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Israeli army detains a 10-year-old during the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum

A young Palestinian protester runs away
A young Palestinian protester runs away from Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 22, 2012. Source

International Women’s Peace Service | June 14, 2013

Kafr Qaddum, Occupied Palestine – On Friday 14 June, the Israeli army arrested a 10-year-old child during the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the villagers; many local residents suffered from tear gas inhalation.

At approximately 12:00, when residents and international solidarity activists started gathering for the demonstration before the Friday prayers, nearly 30 foot soldiers stormed the village from the main road leading toward the illegal Israeli settlement Qedumim. As they entered the village, they fired tear gas canisters directly at the group before the demonstration even began. Local youth resisted the incursion, chasing the soldiers back from the bystanders toward a hill overlooking the village.

Over the next two and a half hours, soldiers shot tear gas and threw sound bombs at demonstrators in the olive groves next to the main road of the village. At approximately 12:30, soldiers detained a 10-year-old boy. While in their custody, soldiers tied his hands, grabbed him by the neck, beat him and threatened to “drop [him] from this rock.”

Nearly one and a half hours later, the boy was released and residents of Kafr Qaddum celebrated his return. Soldiers continued to fire tear gas at local youth protesting at the edge of the village close to the illegal settler colony of Qedumim. No further arrests were made and the demonstration ended at around 15:00.

Kafr Qaddum is a 3,000-year-old agricultural village that sits on 24,000 dunams of land. The village was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967; in 1978, the illegal settler-colony of Qedumim was established nearby on the remains of a former Jordanian army camp, occupying 4,000 dunams of land stolen from Kafr Qaddum.

The villagers are currently unable to access an additional 11,000 dunams of land due to the closure by the Israeli army of the village’s main and only road leading to Nablus in 2003. The road was closed in three stages, ultimately restricting access for farmers to the 11,000 dunams of land that lie along either side to one or two times a year. Since the road closure, the people of Kafr Qaddum have been forced to rely on an animal trail to access this area; the road is narrow and, according to the locals, intended only for animals. In 2004 and 2006, three villagers died when they were unable to reach the hospital in time. The ambulances carrying them were prohibited from using the main road and were forced to take a 13 km detour. These deaths provoked even greater resentment in Kafr Qaddum and, on 1 July 2011, the villagers decided to unite in protest in order to re-open the road and protect the land in danger of settlement expansion along it.

Kafr Qaddum is home to 4,000 people; some 500 residents attend the weekly demonstrations. The villagers’ resilience, determination and organization have been met with extreme repression. More than 120 village residents have been arrested; most spend 3-8 months in prison; collectively they have paid over NIS 100,000 to the Israeli courts. Around 2,000 residents have suffocated from tear-gas inhalation, many in their own homes. Over 100 residents have been shot directly with tear-gas canisters. On 27 April 2012, one man was shot in the head by a tear-gas canister that fractured his skull in three places; the injury cost him his ability to speak. In another incident, on 16 March 2012 an Israeli soldier released his dog into the crowded demonstration, where it attacked a young man, biting him for nearly 15 minutes whilst the army watched. When other residents tried to assist him, some were pushed away while others were pepper-sprayed directly in the face.

The events of the past week are part of a continuous campaign by the Israeli military to harass and intimidate the people of Kafr Qaddum into passively accepting the human rights violations the Israeli occupation, military and the illegal settlers inflict upon them.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

We could use more rebels

By Charles Davis | false dichotomy | June 13, 2013
What should you do if you uncover wrongdoing and the people responsible are the same ones who are supposed to investigate it? The way our politicians and elite media figures talk, you would think there’s something honorable about tipping them off (or shutting your mouth). In the political arena, the bold person of conscience – the rebel, the maverick, the damn-the-costs truth-teller – is the bad guy, not the action hero; the company man is played by Bruce Willis.

When Edward Snowden gave up a lucrative career in an island paradise to blow the whistle about the US government’s staggeringly broad spying operations – revealing what thousands of others with access to the same information wouldn’t – he was going up against a system that values loyalty to those who sign your paychecks over loyalty to principle or the public. A columnist for The New York Times, which is very much a part of that system, denounced him in terms one would think would be reserved for our leaders, declaring that Snowden had “betrayed the Constitution” and “the privacy of us all” by leaking evidence of the Obama administration doing just that.

 
Snowden need not be the world’s greatest human being for us to recognize the courage it took to do what he did. When compliance with a system makes one an accomplice to wrongdoing, there’s no virtue in being compliant. There’s no virtue in abiding by the “honor codes of all those who enabled [one] to rise,” as the Times columnist put it, when that code doesn’t respect the rights of everyone else. We recognize that when we go to the movies. Maybe we should stop condemning it in real life?
 
Instead of getting caught up in media attempts to pathologize a whistle-blower, we should also probably look more closely at what the whistle was blown on, because what Snowden revealed should be concerning, even if you don’t have relatives in Yemen.
This Matters
 
According to leaked classified documents, the US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting data on nearly every call made by nearly every American, from the time it was placed, who was called and from where it originated. The NSA also has relationships with nearly every major Internet company, from Facebook to Google, granting the agency streamlined access to your user history. Everything you email or post to your wall could end up on an NSA server somewhere. That’s a lot of data, which is why the agency is building a 1.5 million square feet server farm in Utah to hold it, at a cost of $1.2 billion.
 
The Obama administration claims the information it belatedly admits it collects is only later accessed with a court order. But then, those court orders are classified, granted by judges in a secret court in front of which only the government can appear. Meanwhile, the White House has refused to release its legal rationale for the spying program, which senators from the president’s own party suggest is both illegal and unnecessary. It has, however, publicly credited the program with breaking up terrorist plots, though those claims – like its earlier denials that the spying program existed – have proven false.
 
But while it’s intrusive, sure, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, right? Well, no. Even if you don’t have grandparents in Yemen, you should be concerned about any agency – that is, a collection of fallible human beings – that claims the right and has the power to know pretty much everything you’ve ever done on your iPhone. Go ahead and assume the best motives on the part of those in power, just don’t forget that even the most honorable people have ex-lovers too. Even saints can be seduced by power.
 
Most spooks aren’t saints, either. They’re like us: fallen. And what would you do if you were invisible? For some NSA employees, listening to your phone calls is the equivalent of sneaking into the locker room, several of them telling ABC News that the agency routinely eavesdrops on the phone calls of Americans abroad as they call friends and family back home.
 
“Hey, check this out,” the agents would tell each other, according to one whistle-blower. “There’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.” Not exactly the model of professionalism one would hope for in someone who has god-like eavesdropping powers.
 
“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said another military whistleblower. Journalists and aid workers had their communications intercepted on a regular basis.
 
That was a decade ago.
 
It’s Gotten Worse
 
These days, the NSA is now known to be intercepting a much broader range of communication. Revelations to The Guardian show it claims the ability to tap into not just email communication, but live Skype calls. Basically everything you do on the Internet could potentially be viewed by a US government agent. There’s no need for black helicopters when you voluntarily divulge your life secrets with the help of a black box made by Sony. Or a white one by Apple.
 
You should be especially concerned if you have opinions about things going on in our world. When a group of Pennsylvanians began working to stop a natural gas fracking project in their community, they found themselves listed on a state Department of Homeland Security bulletin. “We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies,” the Secretary of Homeland Security, a Democrat, stated in an email.
 
If you oppose corporate America’s destruction of your community, you could end up being lumped in with actual terrorist threats. And once the word “terrorism” is invoked, all bets are off, potentially leading to a government agent, working on behalf of their corporate stakeholders, going through every ill-considered email you ever sent.
 
Sometimes, simply stating one’s political beliefs is enough to grab the state’s attention. In Seattle, the NSA’s partners in surveillance at the FBI tracked a group of young anarchists to a May Day demonstration, not because they were wanted for any crimes, but because they called themselves anarchists.
 
“Although many anarchists are law-abiding,” an FBI agent explained, “there is a history in the Pacific Northwest of some anarchists participating in property destruction and other criminal activity in support of their political philosophy.” And so we track them. And with the surveillance capabilities we have today, it’s not hard to make even the most innocent acts seem sinister, particularly when one has unpopular political beliefs or presents a challenge to corporate or state power.
 
It Could Be You
 
Combined with expansive terrorism laws, that could be a nightmare for those who fall in the arbitrary crosshairs of a government prosecutor looking to make a name for themselves. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that humanitarian groups can be convicted of “material support” for terrorism even if that support consists solely of helping seek conflict resolution. As former president Jimmy Carter said at the time, “the vague language of the law leaves us wondering if we will be prosecuted for our work to promote peace and freedom.”
 
Others don’t have to wonder. Since 2010, antiwar activists across the country have been subpoened and forced to testify before grand juries into a “material support” for terrorism investigation that has succeeded in scaring those who do humanitarian work in Palestine and Colombia, but as of yet yielded no convictions. Perhaps our broad spying and terrorism laws are working, just not in the way our leaders tell us. And, as these activists can attest: you don’t need to be convicted of anything to be constantly spied on.
 
As another NSA whistle-blower, William Binney, recently told journalist Amy Goodman, “if you’re doing something that irritates or is against what the government wants to be expressed to the American public, then you can become a target.” It’s as easy as that. And whenever you call a friend, keep in mind that you’re calling every friend your friend has ever called. Are you absolutely sure you have nothing to hide?
 
In Washington, most politicians seem annoyed that you now know this. They wish you didn’t. As Senator Al Franken explained, “Anything that the American people know, the bad guys know so there’s a line here, right?”
 
That’s how those in Washington often view those they claim to represent in our representative democracy: lumped in with the bad guys. Indeed, aiding us in our knowledge of what the government is doing in our name, as Bradley Manning and now Edward Snowden have done, is often likened with aiding the enemy.
 
“I don’t look at this as being a whistle-blower,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said of the NSA leaks. “I think it’s an act of treason.”
 
Feinstein voted for a war in Iraq that she and her husband personally profited from, so she knows a thing or two dozen about treachery. But she’s off base here. The American public is not the enemy, nor should informing them about the things being done to them with their own money be construed as the act of a traitor. Edward Snowden may not be the world’s greatest human being; who reading this has met him? What we do know is that his act did a lot of good by exposing a lot of wrong and took a lot more courage than it takes to criticize him on Capitol Hill. Since they don’t see that very often there, no wonder they mistake it as treason.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 1 Comment

NGOs find loopholes in Foreign Agents’ Law, officials urge corrections

RT | June 13, 2013

Russian NGOs that receive funding from abroad have developed several methods that allow them to bypass the obligatory registration as ‘foreign agents’.

Currently the law obliges all NGOs engaged in political activities and receiving funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents”under threat of fines.

One possible option is to register an ordinary commercial company that would receive funds from abroad and employ NGO staff as workers to pay their salaries, Kommersant daily wrote quoting the head of a Russian NGO who spoke on the condition of total anonymity.

The source noted that about 15 Russian groups had already switched to this method.

Another possible loophole, suggested by the daily itself, is to set up an endowment that would properly register as a foreign agent and receive foreign funding which would then be transferred to one or several Russian groups, allowing them to skip the registration as they are formally sponsored by a Russian company.

The third way has been outlined in a recent report by the Civil Initiatives Committee, an influential expert group chaired by former finance minister Aleksey Kudrin, which said that under growing pressure Russian NGOs could re-register in neighboring states.

Some Russian officials already called for changes in the recently approved law, saying that the flaws of the original bill are being exposed as it is applied. Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, said that the practice was only showing one thing – that the law had been poorly written and that it was in need of corrections.

Fedotov added that the council had already prepared several suggestions on corrections, but he did not go into detail.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has said that the law needs changes and called for activists to draft their amendments. But Dvorkovich added that the law is in force and must be observed by all members of the community until it is altered in the desired way.

Russia introduced the so-called Foreign Agents Law in November last year.

Prosecutors and the Justice Ministry launched a major nationwide program in March this year in order to check how the fresh law is being applied. The inspections caused protests from NGOs, rights activists and the international community, which claimed they were a form of government pressure on independent critics.

Russian officials, including the president, have repeatedly stated that the law is not banning any NGOs and simply requires disclosure of the sources of their income. Such transparency would give Russian citizens and voters some clues about possible motives of the groups’ political actions, the officials added.

Currently no organization is registered as a foreign agent in Russia.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

US firms in bed with intelligence agencies in info swap – report

RT | June 14, 2013

Thousands of US tech, finance, and manufacturing firms have secret agreements with national security agencies to trade sensitive information in return for classified intelligence, Bloomberg’s sources revealed.

The firms involved are referred to as ‘trusted partners’ by US intelligence organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and branches of US military.

In fact, thousands of US companies voluntarily provide US agencies with data (i.e. equipment specifications), Bloomberg’s four sources, who either worked for the government or in companies that have these agreements, said. And the information received can be used to gain access to computers of America’s rivals.

Cooperation between companies and intelligence agencies is legal, reported Bloomberg. And the fact that the companies provide information voluntarily means there is no need for US agencies to get court orders and no oversight is required under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, one out of four sources said.

Also, some of the companies’ executives are guaranteed immunity from civil actions related to transfer of information.

For example, Microsoft passes on information about bugs in its software before it publicly releases a fix to the problem, two sources confirmed. This kind of information can protect US government computers, as well as help to infiltrate those used by foreign governments by exploiting vulnerabilities in the Microsoft’s system.

Microsoft is reportedly not told how the US government uses the information passed on down to it, according to one official. Spokesman for Microsoft Frank Shaw confirmed such releases and stated that they give the government a chance to get “an early start: on risk assessment and mitigation.”

McAfee, America’s global computer security software company, is another ‘trusted partner’ and is known for its cooperation with the NSA, CIA, and FBI. It can share valuable data including malicious internet traffic, one of the sources said.

The company’s worldwide chief technology officer, Michael Fey, rebuffed the claim that the company does not share any personal information with the government.

“McAfee’s function is to provide security technology, education, and threat intelligence to governments … [including] emerging new threats, cyber-attack patterns and hacker group activity,” he stated.

Due to the sensitivity of information being traded, these kinds of agreements are usually made strictly between companies’ chief executive officers and heads of the US agencies. At times the chief executives could clear a few trusted people to work directly with the agencies.

Sharing info: Out of ‘patriotism’ or for ‘classified’ info?

In return for their cooperation, companies are showered with attention and gratitude.

“If I were the director and had a relationship with a company who was doing things that were not just directed by law, but were also valuable to the defense of the Republic, I would go out of my way to thank them and give them a sense as to why this is necessary and useful”, Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA said.

One of the sources said that public would be surprised how much help the government is seeking in terms of collecting information. Reportedly, it is currently implementing a new expensive program called Einstein 3. The program was developed by the NSA to protect the government from hackers by analyzing billions of emails being sent to the government computers.

Five of America’s major internet companies, including AT&T and Verizon, have agreed to install the program on their servers and have received immunity guarantees, which specify that they would not be held liable under US wiretap laws, one of the sources revealed.

In the past companies like AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth were already reportedly involved for eavesdropping on behalf of the NSA. In 2006 sources revealed that the companies collected call records of tens of millions of Americans and shared them with NSA.

US companies are willing to participate in these kinds of agreements because they either believe they are helping to protect the nation and/or helping to advance their own interests by receiving classified information in return, sources said.

Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, for example, was given sensitive government information a year into its data sharing agreement with NSA. The info provided linked the 2010 attack on Google to a specific unit within the Chinese military – the People’s Liberation Army – one of the sources confirmed. Brin was even given a classified clearance to attend a secret briefing on the subject.

Google was reportedly one of the participants in the secret NSA PRISM program that was revealed by ex-CIA staffer and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The program uses data mining surveillance to access emails, videos, chats, photos and search queries from nine worldwide tech giants.

Snowden also disclosed a secret NSA program called Blarney, which gathers metadata on computers and devices that send emails or browse the Internet through principal data routes, known as a backbone.

The whistleblower was last seen Monday, checking out of his hotel in Hong Kong, where he stayed for three weeks after leaving the US.

Snowden is hoping that staying in Hong Kong would help him avoid any extradition attempts on behalf of the US. In terms of the US-Hong Kong Extradition Treaty, both Hong Kong and Beijing have the power to stymie Snowden’s extradition. China for its part has no extradition treaty with the United States.

China has thus far refrained from making statements on the Snowden case. But a popular Chinese Communist Party-backed newspaper has printed an article demonstrating the benefits of not sending Snowden back to US, arguing that his knowledge of US surveillance programs are key to China’s national interest.

The article comes after Snowden resurfaced and gave an exclusive interview to the South China Morning Post, revealing top-secret US government records that show dates and IP addresses of computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland that were hacked by the NSA over a four-year period.

In the meantime, the FBI has launched an investigation into Snowden leaking US top secret surveillance tactics and has promised to hold the whistleblower accountable.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Professor Bob Carter torpedoes the “scientific consensus” on the climate HOAX

May 7, 2011

An excellent presentation disputing man-made global warming using nothing but pure science and statistics by Professor Bob Carter (Australian geologist). It would be very difficult to dispute his facts. In this video he pretty much proves that over 10,000 years the earth has been cooling. Looking at shorter periods of time one can find whatever they want in the numbers. There have been many periods of rapid warming and cooling over this period.

He examines the data concerning climate change, Global warming, the problems with the idea that CO2 is driving climate change and global warming, & examples of the scientific data being ignored over popularist views about CO2 causing climate change and Global warming;… the hypothesis fails the test.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Secrecy’s Tangled Web of Deceit

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | June 13, 2013

The name card at the Senate hearing read, “Hon. General Keith B. Alexander,” but layering on the extra honorific title was not enough to change the sad reality that the National Security Agency’s director – a proven prevaricator – was not “honorable.”

You might have thought that some impish congressional staffer was trying to inject a touch of irony into the proceedings by prefacing “General” with “Hon.” – like Mark Antony mocking Julius Caesar’s murderers as “honorable men” in Shakespeare’s play. But that didn’t seem to be the case.

Likely, the extra title was just a mistake by the person printing out the name cards or someone who thought it would do no harm to tack on one more flattering title like a court herald might do in announcing the arrival of royalty. But – whatever the case – the image of Alexander, with his history of lying to Congress (see below), sitting behind the assurance that he was “honorable” might have elicited from the Bard a comment like, “Methinks they doth protest too much.”

The Wednesday hearing was led by Senate Appropriations Committee chair Barbara Mikulski, Democrat from Maryland, the state which hosts the gargantuan multi-billion-dollar-spending National Security Agency. To her credit, she let her Senate colleagues focus on the revelations by Edward Snowden regarding highly intrusive NSA monitoring of the communications of virtually every living soul, even though cyber-security spending was to be the main agenda item.

The public hearing, however, did allow the “honorable” Alexander to do a snow job on Edward Snowden, with the eager help of some of the senators. But when a few senators dared to ask probing questions, those were deferred to the Senate Intelligence Committee, where chair Dianne Feinstein can more easily protect Alexander and his Fourth-Amendment-shredding accomplices – including herself – especially in executive session.

Oversight Is ‘Nonsense’

Wednesday’s hearing proved Daniel Ellsberg right in saying earlier this week: “to say that there is judicial oversight is nonsense – as is the alleged oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. Not for the first time – as with issues of torture, kidnapping, detention, assassination by drones and death squads – they have shown themselves to be thoroughly co-opted by the agencies they supposedly monitor.”

Given what we now know, thanks to whistleblower Snowden, it is clear that Alexander made a host of untruthful statements to the media as well as Congress in recent years. Not to worry. Unconstitutional eavesdropping advocates/defenders in Congress and the media know quite well how to play all this. Exhibit A: Lead headline in Thursday’s Washington Post, “Dozens of attacks foiled, NSA says.”

Here’s the lede: “The head of the National Security Agency defended his agency’s broad electronic surveillance programs Wednesday, saying that they have helped thwart dozens of terrorist attacks and that their recent public disclosure has done ‘great harm’ to the nation’s security.” The Post adds that Alexander went on to claim: “Our agency takes great pride in protecting this nation and our civil liberties and privacy.”

The front-pager by Ellen Nakashima and Jerry Markon recounted – with no apparent attempt to solicit background, much less confirmation – specific cases where Alexander claimed that the intrusive eavesdropping programs “helped thwart” terrorist attacks. It took the London Guardian virtually no time to challenge Alexander on two of the main cases he adduced: the arrests and convictions of would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi in 2009 and David Headley, now serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt, no doubt anticipating the tales Alexander would weave, wrote: “But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programmes played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots. Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations.”

Previous Prevarication

My apologies, but it’s just too contrived for me to defer to the convention, prevailing in the Washington Establishment, of not calling a lie a lie. For those few who may not have noticed, lying to the obsequious note-takers and speedy stenographers who pose as journalists is part of the woodwork in the nation’s capital these days.

But lying to Congress? Isn’t that still a felony or at least grounds for getting summarily fired? There is proof that Alexander lied to Congress – well before Wednesday’s disingenuous performance. He did so almost eight years ago. And he seems to have paid no price. Indeed, it has served him well, career-wise.

For almost a dozen years now we have been hearing, “After 9/11 everything changed!” Include NSA under that rubric. After the attacks of 9/11, then-Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden saluted smartly when ordered by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to trash what had been known throughout the intelligence community as NSA’s “First Commandment – Thou shalt not eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant.”

After 9/11 the prevailing attitude – in Congress as well as the Executive – was that there was no need to pay much attention to the rule of law, or to abide by solemn oaths to support and defend the Constitution. But there were still some Americans who believed that the law was the law and who sought some accountability from telecommunication companies that had cooperated with warrantless wiretapping.

However, by an artful change in the law, Hayden, Cheney, Bush and the telecoms were held harmless. The authors of the bill and the mainstream media even lauded those who collaborated in the warrantless wiretaps for their patriotism.

So, Hayden’s successor, Keith Alexander, knew which side his bread was buttered on and followed Hayden’s example. But Alexander was caught in a lie when he misled Rep. Rush Holt, D-New Jersey, who had the NSA portfolio on the House Intelligence Committee. It is a felony to lie to Congress; yet, that is precisely what Alexander did on Dec. 6, 2005, as Congressman Holt paid a call on NSA.

Alexander told Holt that NSA was not violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act strictures against eavesdropping on Americans without a court order, which then was one of the Bush administration’s most sensitive secrets, albeit one that was about to be spilled.

Unfortunately for Alexander, the White House had neglected to tell him that a day earlier — on Dec. 5, 2005 – President Bush tried and failed to keep the New York Times sitting on the story (which it had politely done for more than a year). However, the Times editors had learned that their reporter James Risen was prepared to disclose the secret in a book scheduled for publication in early 2006. So the Times editors decided that they couldn’t afford to be scooped on their own story – and finally rebuffed Bush’s entreaties.

However, the unlucky Alexander was left out of the loop on these discussions so he continued to use the shopworn, dishonest NSA talking points when he spoke with Holt. On Dec. 16, 2005, the Times finally front-paged the exclusive by Risen and Eric Lichtblau, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”

It seems almost necessary to remind readers at this point that there was a “before 9/11” when a quaint notion prevailed that it was not quite right to lie to Congress. Even after 9/11, Holt was appropriately outraged. Holt said he would see to it that Alexander did not get a fourth star.

However, impunity seems to prevail in these circles of signals intelligence. Less than five years later, in May 2010, the Senate confirmed Alexander for appointment to the rank of four-star general at a ceremony at which he also assumed the key post of U.S. Cyber Commander.

Smoother than Clapper

Fortunately for the senators now bent on covering up NSA’s violation of Fourth Amendment rights – the sweeping up of “metadata” on apparently every phone call made by Americans so it can be mined for information about “terrorists” – the “honorable” Alexander is a smooth talker skilled in the art of deception. You might apply to Alexander the addendum to the old saying about “once you practice to deceive”: “But once you’ve practiced for a while; You markedly improve your style.”

National Intelligence Director James Clapper was much less polished when he tried to deflect questions about the collection of the phone data during a Senate hearing. What an embarrassment it was to watch him entangle himself when asked by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

In answering, Clapper appeared in some distress – “more than somewhat not comfortable,” as author Damon Runyon would put it. Clapper, who was under oath, tried to hide his face behind his hand, tugged on his pate though it hosted no hair, and responded: “No, sir.”

Wyden, who knew different, followed up, “It does not?”Clapper: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.” Clapper later tried to excuse his lie as the “least untruthful” response he could come up with in an open hearing.

Clapper’s sad performance was particularly painful because he has been, for the most part, a stand-up guy even when facing pressure from lawmakers to retreat on controversial intelligence assessments. For example, he stood up to members of Congress when some pressed him to change the intelligence community’s considered judgment that Iran stopped working on a nuclear weapon almost ten years ago.

On Wednesday, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, openly accused Clapper of criminal perjury and called for him to resign, saying, “It now appears clear that the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lied under oath to Congress and the American people.” Amash added that “Perjury is a serious crime … [and] Clapper should resign immediately.”

But Clapper too is an “honorable man” – someone deeply enmeshed in the machinations of America’s “secrecy/surveillance state.” It will be interesting to see if he decides to fall on his sword and demonstrate that at least someone has a sense of honor – or he could take lessons from Alexander on the finer arts of dissembling.

O Tempora; O Mores.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, part of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army officer and CIA intelligence analyst for 30 years, and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | 1 Comment

Northern Ireland all set for G8 police state

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Press TV – June 14, 2013

British police are preparing one of their most unprecedented security operations, involving water cannons and summary hearings, for next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Police Service of Northern Ireland district commander Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields said more than 8,000 officers are being dispatched to Northern Ireland to help local police in the security operations.

The arrangements include a daunting four-mile security fence around the Lough Erne Golf Resort that will host the summit on Monday and Tuesday next week, while another barbed wire barrier is being set up outside the area.

The police have also deployed several mobile water cannons to frighten off potential protesters with a seven-mile area of the Lough Erne lake itself being closed down and patrolled by police boats.

“I would say the scale of the G8 in Northern Ireland is the biggest operation that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has ever had to deal with and probably as big as any police service throughout the UK would have dealt with,” Shields said.

This comes as she dismissed concerns that the police are gearing up a heavy-handed response to any protests outside the summit venue.

Police say they have made 260 extra prison cells available in nearby Omagh, Country Tyrone, and in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast, while sixteen judges will be on standby to hold summary hearings for arrested demonstrators.

But Shields claimed the measures are only meant to “facilitate” peaceful protests.

“We will have a policing operation in place that will facilitate peaceful protest…. We believe there may be a small minority of people who may be intent on causing disorder – we would ask people to abide by the law and if they break the law, then we will be in a position to deal robustly with them,” she said.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Erdogan Agrees to Halt Contentious Park Project, Protesters Welcome as Positive

Al-Manar | June 14, 2013

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday agreed to halt plans to redevelop an Istanbul park at the center of two weeks of mass anti-government unrest, in a move protesters welcomed as “positive”.

It marked the first easing of tensions in the standoff, which has presented the government with the biggest challenge of its decade-long rule.

Hours after giving a “last warning” to defiant demonstrators camping out in Gezi Park, Erdogan made the concession in his first talks with a key group of protesters to defuse tensions in the crisis.

“The positive outcome from tonight is the prime minister’s explanation that the project will not continue before the final court decision,” Tayfun Kahraman, a spokesman for the Taksim Solidary group, seen as the most representative of the protest movement, said in televised remarks.

A peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park’s 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into nationwide outpourings of anger against Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), seen as increasingly authoritarian.

The promise to abide by a court decision suspending the redevelopment of Gezi Park was hailed as a win by the protesters, who had earlier balked at Erdogan’s offer to hold a referendum over plans to reconstruct Ottoman-era military barracks on the site in return for evacuating the park.

Speaking after the four-hour emergency meeting, Deputy Prime Minister
Huseyin Celik said the government would respect the court’s decision on the project suspension and insisted a popular vote to seal the fate of the park
would go ahead.

“But Gezi Park protesters should stop their demonstration now,” he warned.

The court process is expected to take several months. In the meantime, a probe is under way to investigate the use of excessive police force in dealing with the protesters across the country, Celik added.

Some 5,000 people have been injured and four were killed by the police so far, because of the use of tear gas, rubber ballets and water cannons on demonstrators.

Source: AFP

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli occupation police close streets, confiscate lands in Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – 13/06/2013

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli occupation police closed main streets leading to the Old City in occupied Jerusalem on Thursday, local sources said.

The Israeli decision to close the streets came due to the preparations for the organization of the Formula 1 race, which will take place on Thursday and Friday in the occupied city of Jerusalem with the participation of the Ferrari World team, under the sponsorship Kaspersky Company specialized in computer protection programs.

The police declared, in a statement, their intention to close the streets leading to al-Khalil, Asbat, and Al Magharibah Gates in the Old City on Thursday and Friday, according to Jerusalemite sources.

The race will be launched from the neighborhoods in the western part of Jerusalem towards the eastern part, in the vicinity of the Old City wall.

For its part; the Jerusalem Sports Federations Group asserted that the Ferrari race comes within the framework of the Judaization plans implemented by the occupation in the city of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the Israeli police, accompanied with bulldozers and trucks, evacuated on Wednesday Wadi Joz car park east of Jerusalem claiming that it belongs to Israel Lands Administration (ILA).

Siyam, Abu Ta’a, and Farhan families confirmed that the car park was established on their own lands, declaring their intention to prosecute the ILA for its racial policy.

The families confirmed that the Israeli authorities have notified them since 6 months to evacuate the car park.

The park owners affirmed that they have official documents confirming their ownership of the land, where they appealed to the Israeli Municipal Authorities which permitted them to rehabilitate the park to be used as a car park, however they were surprised yesterday by the ILA breaking into the park.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US claims of Assad’s chemical weapons are lies – Pushkov

RT | June 14, 2013

A senior Russian MP holds that the recent White House statement of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is as false as the notorious reports about Iraqi WMDs.

“The data about Assad’s use of chemical weapons is fabricated by the same facility that made up the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Obama is walking George W. Bush’s path,” the head of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksey Pushkov tweeted.

The Russian MP was referring to the 2003 invasion in Iraq prompted by the US and UK claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that threatened neighboring nations. The UN probe into the matter was underway as the invasion started and no traces of WMD have been discovered on Iraqi territory since the war ended, prompting accusations that the US administration and special services fabricated the data to get an excuse to start the conflict.

In comments to Russian news agencies Pushkov noted that the supplies of arms from the US to the Syrian rebels would hardly lead to the overthrow of President Bashar Assad’s regime. He added that the government in Syria is supported by “a significant, if not the larger, part of the population” and the Syrian military “show a high degree of resistance.”

Pushkov also forecast that the United States would now attempt to further escalate the situation.

“Now they are arming the rebels but then they will come to some form of direct military involvement. We cannot exclude the possibility of cruise missile strikes and if this measure brings no result – of direct military intervention,” he said.

The statement was made shortly after US authorities publicly announced that they had proof that pro-government forces used chemical weapons, like the nerve agent sarin in the Syrian conflict, killing at least 150 people. At the same time, the US side claimed that there was no proof about similar actions from the rebels’ side.

US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has told the press that President Barack Obama has decided to boost the US support to the Syrian opposition forces and that this would now include military support. The detailed orders will be issued within the nearest weeks after Obama consults with the Congress, the official added.

Earlier last week UK and France said that their probes into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria showed that the pro-government forces did it at least once causing casualties among rebels and called the international community for immediate action. Many officials, including top Russian politicians, noted that the impartiality of British and French researchers is under question and urged an independent probe.

The UN is currently preparing its own independent investigation, but it might take a long time. Syrian government has said it was ready to accept the UN delegation and help with the investigation.

In late March one of the conflicting parties in Syria allegedly used a sarin-charged missile near the city of Aleppo. The government and rebels now accuse each other of the attack that killed at least 25 people.

While the UK, France and now the United states accuse pro-Assad forces, Turkish media said in early June that the country’s security forces had found sarin gas in the homes of members of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front – one of the main groups opposing the Syrian government.

Russian officials have repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons and urged an all-sided and unbiased research into all incidents connected with the issue.

June 14, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments