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Like Madoff telling a bum to get a job: After Running from his Anti-War Past, Kerry Tells Snowden ‘Man Up’ and Face Trial in US

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Our prissy Secretary of State John Kerry, hair carefully coiffed for his interview, told NBC’s Brian Williams last week that fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should “man up” and return to the US to “stand in our system of justice and make his case.”

Krauthammer is right: The US Empire is in Decline

By Dave Lindorff


I was shocked to find myself in almost perfect agreement today with a recent column by the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer. 


Usually Krauthammer has me groaning, but yesterday his column nailed it.


No justice at the US DOJ: AG Holder’s Big News about Prosecuting Chinese Spying and a Crooked Swiss Bank are a Joke

By Dave Lindorff 


The Justice Department is really pumping out the pointless prosecutions these days. 


The deepening police state USA: More on Washington's coordinated Occupy Crackdown, and the Dark Side of the Boston Bombing (Par

By Dave Lindorff


Part II of Dave Lindorff's interview by Kathy Swift on Santa Barbara's RadioOccupy. Lindorff continues talking about his investigation into the FBI's and Homeland Security Department's hidden campaign to crush the Occupy Movement, based upon the thousands of documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act campaign of discovery by the Partnership for Civil Justice. Lindorff also talks about his investigation into the men from Craft International, the Dallas-based mercenary firm who's personnel appear to have been hired (by someone -- likely the DHS) to be at the Boston Marathon a year ago.

Killing of leaders was being planned: Exposing the Federal Government’s Plan to Crush the Occupy Movement (Part I)

By Dave Lindorff


  Listen to Dave Lindorff explain on Santa Barbara radio KCSB's Radio Occupy program how the federal government, in collusion with state and local police, and possibly with private bank and oil company security firms, planned to use "suppressed sniper fire" to assassinate the leaders of Occupy Houston, and perhaps also the leaders of other Occupy Movement actions around the country.

Punishment or Witness Elimination?: Confessed Brazilian Torturer Found Murdered

By Michael Uhl

  

            At approximately four o’clock this past Thursday afternoon, Paulo Malhaes, a retired officer who served in the ‘70s  during the years of Brazil’s military dictatorship, was murdered at his small farm outside of Rio de Janeiro.

USAID used fake Twitter to try and oust a government!: The Hummingbird Tweet: An Espionage Tale

By Alfredo Lopez

For two years, starting in 2010, the United States Agency for International Development ran a social networking service -- similar to Twitter -- for the Cuban people. Its long-term objective was to forment popular revolt against the government and de-stabilize the country.

A program to take over human communications?: The Drones of Facebook (and the NSA)

By Alfredo Lopez

 

"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."

A program to take over human communications?: The Drones of Facebook (and the NSA)

By Alfredo Lopez

 

"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."

What are they hiding?: Some Serious Problems with the FBI’s Killing of a Witness in Florida

By Dave Lindorff


In the voluminous report issued by Florida State’s Attorney Jeff Ashton’s Office on the killing in Orlando last May 22 of a witness/suspect under interrogation by the FBI -- an investigation that concluded that the shooting was “justified” -- there is not a single mention of the bruise and contusion on the left side of Todashev’s head.


Snowden Speaks on Obama Reforms As Supporters Call for End of His Persecution

100,000 petitions in defense of Snowden delivered to State and Justice Departments on Wednesday

- Jon Queally, staff writer, CommonDreams.org

Snowden said the reforms would not have happened without the disclosures he precipitated. (Photograph: Sunshine Press/Getty)

Did the FBI Snuff a Boston Marathon Bombing Witness? Dark Questions About a Deadly FBI Interrogation in Orlando

By Dave Lindorff


(This article was written as an exclusive for Counterpunch magazine, where the full story can be read, along with photos of the crime scene)


NSA: No Problemo...Until

By Coleen Rowley

If you think about it, it's ironic, to put it lightly, that whistleblower Edward Snowden -- whose message of the need for CHANGE essentially repeats President Obama's own original campaign promise -- is now so threatened and persecuted by that very same "Change" President that he must seek asylum in foreign countries and cannot safely travel outside of Russia (which granted him temporary asylum).  
 
Snowden's disclosures, backed up by documents, served effectively as the gravest of grave, but also very obvious warnings that no good can come from empowering a "Deep State Top Secret America" to secretly and illegally spy on its own citizens.  
 
Unsurprisingly, Congress and other government officials now find themselves in this moment of "constitutional crisis" where not only is freedom of the press threatened, and ordinary citizens are not allowed to know about or democratically control the Deep State "Security" Surveillance but we've reached the point where, for instance, the CIA's secretive and illegal attempts to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee's lengthy and exhaustive investigation of CIA torture as part of its oversight responsibilities, has now led to a real constitutional crisis. 

 
This level of dangerous blowback is exactly the harm Snowden blew the whistle on! 
 
But isn't it also what Senator Obama campaigned he would change, if elected to the presidency, before further damage could occur to our Constitutional rule of law?  And isn't the current perilous situation on all fours with the similar constitutional crisis involving the FBI's COINTELPRO, CIA's CHAOS and NSA's MINARET Programs that occurred in the final years of the Vietnam War, which led to Watergate and a president's resignation? 
 
The spying and intimidation of Senator Feinstein's Committee is very similar to the spying on Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young, and main NYT and Washington Post newspaper editors and columnists along with thousands of other innocent Americans who found themselves targeted by these secret spy programs during the last six years of the Vietnam War. 
 
These "national security" programs claimed authority not only to listen to but to "disrupt" Americans domestically.  Wasn't this the important history lesson that Obama actually based his campaign for "Change" on?!  Senators Church and Baker have passed on but surviving Church Committee members and staffers have quickly realized that history is repeating which is why they're so urgently calling for a new Church Committee-type investigation.   
 
When Obama came into power, however, he had a choice to make as to whether to put into effect the "change" that he had promised, a change away from the illegal, unethical and highly counter-productive actions "justified" in secret memos that his predecessor, George Bush, had ordered, just days after 9-11 to wage his "war on terror."  Obama unfortunately decided to go against his promises
 
Maybe the history lesson was lost on him or maybe he believed the strength of his speechifying could distract people from the fact there was to be NO (significant) CHANGE, just some minor tweaking, i.e. in the verbiage from "war on terror" to "overseas contingency operations"; switching the emphasis from capture to kill (in "kill or capture") and the like. 
 
Perhaps Obama gambled that the secret programs would not get out of hand so quickly or that no one would see the official hypocrisy in telling the troops they are fighting "for freedom" when here in the U.S., government officials had already put the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments--freedoms of speech, association, religion, and press; protection from unreasonable search and seizure;  rights against self incrimination and due process--on the chopping block.  

Unfortunately, that decision dropped us so far down the rabbit hole that Chairman Feinstein's apt warning of "constitutional crisis" hardly gets a rise out of her fellow spied-on colleagues, many of whom still seem inclined to continue the partisan gaming of such serious wrongdoing as torture.  By contrast, similar COINTELPRO type revelations at the end of the Vietnam War and outing of war deceits and cover-ups did meet with widespread outrage and concern, making for bipartisanship that led to the end of the Vietnam War, the Church and Pike Committees' investigations and Nixon's resignation.

Does anyone know whether Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker ever realized (or even guessed) they were themselves being targeted by the NSA's secret Minaret Program?   (The NSA also monitored 1650 other Americans--whose identities still remain largely unknown.)  It seems that Feinstein's seeing of the light could be a kind of deja-vu from that moment when Senators Church, Baker and maybe others realized the war, its corollary spying, Kent State type repression and attempt at public information control, etc wasn't merely directed toward others.  They may have realized that they were no longer seen as "us" in "us versus them."  When that truth hits, then the Congress, media and public opinion can turn against continuing the status quo and some real change can become possible.    
 
In this vein, it's darkly funny that the Secret Spy Machine's greatest defender Michael Hayden only seems to have showed concern once about any potential adverse repercussions of his hasty post 9-11 decision to turn the massive spy operation upon US citizens as well as foreign people.  It was when some FBI agent (probably not understanding who's in the "Us" insider club) applied "collect it all" to Hayden's buddy, General Petraeus' sex affairs.  Hayden finally became a little concerned that "collect it all" had gone too far when it took down his friend.  Information IS power!

I just hope that Feinstein and other Congresspersons now understand they really aren't in the trusted top echelons of the Deep State Secret Spy Club and ultimately this "nearly Orwellian" apparatus has already been turned onto even other branches of government just as it was upon those foreign country leaders termed "allies."  It's very much a constitutional crisis!  Recall also that the only time Feinstein seemed concerned about NSA spying was learning it included Angela Merkel's cell phone.  Maybe she identified with the other powerful female leader who previously thought she was in the Club.  A little light was starting to go on.   Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi should wake up too that "collect it all" means her legislative oversight efforts are also in the crosshairs. 
 
Congress should realize they must reign in this out-of-control Security State which now threatens the balance of power set up under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  The President needs to fulfill his promises to change the rotten system that has resulted from years of deceitful "war on terror."  A good first step would be to listen to Edward Snowden along with other NSA and other whistleblowers who know the truth of these programs instead of threatening them with prison terms equating them with being "spies."  Instead of magnifying the vilification of Edward Snowden who happens, for better or worse, to have no option but to remain in a country of asylum, Obama ought to recognize that Snowden and earlier NSA and other government whistleblowers are the ones who possess the insights to help him climb out of this rabbit hole, fix the constitutional mess and restore the rule of law.    

Edward Snowden should become the first witness called by a new Church Committee!  Ultimately common sense tells us that restoring the rule of law will entail: 1) ending the global war on terror; 2) focusing on the bad guys, not the innocent.  Stop adding hay to the haystack. Restoring due process that allows greater intrusiveness upon individuals' freedom only as the level of evidence and judicial certitude increases; 3) reducing governmental secrecy to a necessary minimum by making it temporary instead of perpetual; 4) increasing independent oversight of and whistleblower protection in all intelligence agencies and national security contractors; 5) reducing governmental corruption and "revolving door" conflicts of interest that Eisenhower was first to warn about and which were supposed to be banned by Office of Government Ethics rules; and 5) repealing the two provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 793 (d) and (e), that are being used to prosecute disclosures to the press, i.e. the copying and retaining of classified information as well as potentially prosecuting news reporters and organizations directly. 
 
We hope to get this message across this week in Washington DC at the Press Club at 1 pm on Tuesday, March 25 and also via delivery of 100,000 Roots Action signed petitions to John Kerry and Eric Holder at the Departments of State and Justice (further details here).  We may also read aloud some of the 100,000 signers' comments outside the White House.  The moment again seems reminiscent of the days after the popularity of LBJ's war presidency dropped and so many American citizens were forced to shout messages  over the fence that he needed to change course.
 
##

Coleen Rowley -- a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures -- was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Rowley wrote to the FBI Director again in February 2003 with some hard questions about the reliability of the evidence being adduced to “justify” the impending invasion of Iraq.

Ego trumps principle: Sen. Feinstein Finally Goes after the CIA, but not for Lying to and Spying on Us

By Dave Lindorff


Of all the people to come to the rescue of the Constitution, who would have thought it would be Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

Feinstein, after all, as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee since 2009, has yet to see an NSA violation of the Constitution, an invasive spying program or a creative “re-interpretation” of the law that she hasn’t applauded as being lawful and “needed” to “keep people safe.”

If they drop these charges, why not all of them?: Crowd-Sourcing, Crowd Support and Barrett Brown's Partial Victory

By Alfredo Lopez

 

Federal prosecutors last week dropped several of the most significant charges facing Internet activist and journalist Barrett Brown -- charges that could have drawn a jail sentence of 105 years.

Criticizing repression of protest abroad, practicing it at home: What if Americans Demanded the Ouster of This Government?

By Dave Lindorff


Ukraine’s new rulers, in one of their first acts, have disbanded that country’s riot police.


Why Amazon’s Collaboration with the CIA Is So Ominous -- and Vulnerable

By Norman Solomon

As the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon wants a benevolent image to encourage trust from customers. Obtaining vast quantities of their personal information has been central to the firm’s business model. But Amazon is diversifying -- and a few months ago the company signed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide “cloud computing” services.

Amazon now has the means, motive and opportunity to provide huge amounts of customer information to its new business partner. An official statement from Amazon headquarters last fall declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

The Central Intelligence Agency has plenty of money to throw around. Thanks to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the CIA’s annual budget is $14.7 billion; the NSA’s is $10.8 billion.

The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is bullish on the company’s prospects for building on its initial contract with the CIA. As you might expect from a gung-ho capitalist with about $25 billion in personal wealth, Bezos figures he’s just getting started.

Death by Meta-Data

Who’s Interested in Ancient History?

  I was setting out our trash when Ann Willard came up the street, walking their St. Bernard, Boris.  “How’ya doing, Ann?” I said.  “Have a good holiday?”

 

She looked a little red-faced, but that was probably the stiff, cold wind gusting up from the river.  Or being a hundred pound woman being dragged by a two hundred pound dog.  “I don’t want to sound like a complainer,” she said, “but we’ve had better.”

 

It’s Not News, It’s Propaganda, Part 2

  “You said that the F.B.I. cleared Edward Snowden of acting with anyone else or as part of a spy ring.  Why are we even talking about this then?  How can Mike Rogers pretend the F.B.I. report doesn’t exist, go on TV, and accuse Snowden of being a spy for the Russian secret police?”

 

It’s Not News, It’s Propaganda, Part 1

  I was out walking my dog the other morning, and my neighbor Tom--known locally as “the gentle radical”--was out shoveling the snow from his walk.  He was puffing, and I asked him if he’d like to take a break and give me a turn at the shovel.

 

“Thanks for the offer, Ace,” he said with a smile, “but I need to do things like this to work off my frustration.  If I couldn’t shovel snow, rake leaves, and tend to my garden, I think the top of my head might periodically blow off.”

 

Cut Off the NSA’s Juice

By Norman Solomon

The National Security Agency depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA’s top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice to keep Big Brother nourished is essential -- and any interference with that flow is unthinkable.

But interference isn’t unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

Grassroots activists have begun to realize the potential to put the NSA on the defensive in nearly a dozen states where the agency is known to be running surveillance facilities, integral to its worldwide snoop operations.

Organizers have begun to push for action by state legislatures to impede the electric, water and other services that sustain the NSA’s secretive outposts.

Those efforts are farthest along in the state of Washington, where a new bill in the legislature -- the Fourth Amendment Protection Act -- is a statutory nightmare for the NSA. The agency has a listening post in Yakima, in the south-central part of the state.

The bill throws down a challenge to the NSA, seeking to block all state support for NSA activities violating the Fourth Amendment. For instance, that could mean a cutoff of electricity or water or other state-government services to the NSA site. And the measure also provides for withholding other forms of support, such as research and partnerships with state universities.

Here’s the crux of the bill: “It is the policy of this state to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place, and thing to be searched or seized.”

If the windup of that long sentence has a familiar ring, it should. The final dozen words are almost identical to key phrases in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In recent days, more than 15,000 people have signed a petition expressing support for the legislation. Launched by RootsAction.org, the petition is addressed to the bill’s two sponsors in the Washington legislature -- Republican Rep. David Taylor, whose district includes the NSA facility in Yakima, and Democrat Luis Moscoso from the Seattle area.

Meanwhile, a similar bill with the same title has just been introduced in the Tennessee legislature -- taking aim at the NSA’s center based in Oak Ridge, Tenn. That NSA facility is a doozy: with several hundred scientists and computer specialists working to push supercomputers into new realms of mega-surveillance capacities.

A new coalition, OffNow, is sharing information about model legislation. The group also points to known NSA locations in other states including Utah (in Bluffdale), Texas (San Antonio), Georgia (Augusta), Colorado (Aurora), Hawaii (Oahu) and West Virginia (Sugar Grove), along with the NSA’s massive headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. Grassroots action and legislative measures are also stirring in several of those states.

One of the key organizations in such efforts is the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, where legal fellow Matthew Kellegrew told me that the OffNow coalition “represents the discontent of average people with … business-as-usual failure to rein in out-of-control domestic spying by the NSA and other federal departments like the FBI. It is a direct, unambiguous response to a direct, unambiguous threat to our civil liberties.”

In the process -- working to counter the bipartisan surveillance-state leadership coming from the likes of President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, the House Intelligence Committee’s chair Mike Rogers and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s chair Dianne Feinstein -- activists urging a halt to state-level support for the NSA include people who disagree on other matters but are determined to undermine the Big Brother hierarchies of both parties.

“By working together to tackle the erosion of the Fourth Amendment presented by bulk data collection,” Kellegrew said, “people from across partisan divides are resurrecting the lost art of collaboration and in the process, rehabilitating the possibility of a functional American political dialogue denied to the people by dysfunction majority partisan hackery.”

From another vantage point, this is an emerging faceoff between reliance on cynical violence and engagement in civic nonviolence.

Serving the warfare state and overall agendas for U.S. global dominance to the benefit of corporate elites, the NSA persists in doing violence to the Constitution’s civil-liberties amendments -- chilling the First, smashing the Fourth and end-running the Fifth.

Meanwhile, a nascent constellation of movements is striving to thwart the surveillance state, the shadowy companion of perpetual war.

This is a struggle for power over what kind of future can be created for humanity.

It’s time to stop giving juice to Big Brother.

________________________________________

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information about the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.

Same criminal spying but with a White House blessing: Obama in NSA Speech Says Nothing Will Change

By Alfredo Lopez


This past week, the Federal government threw a one-two punch that will effectively destroy the Internet as we know it. Demonstrating, once again, his talent for obfuscation and misdirection, President Obama made a speech about reforming the NSA and controlling surveillance that actually officially recognized, sanctioned and even expanded the NSA's domestic spying and cyber-warfare.

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