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A Tale of Two Cities: Kiev and Washington

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | February 7, 2014

Euromaidan Nazi

In Kiev:

Violent protestors last month occupied three cabinet ministry buildings as they sought to overthrow the Ukrainian government. Protestors physically blocked the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament from taking his seat at the speaker’s podium for weeks. Then they blockaded the speaker of parliament in his own office, forcing him to escape out the window.

As the Ukrainian authorities attempted to restore order and evict protestors from government buildings, the US government threatened sanctions and more if the legally-elected government of Ukraine moved against those occupying government buildings.

Senator John McCain last week threatened unspecified “concrete” US action against Ukraine if there is any “brutal repression of the demonstrations.” In other words, if police forcibly remove those who have taken control of cabinet ministry buildings and blocked the main square of the capitol, McCain implies that “all options are on the table.”

Meanwhile in Washington:

A man attempted to climb the fence surrounding the White House today and was immediately apprehended. The White House complex was placed in full lockdown mode. According to press reports, “the area around the White House was shut down and reporters were not allowed to leave through one of the gates because of the incident.”

Last October, a distraught woman traveling with her one year old daughter bumped into a barricade in front of the White House before driving quickly and erratically toward Capitol Hill. She did not attempt to occupy any government buildings, but once she stopped her car, police shot her dead.

February 9, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

MIT study of Ghouta chemical attack challenges US intelligence

RT | January 16, 2014

A new MIT report is challenging the US claim that Assad forces used chemical weapons in an attack last August, highlighting that the range of the improvised rocket was way too short to have been launched from government controlled areas.

In the report titled “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former UN weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), examined the delivery rocket’s design and calculated possible trajectories based on the payload of the cargo.

The authors concluded that sarin gas “could not possibly have been fired at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the Eastern edge, of the Syrian government controlled area shown in the intelligence map published by the White House on August 30, 2013.”

Based on mathematical calculations, Lloyd and Postol estimate the rocket with such aerodynamics could not travel more than 2 kilometers. To illustrate their conclusion, the authors included the original White House map that depicted areas under Assad control and those held by the opposition. Based on the firing range and troop locations on August 21, the authors conclude that all possible launching points within the 2 km radius were in rebel-held areas.


“This mistaken intelligence could have led to an unjustified US military action based on false intelligence. A proper vetting of the fact that the munition was of such short range would have led to a completely different assessment of the situation from the gathered data,” the report states.

The authors emphasize that the UN independent assessment of the range of the chemical munition is in “exact agreement” with their findings.

The report goes on to challenge the US Secretary of State’s key assessments of the chemical attack that he presented to the American people on August 30th and to the Foreign Relations Committee on September 3rd in an effort to muster a military attack on Syria.

“My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack. But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct,” Postol told McClatchy news.


“The Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons,” he said. “I think they might have more ability than the Syrian government.”

It also remains a mystery why the particular type of rocket that was used in the attack was not declared by the Syrian government as part of its chemical weapons arsenal when it agreed to destroy its chemical weapons and their delivery methods. OPCW inspectors charged with implementing the agreement also did not discover such a rocket in possession of government forces.

Syria agreed to the destruction of its chemical weapons through a deal brokered by Russia and the US after a sarin gas attack on August 21. Western nations blamed the deadly attack on President Bashar Assad’s forces, while Damascus accused the rebels for the incident. The UN fact-finding mission had no mandate to find out who carried out the attack.

Under the UN-backed plan, all of the country’s declared 1,290 tons of toxic agents should be destroyed by June 30. Initially, the first batch of the most dangerous materials was to be moved out of Syria on December 31.

However, the deadline was missed because of the ongoing war in Syria and technical issues. It was only on January 7 that “priority chemical materials” left the Syrian port of Latakia on a Danish ship for international waters.

January 16, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama administration ‘cherry-picked intelligence’ to justify Syria strike

RT | December 9, 2013

Washington knew Syrian rebels could produce sarin gas but “cherry-picked” intel to blame President Assad for the Aug. 21 attack on Ghouta, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed, citing senior US security sources.

The report was published in the London Review of Books after two of Hersh’s regular publishers, The New Yorker and The Washington Post, turned the article down.

Hersh, whose Pulitzers were for his exposes on American military misconduct in the Iraq and Vietnam wars, got his information on Syria from whistle-blowing acting and former intelligence and military officers, who for security reasons were not identified in the report.

According to Hersh’s findings, months before the chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus, which almost prompted US air strikes on Syria, “the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports… citing evidence that the Al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity.”

The attack took place on August 21, the same day UN inspectors arrived in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of chemical weapons. The casualty figures have ranged from several hundred to more than 1,400 deaths.

Before the attack, the Obama administration repeatedly described the use of chemical weapons in Syria as a “red line,” which would signal the US could intervene in the conflict.

Hersh wrote that he does not believe that the intelligence data, pointing at the rebels’ having capability for making sarin, could have in any way escaped the White House’s attention.

“Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on Al-Nusra and its work with sarin,” he wrote.

Obama’s laying the blame for the nerve gas attack on Assad’s forces, completely disregarding Al-Nusra as a suspect in the case, is thus described in the report as the administration’s having “cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.”

“The cherry-picking was similar to the process used to justify the Iraq war,” Hersh wrote.

It’s because of the lack of sufficient evidence against Assad that Obama quickly abandoned his plan for military strikes.

“Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal,” the report reads. “Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)”

The investigative journalist then points at an annual budget for all national intelligence programs, leaked to the media by Edward Snowden and partly published by The Washington Post. According to the document, by the time of the Eastern Ghouta chemical attack, the NSA “no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack”. That puts to question the confidence with which Obama spoke of Assad’s responsibility for the deaths.

The same document described “a secret sensor system inside Syria, designed to provide early warning of any change in status of the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal”. Hersh wrote it was suspicious that the US intelligence received no alarm, if the Assad forces really prepared for an attack.

Hersh also analyses the news coverage of the chemical gas attack investigation, pointing to instances when the media outlets omitted the information that suggested there could be other suspects, beside Assad.

The UN September 16 report, confirming the use of sarin, contained one part that noted that the organization’s experts did not have immediate access to the attack sites controlled by rebels, so potential evidence could have been manipulated there. The passage was largely ignored in the news.

Following the release of the report, the spokesman for Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, denied the report’s major point – that the US knew of the rebel group being capable of creating sarin.

“We were clear with The Washington Post and Mr. Hersh that the intelligence gathered about the 21 August chemical weapons attack indicated that the Assad regime and only the Assad regime could have been responsible,” Turner told Buzzfeed. “Any suggestion that there was an effort to suppress intelligence about a nonexistent alternative explanation is simply false.”

Hersh has remained unconvinced by the denial and has summed it up with a warning against ignoring alleged Al-Nusra’s chemical weapons potential.

“While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, Al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone. There may be more to negotiate.”

December 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Government Can’t Even Figure Out How To Shut Down Its Websites In A Reasonable Way

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | October 2, 2013

With the government shutdown, you have may have come across a variety of oddities involving various government agency websites that were completely taken offline. This seems strange. Yes, the government is shut down, but does that really mean they need to turn off their web servers as well, even the purely informational ones? I could see them just leaving them static without updating them, but to completely block them just seems… odd. Even odder is that not all websites are down and some, such as the FTC’s website appears to be fully up, including fully loading a page… only to then redirect you to a page that says it’s down. Julian Sanchez, over at Cato, explores the various oddities of government domains that are either up or down — or something in between.

For agencies that directly run their own Web sites on in-house servers, shutting down might make sense if the agency’s “essential” and “inessential” systems are suitably segregated. Running the site in those cases eats up electricity and bandwidth that the agency is paying for, not to mention the IT and security personnel who need to monitor the site for attacks and other problems. Fair enough in those cases. But those functions are, at least in the private sector, often outsourced and paid for up front: if you’ve contracted with an outside firm to host your site, shutting it down for a few days or weeks may not save any money at all. And that might indeed explain why some government sites remain operational, even though they don’t exactly seem “essential,” while others have been pulled down.

That doesn’t seem to account for some of the weird patterns we see, however. The main page at NASA.gov redirects to a page saying the site is unavailable, but lots of subdomains that, however cool, seem “inessential” remain up and running: the “Solar System Exploration” page at solarsystem.nasa.gov; the Climate Kids website at climatekids.nasa.gov; and the large photo archive at images.jsc.nasa.gov, to name a few. There are any number of good reasons some of those subdomains might be hosted separately, and therefore unaffected by the shutdown—but it seems odd they can keep all of these running without additional expenditures, yet aren’t able to redirect to a co-located mirror of the landing page.

He also takes on the issue of the FTC redirect, in which he notes that the redirect after loading the full page shows that they’re not saving any money at all this way, meaning it makes absolutely no sense at all.

Still weirder is the status of the Federal Trade Commission’s site. Browse to any of their pages and you’ll see, for a split second, the full content of the page you want—only to be redirected to a shutdown notice page also hosted at FTC.gov. But that means… their servers are still up and running and actually serving all the same content. In fact they’re serving more content: first the real page, then the shutdown notice page. If you’re using Firefox or Chrome and don’t mind browsing in HTML-cluttered text, you can even use this link to navigate to the FTC site map and navigate from page to page in source-code view without triggering the redirect. Again, it’s entirely possible I’m missing something, but if the full site is actually still running, it’s hard to see how a redirect after the real page is served could be avoiding any expenditures.

Sanchez tries to piece together why this might be happening, and points to a White House memo which explicitly says that agencies should shut stuff down even if it’s cheaper to keep them online:

The determination of which services continue during an appropriations lapse is not affected by whether the costs of shutdown exceed the costs of maintaining services…

It’s difficult to see how this helps anyone at all. But it does yet a good job (yet again) of demonstrating that logic and bureaucracy don’t often go well together.

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Court rules White House visitor logs can remain secret

By Julian Hattem – The Hill – 08/30/13

A federal appeals court has ruled that the White House can keep secret some records of visitors who enter the building.

In a unanimous decision on Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that visitor logs for the Office of the President, at the center of the White House, are not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Anti-secrecy organizations criticized the ruling as a barrier to public oversight.

“Decisions like this turn FOIA from a transparency law into a secrecy law,” Tom Fitton, president of the right-leaning Judicial Watch, told The Hill. He added that the decision was “unprecedented.”

Records for other offices on the White House complex, however, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality, are subject to public disclosure requests, the court ruled.

The appeals court ruling overturns a district court case brought by Judicial Watch, which sued the Secret Service in 2009 for not releasing seven months’ worth of visitor logs.

The dispute centered on whether the visitor logs amounted to “agency records,” which FOIA requires to be accessible to public requests, except in certain circumstances.

Judge Merrick Garland wrote in the court’s opinion that classifying White House visitor logs as “agency records” could “substantially affect the President’s ability to meet confidentially with foreign leaders, agency officials, or members of the public. And that could render FOIA a potentially serious congressional intrusion into the conduct of the President’s daily operations.”

He added, “Congress did make clear that it intended to place documents like the President’s appointment calendar beyond the reach of FOIA.”

Transparency advocates worried about the precedent that would be set by the decision.

“White House visitor records have proven of enormous value to the public in exposing the outside influences brought to bear on presidential decisions and policies,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which joined the case. “With this ruling, that window on the White House is now shut.”

The Obama administration has voluntary released its logs of White House visitors, but even those have been a point of contention. The records lack additional identifying details beyond a visitor’s name, can often include typos and may include names of people cleared to enter the building who never actually showed up.

Fitton said that Judicial Watch was “strongly considering” appealing the ruling.

“The option of doing nothing is unlikely,” he said.

Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

September 1, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Boy’s Death in Drone Strike Tests Obama’s Transparency Pledge

By Cora Currier | ProPublica | July 1, 2013

On June 9, a U.S. drone fired on a vehicle in a remote province of Yemen and killed several militants, according to media reports.

It soon emerged that among those who died was a boy – 10-year-old Abdulaziz, whose elder brother, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, was believed to be the target of the strike. A McClatchy reporter recently confirmed the child’s death with locals. (Update: The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism today reported that there was “strong evidence” it was a U.S. drone strike, but it could not confirm the fact.)

It’s the first prominent allegation of a civilian death since President Obama pledged in a major speech in May “to facilitate transparency and debate” about the U.S. war on al Qaida-linked militants beyond Afghanistan. He also said “there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured” in a strike.

So what does the administration have to say in response to evidence that a child was killed?

Nothing.

National security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden would not comment on the June 9 strike or more generally on the White House position on acknowledging civilian deaths. She referred further questions to the CIA, which also declined to comment.

The president’s speech was the capstone on a shift in drone war policy that would reportedly bring the program largely under control of the military (as opposed to the CIA) and impose stricter criteria on who could be targeted. In theory, it could also bring some of the classified program into the open. As part of its transparency effort, the administration released the names of four U.S. citizens who had been killed in drone strikes.

An official White House fact sheet on targeted killing released along with the speech repeated the “near-certainty” standard for avoiding civilian casualties. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated it a few days later, when he told an audience in Ethiopia: “We do not fire when we know there are children or collateral — we just don’t do it.”

But White House press secretary Jay Carney said in late May that “this commitment to transparency…does not mean that we would be able to discuss the details of every counterterrorism operation.”

The new White House statements don’t address what happens after a strike, even in general terms.

CIA Director John Brennan offered one of the few public explanations of how casualties are assessed during his nomination hearing in February. Before his confirmation, Brennan was the White House counterterrorism adviser, and is considered to be the architect of Obama’s drone war policy.

He told senators that, “analysts draw on a large body of information — human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage — to help us make an informed determination about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.”

Brennan also said the U.S. could work with local governments to offer condolence payments. As we’ve reported, there’s little visible evidence of that happening.

At the hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Brennan if the U.S. should acknowledge when it “makes a mistake and kills the wrong person.”

“We need to acknowledge it publicly,” Brennan responded. Brennan also proposed that the government make public “the overall numbers of civilian deaths resulting from U.S. strikes.”

Neither overall numbers nor a policy of acknowledging casualties made it into Obama’s speech, or into the fact sheet. Hayden, the White House spokeswoman, would not say why.

The government sharply disputes that there have been large numbers of civilian deaths but has never released its own figures. Independent counts, largely compiled from news reports, range from about 200 to around 1,000 for Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia combined over the past decade.

Researchers agree that the number of drone strikes and civilian deaths have dropped during the past year. (Before Obama’s speech, an administration official attributed this partly to the new heightened standards.) The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which generally has the highest tally of civilian dead, has found there were between three and 16 civilians reportedly killed in about 30 drone or other airstrikes in Yemen and Pakistan so far this year. No strikes have been reported in Somalia.

“Official” statistics might not be much help without knowing more about how they were compiled, said Sarah Holewinski, head of the advocacy group Center for Civilians in Conflict.

That’s because it’s still not clear how the U.S. distinguishes between civilians and “militants,” or “combatants.”

In so-called signature strikes, operators sometimes fire on groups of people who appear to be engaged in militant activity without necessarily knowing their identities. The newly instituted drone rules reportedly roll back the military’s ability to use signature strikes, but the CIA can keep firing in Pakistan under the old rules at least through the end of the year.

An administration official told ProPublica last year that when a strike is made, “if a group of fighting-age males are in a home where we know they are constructing explosives or plotting an attack, it’s assumed that all of them are in on that effort.”

The new White House fact sheet contradicts that, stating: “It is not the case that all military-aged males in the vicinity of a target are deemed to be combatants.”

From the outside, in a strike like the recent one in Yemen, it’s impossible to know how these things were determined.  McClatchy reported that the target, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, had “largely unquestioned” ties to al Qaida. Yemeni officials said he arranged to bring money and fighters from Saudi Arabia to Yemen.

As for Huraydan’s young brother, “They may not have realized who was in the car. Or they may have realized it and decided collateral damage was okay,” Holewinski says.

The same questions dog the death of another boy that the administration has acknowledged: the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric tied to terror attacks. Awlaki and his son were killed in separate strikes in Yemen in the fall of 2011. The boy, Attorney General Eric Holder has said, was “not specifically targeted.”

July 2, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on Boy’s Death in Drone Strike Tests Obama’s Transparency Pledge

The U.S.’s Grossly Corrupt Health Protection System

Blame the Pentagon

By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and JOSHUA FRANK | CounterPunch | February 15, 2013

The nation’s biggest polluter isn’t a corporation. It’s the Pentagon. Every year the Department of Defense churns out more than 750,000 tons of hazardous waste — more than the top three chemical companies combined.

Yet the military remains largely exempt from compliance with most federal and state environmental laws, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pentagon’s partner in crime, is working hard to keep it that way.

For the past five decades the federal government, defense contractors and the chemical industry have joined forces to block public health protections against perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been shown to effect children’s growth and mental progress by disrupting the function of the thyroid gland which regulates brain development.

Perchlorate has been leaking from literally hundreds of defense plants and military installations across the country. The EPA has reported that perchlorate is present in drinking and groundwater supplies in 35 states. Center for Disease Control and independent studies have also overwhelmingly shown that perchlorate is existent in our food supplies, cow’s milk, and human breast milk. As a result virtually every American has some level of perchlorate in their body.

Currently only two states, California and Massachusetts, have set a maximum allowable contaminant level for perchlorate in drinking water. But the EPA won’t follow these states’ lead. In the Colorado River, which provides water for over 20 million people, perchlorate levels are high. The chemical is most prevalent in the Southwest and California as a result of the large number of military operations and defense contractors in the region.

In 2001 the EPA estimated that the total liability for the cleanup of toxic military sites would exceed $350 billion, or five times the Superfund Act liability of private industry. But the federal government has been complacent and allowed perchlorate to run rampant throughout our water supplies. This negligence and lack of regulatory oversight has left the Pentagon, NASA and defense contractors free to set their own levels, trimming the high, but necessary costs of restoring groundwater quality.

While the situation has become dire in recent years, it was the Clinton administration that didn’t do nearly enough to begin cleaning up these sites and certainly did not keep a close eye on how the Pentagon spent the money it received. During the 1990s the Defense Department spent only $3.5 billion a year cleaning up toxic military sites — much of that on studies, not actual work. In 1998, the Defense Science Review Board, a federal advisory committee set up to provide independent advice to the secretary of defense, looked at the problem and concluded that the Pentagon had no clear environmental cleanup policy, goals or program, which led lawyer Jonathan Turley, who holds the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at George Washington University, to call the Pentagon the nation’s “premier environmental villain.”

“If they can spend $1 million on a cruise missile, it seems kind of ridiculous they won’t spend $200,000 to see if our food is contaminated with rocket fuel,” says Renee Sharp, a scientist with Environmental Working Group. But if the Clinton program was chintzy, the Bush plan has been downright penurious.

While Bush has boosted overall Pentagon spending by billions, the administration has simultaneously slashed its environmental remediation program. Moreover, the Bush defense plan has called for “new rounds of base closures” to “shape the military more efficiently.” Efficiency is usually a code word for sidestepping environmental rules.

These military sites, which total more than 50 million acres, are among the most insidious and dangerous legacies left by the Pentagon. They are strewn with toxic bomb fragments, unexploded munitions, buried hazardous waste, fuel dumps, open pits filled with debris, burn piles and yes, rocket fuel. An internal EPA memo from 1998 warned of the looming problem: “As measured by acres, and probably as measured by number of sites, ranges and buried munitions represent the largest cleanup program in the United States.”

When a site gets too polluted, the Pentagon has chosen simply to close it down and turn it over to another federal agency. Over the past three decades, the Pentagon has transferred more than 16 million acres, often with little or no remediation. The former bombing areas have been turned into wildlife refuges, city and state parks, golf courses, landfills, airports and shopping malls.

Serious contamination of streams, soil and groundwater is a problem at nearly every military training ground. The sites are often saturated with heavy metals and other pollutants as well as unexploded weapons. The Government Accountability Office’s list of the kinds of unexploded munitions left behind on many training sites reads like a catalogue for a Middle East arms bonanza: “hand grenades, rockets, guided missiles, projectiles, mortars, rifle grenades, and bombs.”

But the government has gone to great extents to cover up its deadly legacy. In 2002 the Pentagon, defense contractors and perchlorate makers persuaded the editors of a prestigious journal to rewrite an article on the chemical’s health effects without the lead author’s knowledge or consent. Then in 2005 the White House loaded a National Academy of Science panel, which was set up to assess the health risks of perchlorate, with paid consultants of the rocket fuel industry, which, not surprisingly, recommended that exposure levels be set many times higher than the lower doses recommended by numerous independent research studies.

“Perchlorate provides a textbook example of a corrupted health protection system, where polluters, the Pentagon, the White House and the EPA have conspired to block health protections in order to pad budgets, curry political favor, and protect corporate profits,” Richard Wiles, Executive Director of the Environmental Working Group, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 7 during a hearing held by committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who would like to see national safety standards for perchlorate in drinking water.

“All the pieces needed to support strong health protections are in place,” said Wiles. “This is a nightmare of epic proportions for the Department of Defense and its contractors, and rather than address it head-on, they have spent 50 years and millions of dollars trying to avoid it.”

Jeffrey St. Clair’s latest books are Born Under a Bad Sky and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is now available in Kindle format.  He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net

Joshua Frank, Managing Editor of CounterPunch, is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, and of Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is now available in Kindle format. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com.

February 15, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The U.S.’s Grossly Corrupt Health Protection System

Homeland Security’s Napolitano invokes 9/11 to push for CISPA 2.0

RT | January 25, 2013

In an attempt to scare the public with a looming cyber attack on US infrastructure, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is once again pushing Congress to pass legislation allowing the government to have greater control over the Internet.

Napolitano issued the warnings Thursday, claiming that inaction could result in a “cyber 9/11” attack that could knock out water, electricity and gas, causing destruction similar to that left behind by Hurricane Sandy.

Napolitano said that in order to prevent such an attack, Congress must pass legislation that gives the US government greater access to the Internet and cybersecurity information from the private sector. Such a bill, known as CISPA or Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was already introduced last year, but failed to pass in Congress due to concerns expressed by businesses and privacy advocates.

“We shouldn’t wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of the damage,” Napolitano said in a speech at the Wilson Center, a Washington, DC think tank.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also been a strong advocate for increased governmental grip on the web and in October warned that the US is facing a possible “cyber-Pearl Harbor” by foreign hackers.

“A cyber attack perpetuated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” he said during a speech. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

Last September, Napolitano reiterated disappointment with Congress for failing to pass the cybersecurity legislation in August.

“Attacks are coming all the time,” she said in a speech at the Social Good Summit. “They are coming from different sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in seriousness and sophistication.”

Despite Homeland Security’s constant warnings that hackers could shut down critical US infrastructure, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was shot down by the Senate in August, even though the Obama administration had pushed for the bill in numerous hearings and briefings.

Privacy advocates had expressed concern that the US government would be able to read Americans’ personal e-mails, online chat conversations, and other personal information that only private companies and servers might have access to. The head of the National Security Agency promised it wouldn’t abuse its power, but critics have remained skeptical.

A coalition of Democrats this year pledged to make this legislation a priority.

“Given all that relies on a safe and secure Internet, it is vital that we do what’s necessary to protect ourselves from hackers, cyber thieves, and terrorists,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

The White House is also working on an executive order that would encourage companies to meet government cybersecurity standards.

January 25, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on Homeland Security’s Napolitano invokes 9/11 to push for CISPA 2.0

A Cabinet of Peaceniks?

By | FAIR | January 9, 2013

I guess it goes to show you how limited the debate over warmaking is when politicians whose records are mostly pro-war can be portrayed as war skeptics.

That’s what is happening with Barack Obama’s new cabinet picks: Sen. John Kerry for secretary of State and former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary. In today’s New York Times (1/9/12), Elisabeth Bumiller has a piece headlined, “For Two Nominees, Vietnam Bred Doubts on War,” where she claims:

Between them, Senator John Kerry and Chuck Hagel have five Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in Vietnam, shared a harrowing combat experience in the Mekong Delta and responded in different ways to the conflict that tore their generation apart.

But in nominating one as secretary of State and the other as Defense secretary, President Obama hopes to bring to his administration two veterans with the same sensibility about the futilities of war.

Bumiller goes on to report that Hagel and Kerry supporters say their Vietnam experiences means they “question the price of American involvement overseas.” That would make a certain kind of sense. But their actual records do very little to support this claim.

After quoting Hagel’s criticism of the ongoing Afghan War, Bumiller writes:

Like Mr. Kerry, Mr. Hagel voted for the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq but became an early opponent of the Bush administration’s execution of the war.

So both of them voted to authorize the Iraq War, and supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Kerry supported the Panama invasion and NATO’s war in Serbia. And during his presidential campaign in 2004 he talked about possibly increasing the number of troops in Iraq.

Hagel’s record, as I noted already, has been more supportive of U.S. warmaking than not. If anything, their records suggest they are willing to criticize U.S. wars after they’ve voted to support them. This might be in line with the White House’s thinking, but it shouldn’t be confused with an overall skepticism towards U.S. wars and their “futilities.”

Elsewhere in the paper, David Sanger argues that Kerry and Hagel would be part of a “new national security team deeply suspicious of the wisdom of American military interventions around the world.” They “bear the scars of a war that ended when the president was a teenager,” and–along with Obama’s CIA pick John Brennan–”have sounded dismissive of attempts to send thousands of troops to rewire foreign nations as wasteful and ill-conceived.”

True–except when they haven’t.

January 10, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Cabinet of Peaceniks?

Brennan

Kenny’s Sideshow | January 7, 2013
John O. Brennan

John O. Brennan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s Johnny!

Since Dick Cheney wasn’t available, Obama is picking the next best thing to run the CIA, John Brennan.

Here’s what some of the qualification checklist may have looked like.

Assassination czar   ✔

Torture and rendition expert  ✔

Accomplished liar  ✔

CIA drug running experience   ✔

CFR member   ✔

Bilderberger   ✔

Killer drone lover   ✔

Illegal surveillance lover   ✔

Miscellaneous psychopathic tendencies   ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

I’ve never understood the need to cloak the titles of government positions in Orwellian nonsense. Brennan’s title of  counterterrorism adviser should actually have been something like ‘Head of US Terrorism.’ At least then we could have given the administration a ✔ for transparency.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Brennan

Godfather Obama Institutionalized Indefinite Detention

By Sherwood Ross | Aletho News | August 26, 2012

Rather than scrap it as un-American and authoritarian, Godfather Obama has institutionalized the practice of “unlawful indefinite detention” he inherited from his predecessor in the White House.

That’s the view of Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the rule of law. Romero says that instead of closing down the Guantanamo operation and resolving its legal cases in the Federal courts, Obama has done the opposite and, in fact, revived “the illegitimate Guantanamo military commissions.” Romero doesn’t refer to Obama as “Godfather,” of course. Maybe because he doesn’t have to.

Like a true godfather, though, the man in the White House doesn’t want to hear about what went down during those illegal detentions. He refuses to have his Justice Department consigliere investigate the illegal kidnappings and torture by the CIA GoodFellas at any of their secret sites. McClatchy News Service reports this includes dungeons in Poland, Thailand, Romania, and Lithuania.

While Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski wants a “thorough investigation” of what went on at a CIA-run villa about 100 miles north of Warsaw, McClatchy’s Roy Gutman reports, “The U.S. government has stonewalled all known requests for assistance.”

Likely it’s concealing gross, cowardly, and obscene tortures of the most revolting nature, such as threatening prisoners with murder using power drills, as well as waterboarding them. And that’s just what’s known. Poland has 20 books of as yet unreleased testimony.

“If former officials are brought to trial, or if the classified files in the (Polish) prosecutors’ offices are made public, the result will be revelations about an American anti-terrorism operation whose details U.S. officials are fighting to keep secret,” Gutman writes.

Keep in mind that the prisoners in such secret dungeons are kidnapped off the streets in the first place, without the benefit of legal proceedings, and held for years. Writing of Guantanamo in the Miami Herald of October 3, 2011, Joseph Margulies, perhaps the most prominent defense lawyer who has served there, says prisoners “may never hold their children or say goodbye to a dying mother. Their fate is the four walls of a prison cell… ”

Even some men cleared for transfer by the Bush and Obama regimes “remain in custody,” Margulies writes—despite Obama’s pledge to shut Guantanamo. But there’s worse, much worse.

“Murder” is the term for killing without legal proceedings or a state of war. Protests stream in regularly from Pakistani officials over the U.S. killing of civilians by drone attacks, yet the godfather continues to sign off on them. The protests make a sham of Obama’s claim the drone attacks are the outcome of some careful screening process.

At minimum you would think a president would shut down any criminal cell he found operating out of the coils of the federal establishment. Yet, after George W. Bush expanded the CIA into a veritable federalized Ku Klux Klan, Obama refuses to dismantle it or prosecute its officials.

The Obama crime syndicate is operating on many fronts—it prosecutes whistle-blowers, it expands germ warfare, it threatens nuclear war against UN members, it lavishes billions on research into new ways of killing and disabling people, and, not least, it makes criminal wars. In short, it does everything you’d expect a godfather to do. All that’s left is for the world to kiss his ring.

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Sherwood Ross can be contacted at sherwoodross10@gmail.com

August 26, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Stop Congress’ New Pro-War Resolution

NIAC – March 7, 2012

This was a major week in the debate over war with Iran versus diplomacy.

The hawkish AIPAC lobby organized its annual conference in Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Obama at the White House, and the pro-war crowd had one goal in mind: to pressure the President to draw a new “red line” for military action to try to block diplomacy with Iran and make Iran war inevitable.

But with your help, thirty-seven Members of Congress called on the President to support diplomacy.

Top former military and intelligence officials urged the President to stand firm against pressure for war in a full-page ad sponsored by NIAC.  New diplomacy with Iran is now in the process of being scheduled.

And the momentum has shifted.  The President refused to give in to pressure.  He refused to draw a new “red line,” stood firm against “loose talk of war,” and said that there is time for diplomacy to work.

Diplomacy is the only way to prevent war, prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon, and put mechanisms in place to effectively address human rights abuses in Iran and create space for Iran’s pro-democracy movement.

But, having failed to pressure the President, AIPAC is now lobbying your elected officials in Congress to support a resolution drawing a new “red line” aimed at blocking diplomacy and making war with Iran inevitable.

The movement against war and in support of diplomacy is growing, and we can stop the war push if we stand strong.  Please send a letter to your elected officials in the House and Senate and then call them TODAY using a special toll free number, 1-855-68 NO WAR (1-855-686-6927), to urge them to oppose this resolution. 

Here is a quick script you can use:

•   My name is _______ and I’m calling from [your city].

•   I am very concerned about the prospect of another war in the Middle East with Iran.  I’m asking that you oppose a dangerous pro-Iran war resolution [Senate Resolution 380 / House Resolution 568], because it aims to block diplomacy and make war with Iran inevitable.  Please have the courage to speak out publicly against the push for war with Iran and in support of a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff.

•   Thank you.

You can find more information on this pro-war resolution here.

March 8, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Comments Off on Stop Congress’ New Pro-War Resolution