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America’s assault on a free press moves into high gear: Detention of Greenwald Partner in London Clearly Came on US Orders

By Dave Lindorff


It is becoming perfectly clear that the outrageous detention of American journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda by British police during a flight transfer at London’s Heathrow Airport was, behind the scenes, the work of US intelligence authorities.


Police State Terror in Egypt

 

Police State Terror in Egypt

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Protracted conflict continues. Reports suggest Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) plans to declare the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a terrorist organization.

 

Russia vs. U.S. Gas “Cold War” Underlying Edward Snowden Asylum Standoff

Cross-Posted from Mint Press News

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Nearly two months ago, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden handed smoking-gun documents on the international surveillance apparatus to The Guardian andThe Washington Post in what’s become one of the most captivating stories in recent memory.

NSA Caught Red-Handed

 

NSA Caught Red-Handed

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's a longstanding rogue agency. It always operated extrajudicially. It's worse than ever now. It's a power unto itself.

 

Obama claims "(w)e don’t have a domestic spying program. What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat."

 

Police State Egypt

 

Police State Egypt

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Bloody Wednesday revealed state-sponsored police state harshness. Egypt exhibits classic characteristics.

 

Wikipedia calls a police state one "in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic, and political life of the population." 

 

War is more than a queer issue

By Burkely Hermann

In a recent discussion on reddit, I mentioned the views of genderqueer activist Dooler Campbell who has said time and time again, that war is a queer issue because “our military is being used to promote and push forward an imperialist and neoliberal agenda that is damaging to people across the world, including...non-heterosexual people...people are being killed, queer and trans folk included...these acts are justified through the rhetoric of gay rights...US military presence negatively affects the lives of gays and lesbians in the countries we are bombing.” People dismissed this view saying that “US militarism didn't apply to all LGBTQ people...that war was a trans* issue...[and no one said that] Gay Inc. should...link up with the waning US anti-war movement, to oppose militarism since it is an issue that affects LGBTQI people worldwide.” In summary, there people were saying that I didn't know what I was talking about, and that militarism is completely unrelated to QUILTBAG (Queer/Questioning, Undecided/Unidentified, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, and Gay) people. I use this term because I am tired of using LGBTQ and debating how many letters to add to it, and QUILTBAG just makes it easier. This article is for those naysayers and many others.

Bradley Manning Addresses Sentencing Hearing

 

Bradley Manning Addresses Sentencing Hearing

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's an American hero. He's no spy. He committed no crimes. He acted responsibly. He did the right thing. He deserves praise, not prosecution.

 

He exposed US war crimes. He fulfilled his legal obligation to do so. He's victimized unjustly. Police state injustice wants him imprisoned longterm. Systemic unfairness defines US policy.

Screaming in Bradley Manning's Trial

I sat in the courtroom all day on Wednesday as Bradley Manning's trial wound its way to a tragic and demoralizing conclusion.  I wanted to hear Eugene Debs, and instead I was trapped there, watching Socrates reach for the hemlock and gulp it down.  Just a few minutes in and I wanted to scream or shout.

I don't blame Bradley Manning for apologizing for his actions and effectively begging for the court's mercy.  He's on trial in a system rigged against him.  The commander in chief declared him guilty long ago.  He's been convicted.  The judge has been offered a promotion.  The prosecution has been given a playing field slanted steeply in its favor.  Why should Manning not follow the only advice anyone's ever given him and seek to minimize his sentence?  Maybe he actually believes that what he did was wrong.  But -- wow -- does it make for some perverse palaver in the courtroom.

This was the sentencing phase of the trial, but there was no discussion of what good or harm might come of a greater or lesser sentence, in terms of deterrence or restitution or prevention or any other goal.  That's one thing I wanted to scream at various points in the proceedings.

This was the trial of the most significant whistleblower in U.S. history, but there was no mention of anything he'd blown the whistle on, any of the crimes exposed or prevented, wars ended, nonviolent democratic movements catalyzed.  Nothing on why he's a four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee.  Nothing.  Every time that the wars went unmentioned, I wanted to scream.  War was like air in this courtroom, everybody on all sides militarized -- and it went unnoticed and unmentioned.

What was discussed on Wednesday was as disturbing as what wasn't.  Psycho-therapists, and relatives, and Bradley Manning himself -- defense witnesses all -- testified that he had been wrong to do what he'd done, that he'd not been in his right mind, and that he is a likable person to whom the judge should be kind. 

Should likable people get lesser sentences? 

The prosecution focused, with much less success I think, on depicting Manning as an unlikable person.  Should unlikable people get heavier sentences? 

What, I wanted to scream, about the likability of blowing the whistle on major crimes?  Shouldn't that be rewarded, rather than being less severely punished?

There were some 30 of us observing the trial on Wednesday in the courtroom, many with "TRUTH" on our t-shirts, plus six members of the news media.  Another 40 some people were watching a video feed in a trailer outside, and another 40 media folks were watching a video in a separate room.  The defense and prosecution lawyers sat a few feet apart from each other, and I suppose the politeness of the operation was preferable to the violence that had led to it.  But the gravity of threatening Manning with 90 years in prison seemed belied by the occasional joking with witnesses. 

Before he'd become a criminal suspect, Manning had written in an online chat:

"If you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do? . . . or Guantanamo, Bagram, Bucca, Taji, VBC for that matter . . . things that would have an impact on 6.7 billion people . . . say… a database of half a million events during the iraq war… from 2004 to 2009… with reports, date time groups, lat-lon locations, casualty figures… ? or 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?"

Manning made clear what his concern and motivation were:

"i think the thing that got me the most… that made me rethink the world more than anything . . . was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police… for printing 'anti-Iraqi literature'… the iraqi federal police wouldn't cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the 'bad guys' were, and how significant this was for the FPs… it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki… i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled 'Where did the money go?' and following the corruption trail within the PM's cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn't want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…"

Manning wanted the public informed:

"its important that it gets out… i feel, for some bizarre reason . . . it might actually change something . . .  i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready…"

In other words, Manning didn't want his name to be known, but he wanted the information to be known.  This was, again, what Manning said during a pre-trial hearing:

" [W]e became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.  I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday."

Manning wanted to end wars that the majority of Americans think were wrong ever to have begun, and he helped to end them -- at least in the case of Iraq.  He'd had clearly thought out intentions, and they led to the sort of success he'd hoped for, at least to some degree.  A full-blown public debate on abolishing the institution of war is yet to come. 

The first witness on Wednesday was a therapist who had consulted with Manning while he was in the Army and in Iraq.  This man noted that Manning had problems with his occupation, but gave no indication of what that occupation was.  Manning was under stress, but the moral crisis discussed in the chat logs was never mentioned.  Instead, Manning's lawyer directed the witness to discuss "gender issues."  The witness said that Manning had informed him that he was gay, that being openly gay in the military was a violation of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), and that such violations were an exception to doctor-patient confidentiality.  Neither defense nor prosecution followed up on that.  Nor did they ask whether Manning had mentioned any concerns over other violations of the UCMJ of which he had become aware in the course of his duties.  Perhaps not turning Manning in for being gay was simply the decent thing to do.  But, then, wasn't Manning's effectively turning others in for their more serious abuses also the decent thing to do? 

While I might have liked to see Manning choose a jury rather than a judge, hire a different lawyer, and argue for protection as a whistleblower, the defense's case -- on its own terms -- was well done.  The prosecution did not manage to respond effectively or even competently.  A prosecutor, referring to comments in a chat log, asked the therapist what it would mean if a soldier called other soldiers ignorant rednecks.  The witness replied that he couldn't say that he'd never said such a thing himself.  The whole room laughed.  I clapped.  I forgot for a moment about wanting to scream. 

The next witness was a therapist hired to work for the defense.  He said that Manning suffered fits of rage in the military.  Shouldn't he have?  If you'd been dropped into the war on Iraq and seen what it was, how would you have most healthily reacted?  This therapist believed Manning suffered from gender dysphoria, or gender identity disorder.  The whole room seemed to suffer from basic human decency dysphoria.  Manning also suffered, the therapist believed, from fetal alcohol syndrome and Asperger's.  Manning also, we were told, suffered from narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  These were related, apparently, to his post-adolescent idealism, a state this therapist considered wide-spread and normal, yet not quite acceptable, as it explained Manning's so-called misdeeds.  Manning, we heard, had been stressed out over his boyfriend, and as a result of his alcoholic parents.  The notion that war could cause stress didn't enter the courtroom. 

Was Manning too stressed to appreciate the wrongness of his actions, his own lawyer asked.

The witness took that question and actually turned the discussion toward Manning's whistleblowing in his answer, suggesting that Manning had found injustices and believed he had an oath to uphold by exposing them.  This therapist, however, believed that if Manning had had a friend to talk to, he might not have blown the whistle on anything. 

How did stress impact his thought process, asked Manning's lawyer.  It impaired it, the therapist explained.  Manning suffered from Post-Adolescent Idealism (if only that were contagious! I wanted to scream).  Manning underestimated how much trouble he'd be in.  The worst he believed could happen to him would be separation from the Army, this expert informed us.

Back in the real world in which Manning had written the messages in the published chat logs that exposed him, Manning had had this to say:

"i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy . . .  i think im in more potential heat than you ever were [speaking to the snitch who turned him in]  . . .  Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public."

What other impressions did the therapist have of Bradley Manning?  Well, Manning had a very consistent system of beliefs. 

I wonder if the witness knew what Bradley was going to say on the stand in just a few hours. 

The prosecution's cross-examination of the first therapist had been so incompetent that even the judge grew fed-up.  This second one was no better.  The prosecutor managed to get the witness to talk about Manning's supposed narcissism, grandiosity, arrogance, and haughtiness, but the witness described Post-Adolescent Idealism as so widespread as to be considered normal.  (Wouldn't that be nice!) 

Did Manning know that what he was doing was illegal, the prosecutor asked.  Yes, the therapist said.  There was no objection from the defense, of course.

Was personal recognition a motive?  No.

Would Manning commit the misconduct again?  (This was the only moment that bordered on President Obama's much-beloved looking forward.)  I don't know, was the answer.

If in the future he saw something that violated his sense of morality would he take action again?  Well, he's been pretty consistent with his principles.

Before Manning reversed his principles on the stand, there was one other witness to testify: Manning's older sister.  Her testimony was stunning.  I nearly cried.  A number of people did openly cry.  She described a family in which both parents were alcoholics.  Her and Bradley's mother was drunk every day, and a mean drunk at that.  Their father was nearly as bad.  Manning's sister, 11 years older than he, raised him more than anyone else.  Their mother drank through her pregnancy with Bradley.  He was tiny and underfed.  And things got worse as the parents split up, the mother became suicidal, the sister fled.  If this testimony were aired on television, people would discuss it -- in tears -- for many months.  There would be endless discussions of each tangential topic, including alcohol, fetal alcohol syndrome, child abuse, rural isolation, divorce, older sisters, and -- of course -- whether traitors can be excused because they had bad childhoods.

And yet, I wanted to scream out: Why aren't we analyzing the people who had better or worse childhoods than Manning and all failed to do what he did?  What about their mental health?  What about their Blind Obedience Disorder?

Manning's sister said that he had calmed down and matured during the past three years.  No mention of his naked isolation cell.  No mention of the existential threat hanging over him.  No mention of how clear-minded and principled he appears to have been back when he was supposedly immature.

Then, Manning made his sworn statement.  He said he was sorry his actions had hurt people, despite no evidence having shown that they did.  He said he was sorry his actions hurt the United States, whereas clearly his actions benefitted the United States, allowing us much greater access into what our secretive government is doing in our name.  Manning questioned how he could have possibly believed he knew better than his superiors.

It's an interesting question.  Manning went into the Army in hopes of receiving money for college.  He was entering a hostile world.  Loyalty to buddies did not overpower loyalty to humanity, in Manning's case, because the Army wasn't his buddies.  So, Manning looked at the horrors of war and said to himself: I can shine a light, and that light can fix this.  We can, Bradley Manning believed, have a peaceful government of, by, and for the people.

The next and last witness was Bradley's aunt, who told a very sympathetic tale paralleling Bradley's sister's.  She concluded by asking the judge to consider Manning's difficult start in life, and the fact that Bradley thought he was doing the right thing when he was not thinking clearly at all.

I never screamed.

I took off my "TRUTH" shirt.

TSA manager Shane Hinkle charged with sexual abuse

 

And yet another TSA agent has been arrested for sexual assault. 


Oh, well. Just another day in the TSA!
 

Read the rest at ABombazine.

NYPD Stop and Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional

 

NYPD Stop and Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Longstanding NYPD stop and frisk practices are flagrantly racist. They violate constitutional privacy rights. People of color are systematically targeted.

 

Hundreds of thousands of law abiding residents are persecuted. According to New York's ACLU, mostly minority "New Yorkers (were) subjected to police stops and interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002."

Black women’s hair once again focus of clueless TSA

My Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses is full of stories like this -- and worse -- where a black woman has her hair pawed by a blue-shirted goon in the name of "security." But apparently people still don't get it.

Read the rest at ABombazine.

Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform

 

Obama Spurns NSA Spying Reform

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Huey Long once said fascism will arrive "wrapped in an American flag." In "Friendly Fascism," Bertram Gross (1912 - 1997) called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler. Gross didn't know Obama.

 

NSA Spying: Worse Than You Think

 

NSA Spying: Worse Than You Think

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's ugly. It's lawless. It's out-of-control. It''s worse than most people think. It's not getting better. It's getting worse.

 

Not according to Obama, saying: 

 

Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death

 

Federal Judge Sentences Lynne Stewart to Death

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On August 9, The New York Times headlined "Dying Lawyer's Request for Release From Prison Is Turned Down," saying:

 

Pelican Bay Hunger Striking for Justice

 

Anti-American Sentiment in Egypt


by Stephen Lendman


Confronting the latest attack on our privacy and freedom: Lavabit's Profile in Corporate Principles and Personal Courage

By Alfredo Lopez


The term "collateral damage" is most frequently applied to the "non-targeted" death and destruction brought by bombs and guns. But it seems that our government, the master of collateral damage, is now doing it in "non-violent" ways. Take the recent situation at Lavabit.

New York Times Editors Support Police State Persecution

 

New York Times Editors Support Police State Persecution

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It doesn't surprise. Times editors, columnists and contributors reflect what famed investigative journalist/critic George Seldes (1890 - 1995) called "prostitutes of the press."

 

They feature managed news misinformation. They suppress what readers most need to know. They support wealth, power and privilege. They oppose popular interests.

 

TSA News HuffPost Live video link

I was on the Alyona Minkovski Show on HuffPost Live last night with former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley and EPIC Administrative Law Counsel Khaliah Barnes to talk about the TSA’s VIPR teams.

Suspect Turkish Court Rulings

 

Suspect Turkish Court Rulings

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On Monday, a landmark case ended. It was politically charged. It was suspect from inception. Everyone tried claimed innocence. Of the 275 alleged coup plotters, most were convicted. 

 

In 2007, proceedings began. Only 21 defendants were acquitted. Another 16 were freed. Consideration for time served brought release. 

 

TSA overreacts -- again -- to smart-ass comment

In another episode in the continuing saga of The Buffoons in Blue Overreact to Every Squeak, Burp, and Fart at the Checkpoint, a 26-year-old man at Bradley Airport in Connecticut was detained by the TSA and arrested by police for being a smartass.

Read the rest at ABombazine.

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden: Whistleblowers as Modern Tricksters

By John Grant


Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.

                      -Paul Radin

 

XKeyscore: Instrument of Mass Surveillance

 

XKeyscore: Instrument of Mass Surveillance

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Evidence mounts. America crossed the line. It operates lawlessly. It reflects police state ruthlessness. Big Brother's real. It's not fiction. It watches everyone. 

 

It's about control, espionage and intimidation. It targets fundamental freedoms. It has nothing to do with national security. America's only threats are ones it invents. It does so for political advantage.

Russia Grants Snowden One-Year Asylum

 

Russia Grants Snowden One-Year Asylum

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On June 23, he arrived in Moscow. He applied for asylum. He's been stuck in Sheremetyevo Airport transit zone limbo.

 

Putin was clear and unequivocal. He won't extradite him. No treaty obligation exists. Official requests don't matter. 

 

Manning, Snowden and Swarz: America’s Police State Marches On, Media in Tow

By Dave Lindorff


The New York Times, in an editorial published the day after a military judge found Pvt. Bradley Manning “not guilty” of “aiding the enemy” -- a charge that would have locked him up for life without possibility of parole and could have carried the death penalty -- but also found him guilty on multiple counts of “espionage,” called the verdict “Mixed.” Not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of espionage.


Bradley Manning: Victimized by Police State Injustice

 

Bradley Manning: Victimized by Police State Injustice

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Manning's conviction is chilling. It reflects police state viciousness. Imagine being criminalized for doing the right thing. Imagine being called a traitor for acting responsibly.

 

Manning's no spy. He's no criminal. He deserves praise, not prosecution. America honors its worst. It persecutes its best. It's unsafe to live in. 

 

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