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A whistleblower holding all the cards: Why did Edward Snowden go to Hong Kong?

By Dave Lindorff

A lot of people in the US media are asking why America's most famous whistleblower, 29-year old Edward Snowden, hied himself off to the city state of Hong Kong, a wholly owned subsidiary of the People's Republic of China, to seek at least temporary refuge.

Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the US, they say. And as for China, which controls the international affairs of its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, while granting it local autonomy to govern its domestic affairs, its leaders "may not want to irritate the US" at a time when the Chinese economy is stumbling.

These people don't have much understanding of either Hong Kong or of China.

TSA agent pulls woman’s breast prosthesis out of her bra

I get tired of writing these posts. These abuses are so common (no, they’re not “outliers”) and the reaction of the public so apathetic, it just becomes wearying.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Privacy Died, and People Didn’t Even Know It

  The KGB alumni portion of the following, which sounds realistic, is actually fiction;  the NSA portion, which sounds like science fiction, is actual news from the real world.

 

It’s June again, and around the globe, in the northern hemisphere, alumni groups are gathering.  In Russia, the KGBAA (KGB Alumni Association)--former officials of the Soviet Union’s “Committee for State Security”--held their annual reunion this week at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, nearly 22 years after the agency’s dissolution in 1991.  

 

Blue Steals Green: Police Corruption’s the Dark Underside of the Drug War’s Iceberg

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Drug-related corruption within the Philadelphia Police Department – once again – is the target of federal authorities.

This latest action by federal authorities involves two patrolmen charged with trafficking drugs and robbing suspected drug dealers while on-duty and in full uniform.

Another day, another abusive TSA experience


Another day, another abusive TSA experience. And why not? The government thinks it owns our thoughts, as the Big Brotheresque surveillance proves; why shouldn't it also own our bodies? These issues are all related. Yet the millions of willfully clueless out there refuse to acknoweldge it.


Obama, Clapper and most of Congress are full of s**t: Where’s the Bullshit Repellent When We Need It?

By Dave Lindorff

Many years ago, back in 1975 when Gerald Ford was the nation’s default president, I spent a summer living in the home of two friends, both important anti-war academics, who had two young children. One of their kids, Jacob, who was about seven at the time and smart as a whip, had been given the gift of a can of compressed air which carried a label claiming it contained a miracle product called “Bullshit Repellent.”  Whenever someone in the house -- family member, me, or some other guest -- would say something ridiculous, stupid or false, someone would inevitably yell out, “Jacob, get the Bullshit Repellent!”  Jacob would come running in enthusiastically with the can and would spray it proudly at whoever was uttering the BS.

I sure wish I had Jacob and his spray can right now. I simply cannot believe the BS being spouted by President Obama, National Security Agency Director James Clapper, or the members of Congress who should be demanding their heads for the unprecedented surveillance and spying on all Americans that has just been exposed.  


Making the hero pay: A Nation’s Betrayal

By Dan DeWalt


This week, the government began their assault against private Bradley Manning. Even though he has already plead guilty to misusing classified documents and faces twenty years in prison, prosecutors want him branded as having aided the enemy, with a life sentence to go along.

Recent Revelations are Worse Than Our Worst Nightmare: Privacy Disappears in a Prism

By Alfredo Lopez


This past Thursday (June 6), The Guardian (the British newspaper) and the Washington Post simultaneously reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting staggering amounts of user data and files from seven of the world's most powerful technology companies.

From the No Kidding Dept: auditor rates TSA epic fail

 

We’ve only been telling you this for years. And now the DHS Inspector General is saying it, too.

The TSA’s so-called “behavior detection program” is an expensive, risible failure. Or as we like to call it, voodoo.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent...as the Grave: Is the FBI in the Execution Business?

By Dave Lindorff


Anyone who was a fan of the old ABC TV series “The Untouchables” or of the later series, also on ABC, called “The FBI,” would know something is terribly fishy about the FBI slaying of Ibragim Todashev.


Talk Nation Radio: Guantanamo Is Getting Worse

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-guantanamo

Jason Leopold writes for Al Jazeera.  See his articles here.  Leopold, just back from Guantanamo, says that since President Obama's speech, no one has been freed, no one has quit hunger striking, and the number of people being force-fed has increased. Abusive policies are being adopted, in part in apparent response to the hunger strike.  The top commander at the prison is suspected of perjury, in addition to cruel and inhuman treatment.  The U.S. military's own lawyers say he is unfit for command.  The prison has kept hidden listening devices in rooms where prisoners meet with attorneys, and has accessed defense lawyers' files and emails.  There remains one way out for prisoners of this camp: death.

Photo of force-feeding chair by Jason Leopold.

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Bradley Manning Is Guilty of “Aiding the Enemy” -- If the Enemy Is Democracy

By Norman Solomon

Of all the charges against Bradley Manning, the most pernicious -- and revealing -- is “aiding the enemy.”

A blogger at The New Yorker, Amy Davidson, raised a pair of big questions that now loom over the courtroom at Fort Meade and over the entire country:

*  “Would it aid the enemy, for example, to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government?”

*  “In that case, who is aiding the enemy -- the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”

When the deceptive operation of the warfare state can’t stand the light of day, truth-tellers are a constant hazard. And culpability must stay turned on its head.

That’s why accountability was upside-down when the U.S. Army prosecutor laid out the government’s case against Bradley Manning in an opening statement: “This is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents and dumped them onto the Internet, into the hands of the enemy -- material he knew, based on his training, would put the lives of fellow soldiers at risk.”

If so, those fellow soldiers have all been notably lucky; the Pentagon has admitted that none died as a result of Manning’s leaks in 2010. But many of his fellow soldiers lost their limbs or their lives in U.S. warfare made possible by the kind of lies that the U.S. government is now prosecuting Bradley Manning for exposing.

In the real world, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, prosecution for leaks is extremely slanted. “Let’s apply the government's theory in the Manning case to one of the most revered journalists in Washington: Bob Woodward, who has become one of America’s richest reporters, if not the richest, by obtaining and publishing classified information far more sensitive than anything WikiLeaks has ever published,” Greenwald wrote in January.

He noted that “one of Woodward's most enthusiastic readers was Osama bin Laden,” as a 2011 video from al-Qaeda made clear. And Greenwald added that “the same Bob Woodward book [Obama’s Wars] that Osama bin Laden obviously read and urged everyone else to read disclosed numerous vital national security secrets far more sensitive than anything Bradley Manning is accused of leaking. Doesn't that necessarily mean that top-level government officials who served as Woodward’s sources, and the author himself, aided and abetted al-Qaida?”

But the prosecution of Manning is about carefully limiting the information that reaches the governed. Officials who run U.S. foreign policy choose exactly what classified info to dole out to the public. They leak like self-serving sieves to mainline journalists such as Woodward, who has divulged plenty of “Top Secret” information -- a category of classification higher than anything Bradley Manning is accused of leaking.  

While pick-and-choose secrecy is serving Washington’s top war-makers, the treatment of U.S. citizens is akin to the classic description of how to propagate mushrooms: keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit.

In effect, for top managers of the warfare state, “the enemy” is democracy.

Let’s pursue the inquiry put forward by columnist Amy Davidson early this year. If it is aiding the enemy “to expose war crimes committed by American forces or lies told by the American government,” then in reality “who is aiding the enemy -- the whistleblower or the perpetrators themselves?”

Candid answers to such questions are not only inadmissible in the military courtroom where Bradley Manning is on trial. Candor is also excluded from the national venues where the warfare state preens itself as virtue’s paragon.

Yet ongoing actions of the U.S. government have hugely boosted the propaganda impact and recruiting momentum of forces that Washington publicly describes as “the enemy.” Policies under the Bush and Obama administrations -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and beyond, with hovering drones, missile strikes and night raids, at prisons such as Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo and secret rendition torture sites -- have “aided the enemy” on a scale so enormous that it makes the alleged (and fictitious) aid to named enemies from Manning’s leaks infinitesimal in comparison.

Blaming the humanist PFC messenger for “aiding the enemy” is an exercise in self-exculpation by an administration that cannot face up to its own vast war crimes.

While prosecuting Bradley Manning, the prosecution may name al-Qaeda, indigenous Iraqi forces, the Taliban or whoever. But the unnamed “enemy” -- the real adversary that the Pentagon and the Obama White House are so eager to quash -- is the incessant striving for democracy that requires informed consent of the governed.

The forces that top U.S. officials routinely denounce as “the enemy” will never threaten the power of the USA’s dominant corporate-military elites. But the unnamed “enemy” aided by Bradley Manning’s courageous actions -- the people at the grassroots who can bring democracy to life beyond rhetoric -- are a real potential threat to that power.

Accusations of aid and comfort to the enemy were profuse after Martin Luther King Jr. moved forward to expose the Johnson administration’s deceptions and the U.S. military’s atrocities. Most profoundly, with his courageous stand against the war in Vietnam, King earned his Nobel Peace Prize during the years after he won it in 1964.

Bradley Manning may never win the Nobel Peace Prize, but he surely deserves it. Close to 60,000 people have already signed a petition urging the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the prize to Manning. To become a signer, click here.

Also, you can preview a kindred project on the "I Am Bradley Manning" site, where a just-released short video -- the first stage of a longer film due out soon -- features Daniel Ellsberg, Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Phil Donahue, Alice Walker, Peter Sarsgaard, Wallace Shawn, Russell Brand, Moby, Tom Morello, Michael Ratner, Molly Crabapple, Davey D, Tim DeChristopher, Josh Stieber, Lt. Dan Choi, Hakim Green, Matt Taibbi, Chris Hedges, Allan Nairn, Leslie Cagan, Ahdaf Soueif and Jeff Madrick.

From many walks of life, our messages will become louder and clearer as Bradley Manning’s trial continues. He is guilty of “aiding the enemy” only if the enemy is democracy.

__________________________________

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.”

Companies use a progressive tool in very non-progressive ways: The "Cloudy" Skies Corporations Want to Sell You

By Alfredo Lopez

 

It's the nature of the shallow, consumer-driven, dream-drunken culture our society tries to impose on us that we popularly adopt terms without knowing what they mean and, more often than not, they don't mean much of anything.

Such is the case with "the Cloud".

Most people who use computers believe they know what it is except that everyone seems to have a different definition. From a satellite-based storage system to a virtually invisible network to a collection of hard drives all over the world to a new form of storage that doesn't require computers to...whatever new definition pops up this week. In any case, you have heard of the "cloud" and probably aren't sure what it really is.

Another TSA employee spills the beans, by Lisa Simeone

Friend of the blog NJR of Taking Sense Away has allowed us to cross-post his entries for some time now. He gave me a heads-up last week that the following would hit his pages today. So here it is.

And there's a revelation afoot:

Action for Bradley Manning Everywhere

h/t Ciaron O'Reilly

REPORT by Ben Griffin, Veterans for Peace, on June 1st London solidarity for Bradley Manning outside the U.S. embassy. 

PHOTOS June 1st, London solidarity for Bradley Manning outside U.S. embassy

VID  (2 mins 30 secs) Collage of speakers Peter Tatchel, singer David Rovics, military resister Michael Lyons, woman from Bradley's hometown in Wales, Veterans for Peace Ben Griffin

VID (2 mins 30 secs) Michael Lyons, Veterans for Peace, British Navy medic imprisoned for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan





VID (8 mins) Craig Murray former British ambassador to Afghanistan, whistleblower on torture


Ft, MEADE, MARYLAND, U.S.A.
VID (4 mins 40 secs) June 1st. Solidarity, Daniel Elsberg speaking, outside Ft. Meade site of military trial beginning on Monday June 3rd





REPORT & PHOTOS from Ft. Meade June 1st. solidarity with Bradley Manning


BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA
VID (5 mins) Solidarity for Bradley Manning Brisbane, U.S.A.

Natan Blanc: Heroic Israeli Refusnik

 

Natan Blanc: Heroic Israeli Refusenik

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's a rogue terror state. It's been so from inception. It's history is blood-drenched. It's a global menace. 

 

It's current government is its worst ever. It prioritizes state terrorism. Palestinians live in the eye of the storm.

 

Two Guantánamo Prisoners Released in Mauritania

By Andy Worthington

In news that has so far only been available in Arabic, and which I was informed about by a Mauritanian friend on Facebook, I can confirm that two prisoners from Guantánamo have been released, and returned to their home country of Mauritania. The links are here and here.

The two men are Ahmed Ould Abdul Aziz and Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and they were accompanied by a third man, Hajj Ould Cheikh Hussein, who was apparently captured in Pakistan and held at Bagram in Afghanistan, which later became known as the Parwan Detention Facility.

According to one of the Arabic news sources, US officials handed the men to the Mauritanian security services who took them to an unknown destination. They have also reportedly met with their families.

I have no further information for now, but this appears to be confirmation that President Obama’s promise to resume the release of prisoners from Guantánamo was not as hollow as many of his promises have turned out to be. It also follows hints, in the Wall Street Journal (which I wrote about here), indicating that he would begin not with any of the 56 Yemeni prisoners out of the 86 prisoners cleared for release by the inter-agency task force that he established in 2009, but with some of the 30 others.

One of these 30 is Ahmed Ould Abdul Aziz, a teacher, and an educated and cultured man, who was seized in what appeared to be a random house raid in Pakistan in June 2002, but the other is a surprise. Mohamedou Ould Slahi was, notoriously, handed over by the Mauritanian authorities to the US in November 2001, He was then rendered to Jordan, where he was tortured, and was then subjected to a specific torture program in Guantánamo, where he arrived in August 2002, after which he became an allegedly helpful informant, although his torture was so severe that it prompted his assigned prosecutor, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, to resign rather than continue with the case.

Although he had his habeas corpus petition granted in March 2010, this was then vacated by the court of appeals, after an outcry from numerous Republicans, who believed, as had been alleged, that he had been some sort of mentor to the 9/11 hijackers, while he was living in Germany, even though it seems clear that, although he had met them, he had not done anything to assist them in their plans, and nor did he have any knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

I wrote extensively about the injustice of Slahi’s case — including the self-defeating absurdity of indefinitely detaining someone who had allegedly become an important informant — following the publication of a revelatory article in the Washington Post in March 2010, and his case recently came to light again when Slate published excerpts from an astonishing autobiography that he wrote in Guantánamo.

I will write about further developments when I have them, but for now this appears to be very good news indeed, not just for Ahmed Ould Abdul Aziz and Mohamedou Ould Slahi, but also for the other cleared prisoners in Guantánamo.

TSA milks scanner story, scanners still in airports, our rights still violated, by Lisa Simeone

 

Of course the TSA is getting PR mileage out of its recent (forced) decision on the strip-search scanners, and the credulous media are only too happy to play along.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Watch this TSA grope and tell me it has anything to do with security, by Amy Alkon

This story has been all over the news recently. (Ashley Jessica’s heart is in the right place, even if her use of anatomical nomenclature isn’t. I’m putting that out there right at the top to head off the inevitable criticism. -Editor)

Read the rest at TSA News.

How to tell the TSA how to do its job – and maybe get it to listen, by Christopher Elliott

If you’re afraid a TSA agent might bungle your screening when you fly somewhere this summer, maybe you should do what John Klapproth did when he was traveling from Seattle to Anchorage recently.

Read the rest at TSA News.

Nathaniel Rich in the NYT on scanners, TSA’s coercive tactics

Novelist Nathaniel Rich has written an op-ed for the New York Times on his refusal to go through the strip-search scanners (although it strikes me as inappropriate that the op-ed appears as part of the “Anxiety” series, as if it’s about some quaint neurosis instead of an important civil liberties concern).

Read the rest at TSA News.

The Government's List of "Anti-Government" People

Should the U.S. government be building a list of people whom a stranger has concluded based on as little as a moment's interaction are "anti-government"?  Look at this photo of a U.S. Census laptop.  There's a box to check if a respondent is reluctant to participate in the census.

The next screen wants the census interviewer to explain the potential interviewee's reluctance:

Notice that there is a box for hostile or threatening.  That seems important.  There are boxes for just not interested or too busy.  There is a box for those who object that too many personal questions are asked.  The basics all seem to be covered.  But the Census employee is to check multiple boxes, "all that apply," and one is  "Anti-government concerns."  What does that mean?  What do Census workers think it means?  It clearly means something other than reluctant to give the government this information.  To be "anti-" the government sounds like someone is in favor of overthrowing the government.  And a government that thinks purely in terms of violence would inevitably interpret such a desire as one in favor of violently overthrowing the government.  But surely nobody tells a representative of the government that they favor its violent overthrow unless they don't really take themselves seriously and are not actually a threat.  So maybe this "Anti-government concerns" box is equivalent to "Seems nuts," but what sort of training does the survey taker have in mental health?  The serious question is what lists your name goes on if somebody marks you down as Anti-government.

What We Know is Bad; What's Behind It is Worse! The AP Seizures and the Frightening Web They've Uncovered

 

By Alfredo Lopez


"Paranoia," said Woody Allen, "is knowing all the facts." By that measure, we're becoming more and more "paranoid" every day.

Spies "R" Us

 

Spies "R" Us

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article discussed institutionalized spying on Americans. Anyone can be monitored for any reason or none at all. 

 

Manufactured national security threats, silencing dissent, targeting whistleblowers, and challenging press freedom subvert constitutional rights. 

 

Close Guantanamo Now!

 

Close Guantanamo Now!

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

As president and commander-in-chief, Obama has legal authority to do so. On May 3, New York City Bar president Carey R. Dunne wrote him. He did so on behalf of the organization he heads.

 

He called indefinite detention "legally and morally indefensible." He said 25 retired military flag officers said it's "an effective recruiting tool for our enemies."

 

Willie Manning: Unjustly Sentenced to Death

 

Willie Manning: Unjustly Sentenced to Death

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Capital punishment is barbaric, unjust and unconscionable. It's the ultimate denial of human rights. Nothing justifies state-sponsored murder. Wrongfully executing innocent victims alone explains why.

 

On Its 20th Birthday, Its Future is Challenged: Social Networking Poses Threat to World Wide Web

 

By Alfredo Lopez


This Summer, a team at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has undertaken a remarkable project: to recreate the first web site and the computer on which it was first seen.

TSA’s John Pistole shovels the sh*t yet again

 

If you’re of a literary bent, you may already know the following statement. It was famously said by writer Mary McCarthy of fellow writer Lillian Hellman:

“Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.”

Read the rest at TSA News.

Another woman detained by TSA over false positive

 

I suppose we can say it till we’re blue in the face and it still won’t make a dent.

The so-called explosives trace detection machines, like the strip-search scanners, alarm on false positives all the time. All the time.

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