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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 9,310

Journal Archives

The U.S. Empire Provokes Terrorism

The U.S. Empire Provokes Terrorism
By Sheldon Richman * OpEdNews * 8/10/2013 at 16:51:26

Perhaps we'll never know if intercepted chatter between al-Qaeda leaders -- which prompted the U.S. government to close dozens of diplomatic missions in the Muslim world and to issue a worldwide travel alert -- was serious or not. But mischief shouldn't be ruled out. Without cost or risk, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's successor, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen), can have a big laugh as they send American officials running around as though their hair were on fire. Why should they attempt to pull off some spectacular but risky action when they can disrupt things -- closing embassies is no small deal -- so easily? As a bonus, President Obama's claim about al-Qaeda's degradation is revealed as an empty boast. (Yemeni officials claim they foiled a plot. But who knows?)

The United States has been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for a dozen years, but not because the former rulers are a direct threat to the American people. Rather, the Bush and Obama administrations insisted, if the Taliban was not defeated, Afghanistan would again become a sanctuary for al-Qaeda. Now we see (if we hadn't already) that this was a mere rationalization for the projection of American power. Al-Qaeda doesn't need Afghanistan. Bin Laden wasn't found there. Al-Zawahiri presumably isn't there. And the latest alleged unspecified threat comes from Yemen, 2,000 miles from Kabul. Doesn't that expose the 12 years of American-inflicted death and destruction, not to mention the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars, as a monumental waste of life and treasure?


Does (the 9/11/01 attack on the WTC) mean the U.S. government must maintain a global empire in order to eradicate the sources of anti-American terrorism? Absolutely not -- quite the contrary. It is the global empire that provoked the al-Qaeda attacks in the first place. Contrary to the popular notion that the organization struck U.S. "interests" out of the blue while our country minded its own business, the U.S. government for decades has supported violent regimes in the Middle East and North Africa: from Saudi Arabia's corrupt and brutal monarchy, to the Egyptian military dictatorship, to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, to Israel's unconscionable occupation of Palestine.

American administrations, Republican and Democrat, have directly inflicted death and suffering on people in the Muslim world -- through the 1990s economic sanctions on Iraq, for example. (Today's sanctions on Iran now impose hardship on another group of Muslims.) Every time an al-Qaeda official or operative has the chance, he points out that his hatred of America stems not from its "freedoms" but from this bloody record. Unrelenting U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia, in which noncombatants are killed, don't win friends. They recruit enemies bent on revenge.


WTF is wrong with this country?

In the USA:
Two-Year-Old Taken from Parents Because They Smoked Pot is Murdered in Foster Care
It is time for Child Protective Services to recognize that foster care is potentially more damaging to a child than a parent's marijuana use.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland:
In Switzerland, Marijuana Use Helps Keep Prisons Calm and Safe
The Swiss prison guards agree that marijuana use among inmates is a good thing.

I mean, WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with us? This is so fucking nuts. We should just give all this
land back to the Native Americans and concede that we have totally botched our chance at ever
becoming any kind of "City on a Hill" that the world would want to emulate because we are so
cool, so democratic, so humane, so compassionate, so just.

Obama gets "personal" as rift with Russia over Snowden grows

Obama gets "personal" as rift with Russia over Snowden grows
By Danny Schechter * OpEdNews * 8/8/2013

New York, New York -- When heads of state personally intervene in matters of espionage, and demand that alleged spies be released or extradited, it is unusual -- and highly inappropriate.

It seems clear that President Obama violated that "old rule" by immersing himself so publicly, personally, and blatantly with White House pressure on Vladimir Putin to send the American whistleblower Edward Snowden back to the US, in the spirit of a Monopoly game: to "go directly to jail without passing go."

With the Announcement that the President will not meet with Putin during his forthcoming visit to the G20 meeting in Russia, because he is "disappointed with the Russian Leader," we seem to have taken a walk back down memory lane to the cold war days of tit-for-tat actions and reactions that elevate tensions. In the old days, it was usually Moscow that could be counted on for harsh responses; now it seems to be Washington that has a bad case of acid reflux whenever Putin's name comes up.

It also seems clear that he has taken Putin's decision to grant temporary asylum to Snowden personally, after using all diplomatic channels, family pressure and even a bizarre promise from the Attorney General not to torture Snowden.

Noted Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:

"If you look at the substance of his actions, it is clear the President is losing his famed poise, at least as far as Snowden and the surveillance state revelations are concerned...one sign that Obama is off balance is his unforced errors in dealing with Russia. The absurd assumption from the get-go seemed to be that Putin would cooperate and hand over Snowden once the Russian leader was prodded a bit. Given the status of US-Russian relations, that was borderline delusional."


Death Before NSA Dishonor: Encrypted Services Stage Suicide Revolt

Death Before NSA Dishonor: Encrypted Services Stage Suicide Revolt
Popular sites Lavabit and Silent Circle would rather close down than betray customer privacy in face of government requests they deem 'unconstitutional'
Friday, August 9, 2013 * Common Dreams * by Jon Queally, staff writer

The encrypted email service provider Silent Circle has followed its competitor Lavabit who on Thursday announced it would shutter its services rather than be compelled by the US government to hand over the private data and emails from its customers, one of whom is believed to be NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Supporters of internet freedom and privacy protections were shocked at the news, but also expressing gratitude for what they see as a service provider choosing the protections of it own customers over the threat of lost profits or requests by the government that they deemed inappropriate and unconstitutional.

As Reuters reports:

he has decided to "suspend operations" but was barred from discussing the events over the past six weeks that led to his decision.

That matches the period since Snowden went public as the source of media reports detailing secret electronic spying operations by the U.S. National Security Agency.

"Given the impressive powers of the government to obtain emails and records from service providers, both with and without legal authority, it is encouraging to see service providers take steps to limit their ability to access user data," said the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl in a web posting.




Brandon Toy: US Wars, Dehumanization, and Me

This is an awesome read, a glimpse inside the head of whistleblower Brandon Toy
...so bookmark as needed, as it is a longish article.

US Wars, Dehumanization, and Me
Thursday, August 8, 2013 * Common Dreams * Brandon Toy

An Iraq veteran and five-year employee at private defense contracting corporation General Dynamics publicly resigned from the private defense contractor in late July in protest of the company's arming of US-led wars, declaring: "I have always believed that if every foot soldier threw down his rifle war would end. I hereby throw mine down."

Brandon Toy sent his resignation letter in an email to his immediate supervisors, coworkers, and the corporate chain of command, as well as to Common Dreams, who published the statement. The letter has since gone viral, racketing tens of thousands of views on social media sites. In his own words, Toy shares the story of his personal transformation, first as a veteran and then as an employee of a private defense contractor.

The Dehumanization of War

I arrived in Baghdad believing that Iraqis were simple people in need of having civilization thrust upon them, and that we were the enlightened civil ones who would show them the right way to live. To me, they were less than human.

One pivotal night three years ago, I bragged to my wife and cousins about a family I had terrified by pointing my rifle at them to get them to stop in traffic. I laughed about the way the father and mother had frantically waved their arms at me, begging not to be shot.


BREAKING: Obama promises completely "open & transparent" government!

"No More Secrecy!!"

Oh wait, this was in 2008. Never mind.

US Gov't Training: "Political dissent = a 'terrorist' security threat"

This is precisely why I feel this whole sorry assed "terrorist" meme is a well-engineered hoax
to implement a 1%er coup d'tat in broad daylight, using OUR tax dollars to enslave us under the
thumb of a draconian 100%-saturation Surveillance & Security State.

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Govt Training Game Marks Political Dissent as 'High Threat'
CyberAwareness Challenge prepares millions of federal employees for peer-policing of 'suspicious' coworkers
August 8, 2013 * Common Dreams * Lauren McCauley, staff writer

How does the government hope to spot the next Edward Snowden? And how can federal employees pitch in to spot the 'threat'? Thanks to a video game dubbed the "CyberAwareness Challenge" created by private contractor Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), federal employees can be trained in the fine arts of password creation, social networking security and stealth peer-policing among coworkers.


The game, which is reportedly given to a "wide range of federal employees," takes new hires through a series of tests during which they are challenged to make the "secure" decision. In round three, participants are asked to assess the threat levels posed by their coworkers.

In one instance, the game warns federal workers that they should consider a hypothetical Indian-American woman named Hema a "high threat" because she frequently visits family abroad, has money troubles and "speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy."

In response to these 'indicators,' particularly the note regarding political dissatisfaction, Federation of American Scientists government secrecy expert Steve Aftergood told Huffington Post, "It is not a threat indicator. It could apply to most members of Congress, if not to most Americans. By presenting the matter this way, the slide suggests that overt dissent is a security concern. That is an error."


The game was produced in October 2012—one month before the Obama administration finalized its "Stasi-like" Insider Threat policy, revealed last month by McClatchy who reported at the time:

In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.


Greenwald to Reuters: "many more revelations on spying by the U.S. government" to come

I certainly hope that Greenwald knows how to stay safe, has good security
for himself, etc. and that he avoids driving highly computerized automobiles.
I wish him well in what he is doing.

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New U.S. spying revelations coming from Snowden leak: journalist
August 6, 2013 * Reuters * By Anthony Boadles

(Reuters) - Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who published documents leaked by fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, plans to make new revelations "within the next 10 days or so" on secret U.S. surveillance of the Internet.

"The articles we have published so far are a very small part of the revelations that ought to be published," Greenwald on Tuesday told a Brazilian congressional hearing that is investigating the U.S. internet surveillance in Brazil.

"There will certainly be many more revelations on spying by the U.S. government and how they are invading the communications of Brasil and Latin America," he said in Portuguese.

The Rio de Janeiro-based columnist for Britain's Guardian newspaper said he has recruited the help of experts to understand some of the 15,000 to 20,000 classified documents from the National Security Agency that Snowden passed him, some of which are "very long and complex and take time to read."

Greenwald told Reuters he does not believe the pro-transparency website WikiLeaks had obtained a package of documents from Snowden, and that only he and filmmaker Laura Poitras have complete archives of the leaked material.


Chicago 8, the movie <-- a must watch

I just watched this for the first time on Netflix last night and was completely
mesmerized. The movie is very well done, is based on the actual transcripts
of the trial, and manages to capture the ethos of the era reasonably well.

I was very "active" when this happened, but did not attend the 1968 Democratic
Convention, as I was still in shock and mourning for Robert Kennedy as I had
worked in two states for his campaign, only to see him gunned down in cold
blood by a "lone assassin".

This is well worth a watch entertainment-wise; but is also a good reminder
that the grim challenges we face today -- with dissent being brutally repressed
and criminalized -- are in fact nothing new. What's new is how the men behind
the curtain have concocted the "terrorist" meme to scare the public into accepting
wholesale loss of liberty, while they amass a gargantuan Surveillance & Security
State, complete with militarized police and 100% saturation surveillance (thanks
to advances in technology).

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