Focus: USA Freedom Act - June 2, 2015


Pro-NSA senators aim to weaken USA Freedom Act's privacy protections (texts of the amendements) - dailydot.com


The Senate’s proposed changes to the surveillance reform bill are running into resistance in the House - POLITICO


Goodlatte, Conyers, Sensenbrenner, Nadler: Senate Must Pass USA Freedom Act without Amendment - Judiciary Committee


Rand Paul Won’t Get Amendments on NSA Reform Bill—But Mitch McConnell Will - NationalJournal.com


Paul wants eight amendments to spy law legislation - WashingtonExaminer.com


Key Senate Republican to oppose NSA amendments - TheHill


Fears NSA will seek to undermine surveillance reform - The Guardian


POLL: A plurality of 42 percent believe NSA provisions to collect metadata should be extended with some modifications - POLITICO


White House urges Senate to approve NSA reform bill - TheHill


VIDEO: Obama Weekly Address on the USA Freedom Act - YouTube


VIDEO: Why Bernie Sanders will vote against the USA Freedom Act - Yahoo Yahoo Eurosport UK


Senators Should Oppose Senator McConnell’s Amendments and Pass a Clean Version of the USA FREEDOM Act - newamerica.org


A guide through Senate amendments to the USA FREEDOM Act - R Street Institute


Oppose Amendments to Weaken & Delay USA Freedom Act - Center for Democracy & Technology


ACLU: NSA reform bill doesn't go far enough - usatoday.com


NSA Reform Vote a Win for Tech & Internet Companies - DC Inno


ITI Calls on senators to pass the USA Freedom Act’s surveillance reforms and eschew any harmful amendments - Information Technology Industry Council


Letter of privacy and advocacy groups supporting the USA Freedom Act: it is not as protective of civil liberties as we would prefer, but significantly improve the status quo - cloudfront.net


ALA draws line in sand on USA FREEDOM amendments - District Dispatch


USA Freedom 3.0 - Steps Forward and Missed Opportunities - FreedomWorks


Text of The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048) - congress.gov


Don’t Worry, the Government Still Has Plenty of Surveillance Power Without Section 215 - Electronic Frontier Foundation


Forget the Patriot Act – Here Are the Privacy Violations You Should Be Worried About - Foreign Policy


Information sharing is taking back seat to NSA reform - WashingtonExaminer.com


Surveillance reform could tee up cyber bill - TheHill


Charges against Edward Snowden stand, despite telephone surveillance ban - The Guardian

 

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Appeals Court Rules Keystone XL South Approval Was Legal, Lifting Cloud Over TransCanada

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In a 3-0 vote, the U.S. Appeals Court for the Tenth Circuit has ruled that the southern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline was permitted in a lawful manner by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Keystone XL South was approved via a controversial Army Corps Nationwide Permit 12 and an accompanying March 2012 Executive Order from President Barack Obama. The pipeline, open for business since January 2014, will now carry tar sands crude from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas without the cloud of the legal challenge hanging over its head since 2012.

It’s not just police killings: Tazing and Bust of Videotaper Shows Abuse of Blacks is Just Normal Philly Cop Behavior

By Linn Washington Jr.


A July 2013 Philadelphia police attack on Sharif Anderson, where officers beat, kicked and shot Anderson twice with a Taser, is more than just another ugly incident of abuse by a big city police force long assailed for its persistent brutality and corruption.

Barbara Myers: The Unknown Whistleblower

 

Barbara Myers: The Unknown Whistleblower

 

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 30, 2015


An award for Bill Clinton came with $500,000 for his foundation, at a fundraising gala thrown by the charity Happy Hearts Fund - NYTimes.com


VIDEO: Address of President Clinton at the Happy Hearts Fund Gala - Vimeo


Clinton Foundation's $500,000 Bill to Small Charity for Big Donation - NYTimes.com


Letter of the model inviting Bill Clinton to Happy Hearts Fund gala - NYTimes.com


ARCHIVE: Haitians protest Happy Hearts award to Clinton: "where is the money for reconstruction...in whose pockets?" - Haiti Liberte


ARCHIVE: Haitian call attention to Martelly’s corruption and Clinton’s responsibility for bungled international relief effort - Haiti Liberte


ARCHIVE: NY Happy Hearts award gala mocks Haitian misery - Socialist Action


PHOTOS ARCHIVE: Models allure at the Happy Hearts Fund gala - The FMD


ARCHIVE: Petra Nemcova oozes glamour in sheer ruby red dress at Happy Hearts Gala with a diamond encrusted necklace and bracelet - Daily Mail


Clinton Foundation donors included FIFA, Qatar host committee - The Washington Post


Clinton Foundation, FIFA, & Qatar’s Hosting of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar’s track record on labor rights has long been known to be staggeringly horrendous - Nonprofit Quarterly


State Department spending followed foreign Clinton Foundation donors - WashingtonExaminer.com


Clinton Foundation hit with racketeering lawsuit, including a legal request to have the judge seize Hillary's private server - WashingtonExaminer.com


Judge sets trial for racketeering claims against Clintons, 2-week period set aside in Florida courtroom starting Jan. 25 - WND


Text of the racketeering lawsuit filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch against Hillary Clinton - freedomwatchusa.org


Legal Expert On Whether Donations to Clinton Foundation Are Bribes: If It 'Quacks Like a Duck, Chances Are It Is a Duck' - Breitbart


Teflon Tony Rodham, the Clintons’ Shady Id - National Review Online


In a Letter to the Donors Bill Clinton Comes Out in Force to Defend His Foundation - TIME


Text of Bill Clinton’s Letter to the Foundation Donors - The Weekly Standard

 

-------------------------------------------------

John Kerry sued over Clinton emails; 'coverup' alleged - Washington Times


Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry to Force Action on Clinton Emails - Judicial Watch


Judge rejects State Dept. plan for Hillary Clinton emails, sets timetable for release - Washington Times


Emails show Clinton’s interest in arming Libyan rebels despite prohibitions - Fox News


Hillary’s War: Remembering Libya Military Venture - The Daily Caller


Hillary emails challenge her Benghazi alibi, she was briefed on diplomatic mission and used her server to correspond location of Stevens - WND


Clinton Foundation paid Sidney Blumenthal $10,000 per month while he advised secretary of state Hillary on Libya - POLITICO


VIDEO: State Dept: Revelation Clinton Foundation Paid Blumenthal as He Advised Hillary Not a Problem - Washington Free Beacon


VIDEO: Schweizer: If Blumenthal's Clinton Work Isn't A Conflict of Interest, I Don't Know What Is - Breitbart


Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO chief, warns Hillary Clinton on trade deal, says she may not get endorsement - Washington Times


VIDEO: AFL-CIO's Trumka: Hillary Clinton Must Take Position on Trade, Possible We Won't Endorse in 2016 - YouTube


Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton Directly on Trade Deal - NYTimes.com


Warren undecided on who she'll back in 2016 race - Boston Herald


POLL: Few People Trust Hillary Clinton - Washington Free Beacon


As senator, Hillary Clinton sought an average of $226 billion in annual spending and backed so few cuts that her spend-to-cut ratio was $892-$1: Taxpayers Union  - Washington Examiner


Stephanie Hannon: Hillary Clinton's Chief Technology Officer - Fortune


Hillary Clinton Pantsuits Cost $1400 - Fortune

 

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Where Would Jesus Live?

If Jesus lived in Galilee in recent decades he would live in a world alive with Palestinian traditions clinging to a long-rooted history but struggling through the aftermath of the never-ended ethnic-cleansing operation that spiked in 1948.

Hatim Kanaaneh has written a fictionalized account, Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor's Tale of Life in Galilee, based on his experiences as a village doctor during the past half-century, a doctor who traveled to the United States for his education and returned to Palestine to practice his craft. His dialogue-heavy stories reach back to before 1948, merging folklore with myth and legend, featuring in the opening vignette a larger-than-life comedic but sensitive giant as short on wits as he is strong of muscle and heart.

Often in this wonderfully entertaining book a straightforward account will quickly become a rumor, a legend, an event infused with more meaning than might have been expected. After learning, for example, that multi-level homes are a sign of wealth, and that the top level is the most prestigious, we read that in one case a steep hill made it easiest to enter one home from the top floor. "That is why Isa housed his two oxen and his donkey in the 'alali -- the penthouse -- for the first winter after it was built. . . . And, that dear reader, is how it came to be rumored in these parts that Isa had sworn a pact of brotherhood and equality with his work animals and accorded them the level of reverence reserved for the head of a family. 'If only our cousins, the Jews, would treat us that humanely!' neighbors would joke."

Chief Complaint is a bit like the accounts of the British veterinarian's tales in All Creatures Great and Small. One doctor treats non-human animals, the other human, but both treat families. A great number of Kanaaneh's patients require placebos and other psychological rather than medical assistance. Gradually one begins to gather that the lot of them, who form a tight community, are to various degrees traumatized. They are in love with land, with the agriculture of that land, with the history of that land. And the land has been stolen, is being stolen, and is being desecrated. This is a more intimate portrait of people than one would be likely to gain on a trip to Palestine/Israel, and the unifying theme at the bottom of their ailments seems to be land loss. A character is describing a wedding of the past:

"Groups of men and women from all the other clans in the village would arrive every night, singing on their way over just after sundown and with many bagfuls of coffee beans, rice, sugar, and bulgur wheat as presents. Or they would have a boy dragging a lamb or a goat ahead of them. And the women would bring bundles of wood on their heads for the fire, which was lit up every night and around which the group dance and songfest were held. There is nothing like it today; since Israel occupied the Galilee, people bear only ill will and jealousy toward each other."

The narrator asks his father to sell beloved land in order to send him to the U.S. for medical school. His father throws a shoe at him. He picks up the shoe and returns it. It is thrown again. He repeats this until his sister speaks to his father who finally laughs and agrees, hopelessly, despairingly perhaps, but understanding the need to proceed.

People have been modernized out of their land, overwhelmed by Western military technology and organization. But those people are more than catching up in the area of communication — assuming that is that anyone in the West still reads.

##

Disclaimer: The author does work for the publisher of this book, but that work does not include book reviews.

Revealed: Energy Transfer Partners’ 'Pipeline-for-Prostitute' Landman

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

By Steve Horn and David Goodner

A DeSmog investigation has uncovered the identity of a land agent and the contract company he works with that allegedly offered to buy an Iowa farmer the services of two teenage sex workers in exchange for access to his land to build the controversial proposed Dakota Access pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners.

Urging a 'Surge' Against Insurgents -- Again

Resurgence of the 'Surge' Myth

Editor Note: Official Washington loves the story – the Iraq War was failing until President George W. Bush bravely ordered a “surge” in 2007 that won the war, but President Obama squandered the victory, requiring a new “surge” now. Except the narrative is dangerous make-believe.

By Ray McGovern

As American politicians and editorial writers resume their tough talk about sending more U.S. troops into Iraq, they are resurrecting the “successful surge” myth, the claim that President George W. Bush’s dispatch of 30,000 more soldiers in 2007 somehow “won” the war – a storyline that is beloved by the neocons because it somewhat lets them off the hook for starting the disaster in the first place.

Nuclear Realism

By Robert C. Koehler

There’s a category of political intellectuals who proudly proclaim themselves “realists,” then proceed to defend and advance a deeply faith-based agenda that centers on the ongoing necessity to prepare for war, including nuclear war.

These intellectuals, as they defend the military-industrial status quo (which often supports them financially), have made themselves the spokespersons for a deep human cancer: a soul cancer. When we prepare for war, we honor a profoundly embedded death wish; indeed, we assume we can exploit it for our own advantage. We can’t, of course. War and hatred link all of us; we can’t dehumanize, then proceed to murder, “the enemy” without doing the same, ultimately, to ourselves.

That isn’t to say there’s an easy way out of the mess we find ourselves in, here in the 21st century. Indeed, I see only one way out: a critical mass of humanity coming to its senses and groping for a way to create a peace that that has more resonance than war. We don’t have much political leadership around this, especially among the planet’s dominant — and nuclear-armed — nation states. But there is some.

Michael Klare: Superpower in Distress

Think of this as a little imperial folly update -- and here's the backstory.  In the years after invading Iraq and disbanding Saddam Hussein’s military, the U.S.

Catch 22 at the German Embassy

by ALYSSA ROHRICT

A terrifying group of four miscreants descended upon the German Embassy on Tuesday, demanding all number of ludicrous things and terrorizing embassy staff with their homemade cardboard signs and left-wing propaganda. The four hippie commies who smugly arrived by bike and on foot, stood outside of the embassy gates, menacingly waving at passersby and occasionally sitting in the shade to escape the hot D.C. sun. Rightly, the rowdy bunch was immediately met by an Embassy security guard and questioned and eventually told, “Fine, you can stay here, but don’t cause any trouble.”

When the group of delinquents asked to speak with someone in the Embassy for a number of minutes and deliver a petition, they were told that everyone had left for the day – at 3pm – and that no one was available inside to hear them. “You should make an appointment,” another security guard told the group, yet the hoodlums argued that requests for appointments via phone and email the week prior were rejected. And strangely, even though everyone had left work at the embassy for the day, many BMWs and all kinds of fancy convertibles were seen leaving the embassy gates in the hours that followed. Since everyone from the embassy had already left, these BMW-driving folk must have just constituted the apparently well-paid janitorial staff.

Memorial Day 2015: Antiwar Veterans Join the Conversation at the Vietnam Wall

By John Grant


Anthropologists have found that in traditional societies, memory becomes attached to places.

T.M. Luhrmann, New York Times Op-ed May 25, 2015


Corporate Welfare Fails to Deliver the Jobs: The Sad Case of Start-Up NY

For several decades, state and local governments have been showering private businesses with tax breaks and direct subsidies based on the theory that this practice fosters economic development and, therefore, job growth.  But does it?  New York State’s experience indicates that, when it comes to producing jobs, corporate welfare programs are a bad investment.

Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

By Norman Solomon, ExposeFacts

CIA

A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency.

ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.

As early as 2000, Sterling was reaching out toward Capitol Hill about his concerns. He received a positive response from House member Julian Dixon (D-Calif.), a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who expressed interest in pursuing the matter of racial discrimination at the CIA and contacted the agency about his case, Sterling says. But the 20-year member of Congress died from a heart attack on Dec. 8, 2000.

Sterling recalls getting special firing treatment in early 2002 from John Brennan, then a high-ranking CIA executive, now the agency’s director and a close adviser to President Obama: “He personally came down to the administrative office to tell me that I was fired. Someone told me that, ‘Well, you pulled on Superman’s cape.’”

Yemeni man granted permission to continue case against German government over role in US drone strikes

From REPRIEVE
 
A German court has granted ‘immediate permission to appeal’ to a Yemeni man in his case seeking to expose and put an end to the German government’s role in the U.S. covert drone programme in Yemen.
 
Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Sana’a who had two relatives killed in a 2012 drone strike, had his evidence heard in a Cologne court today. Mr bin Ali Jaber - represented by international human rights charity Reprieve and its local partner the European Center for Human Rights (ECCHR) brought the case against Germany, following revelations that Ramstein air base is crucial to facilitating American covert drone strikes in Yemen.

Our Chance to Aid and Encourage Whistleblowers

We would know much less about what our governments do were it not for those who are part of our governments until something becomes too horrible for their moral threshold, and who see a means available to inform the public. What this fact says about the proportion of governmental activity that is shameful is worth considering.

Whistleblowers in general have the broad support of the public. Even their biggest enemies got into office by falsely promising to defend and honor them. But individual whistleblowers are often effectively demonized by the corporate media while being persecuted and prosecuted by the government they have assisted.

There may be something of a trend toward recognizing that Edward Snowden and Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning have done us all a service, but they remain in prison or exile or effectively under house arrest. Jeffrey Sterling followed the steps through proper channels that whistleblowers are advised they should take, and now he's in prison, and what he informed Congress of (information critical to U.S. self-governance) remains largely unknown to the public.

Sterling's conviction on the basis of metadata (whom he called, for how many minutes, but not what was said) also sends a message to potential whistleblowers that even the appearance of acting on their moral and legal responsibility to uphold the law could land them in prison. And of course Congress's failure to act on Sterling's information sends the message that "proper channels" lead nowhere.

What's needed is a global movement that tells whistleblowers and potential whistleblowers that we've got their backs, that we will spread awareness far and wide of what they have risked their necks to reveal, that we will celebrate and honor their courage, and that we will do everything in our power to defend them against government retribution and misguided public condemnation.

So, here's the plan. During the week of June 1-7, all over the world, we stand up for truth by joining in the events and using the resources created at StandUpForTruth.org. The organizations and individuals behind this plan include ExposeFacts, Freedom of the Press Foundation, International Modern Media Institute, Networkers SouthNorth, RootsAction.org, and Daniel Ellsberg.

People around the world are being invited, individually or as a group, to participate in any of a series of public webcasts / phone calls with whistleblowers and their supporters. (Click the names for full biographies.)

Former State Dept. official Matthew Hohand author and RootsAction campaigner David Swansonwill be on a webcast / phone call at 9 pm ET (Eastern Time, GMT -5) on June 2nd.

Journalist, activist, and lawyer Trevor Timmand investigative journalist Tim Shorrockwill answer your questions at 9 pm ET on June 3rd.

Director of media for the Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseiniand author and law professor Marjorie Cohnwill speak at 9 pm ET on June 4th.

NSA whistleblower William Binneyand NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebewill take your questions and tell their stories at 8 pm ET on June 5th.

Media critic and RootsAction cofounder Jeff Cohenand author and communications professor Robert McChesneywill be up at 9 pm ET on June 5th for the second call of the night's doubleheader.

Journalist Kevin Gosztolaand EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayowill be on the final webcast at 5 pm ET on June 6th.

The webcasts will each last 60 minutes. To listen and type in questions, just point your web browser to http://cast.teletownhall.us/web_client/?id=roots_action_organd turn up your volume. Everyone is encouraged to use the webcast and to type in questions there. If you can't use a web browser, you can phone in. Just call 1-844-472-8237 (toll-free in U.S.) You can also ask these whistleblowers and truth tellers questions beforehand or during the webcasts by tweeting them to @Roots_Action -- You can even start asking questions right now.

You can also catch Bill Binney and Marcy Wheeler live in Chicago on June 2nd, and Binney in Minneapolis/St. Paul on June 3rd, or be part of this amazing artistic creation in Los Angeles on June 6th.

Also check out theevents planned for Europe with Thomas Drake, Dan Ellsberg, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, and Norman Solomon. They will deliver this petition in Berlin. If you sign it now your name and comment will be part of the presentation.

StandUpForTruth is encouraging everyone to plan your own events, during the first week of June or any other time. Here are some resources, some ideas for what to do:

Here are some ways to get started. Like this FaceBook page. Then add your photo to it holding a piece of paper reading "Stand Up For Truth." Or retweet this tweet. It all helps to spread the word, which seems like the least we can do.

Find an event near you, or create an event for June 1-7 or later. We'll help you promote it.<--break- />

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 27, 2015


Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals Worth Billions From Hillary's State Dept, Among Them Saudi Arabia And Boeing - ibtimes


Bill Clinton used personal 'LLC' as 'pass-through' for payments, sources say - Fox News


Why Aren't Those $26.4M Speech Fees Taxable To Bill and Hillary Clinton? - Forbes


Public university paid Clinton Foundation $500,000 to host event - thecollegefix.com


2 probes of Clinton Foundation fraud intersect, Peter Schweizer and Wall Street analyst call for feds to investigate - wnd.com


'Clinton Cash' by Peter Schweizer: #3 NYT Bestseller in Week 2 - Breitbart


Investors Should Protest Funds to Clinton Foundation - Yahoo Finance


The hidden financial cost of Hillary Clinton's presidential run, about half of their fortune is held in a single savings account while the other $25 million is held in a low-cost index fund - The Motley Fund


What Hillary said in her lucrative speeches remains a mystery, Although most were given to massive audiences almost none are available in their entirety online - POLITICO


Clinton Foundation Donors Continue Fundraising for Hillary Campaign - Washington Free Beacon


Critics: Clinton Ex-Im Bank Advocacy Embodies Cronyism Allegations - Washington Free Beacon


Clinton supports Exp-Imp Bank subsidies for firms that gave to Foundation, Boeing received about 40 percent of all Ex-Im financing while GE took second place with about 7 percent - The Daily Caller


Boeing helps Export-Import Bank fight for survival, critics have referred to the U.S. Export-Import Bank as “Boeing’s Bank” - WSJ


Export-Import Bank of corporate welfare, list of the major corporations that have used it to fund their exports to foreign markets - The Concerned American- 


Export-Import Bank boosted by deal that got Trade Promotion Authority through Senate - The Business Journals


ARCHIVE: Clinton Foundation Donor Boeing Won’t Turn Over Hillary Emails - Washington Free Beacon


‘Impeach Hillary’ petition: ‘Unfit, beyond vindication’ - wnd.com


---------------------------------------------------

Judicial Watch: State Department Almost Immediately Labeled Benghazi Attack as “Terrorism Event” - Judicial Watch


Ambassador Stevens involved in State Dept effort to collect anti-aircraft missiles from the Libyan rebels who did not want to give them up - wnd


2 Libya emails Blumenthal sent Hillary are missing, questions over whether other emails are unaccounted for - The Daily Caller


Rand Paul takes Hillary Clinton to task on Libya in his new book 'Taking a Stand’ - Vox


Fact vs Fiction on Benghazi: Rand Paul’s 'Taking a Stand' - Correct The Record


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton’s Libya blowback, why the former Secretary of State’s role in unseating dictator Moammar Gadhafi is now a political liability - WSJ


Sachs: Hillary 'Has To Answer' For 'Libya Mess' (VIDEO) - Breitbart


RNC Chairman Priebus demands that NBC and CNN pull the plug on airing upcoming documentary and miniseries on Hillary Clinton — or risk losing presidential debate sponsorships - The NewsTalkers


Carly Fiorina vows to hold Hillary Clinton 'accountable' - Boston Herald


GOP Zeroes In On Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Over Email Controversy - News India Times


Meet the most influential women on Hillary Clinton's 2016 team - Fortune


Where the media loves Hillary, Republicans worry that women’s magazines with their millions of readers are in the tank for Clinton - POLITICO


You can now buy a Hillary Clinton pantsuit t-shirt -- and more at her online store - MSNBC

 

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A Civilian Is A Combatant Is A Civilian Is A Combatant

What happens when a bunch of lawyers intent on distinguishing combatants from civilians discover, by interviewing hundreds of civilians, that it cannot be done?

Does it become legal to kill everyone or no one?

The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has published a report called The People's Perspectives: Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict. Researchers, including from Harvard Law School, interviewed 62 people in Bosnia, 61 in Libya, 54 in Gaza, and 77 Somali refugees in Kenya. The lead author of the report is Harvard Law School Fellow Nicolette Boehland.

One might ask why Iraq and Afghanistan were left out, or any number of other countries, but the report says the researchers went where they were able. And the result is a valuable contribution that I'm willing to bet would not have found fundamentally different results by looking elsewhere.

Nuclear Weapons Proliferation – Made in the USA

By John LaForge

The United States is perhaps the principal nuclear weapons proliferator in the world today, openly flouting binding provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Article I of the treaty forbids signers from transferring nuclear weapons to other states, and Article II prohibits signers from receiving nuclear weapons from other states.       

As the UN Review Conference of the NPT was finishing its month-long deliberations in New York last week, the US delegation distracted attention from its own violations using its standard red herring warnings about Iran and North Korea -- the former without a single nuclear weapon, and the latter with 8-to-10 (according to those reliable weapons spotters at the CIA) but with no means of delivering them.

Taking Responsibility for Drone Killings- President Obama and the Fog of War

By Brian Terrell

When President Barack Obama apologized on April 23 to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian, both hostages killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January, he blamed their tragic deaths on the “fog of war.”

“This operation was fully consistent with the guidelines under which we conduct counterterrorism efforts in the region,” he said, and based on “hundreds of hours of surveillance, we believed that this (the building targeted and destroyed by drone launched missiles) was an al Qaeda compound; that no civilians were present.” Even with the best of intentions and most stringent of safeguards, the president said, “it is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes -- sometimes deadly mistakes -- can occur.”

A Nuclear Weapons Ban Emerging

By Robert F. Dodge

Every moment of every day, all of humanity is held hostage by the nuclear nine.  The nine nuclear nations are made up of the P5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and their illegitimate nuclear wannabes Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan, spawned by the mythological theory of deterrence. This theory has fueled the nuclear arms race since its inception wherein if one nation has one nuclear weapon, its adversary needs two and so on to the point that the world now has 15,700 nuclear weapons wired for immediate use and planetary destruction with no end in sight. This inaction continues despite the 45-year legal commitment of the nuclear nations to work toward complete nuclear abolition. In fact just the opposite is happening with the U.S. proposing to spend $1 Trillion on nuclear weapons “modernization” over the next 30 years, fueling the “deterrent” response of every other nuclear state to do likewise.

John Feffer: Why the World is Becoming Un-Sweden

Today, TomDispatch regular John Feffer, the director of Foreign Policy In Focus, offers a cunning bow to the convergence theorists of the Cold War era, a crew of thinkers who imagined that someday the two superpowers would merge into one conglomerate creature in strangely upbeat ways.  In reality, as he points out, “convergence” (even in an era that lacks the Soviet Union) has turned out to be a dismally downbe

Vigil: Stop US Drone Warfare via Ramstein, Solidarity with the Victims

Wednesday, May 27th 2015, 11 ARE, German Bundestag (Meadow)

All lethal US drone strikes are guided via the Satellite Relay Station located on the US Air Force Base Ramstein.  More than 10,000 people worldwide have been killed through these drone strikes. The bin Ali Jaber family lost two of its members through a drone strike in Hadramout in Yemen. Now the family has filed legal suit against the Germany government in a German court, demanding that the German government “take legal and political responsibility for the US drone war in Yemen” and “forbid use of the Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein.”

Is Al Jazeera Trying to Be CNN or Fox?

Some weeks back I got a call from Al Jazeera wanting me to be on a show, but insisting that I couldn't do it from a local studio via satellite or from my computer via Skype. No, I would have to fly to New York and back, and they would pay for the flight and pay a "per diem" as well (they didn't specify how much). I was not eager to take a whole day out of my life to fly to New York and back, but they sold me on it. This, they told me, would be the premier edition of a new Sunday morning news program to compete with the existing ones. And it would include different perspectives.

"This week, we are producing a debate on whether or not the 'American empire is on decline', and I would love to have you on the show to share your thoughts on the issue on this very exciting debate," wrote a woman who turned out to be one of many producers, in an initial email. We exchanged emails and spoke by phone. I provided brief responses on several subtopics. I even wrote and published a column on the topic and sent it to them. Various Al Jazeera staff got in on the email thread. I also spoke by phone with executive producer Robert Lilly.

At the studio in New York, I found out just before the taping who I would be debating. She had apparently known about me as her debate opponent for some time. Her name was Tara Maller and she worked at the Aspen Institute with General Stanley McChrystal. She and some of the producers sitting in the waiting room seemed to compete with each other in dropping the names of horribly blood-soaked and ridiculously over-wealthy people they knew. It reminded me of waiting to go on Fox News more than, say, theRealNews.com.

The debate turned out to be something like 15 minutes. Host Imran Garda veered away from the declining empire topic to focus on the question of war. I found that shift welcome. I was delighted to explain my views on war in general and various specific wars, to the extent that one can do so in a few teeny sound bytes. Garda seemed surprised, however, that someone could actually oppose all wars. There may have been a memo he missed on that. Maller, for her part, did fine, but told me afterwards that I talked faster than she did, and remarked to one of the gaggle of producers how absurd it was for her to have played the role of war supporter. Of course, her views were her own and I would have welcomed it had she chosen to oppose war, but she was clearly more comfortable debating someone to her right who wanted more war than she did.

I thought the taping went well, such as it was. There were no glaring problems, and all sorts of executives and bigwigs shook our hands and thanked us. I thanked one of them for airing (I thought that the show would in fact be airing) something that the other networks would never air, and the look I got back disturbed me. I wondered whether they actually found that idea unpleasant. I flew back home on their dime. I started telling people that Al Jazeera was going to air something different from the norm of Sunday political TV.

I heard little from the Al Jazeera folks for some weeks. They'd been eager to know when I'd be back in New York, but when I told them they didn't seem so interested anymore. I asked them about paying my "per diem" and they weaseled out of it with a claim that they would only pay for food and cabs with receipts. I'd given them a receipt for a cab when their car hadn't shown up at La Guardia. They'd never hinted that I needed to get receipts for food or that that was what they meant by "per diem." In the same email that included that weaseling, the out-of-the-loop producer who'd first contacted me said "I hope you got to watch the premier this past Sunday!"

That was odd. Nobody had told me it was going to be on or that they'd seen it. What good was this show if nobody saw it? I asked where the clip was online and got no response. Some days later I found a website for the show. Here it is: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/third-rail.html The show is called The Third Rail, but it's not exactly electrifying. It's the same old, same old, with Judith Miller and Alan Dershowitz and such types. The guests fit with the attitude I picked up on in the studio of wanting to be CNN. These videos don't make for something worth announcing to the world as new and different from the usual gang of corporate hacks regurgitating talking points. The show I taped is not there.

I emailed the original producer who had been my main contact and CC'd a colleague she had been CCing. "I see you now have the show here http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/third-rail.html with no sign of any debate that might question war," I emailed. "On the contrary Judith Miller's smiling face front and center. What's up? I took an entire day out of my life to debate a war-proponent in teeny little sound bites and then you killed it? Your plan is to compete with Meet the Depressed and such shows by imitating them?"

The CC'd colleague, Senior Interview Producer Katy Ramirez Karp, wrote back saying let's talk tomorrow.

"Sure," I replied. "Why did you kill a program supposedly aimed at being different and including an anti-war point of view in order to air the same old slop from Alan Dershowitz and Judith Miller and all your typical Meet The Depressed style warmongering hacks? Was the other guest happy or upset to have the show killed? Did you tell her? Were you planning on telling me? Do you intend to ape the lousy existing shows but just have fewer viewers, or are you hoping to create something different?"

Wait sixty seconds.

The phone rang. It was Katy. "If you have something to say . . . !" She quickly accused me of "badgering" and "threatening." Whom was I threatening with what, how, and when? I asked her four or five times before she said "I'm not accusing you of threatening. I'm objecting to your tone." (Picture someone screaming "I'm objecting to your screaming!"). Ignoring her tone, I asked her why they had killed the program and if they had intended to tell me. Her response: "It was a practice run, my dear. We thought we might use part of it." She went on to say something about how they fully planned to include points of view from "your kind of advocates and causes." You got the sense she was holding something at arm's length with her nose pinched.

When I pointed out that I never would have come to New York for a practice run and had, needless to say, never been fed that line prior to this moment, she said she would have to speak with her colleagues about that. She ranted for a while about how she was a professional, and when I tried to say something she hung up.

Now, I don't seriously think they flew people in for a practice run and lied to them about it. I think quite obviously they decided after filming the program, for whatever reason, that they preferred to air the stuff you'll see on their website.

Was my performance or Muller's unsatisfactory in some sort of technical way? I doubt it. I was just like I was in the clips of me they'd seen before inviting me on.

Did I say the wrong things about Syria or the weapons industry or something else in particular? I doubt it.

My best guess is they didn't want to be the show that premiers by doing something as laughable as opposing mass murder -- you can't touch such a third rail when you've already got the name Third Rail! But of course I'm just guessing. They won't tell me. They would rather claim that they lied to me for weeks and couldn't find anyone in the entire city of New York who could sit in for a "practice run."

Talk Nation Radio: Tim Wright: 107 Nations Now Want to Ban Nukes

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-tim-wright-107-nations-now-want-to-ban-nukes/

Tim Wright is the Australian Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. There are now 107 nations committed to legally banning the possession, production, or use of nuclear weapons. Wright discusses the strategy of this abolition movement. See also:

http://www.icanw.org

http://www.politicspersonified.com/2015/05/introducing-radical-dreamer-tim-wright.html

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or  LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Speaking Events

2015

August 27, Chicago

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