Category Archives: Deep Politics

Abby Martin pulls the plug on Breaking the Set


Abby Martin, who launched her television career on Berkeley Community Television and landed her own show on RT America, is pulling the plug on Breaking the Set, which will end in another week.

Here’s how she explains it in a post on Media Roots, an advocacy group she started:

RT has given me opportunities I will be eternally thankful for and hosting Breaking the Set has been the best and most invaluable experience of my life. I never imagined the kind of support it would generate, proving how many people are hungry for raw truth and systemic change.

Throughout the course of the show, I’m most proud of the stories we’ve done on the road – Pine Ridge, Detroit, Gulf Coast, Guantanamo Bay and soon to be released Cuba. As such, after almost three years of reporting from the studio I’ve decided to focus on investigative field reporting.

Please note I’m not stopping or going anywhere. If I can’t find a platform to host my show vision with the same editorial freedom, I will turn to crowdsourcing. And until I establish my next venture I’ll be writing daily, podcasting, producing video shorts and doing talks around the world.

Please follow me on facebook, youtubetwitter and my website Media Roots to stay tuned.

I’m excited to put all my heart into the last two weeks of the most hard hitting show on TV and celebrate a great run, all of which wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Much love and appreciation to everyone for supporting me and my future endeavors.

Never Stop Breaking the Set.

We watched her evolution into a self-assured and provocative journalist, and she has covered some of the most critical issues of the day with an increasingly authoritative voice.

We hope she finds a new source for funding that will enable her to address the same range of issues and attract the same notable interview subjects. While the costs have come down on the technical end, journalism isn’t cheap.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest edition of Breaking the Set:

Brainwashing American Youth, AIPAC 2015 & Cancer at the Dollar Store

Program notes:

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Rewriting History, AIPAC 2015, The Real Media Lies, and AUMF Again

LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/JournalistAbbyMartin
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin

EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks about a recent proposal in the Oklahoma State Legislature that would ban Advanced Placement US History courses for being “un-American” for teaching events like the Trial of Tears. Abby then speaks with Israeli dissident Ronnie Barkan then joins Abby to discuss the role Zionism and AIPAC play in US politics in light of the upcoming AIPAC conference in DC .

Abby then juxtaposes the outrage over Brian Williams’ lie about his experience in Iraq with the lack of concern with lies peddled by journalists like Judith Miller in the lead up to the Iraq War. Abby then interviews journalist Sam Sacks on Obama’s recent request for Congressional approval to use force against ISIS.

Abby wraps up the show with Lee Camp and John F. O’Donnell of Redacted Tonight to discuss everything from factory farms to Walmart’s recent announcement that they will raise their minimum wage… to $9.

And now for something completely different


From Sole & DJ Pain 1, a song with which we can entirely agree, both for its vivid account of the full greed and panopticon scope of a corporation with more riches than most of the world’s government, and for the sentiments provoked by that realization.

Via Media Roots:

Sole & DJ Pain 1: “Fuck Google”

Program notes:

FTP Talks Denver presents, “Fuck Google” By Sole & DJ Pain 1.

Get “Pattern of Life” EP, free here: http://sole.bandcamp.com/album/pattern-of-life-free-d-l

Get CD Here: http://www.soleone.org/shop/sole-dj-pain-1-pattern-of-life-warfare

New LP “Death Drive” https://sole.bandcamp.com/album/death-drive-free-d-l

Filmed & Directed by Tanner of DAM Collective.

Shot at the Open Media Foundation

 

InSecurityWatch: Fox fustian, crime, fear, war


And so very much more. . .

First up, from Al Jazeera’s AJ+, it’s official:

Fox News Says…The Holy War Is Here!

Program notes:

A Holy War has begun and you should be very afraid! That’s according to Fox News, the news network famous for fear mongering and “fair and balanced” reporting.

From the Washington Post, a domestic security problem:

Threatening ‘white power’ letters appear at police department with a history of racial tensions

Dozens of copies of a threatening and racially charged letter were circulated within a Connecticut police department with a long history of racial tensions, black officers said.

The note, typed on official City of Bridgeport Department of Police letterhead, began and ended with the words “WHITE POWER.” “These Black Officers Belong in the toilet,” the letter reads in part.

Bridgeport Police Lt. Lonnie Blackwell said the unsigned letter comes as no surprise to officers of color in the department, which has long struggled to remedy discrimination claims dating to at least the 1970s.

“This is not the first race-based letter that has circulated recently throughout the Bridgeport Police Department, but this is the most severe and damaging letter,” Blackwell, an African American department veteran, told The Washington Post in an interview. “We’re very concerned for our safety and our well-being as black police officers.”

From the Washington Post, we are not surprised:

Lying in the military is common, Army War College study says

A new study by Army War College professors found that not only is lying common in the military, the armed forces themselves may be inadvertently encouraging it.

The study, released Tuesday, was conducted by retired Army officers and current War College professors Leonard Wong and Stephen J. Gerras. They found that untruthfulness is “surprisingly common in the U.S. military even though members of the profession are loath to admit it.”

The paper’s release follows a series of high-profile incidents involving bad behavior across the services, including a still-widening corruption case involving senior Navy officers and at least two incidents in which Army generals were accused of sexual assault.

From The Hill, similarly unsurprising:

White House: Israel ‘cherry-picking’ intel that distorts Iran talks

The White House is accusing Israel of “cherry-picking” information that distorts the U.S. position in nuclear talks with Iran.

“There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate. There’s no question about that,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We’ve also been very clear about the fact that the United States is not going to be in a position of negotiating this agreement in public, particularly when we see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States.”

The White House spokesman said those involved in the talks are obligated to act in “good faith.”

From the New York Times, reasonable suspicions:

Fear of Israeli Leaks Fuels Distrust Over U.S. Talks With Iran

With the Obama administration racing to negotiate the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of March, aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel have charged in recent days that they are being deliberately left in the dark about the details of the talks. The Americans have said that is untrue, but even one of Washington’s closest negotiating partners reports being warned about being too open with the Israelis, “because whatever we say may be used in a selective way.”

The tensions between the United States and Israel over negotiating with Tehran have a long and twisted history, and they plunged to a new low when Mr. Netanyahu engineered an invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress, in less than two weeks, to warn against a “bad deal.”

Now, with Mr. Netanyahu maneuvering to survive a March 17 election, and Mr. Obama pressing for a breakthrough agreement that could end three decades of enmity with Iran and reduce the chances of a military confrontation, it seems that Washington and Jerusalem are engaging in the diplomatic equivalent of posting notes to each other on the refrigerator door.

From the Guardian, Jeb endorses the panopticon:

Jeb Bush backs brother’s NSA surveillance program ‘to keep us safe’

  • Presidential contender says of NSA dragnet ‘this is a hugely important program’, in sharp contrast to Republican rivals for the White House

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a full-throated defense of government surveillance programs on Wednesday, expressing a resounding faith in techniques pioneered by his brother, George W Bush, and staking out a position in sharp contrast with other prospective 2016 presidential candidates.

Dragnet metadata collection by the National Security Agency and similar programs were necessary to keeping US citizens safe from foreign terror threats, Bush said – unprompted – during remarks laying out his foreign policy vision as a prospective 2016 presidential candidate.

“For the life of me, I don’t understand – the debate has gotten off track, where we’re not understanding and protecting,” Bush said in a major speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

From the Associated Press, an accessory pays up:

Poland to pay $262,000 to inmates held at secret CIA prison

Poland will pay 230,000 euros ($262,000) in compensation to two terror suspects who say they were tortured at a CIA secret prison that Poland hosted from 2002-2003, a government minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna spoke after the European Court of Human Rights in France rejected Poland’s appeal of its earlier ruling.

“We will abide by this ruling because we are a law-abiding country,” Schetyna told Polish Radio 3. “It is a question of the coming weeks, a month.”

But he questioned how the money would be used and whether it needed to be paid directly to the suspects, who are imprisoned in Guantanamo.

From the Guardian, NSAnywhere:

Google warns of US government ‘hacking any facility’ in the world

  • Google says increasing the FBI’s powers set out in search warrants would raise ‘monumental’ legal concerns that should be decided by Congress

Google is boldly opposing an attempt by the US Justice Department to expand federal powers to search and seize digital data, warning that the changes would open the door to US “government hacking of any facility” in the world.

In a strongly worded submission to the Washington committee that is considering the proposed changes, Google says that increasing the FBI’s powers set out in search warrants would raise “monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide”.

The search giant warns that under updated proposals, FBI agents would be able to carry out covert raids on servers no matter where they were situated, giving the US government unfettered global access to vast amounts of private information.

From the Guardian, the penultimate contempt:

UK admits unlawfully monitoring legally privileged communications

  • Intelligence agencies have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for past five years, government admits

The regime under which UK intelligence agencies, including MI5 and MI6, have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years is unlawful, the British government has admitted.

The admission that the activities of the security services have failed to comply fully with human rights laws in a second major area – this time highly sensitive legally privileged communications – is a severe embarrassment for the government.

It follows hard on the heels of the British court ruling on 6 February declaring that the regime surrounding the sharing of mass personal intelligence data between America’s national security agency and Britain’s GCHQ was unlawful for seven years.

The Independent covers InSecurity in British high places:

Downing Street accused of being ‘systemically negligent’ with national security secrets after name of ex-SAS officer finds its way into the public domain

Downing Street has been accused of “systemic” negligence in its approach to the handling of sensitive information – by the body charged with keeping threats to national security out of the media.

No 10 is at the centre of an extraordinary row with the secretive DA Notice Committee after the name of a senior former SAS officer found its way into the public domain, The Independent can reveal.

The officer was named when he took up his post as military adviser to No 10 last year. The DA Notice Committee alleges that the name of the ex-SAS man was deliberately given to The Sun newspaper in direct contravention of rules governing the identification of present or former members of Britain’s Special Forces.

After the jump, French surveillance gaps, Aussie metadata storage scheme costs still secret, another claim Pyongyang hacked Sony, whipping up malware with a British cooking site, fake Windows 10 update sites serve up malware too, a unique twist to an Israeli malware attack, a biased Pakistani web crackdown, while Obama disses North Korea’s hacker team, on to the Isis front and a fragmenting Iraq, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria changes course on arming “moderates,” whilst Washington admits having vetted at least 1,200, Isis threatens to flood an increasingly xenophobic Europe with refugees and Italy’s already alarmed, and a reminder of an American bad example, civilians killed in an anti-Boko Haram air strike in Nigeria while Nigeria claims beaucoup Bokos slain, another Tanzanian albino infant butchered for black magic, Pakistan orders a mass expulsion of Afghans, allegations Indian weaponized rape, India greenlights six nuclear subs, seven stealth frigates, mass flight from Myanmar civil war, China tells neighbors to order Uighur returns, Seoul censors a “Comfort Women” book, and a Japanese paper sued over “Comfort Women”a articles, Shinzo Abe’s government readies an overseas deployment law, Abe targets legalized foreign weaponry sales, and new Tokyo/Beijing security talks slated, And two reminders of some nasty old habits resurfacing, first in a racist rank by Brits in Paris, and then in dramatic evidence of prejudice against would-be Latino-named voters in the U.S. . . . Continue reading

Venn diagram of the day: Call it the Axis of Evil


The ongoing imperialistic foreign policy cabal created by Rotten Ronnie Reagan and nurtured by Bush I and Bush II endures in the would-be Bush III’s foreign policy team.

From the Washington Post:

BLOG Axis

Big Tobacco: The real dangerous drug peddlers


John Oliver does another deft takedown of a giant corporate cabal, this time Big Tobacco, and its relentless drive to bludgeon national governments into submission — a move increasingly reliant on using the power of vastly expensive litigation and hordes of Wall Street lawyers and high-priced lobbhyists .

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tobacco

Program notes:

Thanks to tobacco industry regulations and marketing restrictions in the US, smoking rates have dropped dramatically. John Oliver explains how tobacco companies are keeping their business strong overseas.

One point Oliver fails to complete has to do with that trade court action Australia is currently confronting.

What’s happening there is merely an early warning indicator of more litigation to come as the Obama administration relentlessly pushing both trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic deals in which corporations and banksters will acquire vastly greater power to quash citizen protections put in place by national governments, thanks to the secret trade tribunals incorporated in the agreements.

Under that legal regime, cases are heard in secret, no transcripts are ever provided to the public, and the only announcement of the binding decisions comes in a terse announcement devoid of background and other details — just as already exists for NAFTA.

And who partakes in drafting these noxious “free trade” agreements?

Consider the case of one such agreement now in negotiation, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP], and this from Corporate Europe Observatory:

BLOG Eurolobby

And who does those lobbyists represent?

Again from Corporate Europe Observatory:

BLOG Eurolobby 2

UPDATE: Those Aussie plain cigaret packs really do work.

From the Guardian:

Plain cigarette packaging can deter the take-up of smoking, studies suggest

  • Researchers say that standardised packaging – first introduced in Australia – would likely reduce smoking and can prevent people from taking up the habit

Studies on the health impact of “plain” or standardised cigarette packs suggest they can deter non-smokers from taking up the habit and may cut the number of cigarettes smokers get through, scientists said on Tuesday.

In a collection of scientific papers in the journal Addiction, researchers said that while standardised packs were still too new to provide substantial evidence, studies so far showed they were likely to reduce smoking rates.

Britain plans before May to become the second country in the world to introduce non-branded, standardised packaging for cigarettes, after the government promised last month to pass legislation that would come into effect in 2016.

MexicoWatch: Murder, a rebuff, & corruption


We begin with the murder, the victim being a leading advocate in the search for the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa killed in the town where they were kidnapped, via a Google translation of a report from Proceso:

Activist Norma Angélica Bruno Killed in Iguala

Norma Angelica Bruno Roman, a member of the citizen group seeking missing relatives in mass graves, was executed [Friday] morning in Iguala by two gunmen who were riding on a scooter.

The 26 year old woman was killed in front of her three children when he came to the cemetery Cristo Rey, following the funeral of the young José Ramón Bernabé Armenta, who was executed two days ago in a soccer field located the center of the city where the Gendarmerie Division Federal Police (PF) took over security after the slaughter and disappearance of the 43 normalistas [of] Ayotzinapa.

The murder of young mother was recorded around noon when walking on the dirt road leading to the cemetery and was hit by two young men who were riding on a scooter; then, one of them shot him at close range.

The victim was topped with a shot to the head and the gunmen left the area with impunity, refer to official reports.

Next, the rebuff, via teleSUR:

Mexico Gov’t Rejects UN Report on Enforced Disappearances

  • Government ministries questioned the United Nations report that is damning over government practices

Various high-ranking officials in Mexico have responded to the United Nation’s report on the situation of enforced disappearances in the Latin American country. The reports paints a grim picture of impunity, corruption and a serious lack of rule of law in country marred by violence, drug trafficking and an apparently failed justice system.

To the surprise of very few experts on Mexico, the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Foreign Relations questioned Friday’s conclusions by the U.N. Enforced Disappearances Committee on the grave situation affecting Mexico.

The ministries stated that Mexico had fully explained before the committee its firm commitment to intensify its efforts surrounding enforced disappearances in the country, including investigative procedures. They suggest that the U.N.’s conclusions do not reflect the Mexican government’s true commitment against this State crime.

A related teleSUR graphic gives the scale of crisis as revealed by official numbers, with the actual totals likely to be far higher:

BLOG Disappeared

TheNews.mx covers post-equine-escape agricultural outbuilding portal closure involving the corrupt mayor whose spouse is allegedly the head of the local drug cartel:

PRD opens ‘Abarca’ commission

The Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) established a commission to investigate the party and determine why José Luis Abarca became mayor of Iguala, Guerrero, despite his known ties with organized crime.

The commission will determine the truth behind his appointment as PRD candidate for Iguala’s mayorship in 2011, said the PRD. It will investigate those who were involved in the process and summon them to explain the criteria they used to select Abarca as candidate.

The commission, which had been scheduled to begin investigating two months ago, is lead by National Electoral Institute PRD representative Pablo Gómez and includes Pablo Franco, Octavio Cortés and Karla Michel Salas.

The commission’s investigation won’t be made public and it’s not permitted to provide the media information regarding the investigation’s progress, PRD national leader Carlos Navarrete said.

GlobalPost covers another ongoing scandal:

Mexicans are horrified to learn their loved ones were not actually cremated

  • The discovery of 60 corpses in an abandoned crematorium in Acapulco is piling on to their anger about corruption and crime.

Every day this week, sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and mothers and fathers have been crowding the government gates in Acapulco looking for news of their deceased.

They had believed their loved ones were in urns of ashes that they kept treasured in their homes or in church walls. But now it turns out those vases could be full of dirt, sand and random ashes, while their relatives’ bodies are decaying in an abandoned building.

After neighbors reported putrid smells coming from the building, police kicked the doors down to find 60 corpses on Friday. On Wednesday, the attorney general of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, revealed it was likely a case of fraud and the crematorium owner had disappeared.

And yet more window dressing, via TheNews.mx. And do remember that a Mexican plutocrat, Carlos Slim, has the largest share of New York Times common stock. . .

Legislators call for investigation of ex-governor of Oaxaca Murat for misusing public funds

Authorities must investigate former governor of Oaxaca, José Murat Casab, for potential misuse of public funds to buy six apartments in New York City through “front” companies, Senate President Miguel Barbosa Huerta ruled Monday.

Deputies from the National Action Party (PAN) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) also demanded an investigation into the origins of Murat’s fortune, while the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) came to his defense, saying he should have the opportunity to explain his situation.

Although there is still no formal national anti-corruption system, there is a legal framework which allows for the establishment of guilt in such cases, said Barbosa Huerta.

El Presidente gets some rare relief from folks charging his own police and military with an ongoing reign of violence in the form of some apparently righteous anger over the 10 February fatal police shooting of a Mexican national in Pasco, Oregon. Via teleSUR:

Mexico Slams US Police Shooting

  • The U.S. police shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes has been condemned by Mexico as a “disproportionate use of lethal force.”

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto condemned Friday the police shooting of an unarmed Mexican-born man in Washington state.

Pena Nieto condemned the shooting as a “disproportionate use of lethal force,” labeling the incident in the United States as “regrettable and outrageous.”

“I have directed the secretary of foreign relations to support his family so they feel the backing and support of the government of Mexico, so they don’t feel alone,” the president stated.

And to close, via Laura Patricia, another artistic response to the disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43:

BLOG Ayotz

Kidnapping an African American baby legally


First the kidnapping, via news department of WESH 2, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, Florida:

3 days after missed payment, dealership repossesses car with 9-month-old inside

  • Mother went inside day care to pick up child when car was taken

A vehicle with a child inside of it was repossessed on Tuesday.

The Orlando Police Department helped the mother track down the vehicle and find the 9-month-old baby girl.

“I thought somebody kidnapped her because my oldest daughter said, ‘It was two white males [who] got in the car and they just left,'” Antoinette Jordan said.

Jordan went inside an Orlando day care to pick up her other two children, and when she went back outside, the car was gone.

Here’s the video report from WESH 2 News:

3 days after missed payment seller repossesses car with baby inside

Program note:

A vehicle with a child inside of it was repossessed on Tuesday.

H/T to Nothing To Do With Arbroath.

A WESH 2 News update answers the question provoked by our post-al headline:

A spokesman for Xpress Finance Inc. declined to appear on camera but said, “The rules are the rules.”

But what about the fact that the car was repossessed with her child still inside?

Because the men were in the process of reclaiming the car legally, under Florida law, WESH 2 legal analyst Richard Hornsby said they are not subject to arrest.

“I think there’s a gap in the law here. There’s no reason someone can take a car that has a child in it and be justified,” Hornsby said.

To which we would respond as we would’ve to high school friends fifty-some years ago, “No shit, Sherlock.”

So the argument, hewing to the letter of the law, is that it wasn’t a kidnapping because they didn’t intend to take the child, only the car, which they were legally entitled to do: After all, as the company says, “The rules are the rules.”

But to the mother, there was no different whether her daughter was taken by repo men or an intentional child-stealer. She only knew that her daughter had been taken, along with her car. The grief and horror she experienced — traumas by any definition of the term — were absolutely real, exerting profound impacts that can [as we can attest] last a lifetime.

One can also argue that the car-takers may have seen the child — how could they not have? — but took the car anyway [and how did they know she was there unless they had been following her, and therefore almost certainly knew of the infant?]. At the very least, how did they not know, given that car repossessers are legally obliged to preserve personal property in that car at the time of repossession?

But, hey, mom would no doubt call the cops, and every ethical repo man notifies the cops about repossessions, as, in fact, they did.

As ownership becomes increasingly a right retained by the seller and no longer transferred to the buyer, possession becomes ephemeral, save for those who have amassed virtually all the world’s capital stock, both material and virtual, employing the machinery of finance to accelerate the accumulation.

In this case one small African American and her family were simply collateral damage.