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April 18, 2014
So, I need help to get on my feet, if you’re willing to pitch in.

neoliberalismkills: As of this morning, I am no longer with Ada and Brittni. As many of you know, one of my best friends was murdered 3 weeks ago, and I quit my job to deal with my emotional state because Ada and Brittni were willing to support me for a little while.

Currently, I am homeless due to the break-up. I’m going to be receiving help with one month of my apartment, and I am going to begin my webcam modeling venture again once I have an apartment. I need some things to start off, and I have absolutely no avenue of money currently until I can start that since I had just quit my job before this. 

So, if there’s any dollars you could donate to me, I would immensely appreciate it. My paypal email is hoekstraliebe@gmail.com and if you can’t donate, a reblog is also appreciated. 

I dropped from full support back to complete poverty in a day, so things are kind of hard to pull together at the moment. I’m staying at a friend’s house for one more night, so I have a place to sleep for the time being. After that, I’ll be in my car until I get this apartment.

Thank you in advance for your reblogs/donations. Your help is immensely appreciated.

Sam needs help, they’re worth it!

(via neoliberalismkills)

April 17, 2014
"You can’t just start the clock on 9/11 and forget 50 years of unjust oppressive Western foreign policies in the Middle East."

Mehdi Hasan

Thank God someone finally said this. I’m so sick of stating that Western intervention and invasion of other countries fuels terrorism only for people to respond 'They did 9/11 first!'  In 1953 the UK & the US staged a coup of the democratically elected leader of Iran and installed a dictator who was more to their liking. Today the U.S. continues to support brutal dictators (such as in Saudi Arabia) where it suits them to do so. Palestine has been occupied for decades. The list of Western imperial foreign policies over the past decades could go on and on. 9/11 was not only only a result religious extremism and it certainly was NOT because 'they hate our freedoms.' Terrorism is often primarily politically motivated and anyone who is serious about preventing it had better take some fucking notice of this fact. (via insideonemind)

(via bringiton911)

11:47pm
  
Filed under: quote 9/11 Iran 
April 17, 2014
Criminalizing whistleblowers: Wikileaks and America’s SHIELD legislation by Rady Ananda

December 8, 2010On Dec. 2nd, Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced a bill [Lieberman introduces anti-Wikileaks legislation] entitled the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act (SHIELD), effectively criminalizing whistleblowers. Yet over 1,200 websites [Wikileaks mirrors] now mirror WikiLeaks in what is clearly public support of such disclosures. The next day, the Library of Congress confirmed that it blocked Wikileaks [Blocking access to Wikileaks may harm CRS, analysts say - December 6, 2010] from its database, bluntly denying access by the Congressional Research Service. Not only is the public being prevented from viewing whatever Wikileaks has to say, but so are government researchers who advise Congress. Writing for the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood said, “if CRS is ‘Congress’s brain,’ then the new access restrictions could mean a partial lobotomy.” Most of the suspicion over WikiLeaks results from how mainstream media used the latest data dump. But is it fair to hold the whistleblower accountable for how corporate media uses his information? Is the gun maker responsible for murder by a gun owner?  The fact that the U.S. diplomatic cables were only sent to powerful mainstream news sources also raises suspicion, as well as all the attention founder Julian Assange has been given by them (in several interviews). Upon reflection, the website, Signs of the Times, contends that we should defend Wikileaks and its flawed founder on the principle of defending the exposure of truth, no matter the source. In “The Baby and the Bathwater - WikiLeaks and the Principle of Truth," SOTT warns that whether we like it or not: “Assange is the spokesperson for an idea whose time has come, but the leaked material he is representing is not worth dying for. In short, Assange and the propaganda within the leaks are the bathwater, the public right to expose government corruption is the baby.” A cited Guardian editorial [Live with the Wikileakable world or shut down the net, it’s your choice - December 6, 2010] raises an interesting notion: “[Wikileaks] represents the first really sustained confrontation between the established order and the culture of the internet. There have been skirmishes before, but this is the real thing.” In other words, WikiLeaks expands the dichotomy to a triad, allowing for a third point of view, from a source that uses tactics not limited to the internet. Is this not something a free press should defend? Another Guardian piece [In this World Cup sewer, we reptiles of British journalism hold our heads high - December 2, 2010] in defense of WikiLeaks reminds us that: “Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure.” Certainly no one with integrity would describe the U.S. government as accountable - it holds itself above the law and beyond moral stricture, while committing heinous acts of kidnapping and torture, wars of aggression, genocide and looting of pubic coffers. Those within such power centers who do possess integrity have no recourse but to leak information. The quality of information (more on this below) released is less relevant than the effort to expose a psychopathic government. In a recent interview, investigative journalist and filmmaker John Pilger noted, “Secrecy in government has become a plague. They read our emails, why shouldn’t we read theirs?” Another sticking point for many is Assange’s view that 9/11 truth is “nonsense.” SOTT responds with “we don’t agree that Assange should be required to be a 9/11 Truther to be an activist for Truth and Transparency in government.” Again, this allows for a third, alternative point of view - something all advocates of a free press should defend. How fundamentalist are we to demand that all must accept our take on 9/11 or be denied membership in the truth-telling club? Admittedly, we should remain wary of anyone who buys the government version of what happened on 9/11, which defies the laws of physics according to independent experts. But can we agree that one does not have to be a 9/11 truther to be a truthteller in other realms?  The chauvinistic notion that to expose 9/11 truth will expose all other truths strains logic. Just a few years ago, leaders in the election integrity movement urged everyone to go after Diebold, assuring us that once the giant was brought down all the other electronic voting companies would fall. What happened is that Diebold went down and all the other e-voting companies picked up that business. We still have unverifiable e-voting today. There is no single keystone in an empire with a myriad of bridges.

  • Fake charges

Another way these authoritarians seek to silence Wikileaks is the phony rape charge. Assange surrendered to London authorities yesterday. For the record, Assange has broken no laws in his home nation of Australia or in the U.S., notes Adelaide Now. [Julia Gillard fails to name law broken by Wikileaks or Julian Assange - December 7, 2010] Kirk Murphy at Fire Dog Lake [Assange accuser worked with U.S.-funded, CIA-tied anti-Castro group - December 4, 2010] clarifies how Julian’s honey-trap is a CIA asset. Citing the tweets of one of her accusers, Anna Ardin, Assange lawyer James Catlin [When it comes to Assange rape case, the Swedes are making it up as they go along - December 2, 2010], who represented him in October, revealed that she continued to see Assange after they had glove-free sex. Later, on August 20th, Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén went to the Klara police station in Stockholm to see about forcing him to submit to STD/HIV tests. In Sweden, natural sex and having multiple partners are apparently crimes. Today, Catlin asks [Former Assange lawyer asks: What about the exculpatory evidence? - December 8, 2010] why the Swedish prosecution still hasn’t provided some of “the most powerful exculpatory evidence” in the case. That comprises those tweets which were later deleted, translated at Radsoft:

image

[Assange case: Evidence destroyed over and over again]

  • Crimes documented by Wikileaks

What no one denies is that: Leading political figures like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, ex-Pentagon official KT McFarland and Canada’s Tom Flanagan have called for the assassination of Julian Assange [Wikileaks: Guilty parties “should face death penalty - December 1, 2010]; At least one Member of Congress want his site to be deemed a “foreign terrorist organization“ [Peter King says Wikileaks should be designated a foreign terrorist organization - November 29, 2010]; Elites have engaged in cyberwarfare to silence him, shutting down his site via denial of service attacks, leaning on Amazon to stop hosting him, and blocking access to his PayPal funds [Amazon and Wikileaks: Online speech is only as strong as the weakest intermediary - December 2, 2010]; They have even gone so far as to forbid government and non-government employees, as well as private students, from accessing his site [U.S. agencies warn unauthorized employees not to look at Wikileaks; Raytheon forbids employees to access Wikileaks; Don’t mention the cables, future diplomats]; and They preclude internal investigation and analysis with the Library of Congress blocking access to Wikileaks. [Blocking access to Wikileaks may harm CRS, analysts say - December 6, 2010] If the latest data dump is so irrelevant, and “not worth dying for,” why do elites seek to kill the messenger? Why have they taken so many steps to block access to the information he posts? Even more importantly, why have they blocked their own researchers from having access to the site? Clearly, they recognize that if there is one government insider willing to leak information, there are more. That over 1,200 mirror sites now host Wikileaks reveals strong support for whatever Wikileaks wants to reveal. The actions taken and threats issued by the U.S. government against WikiLeaks rise far beyond political theatre. It sincerely wants to stem this flow of information. It was already moving in this direction with the illegal shut down of over 80 domains [Torrent-finder shut down by U.S. agencies - November 30, 2010] and with entertaining COICA, the bill to create an internet blacklist. Of course, the SHIELD Act furthers elite aims of total information control. 

image

Congressman Ron Paul also defends WikiLeaks: “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.” In defending the quality of information released, one commenter [Wikileaks being used to justify “Patriot Act" legislation for internet - December 7, 2010] harshly confronts the notion that the latest release is irrelevant, listing several actionable crimes confirmed by the release: 

The only people who say ‘they revealed nothing new that wasn’t already known or well suspected’ are the stupid dipshits who are commenting on the cables without reading them. Also, even the stuff that WAS well known now has official confirmation - meaning that it can now be used in court against those responsible. Cables from the Saudi embassy indicate that the Saudis are attempting to gain access to government back channels so they can make use of the U.S.’s military in order to handle Iran. The U.S. has been violating international law by spying on UN officials. The Chinese Poliburo (instead of petty hackers) directed the intrusion into Google’s gmail systems, something which all gmail users needed to know. As a gmail user, I was under attack by a foreign power and my government didn’t tell me. The U.S. is unwisely continuing to give our tax dollars to Afghani officials who, the cables reveal, are smuggling it out of Afghanistan in suitcases. The U.S. is still doing business with Saudi businessmen who turn around and use the money to finance militants. We are bombing Yemen without congressional approval. The War Powers act does not legitimize such action after 90 days. Details about U.S. black planes from UK airbases. These unmarked missions have traditionally been used for extraordinary rendition to Syria for torture. Details about plans to deceive the British parliament over the use of banned U,S. weapons. Obama killed the Bush torture probe.” 

To this we can add cable confirmation [Reporting and collection needs: African Great Lakes] that AFRICOM, representing U.S. interests in Africa, has been gathering intelligence to advance the use of genetically modified foods and agrofuels in Africa. U.S. tax dollars are thus being used to promote a corporate agenda: GMOs and biofuels. How is this information irrelevant or meaningless? The video released in April of U.S. soldiers killing unarmed civilians (including two Reuters journalists), while they laughed about it, vastly impacted the public’s perception of the U.S. presence in the Middle East. To discount this because mainstream media massaged the latest release to support war on Iran is to ignore that mainstream media always serves elite aimsInstead it appears that Wikileaks opponents unwittingly join elite aims to kill the messenger. Those who cherish free speech and a free press need to defend Wikileaks and its founder.

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Wikileaks and media disinformation by Gearóid Ó Colmáin

December 8, 2010 - Much is being written in the mainstream press about the internet whistleblowing website Wikileaks. But the interpretation and significance of those Wikileaks stories disseminated throughout the corporate media must be subjected to careful and critical analysis. As readers of Global Research and other alternative media outlets know, there is little that is particularly shocking about the recent Wikileaks. What is striking about many of the latest leaks is their conformity to the lies and disinformation regularly diffused by the mainstream media. The upshot of this is that, while exposés of American war crimes should damage America’s imperial ambitions, other ‘leaks’ could actually serve the opposite purpose, especially when they are uncritically reported as ‘revelations’. In this article we are going to look at two examples of how Wikileaks stories could be used to further a U.S. imperialist agenda.

  • Belarus

The first example concerns the Republic of Belarus. In a Wikileaks document released on December 1 and reported in The Messenger Georgia’s English language newspaper. The Wikileak reports the statement of the Spanish prosecutor José Gonzalez who accuses Russia, Belarus and Chechnya of being ‘mafioso’ states. According to The Messenger “The statement was made by Gonzalez on January 13 this year during a session of the Spanish-American working group on combating terrorism and organised crime. Wikileaks reports that the information was sent by the U.S. embassy in Madrid to the U.S. government with the comment that the remarks were deep and valuable since the author had knowledge of the Euro-Asian mafia.” [1] What is interesting here is the suggestion that the remarks are deep and valuable due to the author’s so-called ‘knowledge’ of the Euro-Asian mafia. The inclusion of Belarus in this ‘leak’ is particularly puzzling. Belarus has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has been continuously re-elected since 1994, due to his progressive social policies and no one denies his obvious popularity. Yet he is consistently slandered as a ‘dictator’. While Belarus does have close connections with Russia, relations between the two countries have soured recently over energy disputes, geopolitical differences and Belarus’s refusal to pursue free-market policies. Belarus and Alexander Lukashenko in particular, has been indefatigably demonized in the international press for his refusal to privatize the Belarusian economy, opening up publicly owned industries to international, finance capital mafia. President Lukashenko’s refusal to indebt his country through IMF loans together with the robust performance of the Belarusian economy since the outbreak of the global economic crisis, have won the Belarusian leader the praise and close friendship of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who has described Belarus as model socialist economy. Yet Wikileaks considers a flippant and mendacious comment by a Spanish prosecutor to be ‘deep and valuable’? Here we can see ideology masquerading as objective truth. A flippant opinion by a Spanish prosecutor is considered ‘deep and valuable’ because he should know such things. The Wikileak is in reality not a revelation at all. It is simply the publication of a highly dubious statement with an ideological assumption appended. Here the Wikileak serves to bolster the negative view of the country engineered by the acolytes of the corporate media to demonise a respectable socialist democracy. Far from undermining U.S. imperialism, this Wikileaks ‘revelation’ slanders a law-abiding country by associating it with criminality and terrorism. Since the election of Alexander Lukashenko in 1994 the demonization of Belarus has taken the familiar route of ‘human rights’ violations and lack of ‘liberal democracy’, this in spite of the fact that Belarus has held more referenda in the last decade than any other country in Europe, and the so called Human rights violations are minimal in comparison to countries praised by the ‘international community’ such as Latvia, Lithuania, The Czech Republic, Romania, Britain, Poland and other countries praised by the EU and the U.S., that is to say ‘the international community’. Belarus has been called an ‘authoritarian’ regime by left liberals with a less than realistic understanding of socialism, and an outright ‘dictatorship’ by the corporate press, who view any regime that controls the excesses of individual greed a ‘violator of human rights’. The problem with Belarus for the ‘international community’ is that it has not embraced capitalism and has some of the highest levels of social equality of any country in the world. Belarus sets a bad example and that is why one never reads any articles in the bourgeois press that tell the truth about this country. In a hostile policy paper the Polish academic Antoni Kaminski bluntly states international finance capital’s principal problem with Belarus. ”The liberal-democratic transition in the post-communist world has, however, proven to be difficult because it embodies a social revolution: it is a move from one type of social order to its logical contradiction. The more successful a country had been in building its communist regime, the more difficult it is for it to carry out the liberal-democratic transformation.” [2] The problem with Belarus, then, is that communism has been a success and the Belarusian people are not interested in opting for ‘its logical contradiction’ of mass unemployment, poverty, criminality and misery, unlike their Eastern European neighbors. Belarus is anything but a Mafia state. If there is Mafia activity in Belarus, it is, to a large extent, emanating from countries attempting to destabilise its socialist economy. That is to say, youth groups financed by the National Endowment for Democracy in the USA or other crime gangs from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. It is indeed surprising that Wikileaks has not yet revealed much about the CIA torture chambers in the U.S. client-states surrounding Belarus. If such stories are leaked, they are unlikely to find their way on to the pages of the liberal bourgeois media. This slanderous accusation released by Wikileaks against Belarus is a cogent example of how mass disseminated Wikileaks reports could operate in the coming months. The point here is not that the statement was manufactured by Wikileaks in order to demonise Belarus. Rather a statement published by Wikileaks is being used by the mainstream press to corroborate the lies which it itself has been spreading about the Republic of Belarus.

  • North Korea and Iran

Another notable example of dubious wikileaking concerns North Korea. On the website, Zcommunications, journalist Christopher Hope in an article entitled ‘ Wikileaks sparks world diplomatic crisis’ writes: ”One report said that Wikileaks had 251,287 cables from 270 U.S. embassies and consulates from a single computer server. The leaked documents went on to make further allegations. They claimed that Iran had obtained missiles from North Korea to give it the capacity to launch strikes on capitals in Western Europe for the first time. According to a cable dated last Feb 24, North Korea sent to Iran 19 of the missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Intelligence agencies believe Tehran is some way from developing a nuclear warhead. The officials said the deal had significantly advanced Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.” [3] This ‘leak’ (a U.S. State Department cable) is simply reported here but there is no comment on the veracity of this allegation by the U.S. state department. Is this Wikileak likely to be true? The same report was carried by the Jerusalem Post on 29th of November with the headline: ”Iran obtained 19 advanced North Korean missiles”. Again, we are told that “capable of hitting major cities in Western Europe and Russia, according to documents in the latest release by Wikileaks on Monday”. Neither of the two articles questions the veracity of these Wikileaks. Does any of this sound familiar? Have we forgotten the media hysteria about weapons of mass destruction during the run-up to the Iraq war? Saddam’s WMDs, we were told, could target cities in Western Europe and Britain in 40 minutes! Now similar claims are being made in the Israeli press, the Western media and several alternative media outlets. The veracity of the leaks is not questioned, with the mainstream press giving full coverage to Assange. North Korea has never had any intentions of attacking other countries with nuclear weapons. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been defending itself against U.S. aggression for over 60 years. It has been the longest anti-imperialist resistance in modern history. North Korea might seem strange to outside observers but they are not crazy. The American historian Bruce Cummings in his revealing book North Korea quotes an American official who met the DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 who had this to say about the North Korean leaderhe’s amazingly well-informed and extremely well-read..he is practical, thoughtful, listened very hard. He has a sense of humour. He’s not the madman many people portrayed him as.” This is a far cry from the psychotic, Charles Manson-like madman universally propagated by the mainstream media. The DPRK has never been a threat to international security. It is simply a country that has refused to be colonized by the United States. [4] The same corporate media outlets that lied about WMDs and much else, the media of embedded journalists, think tank hacks, and career swindlers has now suddenly became a radical debunker of U.S. imperialist lies, and yet this debunker of U.S. lies is also corroborating U.S. claims about the grave danger presented to civilization from North Korea and Iran, two states from Bush’s Axis of Evil. How should we interpret this? All the cables prove is that U.S. state department officials ‘believe’ North Korea and Iran are a threat. It is highly likely that they do believe such things. But this does not mean that their beliefs correspond to reality. U.S. officials also believe that America wants to spread democracy. It is highly likely that most U.S officials believe their own lies. Such reported beliefs can be manipulated by real rogue states such as the United States and Israel for their own political purposes.

  • Israel

Israel has been pushing the supposed connection between North Korea and Iran for some time. In 2006 the Israeli columnist with the Jerusalem Post, right-wing extremist Caroline Glick wrote an article calling for the bombing of Iran on the pretext that North Korea was supplying the Islamic Republic with long-range nuclear weapons. None of these claims have ever been independently verified. The latest Wikileak has added grist to Glick’s belligerent mill. In an article on her blog entitled ‘The Wikileaks Challenge’ she writes ”In spite of proof that North Korea is transferring advanced ballistic missiles to Iran through China, again confirmed by the illegally released documents, the U.S. continues to push a policy of engagement based on a belief that there is value to China’s vote for sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. It continues to push a policy predicated on its unfounded faith that China is interested in restraining North Korea.” [5] Here the Wikileaks reports are accepted as constituting ‘proof’ that North Korea has long-range nuclear missiles capable of targeting European cities and that those missiles have been supplied to the Islamic Republic of Iran. While Miss Glick huffs and puffs about the ‘attack on America’ initiated by Assange, the real point of her article is that the U.S. must crack down on dissident media at home and bomb Iran. Glick summarizes the Wikileaks problem thus: ”THE MOST important question that arises from the entire WikiLeaks disaster is why the U.S. refuses to defend itself and its interests. What is wrong with Washington? Why is it allowing WikiLeaks to destroy its international reputation, credibility and ability to conduct international relations and military operations? And why has it refused to contend with the dangers it faces from the likes of Iran and North Korea, Turkey, Venezuela and the rest of the members of the axis of evil that even State Department officers recognize are colluding to undermine and destroy U.S. superpower status?" [6] Glick calls Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan, a ‘conspiracy theorist’ for daring to claim in a recent article for the Guardian Newspaper that Israel was responsible for Saudi Arabia’s desire to have Iran bombed! This would be funny were it not from a writer who is the Deputy Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post and Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Centre for Security Policy in Washington DC. It is well known that Saudi Arabia and Iran are enemies. Saudi Arabia fears the Iranian model of “Islamic democracy”. It also fears Iran’s growing economic and political power in the region. The Saudi oligarchy is propped up by Israel and the United States. These are well documented facts. But well documented facts must be denounced as ‘conspiracy theories’, the post-modern term for heresies. One could argue that Wikileaks has, in fact, done Israel and U.S. imperialism a favor. He has highlighted the problem of internet control and has also provided ‘proof’ that North Korea and Iran are a threat to the world. I am not claiming that Assange has done this deliberately to deceive the public. But the Israeli press is pushing the idea that these ‘revelations’ of U.S. policy maker’s opinions constitute ‘proof’ of Iran’s threat to the world and internet censorship could soon become a reality. Cables supposedly ‘leaked’ by an internet website containing such dangerous allegations that could serve as a pretext for a global nuclear war should be subjected to the most stringent expert analysis. This will be the job of the alternative media in the coming months as the corporate media is likely to prevent such ‘revelations’ as facts in an effort to drum up support for the annihilation of Iran and North Korea. Spurious claims about connections between North Korea and the Islamic world have been made before. In 2009, the French journalist Guillaume Dasquié published an article in Intelligence Online, claiming that Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah had been trained in North Korea. The article, widely distributed throughout the U.S. Congress, was later proved to be a hoax. [7] In 2002, Dasquié and Jean Charles Brisard admitted having invented allegations implicating certain individuals from Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York. [8] Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT has written an article for Znet with the heading ‘Why Wikileaks won’t stop the war’ [9]. But his approach assumes that Wikileaks serves the function of stopping the war. While Wikileaks has revealed many U.S. war crimes, the possibility of covert intelligence penetration of the whistleblowing site cannot be overlooked. The question that needs to be asked now is: whose interests does Wikileaks really serve? Wikileaks can be made serve the cause of peace if a full and critical analysis is carried out every time the corporate press misuses it to trick the public into supporting an imperialist agenda. The three ‘enemies’ of America mentioned in this article Belarus, North Korea and Iran, all have one thing in common. They have largely state-owned economies. This is what makes them a ‘threat to international security’. The final phase in the War on Terrorism will be to destroy the last obstacles to total U.S. economic and political control of the planet. Wikileaks could yet become the disinformation tool used by Israel and the United States to justify a nuclear war, finally bringing about what the pentagon has referred to as ‘full spectrum dominance’. But it could also be a tool to undermine this project provided people read and analyse its so-called revelations with extreme caution, exposing their mass disseminated misuse.

[1] Wikileaks on Belarus, Russia and Chechnya - December 6, 2010.

[2] Belarus as an object of Polish Security Concerns in Belarus at the Crossroads (Washington DC.Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 1999) p.41

[3] Wikileaks releases State Department cables - November 29, 2010.

[4] North Korea (London/New York: The New Press, 2004) p.47

[5] The Wikileaks challenge - December 3, 2010.

[6] Wikileaks: “Iran obtained 19 advanced North Korean missiles - November 29, 2010.

[7] Hoax: Hezbollah formed in North Korea - January 12, 2008. [PDF: North Korea: Terrorism list removal? - December 11, 2007]

[8] 9/11: Invented Saudi track - November 2, 2006.

[9] Why Wikileaks won’t stop the war - August 12, 2010.

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Europeans accused of paranoia over fears of U.S. economic espionage, documents reveal by Tom Burghardt

December 8, 2010 - Confidential State Department documents released by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, revealed that a European Parliamentary vote earlier this year that suspended participation in a U.S. government program that secretly monitored international bank transactions, surprised and angered the Obama administration. In a stunning rebuke of U.S. policies the February 2010 memo,Chancellor Merkel Angered by Lack of German MEP Support for TFTP,10BERLIN180 provided new evidence that the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (also known as Swift) is viewed skeptically by the European public and their representatives. Distrust of the Swift program runs deep and its “War on Terror" pedigree is considered little more than a pretext for American spies to carry out economic espionage on behalf of U.S. multinationals. Alarmed over privacy breaches by American firms and criminal acts, such as the illegal U.S. transfer of prisoners on CIA "black flights," aided and abetted by European intelligence agencies, outraged public opinion forced the hand of parliamentarians, who voted overwhelming to suspend the program. German opposition to Swiftwas particularly damagingThe New York Times [Europe wary of U.S. bank monitors - December 5, 2010] reported, “because the country was among a handful of allies that, according to a 2006 cable, made up a ‘coalition of the constructive’ organized to ensure that the Swift operation was not ‘ruined by privacy experts’.” Launched shortly after the 9/11 provocation by the Bush administration, the secret program handed American officials unprecedented access to global financial information on bank transactions routed through a vast database administered by the Swift consortium in Brussels. Access to such unique data would be particularly valuable to U.S. corporations. In light of evidence published in a 2001 European Parliament report [Report on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system) - July 11, 2001] that the National Security Agency’s ECHELON program was a cover for economic espionage, such fears are not unfounded. Since the program’s disclosure in 2006 by The New York Times [Bank data is sifted by U.S. in secret to block terror - June 23, 2006], criticism over its operations have mounted steadily. CIA and Treasury Department officials secretly poured over records of some $6 trillion dollars in daily financial transactions flowing through global banks and brokerage houses. ”European Union regulators,” the ACLU [European officials declare U.S. financial spying dragnet illegal - December 4, 2006] reported, “found that the mass financial prying was not legally authorized, was conducted without proper checks and balances, and violated several important rules established to protect the privacy of Europeans.” Increasing the “creep factor" amongst EU officials, the ACLU disclosed [PDF: Booz Allen not an independent check on SWIFT surveillance - September 14, 2006] that the ultra-spooky Booz Allen Hamilton corporation had been hired to “oversee" the program by the federal government. Concluding that the firm was not an "independent check" on Swift surveillance, the civil liberties’ watchdogs wrote that "Booz Allen is one of the largest U.S. Government contractors, with hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. Government contracts awarded each year. Booz Allen has a history of working closely with U.S. Government agencies on electronic surveillance, including the Total Information Awareness program.” Initial misgivings amongst the public and privacy advocates have since blossomed into outright hostility, thus setting the stage for last summer’s vote.

Noting that the American-led “War on Terror" coalition is fraying at the seams, U.S. Ambassador to Berlin Philip Murphy, wrote that "Merkel is particularly irritated with German MEPs from her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and sister Christian Social Union (CSU) parties, most of whom reportedly voted against the agreement despite previously indicating they would support it.” The ambassador claimed that “public German reactions" to the European Parliament’s vote "have come exclusively from TFTP detractors who portrayed the veto as a sign that the European Parliament has won a victory over an arrogant Commission/Council, as well as delivering a rebuke to U.S. counterterrorism policies that undervalue data privacy.” Free Democratic Party (FDP) Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of Merkel’s coalition, was derided by Murphy as “a strong proponent of data privacy rights,” who had welcomed the vote saying that “’the citizens of Europe have won a victory today that strengthened not just data protection, but democracy in all of Europe." That’s certainly a "diplomatic" way of saying they don’t trust their American allies! Undeterred however, Murphy recommended that the U.S. crank up the "Mighty Wurlitzer" [Journalism and the CIA - 1997] disinformation machine a decibel or two. ”These events,” the ambassador wrote, “suggest the need to intensify our engagement with German government interlocutors, Bundestag and European parliamentarians, and opinion makers to demonstrate that the U.S. has strong data privacy measures in place.” Murphy said this “debate was not just about TFTP;” the ambassador averred that “paranoia runs deep especially about U.S. intelligence agencies.” Those quaint denizens of “old Europe,” where do they ever get such fanciful ideas!

In the Cablegate file,Reporting and Collection Needs: The United Nations,09STATEE80163, dated July 31, 2009 and classified SECRET/NOFORN (no foreign distribution) we learned last week that under America’s revised National HUMINT Collection Directive (NCHD) U.S. diplomats and State Department employees under CIA cover are directed to spy on key UN personnel, including Secretary General Ban Ki-moonState Department documents revealed that diplomats have been ordered to gather “as much of the following information as possible when they have information relating to persons linked to: office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet ‘handles’, internet e-mail addresses, website identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.” U.S. overlords demanded that their diplomat-spies collect relevant data on “about current and future use of communications systems and technologies by officials or organizations, including cellular phone networks, mobile satellite phones, very small aperture terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile radios, pagers, prepaid calling cards, firewalls, encryption, international connectivity, use of electronic data interchange, Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable and fiber networks.” Documents released so far have revealed that similar “diplomatic" spying operations are underway globally and target BulgariaRomaniaSloveniaHungaryVenezuelaParaguayPalestineAfrican Great Lakes; and West AfricaDenouncing WikiLeaks for the embarrassing disclosures, not for U.S. duplicity and deceit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who authorized the surreptitious collection programs, said last week that covert action by its foreign service “is the role our diplomats play in serving America.”

Despite full knowledge,we were astonished to learn" ambassador Murphy wrote, “how quickly rumors about alleged U.S. economic espionage - at first associated with the new U.S. air passenger registration system (ESTA), then with TFTP - gained currency among German parliamentarians in the run-up to the February 11 vote in Strasbourg.” Are there legitimate reasons perhaps, why ”paranoia" would "run deep" among the public, or the German government for that matter, considering the track record of "U.S. intelligence agencies”? Last Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s chief of staff, Helmut Metzner, was sacked after he confessed he was the “young, up-and-coming party loyalist" who served as an American asset inside the Free Democratic Party, a coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-wing government. Der Spiegel [Wikileaks cables fallout: Mole in Germany’s FDP party comes forward - December 2, 2010] reported that Metzner was thetop-level national party employee responsible for passing secret information on to U.S. diplomats during the negotiations to form the current German government in 2009.” According to the 2009 Cablegate file 09BERLIN1271, “Westerwelle Firm on Removal of Nuclear Weapons," Metzner is described therein as "a well-placed FDP source." From his perch, Metzner was privy to sensitive information that he passed on to his American handlers; in fact the go-getter was "the head of international relations for the national party.” Rather conveniently, one might say! Indeed, the strategist-spyshared with Emboffs and visiting Senior Germany Desk Officer October 7 information on issues discussed during the first two days of these negotiations as well as the negotiations schedule and working group make-up. Source serves as his party’s notetaker for the negotiations and has been a long-standing close Embassy contact.” ”It’s now clear," Der Spiegel reported, "why the U.S. ambassador appeared so pleased in his cables back to Washington - after all, his mole had the ear of the head of the party and was part of the inner circle of party leadership." Eventually, ambassador Murphy’s call to "intensify our engagement with German government interlocutors, Bundestag and European parliamentarians, and opinion makers" over the Swift program paid off. In July,after mobilizing top administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.,” the Obama administration was able to reverse the vote in the European Parliament,after the United States made modest concessions that promised greater European oversight,” The New York Times reported. ”Concessions" that will accelerate the erosion of privacy rights while enhancing U.S. efforts to steal economic secrets from their capitalist rivals. Tuesday’s arrest of Julian Assange in Britain on a dubious Swedish warrant, and the court’s refusal to grant the activist/journalist bail, will not stop the leaks. Despite intense pressure from the Pentagon, the State Department and lickspittle American politicians, more than 500 websites currently mirror [Mass-mirroring Wikileaks] WikiLeaks. The steady drip, drip, drip of dark secrets will continue, as will further revelations of U.S. crimes.

[Antifascist Calling]

April 17, 2014
The Wikileaks arrest by Eric Walberg

An epic drama is unfolding after the Wikileaks founder gave himself up to Scotland Yard, but will Assange suffer the fate of Ellsberg or Pollard?

December 8, 2010It was United States president Woodrow Wilson who called foropen diplomacy- number one of his fourteen points in 1918 - so thatdiplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.” He would surely approve of Wikileaks’ efforts at open diplomacy, though current U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called them “an attack on America’s foreign-policy interests” and indeed on “the international community”, though she failed to specify which particular community members were the victims, or what they were the victims of. On 7 December, the bane of U.S. empire voluntarily gave himself up to Scotland Yard and will face trial and extradition to Sweden possibly by the end of the year, accused ofrape, unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation, alleged to have been committed in August 2010. The trumped-up cases involve consensual relations, one an obvious “honey trap” by a CIA plant and the other a spurned Lewinsky-like groupie. Assange is nothing short of a legend after a year of leaks, especially an April video taken from a U.S. helicopter in Iraq in 2007 showing GIs shooting at least 12 innocent Iraqis like rabbits. Starting in July, he issued 500,000 U.S.. military documents on the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The straw for the imperial camel was a batch of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic notes (1966-2009) in November, revealing a U.S. diplomatic world increasingly acting as a branch of the CIA, and the cynicism of both Western and Arab regimes anxious to destroy Iran

The leaks have been hailed as a blow to U.S. criminal activity by people around the world, including staunchly American U.S. Congressman Ron Paul [Squaring the circle], and condemned by lovers of U.S. empire such as former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who called for Assange to be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders”. Former UK Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said WikiLeaks’ actions were “active assistance to terrorist organisations”, neglecting to reflect on the UK’s own long history of worldwide terrorist activities. The 39-year-old Assange is an Australian citizen, though his Prime Minister Julia Gillard has threatened to cancel his passport. He is described by colleagues as charismatic, driven and highly intelligent, with an exceptional ability to crack computer codes. To his critics, he is just a publicity-seeker and womanizer. In 1995 he was accused with a friend of dozens of hacking activities and fined, promising to be a good boy. He quietly co-authored Underground with Suelette Dreyfus, dealing with the subversive side of the Internet. Dreyfus described Assange as “quite interested in the concept of ethics, concepts of justice, what governments should and shouldn’t do”.

He began Wikileaks in 2006 as adead-letterboxfor would-be leakers - the real heroes of this saga, the unknown soldiers disgusted with their role as hired killers. His collective developed a Robin Hood guerrilla lifestyle, moving communications and people from country to country to make use of laws protecting freedom of speech. Co-founder Daniel Schmitt describes Assange as “one of the few people who really care about positive reform in this world to a level where you’re willing to do something radical”. Wikileaks was forced this year to switch to a Swiss host server after several U.S. Internet service providers shut him down, claiming he was endangering lives, though he made clear he was careful to vet the military cables from Afghanistan and Iraq precisely to avoid this. His site also came under cyber attack and PayPal cut off his ability to raise funds. There is no doubt that Gillard, the Swedish prosecutor, PayPal, etc are all being pressured by the U.S. government to help snuff out this ray of light exposing its many crimes. Only French Internet service provider OVH said it had no plans to end the service it provides to Wikileaks, and a judge threw out Industry Minister Eric Besson’s case to force it to. 

Hackivist admirers of Mr Quixote have set up mirror sites faster than traditional servers can shut Wikileaks down and are launching denial-of-service attacks targeting its Internet enemies. Coldblood, a member of the computer group Anonymous, told BBC, “Websites that are bowing down to government pressure have become targets. We feel that Wikileaks has become more than just about leaking of documents, it has become a war ground, the people vs the government.” The Man of La Mancha fought off more than “100 legal attacks” before his arrest, including one by Swiss banks whose illicit offshore activities were exposed. That case too was dismissed and left the bankers to scramble to protect their ill-gotten gains. The show goes on. Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said Assange’s arrest was an attack on media freedom but assured, “Wikileaks is operational. We are continuing on the same track as laid out before.” Assange - or his colleagues still at large - hopes to set up a number of “independent chapters around the world” as well as to act as a middle-man between sources and newspapers. 

Strangely, he has been attacked on the left as a stooge of the CIA or Israel, though the former makes no sense at all. True, the latter comes off relatively clean amidst the diplomatic cesspool. But what the few tight-lipped U.S. diplo leaks relating to Israel really show is the fear that U.S. diplomats have of saying anything negative about Israel. Perhaps they fear they will be passed over for their “anti-Semitism” or perhaps they fear that all their missives are read by Mossad as a matter of course. A terse cable from the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan compares Israeli-Azeri relations ominously to an “iceberg with nine-tenths unseen”. Another polite one from Tel Aviv reveals that several “OT” (organised crime) figures applied for visas to attend a “security conference” in Los Vegas but thankfully didn’t come back when asked for their prison records in Russia. An interesting comparison is between Assange and another exposer of U.S. military secrets, Jonathan Pollard, the (only) U.S.-Israel spy serving a life sentence he received in 1987 for revealing U.S. military secrets. The big difference, of course, is Pollard did not apply theopen diplomacyprinciple. If he had blacked out the sensitive names, and exposed the secrets to broad daylight, like Assange, he could have had a beneficial influence on world politics. Instead he sold the secrets to Israel, and uncounted CIA agents lost their lives in the Soviet Union as a result

image

Another worthy comparison is with the legendary Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, who like Assange, gave himself up and faced the music, which turned out to be sweet. The judge dismissed all charges against him in 1973 and the New York Times pompously applauded him in 1996, saying that the papers demonstratedthat the Johnson Administration had systematically liedabouta subject of transcendent national interest and significance.” Ellsberg and Assange, following the advice of Woodrow Wilson, are heroes. Pollard, truly a villain, is worshipped today in Israel, where his 9000th day in prison last year was commemorated with a light show on the walls of the old city of Jerusalem. Last month 39 Congressmen petitioned U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon him. Last summer, Netanyahu had the gall to offer to hold off a few more months on settlements if Obama freed him. Will Assange suffer the fate of Pollard or Ellsberg? The U.S. military machine was in disarray in 1971 and Ellsberg gave it a brave shove and helped bring the troops home. But this is 2010. The open calls to free Pollard are treated as a matter of course. While the Hillaries and Sarahs are calling to assassinate Assange for doing something noble, their like are calling to free a traitor who was responsible for betraying his country and causing untold deaths of U.S. officials.

The sides are lining up, much like Bush predicted in 2001 with hisYou are with us or against us.” A brave Aussie, a principled French judge, an American libertarian congressman, a youthful computer nerd - the enemies of empire come in all shapes and sizes

[Eric Walberg]

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
"

Some antiwar feminist academics cloak their support for the patriarchal-religious force in the “cultural relativist” argument which privileges the “indigeneity” of patriarchy. My question is: Why have feminists, especially those with a progressive, antiwar, anti-globalization agenda, in recent years repeatedly failed to uphold a multi-edged banner of resistance? Why have we failed us to see the multiplicity of contradictions in patriarchal capitalism? We should seek the answer, I would like to propose, in the following factors:

1) The theoretical turn in feminism in the last three decades has had a devastating impact on women’s struggle globally. Exaggerated emphases on “identity,” “voice,” “agency,” “location” and “experience” have reduced patriarchy to questions of culture and religion. This means that patriarchy as an institution of women’s subordination is separated from capitalist relations of exploitation, from imperialist domination, and from the rise of nationalism and fundamentalism. This myopic view of patriarchy, sometimes even endorsed the colonialist “liberation” agenda for women in Afghanistan and Iraq.

2) The political implications of this theoretical shift have been even more disturbing. Feminism as a potential strong opposition social force has been reduced to fragmented, disjointed and coopted tendencies. The outcome is the re-emergence of colonial and imperialist feminisms on the one hand, and nativist feminisms which perpetuate patriarchy under the banner of culture on the other.

3) The post-9/11 condition has added more complexity to this already messy situation. In the West we are faced with the rise of state suppression of individual rights and civil liberties under the name of “security” and “war on terror.” State-sponsored racial profiling is on the rise, and Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim racism are growing. Most feminist responses are at best ambiguous toward this environment of fear and terror.

4) The right turn in the feminist movement coincides with three decades of cooptation and fragmentation of women’s movements through the instruments of the UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and a vast network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These capitalist institutions have supported, funded and promoted patriarchy by turning the struggle of women to de-politicized and liberal notions of “gender mainstreaming” and “women’s empowerment.”

In this imperialist feminist scheme, women were trained to lead NGOs, to participate in the political structure of conservative and pro-Western states, to engage in alienating, pacifying training programs for the capitalist “democracy” and join the army of workers to build “civil society.” In this version of women’s struggle, capitalist relations of power and the institutions of state and patriarchy are left untouched.

"

— Shahrzad Mojab, Women’s NGOs Under Conditions of Occupation and War (via so-treu)

April 17, 2014
How the U.S. has gotten into wars by Ed Rippy

May 27, 2002 - In this article, sixth in a series about the U.S.’s so-called “war on terrorism," we examine the history of how the U.S. (or the thirteen colonies) got into six wars (not all of them declared). We cannot delve into the entire context of each war, but focus on the events which "justified" new or increased U.S. (or colonial) military response. They are (in chronological order): The Boston Massacre, the sinking of the Maine, the sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Gulf of Tonkin “incident," and the invasion (by Iraq) of Kuwait. We also examine a plan (not carried out) to fabricate a set of "Cuban" attacks on the U.S. and other countries to "justify" a U.S. war on Cuba. In four of the wars which actually happened, the prior events "justifying" them (the Boston Massacre, the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Gulf of Tonkin "incident," and the invasion of Kuwait) were set up, fabricated, or some combination of both. Even the sinkings of the Maine and Lusitania resulted from knowingly placing U.S. troops or civilians at risk. It is clear that when certain elements of the U.S. power elite decide on a war, they often manipulate international events and people’s perceptions to get their way. More than once, these attacks have killed U.S. (or colonial) troops, civilians, or both. Given this historical pattern, it would not be extraordinary if powerful elements in the U.S. government set up and permitted the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. History, of course, is an interpretive art. None of these accounts can be taken as absolutely true or final. They are, however, the best evidence this writer has been able to find. With all the lies and secrecy surrounding these events, it is impossible to say exactly who’s pulling the strings. Even powerful people may feel forced to do things they would rather not and to lie about them. The author’s intention is not to impute motives or assign blame, but to get closer to the truth of events, and to show how rarely things are what they seem. Of course, it is not only the U.S. which engages in such murderous duplicity. We examine U.S. history here because we wish to understand the context of attacks on the U.S. and ensuing U.S. military actions.

Read More

April 17, 2014

This economy’s winners and losers by Bernie Sanders

December 6, 2010Vermont Senator Sanders describes how the U.S. is becoming a “banana republic”, including such topics as the increasing disparity between the upper and lower classes and the disappearance of the middle class, tax benefits for the upper echelons of American society, the dangers involved with the privatization of social services and the effects of the collapsing economy on all Americans. A warning against unchecked greed that should be heard by all.

(Source: tv.globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Institutional insanity in America by Ralph Nader

December 7, 2010 - If there was a mental health hospital for institutions the Republican Party and its top leaders would be admissible as clinically insane. Their bizarre wackopedia seems to contain no discernible boundaries. Repeatedly, these corporate supplicants oppose any measure, any regulation, any legislation that will directly help workers, consumers, the environment, small taxpayers and even investor-shareholders. There are some exceptions. Since these Republican politicians eat, some did vote for the long-delayed food safety bill last week so that e-coli does not enter their intestines to disrupt the drivel drooling from their daily repertoire. The Republicans get away with countless absurdities for at least two reasons. One is that their nominal opponents are the spineless, clueless, gutless Democrats (with a few notable exceptions) who present themselves as uncertain waverers, dialing for the same corporate dollars as the Republicans chase. The other is the political reporters who dwell on questions directed toward tactics and horseraces that the dimmest of Republicans can handle easily.

Take the evasive next Speaker of the House, Ohio Republican John Boehner. I’ve lost count of the times he said the recent healthcare law would “kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world, and bankrupt our country.” I don’t recall one reporter asking him to be specific on these claims. Instead, the questions focused on Capitol Hill timing and tactics. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, makes similar declarations such as: “I’ve said over and over again, you don’t raise taxes in a recession.” Really? Of all previous presidents, only Only George W. Bush did not raise taxes but actually reduced them in wartime. But don’t expect a reporter to ask McConnell whether he thinks the children and grandchildren should be sent the bill for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Or if he thinks repealing the Bush tax cuts on the rich would help reduce the deficit. How many times have you heard the Republicans demand cutting the national deficit? Probably as often as they did nothing when George W. Bush piled up trillions of dollars in red ink. Now that Obama is president, they rarely get specific about just how they are going to do this, other than jumping on Medicare (where corporate fraud is indeed rampant and untreated by them) or social security which is solvent for another 30 years.

For most Republicans, it is never about cutting the bloated military budget - ridden with corporate crime and fraud and burdened with massive redundancies that keep the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about deep in profitable government contracts. Nor do the Republicans go after the corporate welfare budget - the hundreds of billions of dollars per year of subsidies, giveaways and handouts to domestic and even foreign corporations. Except for Ron Paul and a very few others, that is. Another assertion made in this year’s mid-term elections by Republican candidates for Congress all over the country is that: “Government does not create jobs, only the private sector does.” Let’s see. Government not only creates jobs, taxpayers have paid trillions of dollars for research, development and tax credits that are given over to build entire industries. These include the semi-conductor, computer, aerospace, pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and containerization industries, to name a few.

The Pentagon created the job-producing Internet, for example. When the government funds public works or expands the armed forces, millions of jobs are created. Will there be one reporter who challenges this Republican nonsense, often expressed in press interviews on cell phones while driving on highways in cars with seat belts and air bags either based on taxpayer-funded research, directly paid for, or regulated into being through the government? Mute Democrats and mindless reporters make insane Republicans possible. Bringing these cruel descendants of Lincoln’s Party down their ladder of generalities is to become concrete, to give substantiating examples that will either show that they have no clothes or that they prefer mink.

The American people deserve to have reporters ask one question again and again: “Senator, Representative, Governor, President, would you be specific, give examples and cite your sources for your general assertions?” For instance, especially Republicans regularly roar their demand for “tort reform.” A reporter could ask for clarification such as: “Sir, do you mean by ‘tort reform’ giving more access to the courts to millions of excluded Americans who get nothing for injuries and illnesses recklessly caused by manufacturers, hospitals, and other wrongdoers, or do you mean further restricting the law designed to afford these people compensation for their harms?" The same demand for concreteness can be directed to the dittoheads who cry out against “over-regulation.” Where? Over Wall Street? For health and safety requirements that are either weak when issued, technically obsolete or rarely enforced? 

Bringing these well-greased pontificators down their abstraction ladder to where people live, work, overpay, bleed and suffer is a major step forward so the sovereignty of the people can begin exercising itself.

[Nader]

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Pearl Harbor: A successful war lie by David Swanson

Excerpt from War is a Lie.

December 7, 2010 - One type of “defensive” war is one that follows a successful provocation of aggression from the desired enemy. This method was used to begin, and repeatedly to escalate, the Vietnam War, as recorded in the Pentagon Papers. Setting aside the question of whether the United States should have entered World War II, in either Europe or the Pacific or both, the fact is that our country was unlikely to enter unless attacked. In 1928 the U.S. Senate had voted 85 to 1 to ratify the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty that bound - and still binds - our nation and many others never again to engage in war. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s fervent hope for years was that Japan would attack the United States. This would permit the United States (not legally, but politically) to fully enter the war in Europe, as its president wanted to do, as opposed to merely providing weaponry, as it had been doing. On April 28, 1941, Churchill wrote a secret directive to his war cabinet: “It may be taken as almost certain that the entry of Japan into the war would be followed by the immediate entry of the United States on our side.”

On May 11, 1941, Robert Menzies, the prime minister of Australia, met with Roosevelt and found him ”a little jealous” of Churchill’s place in the center of the war. While Roosevelt’s cabinet all wanted the United States to enter the war, Menzies found that Roosevelt, ”trained under Woodrow Wilson in the last war, waits for an incident, which would in one blow get the USA into war and get R. out of his foolish election pledges that ‘I will keep you out of war.’” On August 18, 1941, Churchill met with his cabinet at 10 Downing Street. The meeting had some similarity to the July 23, 2002, meeting at the same address, the minutes of which became known as the Downing Street Minutes. Both meetings revealed secret U.S. intentions to go to war. In the 1941 meeting, Churchill told his cabinet, according to the minutes:The President had said he would wage war but not declare it.” In addition,Everything was to be done to force an incident.”

Japan was certainly not averse to attacking others and had been busy creating an Asian empire. And the United States and Japan were certainly not living in harmonious friendship. But what could bring the Japanese to attack? When President Franklin Roosevelt visited Pearl Harbor on July 28, 1934, seven years before the Japanese attack, the Japanese military expressed apprehension. General Kunishiga Tanaka wrote in the Japan Advertiser, objecting to the build-up of the American fleet and the creation of additional bases in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands: “Such insolent behavior makes us most suspicious. It makes us think a major disturbance is purposely being encouraged in the Pacific. This is greatly regretted.”

Whether it was actually regretted or not is a separate question from whether this was a typical and predictable response to military expansionism, even when done in the name of “defense.” The great unembedded (as we would today call him) journalist George Seldes was suspicious as well. In October 1934 he wrote in Harper’s Magazine:It is an axiom that nations do not arm for war but for a war.” Seldes asked an official at the Navy League: “Do you accept the naval axiom that you prepare to fight a specific navy?” The man replied “Yes.” “Do you contemplate a fight with the British navy?” “Absolutely, no.” “Do you contemplate war with Japan?” “Yes.” In 1935 the most decorated U.S. Marine in history at the time, Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, published to enormous success a short book calledWar Is a Racket.” He saw perfectly well what was coming and warned the nation: “At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals don’t shout that ‘We need lots of battleships to war on this nation or that nation.’ Oh, no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate our 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only. Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh. The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline in the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast. The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon’s shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern, through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.”

In March 1935, Roosevelt bestowed Wake Island on the U.S. Navy and gave Pan Am Airways a permit to build runways on Wake Island, Midway Island, and Guam. Japanese military commanders announced that they were disturbed and viewed these runways as a threat. So did peace activists in the United States. By the next month, Roosevelt had planned war games and maneuvers near the Aleutian Islands and Midway Island. By the following month, peace activists were marching in New York advocating friendship with Japan. Norman Thomas wrote in 1935: “The Man from Mars who saw how men suffered in the last war and how frantically they are preparing for the next war, which they know will be worse, would come to the conclusion that he was looking at the denizens of a lunatic asylum.” The U.S. Navy spent the next few years working up plans for war with Japan, the March 8, 1939, version of which described “an offensive war of long duration” that would destroy the military and disrupt the economic life of Japan. In January 1941, eleven months before the attack, the Japan Advertiser expressed its outrage over Pearl Harbor in an editorial, and the U.S. ambassador to Japan wrote in his diary: “There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese, in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed my government.”

On February 5, 1941, Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner wrote to Secretary of War Henry Stimson to warn of the possibility of a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. As early as 1932 the United States had been talking with China about providing airplanes, pilots, and training for its war with Japan. In November 1940, Roosevelt loaned China one hundred million dollars for war with Japan, and after consulting with the British, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau made plans to send the Chinese bombers with U.S. crews to use in bombing Tokyo and other Japanese cities. On December 21, 1940, two weeks shy of a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, China’s Minister of Finance T.V. Soong and Colonel Claire Chennault, a retired U.S. Army flier who was working for the Chinese and had been urging them to use American pilots to bomb Tokyo since at least 1937, met in Henry Morgenthau’s dining room to plan the firebombing of Japan. Morgenthau said he could get men released from duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps if the Chinese could pay them $1,000 per month. Soong agreed. On May 24, 1941, the New York Times reported on U.S. training of the Chinese air force, and the provision ofnumerous fighting and bombing planesto China by the United States. “Bombing of Japanese Cities is Expected” read the subheadline. By July, the Joint Army-Navy Board had approved a plan called JB 355 to firebomb Japan. A front corporation would buy American planes to be flown by American volunteers trained by Chennault and paid by another front group. Roosevelt approved, and his China expert Lauchlin Currie, in the words of Nicholson Baker, “wired Madame Chaing Kai-Shek and Claire Chennault a letter that fairly begged for interception by Japanese spies.” Whether or not that was the entire point, this was the letter: “I am very happy to be able to report today the President directed that sixty-six bombers be made available to China this year with twenty-four to be delivered immediately. He also approved a Chinese pilot training program here. Details through normal channels. Warm regards.”

Our ambassador had said “in case of a break with the United States” the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor. I wonder if this qualified! The 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force, also known as the Flying Tigers, moved ahead with recruitment and training immediately and first saw combat on December 20, 1941, twelve days (local time) after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On May 31, 1941, at the Keep America Out of War Congress, William Henry Chamberlin gave a dire warning: “A total economic boycott of Japan, the stoppage of oil shipments for instance, would push Japan into the arms of the Axis. Economic war would be a prelude to naval and military war.” The worst thing about peace advocates is how many times they turn out to be right.

On July 24, 1941, President Roosevelt remarked,If we cut the oil off, [the Japanese] probably would have gone down to the Dutch East Indies a year ago, and you would have had a war. It was very essential from our own selfish point of view of defense to prevent a war from starting in the South Pacific. So our foreign policy was trying to stop a war from breaking out there.” Reporters noticed that Roosevelt saidwasrather thanis.” The next day, Roosevelt issued an executive order freezing Japanese assets. The United States and Britain cut off oil and scrap metal to Japan. Radhabinod Pal, an Indian jurist who served on the war crimes tribunal after the war, called the embargoes a “clear and potent threat to Japan’s very existence,” and concluded the United States had provoked Japan. On August 7th four months before the attack the Japan Times Advertiser wrote:First there was the creation of a superbase at Singapore, heavily reinforced by British and Empire troops. From this hub a great wheel was built up and linked with American bases to form a great ring sweeping in a great area southwards and westwards from the Philippines through Malaya and Burma, with the link broken only in the Thailand peninsula. Now it is proposed to include the narrows in the encirclement, which proceeds to Rangoon.”

By September the Japanese press was outraged that the United States had begun shipping oil right past Japan to reach Russia. Japan, its newspapers said, was dying a slow death from “economic war.” What might the United States have been hoping to gain by shipping oil past a nation in desperate need of it? In late October, U.S. spy Edgar Mower was doing work for Colonel William Donovan who spied for Roosevelt. Mower spoke with a man in Manila named Ernest Johnson, a member of the Maritime Commission, who said he expectedThe Japs will take Manila before I can get out.” When Mower expressed surprise, Johnson replied “Didn’t you know the Jap fleet has moved eastward, presumably to attack our fleet at Pearl Harbor?

On November 3, 1941, our ambassador tried again to get something through his government’s thick skull, sending a lengthy telegram to the State Department warning that the economic sanctions might force Japan to commitnational hara-kiri.” He wrote: ”An armed conflict with the United States may come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness.” Why do I keep recalling the headline of the memo given to President George W. Bush prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks?Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S.” Apparently nobody in Washington wanted to hear it in 1941 either. On November 15th, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall briefed the media on something we do not remember as “the Marshall Plan.” In fact we don’t remember it at all. ”We are preparing an offensive war against Japan,” Marshall said, asking the journalists to keep it a secret, which as far as I know they dutifully did.

Ten days later Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote in his diary that he’d met in the Oval Office with Marshall, President Roosevelt, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Harold Stark, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Roosevelt had told them the Japanese were likely to attack soon, possibly next Monday. That would have been December 1st, six days before the attack actually came. “The question,” Stimson wrote, ”was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition.” Was it? One obvious answer was to keep the fleet in Pearl Harbor and keep the sailors stationed there in the dark while fretting about them from comfortable offices in Washington, D.C. In fact, that was the solution our suit-and-tied heroes went with. The day after the attack, Congress voted for war. Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin (R., Mont.), the first woman ever elected to Congress, and who had voted against World War I, stood alone in opposing World War II (just as Congresswoman Barbara Lee [D., Calif.] would stand alone against attacking Afghanistan 60 years later). One year after the vote, on December 8, 1942, Rankin put extended remarks into the Congressional Record explaining her opposition. She cited the work of a British propagandist who had argued in 1938 for using Japan to bring the United States into the war. She cited Henry Luce’s reference in Life magazine on July 20, 1942, tothe Chinese for whom the U.S. had delivered the ultimatum that brought on Pearl Harbor.” She introduced evidence that at the Atlantic Conference on August 12, 1941, Roosevelt had assured Churchill that the United States would bring economic pressure to bear on Japan. “I cited,” Rankin later wrote,the State Department Bulletin of December 20, 1941, which revealed that on September 3 a communication had been sent to Japan demanding that it accept the principle of ‘nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific,’ which amounted to demanding guarantees of the inviolateness of the white empires in the Orient.” Rankin found that the Economic Defense Board had gotten economic sanctions under way less than a week after the Atlantic Conference. On December 2, 1941, the New York Times had reported, in fact, that Japan had beencut off from about 75 percent of her normal trade by the Allied blockade.” Rankin also cited the statement of Lieutenant Clarence E. Dickinson, U.S.N., in the Saturday Evening Post of October 10, 1942, that on November 28, 1941, nine days before the attack, Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., (he of the slogan “kill Japs, kill Japs!”) had given instructions to him and others to “shoot down anything we saw in the sky and to bomb anything we saw on the sea.”

Whether or not World War II was the “good war” we are so often told it was, the idea that it was a defensive war because our innocent imperial outpost in the middle of the Pacific was attacked out of the clear blue sky is a myth that deserves to be buried.

[Warisacrime]

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Death squads versus Democracy: Tom Flanagan’s “joke” directed against Wikileaks Julian Assange by Michael Keefer

December 7, 2010 - Tom Flanagan, University of Calgary political science professor, right-wing pundit, and mentor and former senior advisor to Prime Minister Harper, has earned himself more international media attention during the past week than even he may have an appetite for. On November 30th, Flanagan spoke as one of the regular panelists on CBC Television’s national political analysis program, Power and Politics with Evan Solomon. Staring into the camera, while across the bottom of the television screen there appeared a banner reading “WIKILEAKS LATEST: New document mentions PM Stephen Harper,” Flanagan had this to say about Julian Assange, the founder and editor of Wikileaks: “Well, I think Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.”

Evan Solomon’s reaction was delayed - and when it finally came, thumpingly stupid. After letting Flanagan outline for nearly ten seconds his reasons for advocating political murder, he broke in at last, saying: “Tom, that’s pretty harsh stuff, just for the record, that’s pretty harsh stuff.” Flanagan responded to this interruption with what appears to have been a joke: “Well, I’m feeling very manly today.” But making it clear that his initial remarks were seriously intended, he wrapped up his contribution to the program with a parting shot: “I wouldn’t feel unhappy if Assange disappeared.” This sounds rather as though, after proposing a murder contract and a drone attack, he was offering Obama a third form of assassination: how about a death-squad “disappearance”? Solomon responded, echoing his earlier feebleness: “Well, I’ve gotta say, Tom Flanagan calling for that, that’s pretty strong stuff.” One of the most lucid comments to date on this disgusting episode has come from Calgary Herald journalist and University of Calgary alumnus Kris Kotarski, in a public letter calling on Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, the university’s President, “to condemn Dr. Flanagan in the harshest possible terms.”

Better than most,” Kotarski writes, “a professor of political science should understand that academic freedom is not possible without political freedom, and that political freedom cannot survive in a climate where journalists and opponents of a ruling regime hear public intellectuals advocate for their assassination on the nightly news. If this were a Russian, Chinese or Iranian intellectual calling for the murder of a regime opponent, Canadians would be appalled. Considering Canada’s proud tradition of political freedom, it is all the more offensive to hear an active member of the University of Calgary faculty and the former chief of staff and campaign manager for the sitting Prime Minister do the same”. [Open letter to University of Calgary President Dr. Elizabeth Cannon regarding Dr. Tom Flanagan’s remarks - December 3, 2010] As one would expect, there have been attempts both by Flanagan and by his supporters in the media to explain his remarks away as an ill-judged attempt at humor. For example, Sarah Petz has written in Macleans: “Joking about the assassination of a major public figure is terrible [..]. However, considering it was obviously a bad joke and not a serious incitation to commit violence, maybe it’s time for everyone to move on.” Petz likens Flanagan’s comments in the video footage to “something your conservative uncle would say in a drunken argument over an awkward family dinner.” (“Let Flanagan’s remarks die,” Macleans [4 December 2010]). But while there may have been a note of brutal flippancy in his tone, Flanagan was stone-cold sober. The only jest in his statement was the inane Neo-Con in-joke about “feeling very manly today.” Some people of Flanagan’s political leanings - men like Dick Cheney, John Bolton, and George W. Bush - seem to find the quasi-erotic charge they get from making threats of violence invigorating, even amusing. Others might wonder how manly it is to find one’s pleasure in bullying and terrorizing people.

It’s perhaps just as well that the video footage of this CBC program has gone global, together with explanations of Flanagan’s close links to our current Prime Minister. Julian Assange, let us remind ourselves, is not just the “major public figure” that Macleans calls him: he has for several years taken a leading role in what is arguably the most courageous and the most significant journalistic work currently ongoing anywhere in the world. In an age in which the “memory hole” imagined by George Orwell in his dystopian novel 1984 has become a literal reality, the work of Wikileaks is crucial. Assange has himself pointed out in public lectures and interviews that news reports are now routinely deleted by media corporations, both from their online archives and from their indexes, leaving behind nothing but a “document not found” message for search-engine inquiries; while in the UK some 300 news stories, including one about a deliberate chemical spill that injured over 100,000 people, are currently smothered by court orders that make it illegal even to mention the existence of a court order blocking publication of the facts. Moreover, the U.S. government has been moving steadily toward a situation in which its agencies possess something approaching what Admiral John Poindexter called “total intelligence awareness,” while citizens are increasingly confined to a corresponding state of ignorance on all matters of importance. Lawrence Davidson explains the strategy: “Democratic elites have learned that they do not need to rely on the brute force characteristic of dictatorships as long as they can sufficiently control the public media environment. You restrict meaningful free speech to the fringes of the media, to the ‘outliers’ along the information bell curve. You rely on the sociological fact that the vast majority of citizens will either pay no attention to that which they find irrelevant to their immediate lives, or else they will believe the official storyline about places and happenings of which they are otherwise ignorant. Once you have identified the official story line with the official policy being pursued, loyalty to the policy comes to equate with patriotism. It is a shockingly simple formula and it usually works.” (“On the Historical Necessity of Wikileaks,” MWC News [4 December 2010]).

While it is undoubtedly embarrassing for American elites (whom one hesitates to grace with the word “democratic”) to have the dirty linen of their diplomatic double-dealings exposed to the world, their most urgent concern seems to be to ensure that as little as possible of the Wikileaks material becomes known in any organized way to the American public. Hence the censorship being exercised by the New York Times (in contrast to the manner in which The Guardian and Der Spiegel are releasing the material that they all possess) - and hence also the vitriolic hatred expressed toward Julian Assange by Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Bill O’Reilly, and the death-threats issued against him by Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and William Kristol. Noam Chomsky has remarked that “Perhaps the most dramatic revelation [of the leaked cables] is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. government - Hillary Clinton, [and] others - and also by the diplomatic service”. [Noam Chomsky: “Wikileaks cables revel profound hatred for Democracy on the part of our political leadership - November 30, 2010] The paroxysms of loathing now being directed at Julian Assange are another expression of that same hatred of democracy. While most Canadians are already aware of our own government’s repeated demonstrations of contempt for democratic principles and practice, understanding the implications of Tom Flanagan’s behavior remains important. Canada’s standards of public discourse have decayed to the point at which our national broadcaster is not ashamed to carry an open incitement to political murder made by the leading ideologue of the governing party, a former and for all we know continuing close associate of Prime Minister Harper. It is dismaying to recognize that our media system includes, at its centre, people for whom the open-eyed advocacy of lawless violence is something merely to shrug off, like an off-colour joke, as “pretty strong stuff.

But acceptance of that kind of dismissal is only possible so long as Canadians continue to believe that our governing elites have always operated at a safe distance from such totalitarian tactics as those recommended by Tom Flanagan. Is that in fact the case, or is our belief perhaps conditioned by effective control of what Davidson calls the “public media environment”? How many of us know about Canada’s central role in the overthrow of Haiti’s duly elected democratic government in February 2004, or about the role of Canada’s military in facilitating - or at the very least doing nothing to prevent - the campaigns of political terror, massacre and rape that followed the coup? Or about the fact that Canada exercised effective control over a post-coup prison system in Haiti that even the Organization of American States condemned as horrifying? (The Deputy Minister of Justice who ran that system was both appointed and paid by the Canadian International Development Agency.) Or about the role of the RCMP in providing training and tutelage for a reconstituted Haitian National Police that engaged in documented death-squad activities against civilians between 2004 and at least 2006, and is suspected of involvement in such crimes as thedisappearanceof human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine in August 2007? (Should we not feel some degree of responsibility for these crimes? Might it be in any way significant that Lovinsky wasdisappearedjust three weeks after having annoyed Canadian authorities in Haiti by trying to organize a demonstration against Stephen Harper’s brief visit to the island in July?) [1] The Wikileaks cables apparently include more than 1,800 documents emanating from Ottawa (whether from American diplomats posted there or from Canadian authorities communicating with the U.S. is unclear). Their contents may be entirely confined to banal and routine matters. Or they may perhaps provide further substantiation of the fact that crimes of state terror of the kind Tom Flanagan thought it appropriate to recommend on CBC Television - far from being mere rhetoric, let alone a “joke” - touch Canadians more closely than most of us have been able to recognize.

Should the Wikileaks cables turn out to contain material of this kind, we might expect to hear angry denunciations of Julian Assange from Liberal as well as from Conservative quarters - for Canada’s participation in the Haitian coup of 2004 was decided and acted upon by the governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, whose policies the Harper Conservatives have in this respect merely continued. One may hope that in such a case, Canadian public opinion would respond with a firm defence of our democratic right to know about and to control the doings of our elected representatives and public servants - and to ensure that their actions remain in conformity with domestic and international law. As for the present, I note with interest that Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson has filed a complaint against Tom Flanagan with the Vancouver police and the RCMP (Charlie Smith, “Police complaint filed after Tom Flanagan calls for assassination of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange," Straight.com [4 December 2010]). I’m happy to endorse a comment posted by ‘Delmazio’ in response to this news: “We need more people like Mr. Julian Assange who are willing to speak truth to power, and encourage the free flow of information which directly affects public policy decisions. If we value freedom of information, transparency, openness, and democracy, we ought to praise not to condemn such efforts.” [2]

[1] Information on these subjects can be found in my essay “The Dignity of the Haitian Women (and Canada’s Shame).” 
[2] Some may be concerned about the news that Sweden’s Public Prosecutor’s Office announced in August 2010 that it intended to arrest Assange on charges of rape, withdrew the arrest warrant on the same day, asserting that there was no evidence, and then resurrected the charges three months later. See the following article by Melbourne barrister James D. Catlin, who acted for Assange in London in October:When it comes to Assange rape case, the Swedes are making it up as they go along,” Crikey (2 December 2010).

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Obama announces deal to extend tax cuts for the rich by Barry Grey

December 7, 2010 - President Obama on Monday announced his support for a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, capitulating to Republican demands and reversing campaign pledges to end the windfall for families making more than $250,000 a year. The announcement was made in a brief White House speech, after which Obama took no questions from the press. Extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy, set to expire January 1, has been a central preoccupation of the U.S. corporate-financial elite. For precisely that reason, the cave-in by Obama and the Democratic Party on the issue was virtually assured. The extension will funnel an estimated $70 billion per year into the coffers of the rich. During the mid-term election campaign Obama demagogically denounced the Republicans for opposing his proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts only for families earning less than $250,000. The Republicans demanded instead an across-the-board extension. Obama sought to use the issue to give the Democratic campaign a populist cover, even as the White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress refused to initiate any government jobs programs or provide serious relief to the tens of millions victimized by the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Meanwhile, the Democratic congressional leadership was signaling its readiness to capitulate, with leading Democrats in the House and Senate lining up with the Republicans to demand an extension of the tax cuts for the rich. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called off a floor vote on the tax issue until after the November election. Following the rout of the Democrats in the election, the result of popular disillusionment and anger over the right-wing policies of the administration, Obama has lurched even further to the right. He has embraced the Republican tax plan even though the Democrats retain large majorities in both houses of the outgoing Congress, which must vote on the measure before the end of the year. The new Congress, with a Republican majority in the House and a smaller Democratic majority in the Senate, will take office in January. In addition to the income tax windfall for the wealthy, Obama announced his acceptance of a Republican proposal to further gut the estate tax. Hisframework for a bipartisan agreementincludes raising the exemption on estate taxes to $5 million for an individual and $10 million for a family (in 2009 the individual exemption was $3.5 million), and reducing the tax rate from 45% to 35$.

This will bring the tax on inherited wealth to its lowest level since 1931, prior to the Depression-era reforms carried out by the Roosevelt administration. Demonstrating his cynicism and contempt for the intelligence of the American people, Obama actually sought to portray this huge boondoggle for the rich as a defense of working people. He focused on the 13-month extension of long-term unemployment benefits included in the “framework,” which he presented as a major victory for the unemployed. In previous recessions, extended jobless benefits were routinely passed by Congress, but in this slump Congress has allowed them to expire on several occasions. House Democrats failed to pass a measure to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed on November 30, ensuring that the program would lapse on December 1. This was calculated to provide a cover for the coming capitulation on tax cuts for the rich, with the windfall for the wealthy packaged as a quid pro quo for extending jobless benefits.

The income and estate tax cuts for the rich, however, are to last two years, while the unemployment benefits are to be extended for only 13 months. This means that the new Congress, with an even more right-wing coloration than the present one, will decide on their further extension, in all likelihood in the negative. Presenting the extension of the Bush tax cuts for middle-income people as a job-creation measure, Obama declared, “I am not willing to let working families become collateral damage for Washington’s political warfare.” This comes barely a week after Obama announced a pay freeze for all civilian federal employees and broadly embraced the proposal of his deficit commission for major cuts in basic social programs, the imposition of consumption taxes, and the elimination of tax benefits for home-owners, along with huge cuts in the corporate tax rate and the income tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.

For the most part, Obama directed his fire against recalcitrant congressional Democrats, who have protested against the naked character of the White House cave-in to the Republicans. “Sympathetic as I am to those who would prefer a fight to compromise,” he declared, “it would be the wrong thing to do. The American people didn’t send us here to wage symbolic battles.” As Democratic consultant and pundit Paul Begala said on CNN following Obama’s speech, many Democrats believe that “the president caved.” However, he continued, there was no doubt they would supply the votes needed to pass the package. Republicans gloated over the speech. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I appreciate the determined efforts of the president and vice president in working with Republicans on a bipartisan plan to prevent a tax hike on any American.” In a jab at Democratic lawmakers, he added, “I am optimistic that Democrats in Congress will show the same openness to preventing tax hikes the administration has already shown.

Other provisions of the so-calledcompromiseinclude a two-year extension of expanded tax credits included in Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity Tax Credit), a 2% cut in workers’ payroll taxes in lieu of the stimulus bill’s Making Work Pay tax credit, and a tax break for businesses that buy equipment over the next two years estimated to be worth $30 billion. The various so-called middle-class tax credits have done virtually nothing to create jobs or cushion the impact of the slump on the working class, and will have no greater impact in the future. But the tax cuts for the wealthy will ensure a further concentration of wealth at the top of society, even as growing numbers of workers are driven into poverty as a result of mass unemployment, wage-cutting and reductions in social programs.

[*]

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Should we be worried about a cyber war? Judging the cyber war terrorist threat by Seymour Hersh

Some experts say that the real danger lies in confusing cyber espionage with cyber war.

Read More

(Source: globalresearch.ca)

April 17, 2014
Wikileaks and plausible lies by Joe Quinn

December 6, 2010While the revelations in the Wikileaks documents about the true nature of the U.S. government and its imperial attitude towards other nations are welcome, I find myself in the strange position of having to agree with Hillary Clinton, David Cameron et al that the leaks won’t affect anyone’s relations with anyone. Our leaders are an inherently hypocritical bunch and over the past 10 years, even the most uninformed have come to understand that our leaders have a definite tendency to say one thing and do another. Who doubts that such hardened politicians fully understand that lying to each other is par for the course in the sordid game of modern global governance? As such, why should the public be overly surprised to see confirmation of this in the Wikileaks documents? Entertained and even intrigued, but surprised? I am not saying that there is no value in certain aspects of the documents themselves to the extent that they provide a chance to disseminate government corruption and mendacity to a wide audience, but titillating details such as Qaddafi’s buxom ‘nurse’ is nothing new and, much more importantly, such details are by no means the main focus of the documents themselves. 

  • Promoting bombing Iran

The Wikileaks documents need to be considered in a broader context. By all means, alternative news sites should continue to expose American, British and any another government inequity that the documents reveal. But where is the criticism of the rest of the documents that confirm the standard Israeli/American narrative - that Iran poses “an existentialist threat" to Israel and to "moderate" Arab states? Does anyone care that these documents clearly support U.S. and Israeli war-mongering? Does anyone else find that to be astonishing? Where is the critical thought? The problem is that, when the dust has settled (as it soon will) over all-too-familiar U.S. government attempts to spy on UN officials and the pusillanimity of the British government assuring the Americans that their Iraq invasion inquiry would have a pro-U.S. bias, we will be left with some core details which, far from being refuted or covered up, are being accepted as fact. Details such as: 

1. Iran is the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East. 

This is a blatant lie as every alternative, anti-war analyst who has studied the facts has declared vociferously for years now. And suddenly, with a widely publicized leak, the mainstream media wants to try and shove it down our throats again? Because it is a “leak" and Assange is being "hunted down" like Osama bin Under-the-bed? What kind of truth has ever gotten this kind of press in all the years since the Fascist take-over by the unelected G.W. Bush? 

2. Iran received missile technology from North Korea that may enable it to attack Europe in a few years.

That’s pure propaganda, and every one of you alt news analysts and commentators know that. Iran is making its own missiles and, in any case, Iran is entitled to defend itself. You’ve all been saying that for years, based on hard data and researched facts. All of a sudden, a leak appears and the mainstream media wants to convince us otherwise? And you compare it to Watergate? Did you read Fletcher Prouty’s expose on Watergate, how many of the documents were created and planted to be leaked because they served the agenda of the PTB? 

3. Middle Eastern leaders want the U.S. and Israel to attack Iran.

How can this not been seen as further U.S. and Israeli propaganda? And what Middle Eastern country in its right mind would want that considering that the entire area will be unfit for human habitation for years afterward? 

4. Tehran used Red Cross ambulances to smuggle arms to Hizb’allah during its war against Israel in 2006.

Even if true, Iran is entitled to help the Lebanese defend themselves against Israeli aggression just like UK helped the U.S. attack Iraq and Afghanistan. Haven’t all of you people been saying this for years now? 

5. Iran harbors “al Qaeda”.

Why would this be seen as anything other than more of the tired old U.S. “al-qaeda" imaginings designed to scare the masses, at home and abroad? 

6. Iran could produce an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States by 2015. 

And Saddam could “hit the UK in 45 minutes”, remember? 

7. Pakistan continues to support the “Mumbai terror attack group”.

Why no details of David Headley [Mumbai terror suspect was “rogue secret agent - December 17, 2009], the CIA agent who planned the Mumbai attacks and who, according to the CIA, “went rogue”? Again, yeah, right! 

And let’s not forget previous Wikileaks “dumps" of data, which included nuggets of U.S. and Israeli government nonsense like Iraq really did have WMDs! [U.S. did find Iraq WMD - October 25, 2010] And there you were thinking that the WMD business was a total lie! Well, guess again, thanks to some of the Wikileaks documents, we now know that the U.S. was totally justified in invading Iraq and killing 1.5 million innocent civilians. And if that isn’t enough for ya, then just remember..9/11! Bin Laden (who is alive and well according to previous Wikileaks documents [Glimpses of bin Laden - July 27, 2010]) killed about 3,000 Americans that day, which leaves the U.S. and Iraq just about even (500 Iraqi lives being equal to one American life). And don’t go spouting any spurious conspiracy theories, because Mr Assange is annoyed that such “false conspiracies" [like 9/11] distract so many people [Wanted by the CIA: The man who keeps no secrets - July 18, 2010] (like you). As Phyillis Bennis wrote recently on the Huffington Post [Wikileaks: War, diplomacy & Ban ki-moon’s toothbrush - December 1, 2010]:

If you watched only Fox News or some of the outraged-but-gleeful mainstream pundits, you would believe that the documents prove the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program and world-wide support for a military attack on Iran. If you read only the Israeli press, you would think the documents provide irrefutable proof that “the entire world is panicked over the Iranian nuclear program.”

Phyillis is correct, but here’s the problem: a vast number of people do watch only Fox News or one of its affiliates, and what gets said in the Israeli press is very often received with a sympathetic ear across the U.S. media. So why is no one contesting these very dubious and much more serious claims? These are claims that could be used to justify an attack on Iran and the murder of millions of Iranian civilians?Yes, the U.S. government is full of two-faced creeps who spy on friend and foe alike, and if the Wikileaks documents help to imprint that on the global awareness, then so much the better. But what will it change in the long run? And more importantly, at what price will come the wholesale acceptance of these documents? If, by simply referring to the precise details and the dominant discourse of the documents, I conclude that some aspects serve the goals of peace and public truth but many others serve the goals of the war-mongers in Tel Aviv and Washington, does that mean I hate whistleblowers and want to protect the U.S. government? This whole thing is like the well-known ploy of the psychopath to engage the sympathy of their victim by admitting to flaws and failings - even a few seemingly painful admissions - putting the target to sleep thinking they now have the whole confession, all the while they are being set up for a really big con. Our world is run by people who lie for a living, so let’s examine the situation microcosmically and then all you have to do is extract the principle and apply it on a larger scale.

Our culture agrees on the signs of lying. Ask anyone how to tell if someone is lying and they will tell you that they can tell by “lack of eye contact, nervous shifting, or picking at one’s clothes.” Psychologist Anna Salter writes with dry humor: “This perception is so widespread I have had the fantasy that, immediately upon birth, nurses must take newborns and whisper in their ears, “Eye contact. It’s a sign of truthfulness.” [Anna C. Salter, Ph.D.]

The problem is, if there is a psychopath - or those with related characteropathies - who doesn’t know how to keep good eye contact when lying, they haven’t been born. Eye contact is “universally known" to be a sign of truth-telling. The problem is liars will fake anything that it is possible to fake, so in reality, eye contact is absolutely NOT a sign of truth telling. Anna Salter writes:

The man in front of me is a Southern good-ole-boy, the kind of man I grew up with and like. If anything, I have a weakness for the kind of Southern male who can “Sam Ervin” you, the Southern lawyer who wears red suspenders in court along with twenty-five-year-old cowboy boots and who turns his accent up a notch when he sees the northern expert witness coming. A “northern city slicker” on the witness stand will elicit the same kind of focused interest that a deer will in hunting season. You can have some very long days in court with men who wear red suspenders and start by telling you how smart you are and how simple and dumb they are. I survey the man in front of me. I am not in court; I am in prison, and he is not an attorney but a sex offender, and he has bright eyes along with that slow, sweet drawl. He is a big man, slightly balding, and he has - I have to admit there is such a thing - an innocent face. My Southern good-ole-boy certainly knows eye contact is considered a sign of truthfulness. He describes his manner in getting away with close to 100 rapes of adults and children. He tells me: ”The manner that I use when I was trying to convince somebody - even though I knew I was lying - I’d look them in the eye, but I wouldn’t stare at them. Staring makes people uncomfortable and that tends to turn them away, so I wouldn’t stare at them. But look at them in a manner that, you know, “look at this innocent face. How can you believe that I would do something like that?” It helps if you have a good command of the vocabulary where you can explain yourself in a way that is easily understood. Dress nice. Use fluent hand gestures that are not attacking in any way. It’s a whole combination of things. It’s not any one thing that you can do. It’s a whole combination of things that your body gestures and things that say “Look, I’m telling you the truth, and I don’t know what these people are trying to pull. I don’t know what they’re trying to prove, but I haven’t done any of this. I don’t know why they’re doing this. You can check my records. I’ve got a good record. I’ve never been in any trouble like this. And I don’t know what’s going on. I’m confused.” As if reading my thoughts, he breaks off: “You don’t get this, Anna, do you?” he says. “You think that when I’m asked, “Did I do it? that’s when I lie. But I’ve been lying every day for the last twenty-five years.” 

The practiced liar: a category of liar that even experts find it difficult to detect. Problem is, even when dealing with people who are not practiced liars, such as college students who have volunteered for a research study of lying, most observers are not as good as they think in detecting deception. The research shows consistently that most people - even most professional groups such as police and psychologists - have no better than a chance ability to detect deception. Flipping a coin would serve as well.

If you want to deny something, make sure you’ve got an element of truth in it. It sounds like it’s true, and there are elements of it that are very true that can be checked out, and try to balance it so that it has more truth than lie, so that when it is checked out, even if the lie part does come out, there’s more truth there than lie.”

This man was good enough that once he got away with stomping out of court in a huff. He was accused by his sister of raping her and molesting her daughter on the same day. He played it as a preposterous charge. His sister, he told the court, had once accused his uncle of abuse. She was well known in the family for making up crazy charges like this. He said he wasn’t going to put up with such nonsense and walked out. No one stopped him, and no one ever called him back. The charge just disappeared somehow. He now admits that both charges were true. It is “likability" and charm that he wields as weapons. The double life is a powerful tactic. There is the pattern of socially responsible behavior in public that causes people to drop their guard, and to turn a deaf ear to disclosures. The ability to charm, to be likable, to radiate sincerity and truthfulness, is crucial to the successful liar - and they practice assiduously. "Niceness is a decision,” writes Gavin De Becker in The Gift of Fear. It is a “strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait.” Despite the decades of research that have demonstrated that people cannot reliably tell whose lying and who isn’t, most people believe they can. There is something so fundamentally threatening about the notion that we cannot really know whether or not to trust someone that it is very difficult to get anyone - clinicians, citizens, even police - to take such results seriously.

  • Assange on Netanyahu

In a recent Time Magazine interview, Julian Assange stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is not a naive man" but rather a "sophisticated politician”. That’s Assange’s assessment of a man who is clearly a psychopath. In the same interview Assange said:

We can see the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu coming out with a very interesting statement that leaders should speak in public like they do in private whenever they can. He believes that the result of this publication, which makes the sentiments of many privately held beliefs public, are promising a pretty good [indecipherable] will lead to some kind of increase in the peace process in the Middle East and particularly in relation to Iran.” [TIME’s Julian Assange interview - December 1, 2010]

Apart from the fact that he appears to be praising a pathological war criminal, Assange displays an amazing level of naivete. Netanyahu’s comment about Middle Eastern leaders making their private opinions public was in reference to the leaked allegation that the Saudi, Jordanian and Emirati governments were privately in favor of “cutting the head of the Iranian snake”, something that Netanyahu has been cheer-leading for several years. Despite this, Assange believes that this will lead to “some kind of increase in the peace process in relation to Iran”. Say what?! But not everyone is fooled. On Wednesday, a senior Turkish official blamed Israel for the Wikileaks release. Addressing reporters, Huseyin Celik, deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party, hinted that Israel engineered the leak of hundreds of thousands of United States diplomatic cables as a plot to pressure the Turkish government. One has to look at which countries are pleased with these," Celik was quoted as saying. "Israel is very pleased. Israel has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents.” Documents were released and they immediately said, ‘Israel will not suffer from this.’ How did they know that?" Celik asked. He doesn’t even realize that probably many of these documents were created FOR leaking! Again, the reader is referred to Fletcher Prouty’s book The Secret Team

  • Critical thinking vs “black and white" thinking

The Wikileaks documents that provide evidence for what is already understood should be accepted, the documents that echo what we already know to be U.S. and Israeli propaganda should be understood as just that - U.S. and Israeli propaganda. Is that so hard? Why are many alternative news writers who railed against similar lies and disinformation when it came from U.S. and Israeli “Intel reports" now accepting, or ignoring, the same propaganda simply because it comes via Wikileaks? Do the Wikileaks documents have to be all good or are all bad? Is such black and white thinking ever a good way to discern truth from lies in a world where almost everything has some element of spin? Are we so desperate for a truth-telling hero - like the practiced liar described by Anna Salter above - that we have lost our ability to critically think? What happened to our ability to understand and identify the nuances and subtitles of big government propaganda? The broad view of Wikileaks and its documents, so far, paints a picture of a concerted effort to supplant the alternative, anti-war media with an illusion of truth. As the Western mainstream media continues to reach new heights of mendacity and obfuscation of the truth, an increasing number of ordinary people have been turning to alternative news sites for a more accurate perspective of what is happening on our planet. This has posed a clear threat to those whose positions of influence and power depend on a misinformed population. The solution to this problem would be the appearance on the scene of an organization that goes one better than the anti-war, alternative media and produces “smoking gun”, officially documented evidence of government lies and deception. Such evidence would, after all, come from the horse’s mouth, a veritable admission of guilt from the wrong-doers themselves rather than accusations from third-party alternative news websites. Re-read Anna Salter’s description of the pedophile she was interviewing above to get a real picture of the pathology at work here. The deception, of course, lies not in the release of official documents, but in the use of those documents, which in themselves do not constitute high crimes, as a cover to promote the same big government lies. I submit that, based on the clear evidence, Wikileaks is just such an organization and is designed to fulfill just such a role: the dissemination of Plausible Lies.

[Sott]

(Source: globalresearch.ca)