones. We also don’t take guff from producers that try to put us in unsafe situations. Safety has been way more prevalent since Sarah Jones.
9. Crimes on Wall Street
Pretty much every single Wall Street firm creating and backing subprime loans got away with it without much punishment at all. In fact, subprime loans are back.
8. Another Leak
Panama Papers. (Not to be confused with the Paradise Papers, they were also a large batch of leaked documents that detailed financial and attorney client information for off-shore accounts.) The reporter was assassinated and the story just went away.
7. International Crimes
That time Russia shot down an airliner carrying civilian passengers in territory that wasn’t even theirs is quite damning; though the truly appalling part is less their actions and more the lack of response from anyone.
Not just civilian passengers, researchers and political officials. We lost so many important people in one attack, and we all know Russia did it. I remember a while back watching a report that was done that showed the path a Russian military convoy took linked with video taken en-route alongside of various radio calls taken during the time.
Heck, even if you don’t believe that the Russian military directly did it, you can’t really explain away the level of training you’d need to actually know how to use a SAM to take down a plane. It’s nothing remotely similar to point and click, basically demanding several officers be involved in its transport, setup, and firing.
The aftermath of the BP oil spill hasn’t been completely resolved.
5. Second Bomber
Anyone remember the OKC bombing? There were photos of a John Doe #2 all over the news for days if not weeks. John Doe #2 was caught on surveillance video with McVeigh in the Ryder truck when the bomb was planted. Then McVeigh gets arrested, we get a whole trial, conviction, execution… no John Doe #2. Never on the news, never mentioned during the trial. There was Nicholls convicted as an accomplice, but no one claimed he was with McVeigh the day of, or at the scene of the bombing.
So what happened to the second man? Did the feds and local police just forget about him? People have tried to FOIA (freedom of information act) the surveillance tapes to get a better look because they were never released, and the cops have given very suspicious reasons for not providing them (i.e. all the cameras stopped working for the fiveminutes when both men were in frame, but immediately resumed working afterwards).
There are different theories about who he was, but from what I’ve seen it’s pretty clear John Doe two was Andreas Strassmeir, who had lived in the same white separatist compound as McVeigh, and was videotaped with McVeigh at a strip club in the days before the bombing, bragging to the girls about how they were “gonna be famous in a couple days.” There was also the white nationalist who has lived at the compound who was executed on the day of the bombing, and reportedly asked his jailers to turn on the TV so he could watch the news, seemingly having foreknowledge of the bombing.
But why did the manhunt just stop? Why did John Doe #2 never come up in the trial? The evidence suggests he was probably an intelligence asset who was spying on the white separatist compound, but the fact that a guy who was videotaped at the scene of the crime, with the weapon and the guy who got charged, and his involvement can just be memory holed for an entire country is shocking. But who remembers this besides “conspiracy theorists”? No one, apparently. I was a kid when it happened, and I vividly remember the police sketches of John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.
4. Celebrity Scandal
It’s not huge, and not that much of a scandal, but I really, really want to know if Eddie Murphy was going to sleep with that prostitute or if he was just giving them a ride. Wouldn’t bother me, but it’s one of those mysteries I want to know, but never will.
“On this way home,” Block said, “Murphy stopped at a red light and saw a beautiful Hawaiian-looking woman approach his car.” […] “‘You’re Eddie Murphy,’ the person said to him, and Eddie replied, ‘You shouldn’t be out so late.'”
3. Bad Medicine
The pharmaceutical giant Bayer sold a drug for hemophiliacs that ended up being contaminated with HIV. Once learning of the contamination, instead of ceasing sales entirely, the company choose to only discontinue the drug in the US (where the evidence of the contamination and associated deaths had come from) and proceeded to market the product in Asia and Latin America.
Many patients contracted HIV and ultimately died of AIDS because of this decision. To my knowledge, no one from Bayer has ever been prosecuted.
2. Mystery Deaths
All deaths related to Scientology.
Example: dude, remember that guy in Clearwater, who always filmed scientologists, and was well known and hated by them? He freaking “committed suicide” years ago by running a garden hose from his car in the garage, into the window of his room while he slept, to commit suicide. Like what the heck? The Clearwater cops are in the pockets of Scientology, and they just wrote it off real quick as suicide. I genuinely believe he was murdered, and his death will never see justice.
Side note: there was no indication that he was suicidal at them time, as far as I know.
1. No Accountability
Tutwiler Prison, a massive women’s prison in Alabama where women were constantly sexually assaulted. Only recently have some things changed but the officers that were proven to have sexually assaulted an inmate were only fired and none were tried for it.
I recently read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and he mentions Tutwiler Prison for women in Alabama. A place so wrought with sexual abuse that even the prison Chaplin was accused of sexually assaulting women multiple times. For many years there were no rules prohibiting male guards from being present in the shower room where many of the sexual assaults occurred.