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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 05/27/2012 - 06/03/2012
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Glenn: Like all propaganda, [the U.S. use of the word "militant"] is designed to deceive the citizenry in order to compel acquiescence to government conduct

yes, i know i tend to be a little heavy in citing glenn in my posts but he's one of the few observers i turn to regularly who happen to have a consistent, firm grasp on reality...

here, glenn is commenting on yesterday's wapo story on a u.s. drone missile strike in pakistan...
[T]he word “militant” is being aggressively distorted by deceitful U.S. government propaganda that defines the term to mean: any “military-age males” whom we kill (the use of the phrase “suspected militants” in the body of the article suffers the same infirmity).

How is it possible to have any informed democratic debate over a policy about which the U.S. media relentlessly propagandizes this way? If drone strikes kill nobody other than “militants,” then very few people will even think about opposing them (and that’s independent of the fact that the word “militant” is a wildly ambiguous term — militant about what? — though it is clearly designed (when combined with “Pakistan”) to evoke images of those who attacked the World Trade Center). Debate-suppression is not just the effect but the intent of this propaganda: like all propaganda, it is designed to deceive the citizenry in order to compel acquiescence to government conduct.

what most people in the u.s. fail to realize is just how massively we are propagandized on a daily basis... it hits us from every direction, 24/7, from the ceaseless ads on tv for prescription drugs ("ask your doctor if it's right for you") to the critical importance of checking our credit scores to news stories obsessing on celebrities, the the all-pervasive focus on violence... then, besides the in-your-face kind of propaganda, there's the more subtle and insidious kind that simply fails to report on anything of substance or, if something of substance is being reported, omitting all relevant context thus ensuring that any real understanding is virtually impossible... i was lunching with a friend and colleague this week who, bless his heart, is one of the few who understands just how little we are told about what's really happening in the world... i probably wouldn't be so aware of it myself if i didn't spend so much time poring over multiple sources and trying to fit the pieces together... (whether that's healthy or not is for a later discussion...!)

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Friday, June 01, 2012

Glenn: The U.S. is the leading developer and perpetrator of cyberwarfare, not the leading target

i've posted extensively on the mutual back-scratching between the u.s. government, michael mcconnell and booz allen hamilton (see here)... this tawdry relationship pumps millions of dollars into the booz coffers as well as mcconnell's pocket and has made cyber-security technology one of the biggest profit contributors in the booz portfolio of taxpayer fleecing projects... mcconnell has appeared repeatedly on news segments decrying the imminent danger posed by cyber attacks and making the case for massively increased government attention spending focused on mitigating such threats...

glenn greenwald, always vigilant about spotting hypocrisy, immediately seized on today's nyt story glorifying obama's role in instigating cyber attacks on iran to make the point that, far from being the potential victim of cyber attacks, the u.s. is very likely the principal perpetrator, adding yet another chapter to the lengthy chronicle of u.s.-sponsored terrorism...

The primary fear-mongering agenda item for the National Security and Surveillance State industry is now cyberwarfare. The Washington cadre of former military officials who seek to personally profit by exploiting national security issues — represented by Adm. Michael McConnell and Gen. Michael Hayden — has been running around for several years shrilly warning that cyberwarfare is the greatest threat posed by Terrorists and other of America’s enemies (and, just coincidentally, they also argue that it’s urgent that the U.S. Government purchase wildly expensive cyber-security technology from their private-sector clients as well as seize greater control over the Internet to protect against the threat).

But — as is usually true when it comes to Washington warnings about the evils of Others — this is pure projection. The U.S. is the leading developer and perpetrator of cyberwarfare, not the leading target. The New York Times this morning has a long excerpt from a new book by its hawkish national security reporter David Sanger — the book is entitled “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power” — which reveals that President Obama personally oversaw the development, and ordered the deployment, of the world’s most sophisticated computer virus, unleashed (in cooperation with Israel) on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility.


Isn’t it amazing how the U.S. is constantly the world’s first nation to use new, highly destructive weapons — at the same time that it bombs, invades, and kills more than any other country by far — and yet it still somehow gets its media to tell its citizenry that it is America’s Enemies who are the aggressors and the U.S. is simply a nation of peace seeking to defend itself.

Needless to say, if any cyber-attack is directed at the U.S. — rather than by the U.S. — it will be instantly depicted as an act of unparalleled aggression and evil: Terrorism. Just last year, the Pentagon decreed that any cyberattack on the U.S. would be deemed “an act of war.” As Rudy Giuliani said about whether waterboarding is torture: “It depends on who does it.”

once again, i'm led to speculate that the u.s. engages in such hypocritical and provocative behavior precisely because it does engender acts of reprisal which the u.s. then uses as justification for continuing to pump more cash into the pockets of our super-rich elites...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rapper Immortal Technique on Al Jazeera: The emcee of the voiceless

worth watching...
This episode of the Al Jazeera English show "The Stream" features an interview with rapper Immortal Technique about Occupy Wall Street, his lyrics and career, hip hop activism and more.  He is posed questions from The Stream's online community live from Twitter and Google Plus, and discusses his views towards gay marriage and his work in Afghanistan.

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Glenn on Assange and Manning: Who wants to be seen advocating for an unhygienic, abusive egomaniac or a psychologically crippled, gender-confused, vengeful freak

absolutely nothing is more effective in smearing public figures whom our super-rich elites and their government puppets want to destroy than innuendos and veiled accusations about their sexual behavior... that said and given that anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows how that kind of smear works, why wouldn't someone in the spotlight, particularly a controversial spotlight, not decide to simply keep it in their pants... i'm not suggesting that controversial public figures choose celibacy, but extreme caution and obsessive vigilance in all things sexual would seem to be the order of the day, wouldn't it...?

While WikiLeaks enjoyed widespread support just a couple of years ago, the personal attacks on Assange and Manning — along with the unproven and even uncharged sexual assault allegations in Sweden — have dried up much of that support. Who wants to be seen advocating for an unhygienic, abusive egomaniac or a psychologically crippled, gender-confused, vengeful freak: the caricatures of Assange and Manning that have been successfully implanted in the public mind by today’s Nixonian smear artists? The truth or falsity of these caricatures matters little for this tactic to work: once someone is rendered sufficiently radioactive in Decent Society, even many who are sympathetic to their cause will turn away, become unwilling to defend them, lest any of the slime relentlessly poured on the whistleblowers splatter onto their defenders.

personal attacks aside, let's talk about the substance of the matter...
[T]he personal attributes or failings of Assange or Manning have no bearing on the threat posed by the U.S. Government’s prosecution for the publishing WikiLeaks has done. A coalition of leading journalists and media outlets in Australia have explained: WikiLeaks “is doing what the media have always done: bringing to light material that governments would prefer to keep secret” and prosecuting them “would be unprecedented in the US, breaching the First Amendment protecting a free press“; they added: “To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks . . . is a serious threat to democracy.” The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder expressing “deep concern” over “reports about a potential WikiLeaks prosecution,” which “would threaten grave damage to the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and the press.” Although American journalists were reluctant at first to speak out, even they have come around to recognizing what a profound threat an Assange indictment would be to press freedoms, with The Washington Post Editorial Page denouncing any indictment on the ground that it “would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations"...


Whatever one’s discomfort with Assange’s supposed personal flaws, that must not deter anyone from standing against what would truly be an odious indictment for the publication by WikiLeaks of critical information in the public interest. Last December in The Guardian, I argued that Bradley Manning deserves a medal, not imprisonment, if he actually did what he is alleged to have done.

and then we have this...

Four days after Julian Assange verdict, US Secretary Clinton to visit Sweden

It is the first bilateral visit to Sweden by a US Secretary of State in a long time, Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt writes, as he wishes a warm welcome to US Secretary Hillary Clinton who will arrive in the country just 4 days after Britain's Supreme Court announces its decision on whether Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden.

The announcement of Clinton's visit to Sweden, which will center around the subjects of "Internet freedom, green energy, Afghanistan and the Middle East", as well as other broad topics such as democracy and counter-terrorism, took place just 3 days after the Supreme Court published a date for Julian Assange's verdict to be issued on (the Supreme Court published the date of its judgment on May 23, Secretary Clinton's visit was announced on May 26).

you gotta be shittin' me...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

John Pilger: I have read almost every scrap of evidence in [the Julian Assange case] and it's clear ... that no crime was committed.

you know that if assange is extradited to sweden, it will be a very short period of time before sweden hands him over to the u.s... while i certainly don't have any special insight in to the particulars of the allegations against assange in sweden, i do know that sexual entrapment is the oldest kind of dirty trick and the incidences of it being used right up to the present day are legion...

an extract from an interview of pilger conducted by the swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter...
[T]he attempt to extradite Assange is unjust and political. I have read almost every scrap of evidence in this case and it's clear, in terms of natural justice, that no crime was committed. The case would not have got this far had it not been for the intervention of Claes Borgstrom, a politician who saw an opportunity when the Stockholm prosecutor threw out almost all the police allegations. Borgstrom was then in the middle of an election campaign. When asked why the case was proceeding when both women had said that the sex had been consensual with Assange, he replied, "Ah, but they're not lawyers." If the Supreme Court in London rejects Assange's appeal, the one hope is the independence of the Swedish courts. However, as the London Independent has revealed, Sweden and the US have already begun talks on Assange's "temporary surrender" to the US - where he faces concocted charges and the prospect of unlimited solitary confinement. And for what? For telling epic truths. Every Swede who cares about justice and the reputation of his or her society should care deeply about this.


One of the most fundamental human rights - that of the presumption of innocence - has been breached over and over again in Assange's case. Convicted of no crime, he has been the object of character assassination -perfidious and inhuman - and highly political smear, of which the evidence is voluminous. This is what Britain's most distinguished and experienced human rights lawyer, Gareth Peirce, has written: "Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions ... it is very hard to preserve for [Assange] any presumption of innocence. He has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country. [And] his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged."

pilger goes on to point out that it was the original wikileaks revelations contained cables that described the close and secret relationship sweden maintains with both the u.s. and nato...

[The] Swedish elite ... has forged sinister and obsequious links with Washington. These powerful people have every reason to see Julian Assange as a threat. For one thing, their vaunted reputation for neutrality has been repeatedly exposed as a sham in US cables leaked by WikiLeaks. One cable revealed that "the extent of [Sweden's military and intelligence] co-operation [with NATO] is not widely known" and unless kept secret "would open up the government to domestic criticism."

what a travesty...

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Glenn: The most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime

in essence, the obama administration is saying that, if, in their infinite wisdom, they decided i was a threat to my country, they could deliberate in private about my fate and, without even giving me a chance to face my accusers or, even more egregiously, without informing me that the deliberation was taking place or even that i had been declared a threat, i could find myself walking down the street and suddenly be unceremoniously murdered in cold blood in broad daylight...

glenn greenwald...
Here we have the Obama administration asserting what I genuinely believe, without hyperbole, is the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime — that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the State cannot deprive you of your life without “due process of law” is fulfilled by completely secret, oversight-free “internal deliberations by the executive branch” — and it’s now barely something anyone (including me) even notices when The New York Times reports it (as the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer asked yesterday: “These Dems who think executive process is due process: Where were they when Bush needed help with warrantless wiretapping?” — or his indefinite detention scheme?)


Every year that these assaults on core liberties are entrenched and expanded further — the Firth Amendment guarantee of due process “can be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch” – the more normalized they become, the more invulnerable to challenge they are, the more unlikely it is that they will ever be reversed. In 2006, Al Gore gave a speech on the Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution and asked: “If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can’t he do?” What prompted Gore’s denunciation was mere eavesdropping and detention without judicial review. That’s no longer controversial. Now we have this question: if the U.S. President can openly declare the power to order even the nation’s own citizens executed by the CIA in total secrecy, without charges or a whiff of transparency or oversight, what can’t he do?

an online acquaintance posted the following yesterday...
Reading this crap makes me want to leave the planet as soon as possible.

i totally understand what she's saying...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

from the financial times...

Rockefellers and Rothschilds unite

 Two of the best-known business dynasties in Europe and the US will come together after Lord Jacob Rothschild’s listed investment trust and Rockefeller Financial Services agreed to form a strategic partnership

whatever your particular perspective on conspiracies, the illuminati or what-have-you, this has to be one of the most intriguing headlines i've seen in a long, long time...

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Glenn: To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone"

glenn comments on the latest revelation about the covert activities of our sociopathic leaders...
I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).

This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” [...] The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:
Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.
This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.
But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.
“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”

For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic... [...] By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).

when, dear lord, will this nightmare end...?

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Julian Assange talks with Occupy on RT: U.S. fears outbreak of democracy

in the 7th edition of julian assange's interview program on rt, he talks with the occupy folks...
Julian Assange and the Occupy movement have much in common. They both criticise governments and are often condemned by the mainstream media. So now for the first time, the world's most famous whistleblower and the leaders of the global protest movement come together - on RT. In the latest edition of Assange's very own interview programme, they discuss the spread of the Occupy demonstrations.


assange echoes chomsky... my post of 26 february 2011...

Chomsky: "democracy is dangerous and intolerable" and stability "means obedience to US domination"

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Recalling Vietnam on Memorial Day 2012

as promised in my friday post, i am re-posting my vietnam experiences, partly as a memorial day way to honor those who served and died there but also to honor a short but intense period in my own history...

Recalling Vietnam

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paul Craig Roberts: The US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel

i don't take a great deal of either enjoyment or pride in putting up posts as gloomy as this even though i do put up a lot of them... i do, however, feel an obligation to make the truth - at least the truth as i see it - visible...

The US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel. But this doesn’t hamper Washington from pointing the finger elsewhere.
The US State Department’s “human rights report” focuses its ire on Iran and Syria, two countries whose real sin is their independence from Washington, and on the bogyman- in-the-making–China, the country selected for the role of Washington’s new Cold War enemy.

Hillary Clinton, another in a long line of unqualified Secretaries of State, informed “governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable,” only we are not holding ourselves accountable or Washington’s allies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the NATO puppets.

Hillary also made it “clear to citizens and activists everywhere: You are not alone. We are standing with you,” only not with protesters at the Chicago NATO summit or with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, or anywhere else in the US where there are protests. (ref)
The State Department stands with the protesters funded by the US in the countries whose governments the US wishes to overthrow. Protesters in the US stand alone as do the occupied Palestinians who apparently have no human rights to their homes, lands, olive groves, or lives.

Here are some arrest numbers for a few recent US protests. The New York Daily News reports that as of November 17, 2011, 1,300 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested in New York City alone. Fox News reported (October 2, 2011) that 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. At the NATO summit in Chicago last week, 90 protesters were arrested (Chicago Journal).

what can you say to such bald-faced hypocrisy...?

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Glenn: When my government extinguishes the lives of entire families, including small children, I know it’s all for a just and important cause

as soon as i saw today's headline about more civilians being killed by an airstrike a drone strike in afghanistan, i knew glenn would be all over it and i was right...
Yesterday, I wrote about the rotted workings of Imperial Mind, but today presents a tragic occasion to examine its close, indispensable cousin: the Authoritarian Mind. From CNN today:
A suspected NATO airstrike killed eight civilians — including six children — in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial spokesman said.
The airstrike took place Saturday night in Paktia province, said Rohullah Samoon, spokesman for the governor of Paktia. He said an entire family was killed in the strike.

The LA Times identified the victims as “Mohammed Shafi, his wife and his six children,” and cited the statements from the spokesman for the Paktia governor’s office that “there is no evidence that Shafi was a Taliban insurgent or linked with Al Qaeda.” The Afghan spokesman blamed the incident on the refusal of NATO to coordinate strikes with Afghan forces to ensure civilians are not targeted (“If they had shared this with us, this wouldn’t have happened”).


All of this is so widely tolerated, even cheered, among large factions of the American citizenry due to three premises:
(1) I have absolutely no idea who my government is continuously bombing to death by drone, but I assume they deserve it;
(2) when my government extinguishes the lives of entire families, including small children, as it often does, I know it’s all for a just and important cause even if I can’t identify it; and,
(3) we have to stop the Terrorists, because they keep killing innocent civilians.

it's completely unacceptable and so beyond the realm of reason as to be incomprehensible...

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