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Do We REALLY Want to Provoke Russia? Why?

 

 


Russia-Baiting and Risks of Nuclear War

 

 

 

Editor Note: The propaganda war on Russia is spinning out of control with a biased investigation blaming Moscow for the MH-17 tragedy and angry exchanges over Syria, raising the risks of nuclear war, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Snowden: Whistles Are Blowing over Oliver Stone's Newest Film

Snowden: Whistles Are Blowing over Oliver Stone's Newest Film
Reviewed by Gar Smith

I just saw Oliver Stone's Snowden, a film that Los Angeles Times movie critic Kenneth Turan characterized as an "unashamed mythologizing of Edward Snowden." NPR's David Edelstein, seeming to begrudge director Stone's history as a "gonzo conspiracy theorist," offered diminished praise, calling the film a "textbook political conversion narrative." Time magazine dismissed Snowden as "lifeless," which, I assume, refers to the fact that the film contains no car chases, fistfights, or bloody shootouts. No body count? How ho-hum.

(A note of caution: there are some deaths in Snowden -- real ones, captured by US drones that routinely videotape human targets on the ground in distant countries moments before they are devoured by exploding US-launched Hellfire missiles.)

Outlier that I am, I found the film, well-crafted, thought-provoking and edgy. As a result, I'm granting the film a good review: Two thumb drives up!



Everybody Must Get Stone
Many critics seem to hold Stone at a distance, fearful of appearing too sympathetic to a filmmaker (and former soldier) who refuses to promote Washington's mythology of America as a benign "global policeman."

Edelstein, for instance, complains: "The funny thing about the movie is that it doesn't acknowledge there are terrorists and that the government surveillance equipment could actually be used to protect Americans. We only see agents blackmailing foreign officials to protect the interests of American corporations and using drones to wipe out unlucky families."

What Edelstein seems to miss here is that is the very acts of blackmailing foreign officials, promoting the profits of American corporations over human rights and civil liberties, and "using drones to wipe out unlucky families" are some of the very acts that continue to feed the growing, global blowback of anti-American "terrorism."

Clearly, there is more than a film review at stake in the release of this politically charged biopic. It coincides with a growing global campaign to demand that Pres. Obama grant a pardon to one of this century's two greatest whistleblowers (Chelsea Manning being the other). You can find a link to White House petition below.

It is no coincidence that, the day before the movie opened, members of the House Intelligence Committee signed a letter to the president insisting that he not pardon Snowden. The House committee also chose this day to release an unclassified summary of the 36-page investigation of the Snowden controversy. Was he a hero? Was he a traitor? The bipartisan House committee made their conclusion clear, describing Snowden as "a serial exaggerator and fabricator" who "caused tremendous damage to national security."

(Snowden's defenders continue to point out that, to date, no one has produced any evidence that any provable damage has been caused to "national security" by Snowden's revelations. However, the disclosures that our government was secretly conspiring to deprive American citizens of constitutionally protected First Amendment rights has certainly caused profound embarrassment within national security circles and triggered extreme indignation on the part of most Americans.)

Snowden: Best Film of the Year

Snowden is the most entertaining, informing, and important film you are likely to see this year.

It's the true story of an awakening. It traces the path of Edward Snowden's career in the U.S. military, the CIA, the NSA, and at various contractors thereof. It also traces the path of Edward Snowden's agonizingly slow awakening to the possibility that the U.S. government might sometimes be wrong, corrupt, or criminal. And of course the film takes us through Snowden's courageous and principled act of whistleblowing.

We see in the film countless colleagues of Snowden's who knew much of what he knew and did not blow the whistle. We see a few help him and others appreciate him. But they themselves do nothing. Snowden is one of the exceptions. Other exceptions who preceded him and show up in the film include William Binney, Ed Loomis, Kirk Wiebe, and Thomas Drake. Most people are not like these men. Most people obey illegal orders without ever making a peep.

And yet, what strikes me about Snowden and many other whistleblowers I've met or learned about, is how long it took them, and the fact that what brought them around was not an event they objected to but a change in their thinking. U.S. officials who've been part of dozens of wars and coups and outrages for decades will decide that the latest war is too much, and they'll bail out, resign publicly, and become an activist. Why now? Why not then, or then, or then, or that other time?

These whistleblowers -- and Snowden is no exception -- are not passive or submissive early in their careers. They're enthusiastic true believers. They want to spy and bomb and kill for the good of the world. When they find out that's not what's happening, they go public for the good of the world. There is that consistency to their actions. The question, then, is how smart, dedicated young people come to believe that militarism and secrecy and abusive power are noble pursuits.

Oliver Stone's Ed Snowden begins as a "smart conservative." But the only smart thing we see about him is his computer skills. We never hear him articulate some smart political point of view that happens to be "conservative." His taste in books includes Ayn Rand, hardly an indication of intelligence. But on the computers, Snowden is a genius. And on that basis his career advances.

Snowden has doubts about the legality of warrantless spying, but believes his CIA instructor's ludicrous defense. Later, Snowden has such concerns about CIA cruelty he witnesses that he resigns. Yet, at the same time, he believes that presidential candidate Barack Obama will undo the damage and set things right.

How does one explain such obtuseness in a genius? Obama's statements making perfectly clear that the wars and outrages would roll on were publicly available. I found them with ordinary search engines, needing no assistance from the NSA.

Snowden resigned, but he didn't leave. He started working for contractors. He came to learn that a program he'd created was being used to assist in lawless and reckless, not to mention murderous, drone murders. That wasn't enough.

He came to learn that the U.S. government was lawlessly spying on the whole world and spying more on the United States than on Russia. (Why spying on Russia was OK we aren't told.) But that, too, wasn't enough.

He came to learn that the U.S. was spying on its allies and enemies alike, even inserting malware into allies' infrastructure in order to be able to destroy things and kill people should some country cease to be an ally someday. That, too, was not enough.

Snowden went on believing that the United States was the greatest country on earth. He went on calling his work "counter cyber" and "counter spying" as if only non-Americans can do spying or cyber-warfare, while the United States just tries to gently counter such acts. In fact, Snowden risked his life, refraining from taking medication he needed, so that he could continue doing that work. He defended such recklessness as justified by the need to stop Chinese hackers from stealing billions of dollars from the U.S. government. Apart from the question of which Chinese hackers did that, what did Snowden imagine it was costing U.S. taxpayers to fund the military?

Snowden's career rolled on. But Edward Snowden's brilliant mind was catching up with reality and at some point overtook it. And then there was no question that he would do what needed to be done. Just as he designed computer programs nobody else could, and that nobody else even thought to try, now he designed a whistleblowing maneuver that would not be stopped as others had.

Consequently, we must be grateful that good and decent people sometimes start out believing Orwellian tales. Dull, cowardly, and servile people never blow whistles.

New York Times shames itself: Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange for Doing What Journalists are Supposed to Do

By Dave Lindorff

 

While I periodically have written commentaries dissecting and pillorying news articles in the New York Times to expose their bias, hypocrisy half-truths and lies, I generally ignore their editorials since these are overtly opinions of the management, and one expects them to display the elitist and neo-liberal perspective of the paper’s publisher and senior editors.

Trashing Clinton in the Times: Is Sanders’ End Game to Sell Out His ‘Political Revolution’ or to Take It to November?

By Dave Lindorff

 

            What is Bernie Sanders up to?

 

            I sure don’t know, and I’m sure that Hillary Clinton and her campaign managers are wondering too.

It’s happening right under our noses!: Let’s Stop Google from Gobbling Up Our Schools

By Jackie Smith and Alfredo Lopez

 

(The following article was co-written by Dr. Jackie Smith -- of the International Network of Scholar Activsts -- and TCBH member Alfredo Lopez. It is being published here and in other places.)

 

"Unquestionable" Forerunner Hillary Must Be Questionable

 

 


A Need to Clear Up Clinton Questions

 

 

 

Exclusive: As the Democrats glumly line up for Hillary Clinton’s belated coronation, the risk remains of potential criminal charges over her Libyan testimony or her careless emails.

By Ray McGovern

“Some people think they can lie and get away with it,” said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with feigned outrage. And, of course, he has never been held accountable for his lies, proving his dictum true.

The question today is: Will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Teflon coat be as impermeable to deep scratches as Rumsfeld’s has proven to be?

CIA ‘K-9 test’ gone wrong or something else?: Plastic Explosives Found in School Bus Engine Compartment by school's mechanic

By Dave Lindorff

 

            What on earth was the CIA doing putting plastic high explosive charges on school buses and in hidden places in a Virginia public school in a “test” of K-9 dogs reportedly belonging to the Agency itself?

 

He’s the best, but is he all we need?: The ‘Bern’ and the Internet

By Alfredo Lopez

 

Bernie Sanders' stunning success in the campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination, highlighted by what is effectively a victory in the Iowa caucuses this past Monday, provokes serious thinking about what a Sanders presidency would look like.

New Book Reveals Koch Brothers Paid Firm Run by Former NYPD Chief to Smear Journalist

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The just-published book "Dark Money," penned by New Yorker staff reporter Jane Mayer, reveals that the Koch Brothers hired the former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD) — and his daughter, a former FBI agent  to smear her as a "plagiarist" in the months after the release of her August 2010 bombshell article on the Kochs.

Where will that money go?: The Zuckerberg Family Donation and a Legacy of Control

By Alfredo Lopez

 

When I was very young, my parents used to tell me why having "lots of toys" wasn't a good idea. "The more you have, the more you want," they would say. I didn't have many toys -- we were poor -- so the idea of possessions feeding greed didn't make much sense to me then.

Whistleblowing Is Contagious


The Courage from Whistle-blowing

Editor Note: Courage, like cowardice, can grow as an action when one person influences decisions by others, either toward bravery or fear. Thus, the gutsy whistle-blowing by some NSA officials inspired Edward Snowden to expose mass data collection on all Americans, recalls ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

When Edward Snowden in early June 2013 began to reveal classified data showing criminal collect-it-all surveillance programs operated by the U.S. government’s National Security Agency, former NSA professionals became freer to spell out the liberties taken with the Bill of Rights, as well as the feckless, counterproductive nature of bulk electronic data collection.

Where’s the truth, and how can you find it?: The US Corporate Media are Essentially Propaganda Organs of the US Government


By Dave Lindorff

 

            Are the American corporate media largely propaganda organs, or news organizations?

 

Warmongers & Peacemongers: Learning How Not to Rule the World

By John Grant

 

[Al Qaeda’s] strategic objective has always been ... the overthrow of the House of Saud. In pursuing that regional goal, however, it has been drawn into a worldwide conflict with American power.

Domestic surveillance blimp goes AWOL: The Spy That Quit and Ran

By Dave Lindorff

 

Most Americans living in the northeastern and Midatlantic region of the country probably didn't realize that for the last year or so they've been being spied on from the sky by a sophisticated 'eye-in-the-sky' blimp tethered to the ground in Maryland's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Regulating trade and restricting communications: The TPP is an Attack on the Internet

By Alfredo Lopez


The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, initialed by the delegations of the 12 participating countries in early October, is one of the most talked-about mysteries of our time. The moment the treaty was announced, there was a tidal wave of commentary and criticism: most of it based on previous versions, speculation and a few leaks. Because it won't be published for months (even years perhaps), nobody really knew what the document actually said.

Europe’s privacy rules conflict with NSA spying: EU Court Declares NSA Surveillance Illegal

By Alfredo Lopez

 

As expected, the European Union court has thrown out an agreement, forged in 2000, that allows virtually uninhibited data sharing and transfer between the United States and EU countries and is the legal basis for National Security Agency's on-line surveillance and data capture programs.

Split between Europe and the U.S. just got wider!: EU Court Advocate General Deals Severe Blow to NSA Surveillance

By Alfredo Lopez

 

A legal case, virtually unreported in the U.S., could very well unhinge a major component of this country's surveillance system. In any case, it certainly challenges it.

Worst president ever?: History Should and Probably Will Judge President Obama Harshly

By Dave Lindorff


President Barack Obama is on track to go down in history as one of the, or perhaps as the worst and most criminal presidents in US history. 


We need peace officers, not pinkertons: What’s Wrong with Police in America

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Americans got a glimpse of what policing is like in a more humane and civilized society last year when four young Swedish cops, on vacation in New York City and riding on a subway, found themselves faced with a bloody fight in the aisle by two angry black men.

The most draconian information-gathering law yet: The Senate Wants to Make Internet Providers Spies

By Alfredo Lopez


How much noise does the other shoe make when it drops? If the shoe is a law that would complete the development of a police surveillance state in the United States, it's almost silent.

What were you doing on your vacation?: Returning Home to the US is to Enter a Police State

By Dave Lindorff


A few weeks ago, I got a vivid comparative look at how far this country has moved towards becoming a police state. The occasion was a brief visit to Montreal, where my wife was to give a harpsichord recital at an early keyboard music conference. 


It approves the spy program and makes it permanent: USA Freedom Act is Anything But

By Alfredo Lopez


To get to the point: there is nothing -- nothing at all -- in any recent law or legislative action that will in any way weaken the police state structure our government has put into place for rapid deployment. You are not any more free than you were last week and, no matter what the Congress has done with the expired provisions of the Patriot Act or the newly developed and Orwellian-named "USA Freedom Act", you are not going to be any more free next week.

Here come the terrorists!: Help! The USA PATRIOT ACT has expired!

By Dave Lindorff

 

Omigod! We're all gonna die!

Three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were allowed to expire on June 1 thanks to a Senate disagreement over how to "fix" them (and thanks to Sen. Rand Paul's outspoken opposition to renewal), and now we’re vulnerable to terrorism!

That at least is what President Obama and other fear mongers in Washington are saying.

'Tis the Season to Fete War Criminals

William & Mary Honors War Criminal

Exclusive: Condoleezza Rice has crossed the threshold into esteemed celebrity – a welcomed speaker at this year’s College of William and Mary commencement – despite her record as the liar who sold the illegal war in Iraq and choreographed the torture techniques for use at CIA “black sites."

By Ray McGovern

Nothing better illustrates the extent to which the United States has turned its back on the rule of law than when the likes of Condoleezza Rice are asked to address graduates and receive doctoral degrees honoris causa at university commencements. Ms. Rice – in my view a war criminal – was accorded those honors Saturday by the College of William and Mary, the second-oldest college in the U.S.

Someone Should Challenge Former CIA Chief Michael Morell About This

The Phony 'Bad Intel' Defense on Iraq

Editor Note: Jeb Bush’s stumbling start to his presidential bid has refocused attention on Official Washington’s favorite excuse for the illegal, aggressive and disastrous war in Iraq – that it was just a case of “bad intelligence.” But that isn’t what the real history shows. NO WAY was the intelligence "mistaken."  Far worse -- it was out-and-out FRAUD.

By Ray McGovern

Presidential aspirant Jeb Bush this week may have damaged his chances by flubbing the answer to an entirely predictable question about his big brother’s decision to attack Iraq.

The Government's Not-So-Sterling Case Against Sterling

 

 


Punishing Another Whistleblower


Editor Note: Just weeks after ex-CIA Director David Petraeus got a no-jail-time wrist-slap for divulging secrets to his biographer/lover, ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got 42 months in prison for allegedly alerting a U.S. journalist to a dubious covert op, a double standard of justice.

By Ray McGovern

Our rights are forgotten: The Government/Corporate Encryption Debate is About How Best to Spy on You

By Alfredo Lopez


A debate, going on in the quasi-private and well-catered halls of government-corporate collusion, has reached the post-smoldering stage. It's now a virtual forest fire in full public view.

It pits government spies against corporate cannibals and is about the often misunderstood and somewhat tedious issue of encryption.

Speaking Events

David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.

Find Events Here.

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