Category Archives: GWOT

Chart of the Day Congressional takes on Orlando

From the Washington Post, themes invoked by Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate in their remarks about the Orlando massacre:

BLOG Orlando

An Abby Martin twofer: Monsanto and Hillary

Two videos featuring Abby Martin, the artist and activist who launched her video career on Berkeley Community Cable, then moved on to RT and now teleSUR English, where she hosts the weekly half-hour series The Empire Files.

In the latest she tackles Monsanto.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: Monsanto, America’s Monster

Program notes:

Few corporations in the world are as loathed—and as sinister—as Monsanto. But the threat it poses to people and planet could be reaching new heights, as the World Health Organization has recently upgraded Monsanto’s main product as carcinogenic to humans.

With protests against the agrochemical giant held in over 40 countries in May, learn why the global movement against Monsanto is of critical importance to our future.

In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin issues a scathing expose on the corporate polluter, chronicling it’s rise to power, the collusion of its crimes by the US government, and highlighting the serious danger it puts us in today.

For our second video, a sometimes intense discussion between Martin and Real News Network founder Paul Jay.

Given that both are Bernie backers, the question is how to vote in November, given Hillary Clinton’s all-but-inevitable assumption of the nomination.

Will it be, in Noam Chomsky’s words of “hold your nose and vote for Hillary,” or will it be a third way, quixotic or not.

From The Real News Network:

Abby Martin and Paul Jay – Should Sanders Run for a Third Party?

Program note:

Martin and Jay discuss voting for the lesser evil

Quote of the day: Hillary, warfare queen

From author and political analyst Pepe Escobar, writing for CounterPunch:

Every sentient being remotely familiar with Hillary Clinton’s record knows by now that, if elected, she will preside over a Warfare State – which, incidentally, is bound to further bankrupt Washington. Spending on the defense/security/surveillance complex will balloon way beyond the current $850 billion a year. We’re not talking about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia here; this is the exceptionalist meat of the matter.

Hillary Clinton’s record shows that she fully supported Bubba’s military adventures in the Balkans, Dubya’s disastrous wars on Afghanistan and Iraq and Obama’s Afghan surge. But her masterpiece as Secretary of State was of course the destruction of Libya – followed by her enthusiastic support for weaponizing “moderate rebels”, a.k.a hardcore jihadis, in Syria.

R2P (“responsibility to protect”) would have remained no more than a hollow smart power-related concept without the Three Harpies (Hillary, Samantha Power and Susan Rice) lobbying non-stop for its implementation in Libya. Libya was the battling ground supposed to gloriously elevate the Clinton Doctrine to the apex of foreign policy smartness.

R2P – as in humanitarian imperialism deployed towards regime change – should have been duly paraded throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. But alas, even with We Came, We Saw, He Died the descent of Libya into a militia hell scotched all those elaborate plans. It was – and remains – more of a case of I came, I Saw and I Got Tangled Up in Benghazi.

Seymour Hersh: When Osama died, Obama lied

America’s foremost investigative journalist sits down with a Pakistani writer to talk about the extrajudicial murder of Osama bin Laden, a killing Hersh rightly describes as a war crime.

Their half-hour talk [a second follows next week] covers the reality of the bin Laden murder, the subervience of American journalists to the Obama White House, and much more.

From teleSUR English:

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh

Program notes:

Tariq Ali talks to investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, about the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 and describes what the Americans and Pakistanis knew about his whereabouts.

Former CIA spook faces prison over kidnapping

Extraordinary rendition they call it, but in reality it’s kidnapping, even when it’s done by spooks out for vengeance and ready to torture to find out anything their target knows.

And now a former CIA officer is looking at a Spanish prison sentence for following orders and carrying out a kidnap on Spanish soil.

Given that she was convicted, it’s a fair assumption she was operating under non-official cover [NOC] rather than the prison-exempt official cover uder by officers assigned to embassy positions carrying diplomatic immunity.

The story from BBC News:

A former CIA agent has said that she expects to be extradited imminently from Portugal to jail in Italy for her alleged role in the 2003 abduction of a terror suspect in Milan.

Sabrina de Sousa says she lost an appeal against extradition last week. She is one of 26 Americans convicted in their absence for the abduction of Egyptian cleric Abu Omar.

He was allegedly flown to Egypt from Italy and tortured as part of the US extraordinary renditions programme.

Ms de Sousa said she was waiting to be informed when she will be transferred to Italy, where she has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail.

Quote of the day II: Hillary, just another killer

The hand of American imperialism is covered in blood, and Hillary Clinton is well suited to picked up the sanguinary presidential gauntlet.

From journalist John Pilger, writing at his website:

Since 1945, some 69 countries – more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – have suffered some or all of the following. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed. The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. With the demise of the European empires, this has been the project of the liberal flame carrier, the “exceptional” United States, whose celebrated “progressive” president, John F Kennedy, according to new research, authorised the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962.

“If we have to use force,” said Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton and today a passionate campaigner for his wife, “it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”

One of Hillary Clinton’s most searing crimes was the destruction of Libya in 2011. At her urging, and with American logistical support, NATO, launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, according to its own records, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. See the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the UNICEF report on the children killed, “most [of them] under the age of ten”.

In Anglo-American scholarship, followed slavishly by the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic, influential theorists known as “liberal realists” have long taught that liberal imperialists – a term they never use – are the world’s peace brokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified “failed states” (nations difficult to exploit) and “rogue states” (nations resistant to western dominance).

Spooky metdata can reveal your deepest secrets

When the NSA and other intelligence agencies say you shouldn’t be concerned because they only want to collect your metadata, you’re right to be suspicious their claims that such data is “harmless” and reveals nothing consequential about matters you’d prefer to keep to yourself.

Indeed, the very fact they want to collect should tell you something in and of itself.

And now comes confirmation that metadata can, in fact,  be quite revealing.

From Stanford University:

Most people might not give telephone metadata – the numbers you dial, the length of your calls – a second thought. Some government officials probably view it as similarly trivial, which is why this information can be obtained without a warrant.

But a new analysis [open source — esnl] by Stanford computer scientists shows that it is possible to identify a person’s private information – such as health details – from metadata alone. Additionally, following metadata “hops” from one person’s communications can involve thousands of other people.

The researchers set out to fill knowledge gaps within the National Security Agency’s current phone metadata program, which has drawn conflicting assertions about its privacy impacts. The law currently treats call content and metadata separately and makes it easier for government agencies to obtain metadata, in part because it assumes that it shouldn’t be possible to infer specific sensitive details about people based on metadata alone.

The findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide the first empirical data on the privacy properties of telephone metadata. Preliminary versions of the work, previously made available online, have already played a role in federal surveillance policy and have been cited in litigation filings and letters to legislators in both the United States and abroad. The final work could be used to help make more informed policy decisions about government surveillance and consumer data privacy.

The computer scientists built a smartphone application that retrieved the previous call and text message metadata – the numbers, times and lengths of communications – from more than 800 volunteers’ smartphone logs. In total, participants provided records of more than 250,000 calls and 1.2 million texts. The researchers then used a combination of inexpensive automated and manual processes to illustrate both the extent of the reach – how many people would be involved in a scan of a single person – and the level of sensitive information that can be gleaned about each user.

From a small selection of the users, the Stanford researchers were able to infer, for instance, that a person who placed several calls to a cardiologist, a local drugstore and a cardiac arrhythmia monitoring device hotline likely suffers from cardiac arrhythmia. Another study participant likely owns an AR semiautomatic rifle, based on frequent calls to a local firearms dealer that prominently advertises AR semiautomatic rifles and to the customer support hotline of a major firearm manufacturer that produces these rifles.

There’s more, after the jump. . .

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