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Pennsylvania’s for lovers...of convictions: The Scandal Hidden Inside a State’s Porn Emails Scandal

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

(Part I of II)
 

Obscured by a current scandal involving pornographic emails currently rocking the top reaches of Pennsylvania’s state government, a scandal that has cast a shadow over embattled Pennsylvania Governor and former state's attorney general Tom Corbett and the state’s judiciary, including a state Supreme Court member, is another explosive scandal.

It won't protect you at all: Default Encryption: Apple and Google's Latest Marketing Ploy

By Alfredo Lopez


A couple of weeks ago, the mere mortals who lead the voracious giants of technology -- Google and Apple -- announced that they were striking a blow for protection against NSA spying by making "encryption" the default on Google cell phone software (which is used on most cell phones) and THEY software used on Apple mobile devices.

This affects equipment like the ubiquitous cell phone, although it is also relevant to some handheld computers and similar portable equipment.

Tar Sands Trade: Kuwait Buys Stake in Alberta As It Opens Own Heavy Oil Spigot

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Chevron made waves in the business world when it announced its October 6 sale of 30-percent of its holdings in the Alberta-based Duvernay Shale basin to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) for $1.5 billion.

Photo Credit: Oil Fires in Kuwait During First Gulf War | Wikimedia Commons

Karmic payback for selfish Americans: Dickensian US Working Conditions Almost Guarantee Ebola Catastrophe

By Dave Lindorff

 

Ebola is coming! Ebola is coming! America is doomed!


That, in essence, is the message of the US corporate news media, always on the lookout for the next sensational story with which to stir up hysteria among the public in the interest of higher ratings.


The United States is No. 1 -- But in What?

American politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world.  Is there any evidence for this claim?

New poem by TCBH! resident poet Gary Lindorff: "Shopping at Walmart"

Welcome to Walmart,
How may I help you?

You can start by reading my shirt.
On the front it says: Leave while you can.
On the back: Follow my ass.

Outside the day-sky is black.
There is a static energy crackling from
Every plant and rooftop.
Everything is charged.
There is an acidic tang to the air,
A volatile fried plastic smell.

I am homeless.
I will do anything for food.
Wash your car, clean your garage.
I am a middle-aged starving, fat American.
I see myself crucified on a solar panel.

Libeling a movement and its activists: Accusing Hong Kong Activists of Being Tools of US Policy is Both Ignorant and Dangerous

By Dave Lindorff

 

            A number of progressive and left-leaning writers in the US have jumped on a report by Wikileaks that the neo-con dominated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and various other US-government linked organizations with a history of subversion and sowing discord abroad are operating in Hong Kong to make the leap of “logic” that the democracy protests in Hong Kong must therefore be a creation of US policy-makers.

Free Speech Arrested: Police Union Seeks To Censor College Commencement Speech by Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Linn Washington


Police carp about college students’ selection of a prison inmate for their commencement speaker. It must have something to do with Mumia Abu-Jamal…the man that cops across America love to hate.

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), issued a statement on October 1 that blasted Goddard College for its failure to block the commencement speech scheduled for Sunday (10/5) by Abu-Jamal, an alum of the small liberal arts institution in Vermont.

What laws of war? We do what we want!: Obama Admits US Bombing Attacks in Syria Pay Little Heed to Protecting Civilians

By Dave Lindorff

 

In a perverse way, maybe it's progress that the US is now admitting that it doesn't really care about how many civilians it kills in its efforts to "decapitate" a few suspected terrorist leaders.

Who's On First?: The War of the Heads

By John Grant

 

Ain’t no time to wonder why.
Whoopee, we’re all gonna die.

                  - Country Joe MacDonald

 

Freedom’s just another word: US Launches Wars and Backs Coups in the Name of Democracy, but Won’t Back Real Democracy Activists

By Dave Lindorff


The US claims to be supporting democracy from Ukraine to Cuba, and from Somalia to Iraq, often by bombing the alleged opposition, or by supporting proxy wars and subversion. But one place where real democracy activists are battling against the forces of repression they are curiously getting no backing from the United States: Hong Kong.

Ten Acres & A Yard Tractor: Plowing Under The Great Kansas Corpone Revolution

By Michael Caddell


North Jefferson County, Kansas -- The Sept. 6, 2014 Kansas State Fair debates in Hutchinson, with a maximum arena crowd of 2500, had satellite trucks linked to MSNBC, CNN and reporters from as far away as New York. Certainly proof something was happening in Kansas, but for too many in the state that “something” remains unknown.


Responding to Ebola: Cuba Sees a Crisis, and Sends Docs; The US Sees an Opportunity and Sends Troops

By Dave Lindorff

 

How’s this for a juxtaposition on how nations respond to a global health catastrophe. Check out these two headlines from yesterday’s news:

 

Cuba Sends Doctors to Ebola Areas

 

US to Deploy 3000 Troops as Ebola Crisis Worsens

 

Lawless Law Enforcers: In America the 'Terrorists' All Too Often Are the Police

By Linn Washington

 

Two acts of ugly terrorism occurred in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963.

One act was widely abhorred. The other act ignored.

Many across America know about the 9/15/63 Birmingham murders of four little girls slain in the bombing of a black Baptist church 18-days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his stirring “I Have A Dream” speech.

Statement from Ann Wright for the September 13, 2014 Conference in Washington, DC on the 16th Anniversary of the Imprisonment of the Cuban Five

By Ann Wright
I thank the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five for the opportunity to speak on the injustices of the law enforcement,  judicial system and media of the United States concerning the pre-trial incarceration, trial, sentencing and the appeals process of the Cuban Five.  https://www.facebook.com/events/772622612780775/

I am a 29-year veteran of the U.S. Army and retired as a Colonel.  I was also a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the decision of the Bush administration to invade and occupy Iraq.  Since my resignation eleven years ago, I have spoken and written frequently about my deep concern about policies and decisions taken by the United States government.
I, like many others who have served in the United States government, am deeply concerned about the lack of fairness of American law enforcement and judicial systems as it pertains to the Cuban Five.  Earlier this year, in June, 2014, at the “5 Days for the Cuban 5” events in Washington, DC, the international audience from countries around the world heard of their concerns about this unfairness from former U.S. government officials:   Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General; Larry Wilkerson, Retired U.S. Army Colonel and former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; and Wayne Smith, former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
I am proud to add my voice to their condemnations of the American prosecutorial and judicial processes and the American penal system.
I first met families of the Cuban Five in 2006 in Havana, Cuba.  I had travelled there as a member of a human rights delegation sponsored by CODEPINK: Women for Peace that went to the gates of the U.S. military base in Guantanamo to protest the torture and inhumane conditions of the prisoners who had been kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned following the events of September 11, 2001, almost three years to the day, the Cuban Five were arrested. 
During our trip to Cuba, our delegation talked with the families of the Cuban Five who at that time had been in U.S. prisons for eight years, many of those years in which the U.S. judicial system was deeply influenced by the events of 9/11 and the subsequent curtailment of civil and political rights in the United States for U.S. citizens and extraordinary abridgement and violation of legal rights for non-U.S. citizens.
We know well the history of the decision of the Clinton Administration to prosecute the Cuban Five for their unarmed, non-violent monitoring of Miami-based terrorist organizations in the United States to prevent further attacks against the people of Cuba who have suffered more than 3,478 deaths and 2,099 injuries from terrorist acts from U.S.-based criminals. 
We know the story of the Cuban government’s cooperation of providing documents, videos and other evidence to the United states government for the investigation to lead to the prosecution of persons residing in the United states who had committed acts of violence against the Cuban people, including the blowing up of a Cuban airliner that resulted in the deaths of 75 people and the explosion in a nightclub in Cuba that killed many persons.  We know the United States never prosecuted the perpetrators of these crimes and the criminals currently are living in the open in the United States, including Luis Posada Carriles. 
In 2008, I and several members of CODEPINK: Women for Peace went to Miami, found Carriles wife’s home and his presence in the home as confirmed by a housing complex gardener and went to the Miami FBI office and reported that we have found the location of a dangerous criminal.  We put a large banner  with Carriles’ photo and the words “Criminal” in the back of a truck and went drove around Miami with the banner.  Then we had a press conference in Miami across the street from the Versailles restaurant, a hang-out for right wing Cubans, announcing that we had located Carriles and that the police should arrest him.  We were attacked with baseball bats.
We know the Bush administration paid reporters to write negative stories about the Cuban Five during their trial in Miami, Florida jeopardizing the fairness of the trial.  We know that in August 2005, a three judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned all of the convictions on the grounds that the Five had not received a fair trial in Miami and that one year later, in August 2006, in spite of the strong disagreement voiced by two of the three judges who made up the original panel, the full 12 member Court of Appeals revoked the decision of the three judges. 
We know the Obama administration’s Solicitor General, now a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan, argued that the U.S. Supreme Court should not grant a hearing on the case of the Cuban Five. 
We know that many international figures including ten Nobel laureates, among them East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchu, Jose Saramago, Wole Soyinka, Zhores Alferov, Nadine Gordimer, Gunter Grass, Dario Fo and Mairead Maguire, as well as the Mexican Senate, the National Assembly of Panama, and Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland (1992-1997) and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), and UNESCO General Director Federico Mayor, among others, signed the amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. They were joined by hundreds of parliamentarians from around the world. Among them were 75 members of the European Parliament, including two ex-presidents and three current vice-presidents of this legislature.  Also represented were numerous legal and human rights associations from different countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as international personalities and legal and academic organizations in the United States.
We know that in 2005, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, concluded that, based on the facts and the circumstances in which the trial was held, the nature of the charges and the severity of the convictions, the imprisonment of the Five violated Article 14 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Liberties, to which the United States is a signatory. We know that this was the first time the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had denounced a conviction in a case in the United States because of the violations committed during the legal process.
Despite the appeals from the international community and the United Nations, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of the Cuban Five.
We know that many persons convicted of being agents for a foreign government and for espionage against the United States and of providing classified U.S. government documents to the State of Israel, China and Taiwan have received much lighter sentences than the Cuban Five.
We know that two of the Cuban Five, Rene Gonzalez and Hernando Gonzalez have finally been released after serving their sentences.  We know that three of the Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernandez,  Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero, still remain in U.S. maximum security prisons facing decades more of imprisonment.
What We Don’t Know
What we don’t know is how long the United States government will continue its 50 year old campaign against the government and people of Cuba, to include using its judicial system to violate the human and civil rights of those who attempt to prevent further criminal attacks coming from the United States on their own citizens.
What we don’t know, is when the tipping point will come through citizen activism, that at long last, a U.S. political administration will be willing to challenge the strangle-hold the right wing Cuban lobby in Miami has on American politics to ultimately correct the injustices the Cuban Five have suffered.
But, we do know that, despite its lofty pronouncements of protection of human rights around the world,  the United states government seldom holds itself accountable for its well-known abuses.
Without international and domestic education and pressure, such as this forum tonight and other important conferences of the International  Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five,  to hold the United States government accountable for its actions, accountability will not happen in these sensitive political cases.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to add my voice calling for justice for  the Cuban Five and release of the remaining three victims of U.S. injustice-- Gerardo Hernandez,  Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero.

A cultural essay: Going to War with a Vengeance

By John Grant


To do nothing is to send a message to the wrongdoer, and the general public, that the victim has no self-worth and will not marshal the internal resources necessary to reclaim his or her honor. Shattered dignity is not beyond repair, but no elevating and equalizing of dignity can occur without the personal satisfaction of revenge.
        -Thane Rosenbaum, Payback: The Case For Revenge

Making the news fit the politics: NY Times Finds Conclusions Where None Exist in Dutch Flight 17 Downing Report

By Dave Lindorff


The New York Times, which has been misreporting on, and misleading its readers about the downing of Malaysian Flight 17 since the plane was downed last July 17, continues its sorry track record of flogging anti-Russian sentiment in the US and of supporting the post-putsch Ukrainian government in Kiev.

Flaws in US Thought–And Some Remedies

by Johan Galtung, 8 Sep 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

Kuala Lumpur

Obama faces a “three-headed monster” (INYT 5 Sep 2014): Russia-Ukraine, ISIS, and Asia with a US “pivot”. Show NATO strength in Eastern Europe; crush ISIS (Colin Powell’s 9/11 remedy for Al-Qaeda); 60% of US force and “all but China” treaties in Asia-Pacific.

It is not going to work. Not with Obama-Biden-Kerry, nor with McCain; be it one monster with three heads or three with one each. There is no way in which Donbass will become a peaceful, integrated part of a unitary two-nation Ukraine; the Sunni-Arab world will find ways to integrate and undo Sykes-Picot; and no way in which one Asia-Pacific will choose USA over China. They want both, as the PM of Malaysia, Najib Razak, expresses it so well; eulogizing both.

The Fall of the US Empire-And Then What?

by Johan Galtung, 1 Sep 2014 - TRANSCEND Media Service

Is the title of a book published by TRANSCEND University Press in 2009, now in second printing, and several translations including Chinese. There were two subtitles indicating answers: Successors, Regionalization or Globalization? – US Blossoming or US Fascism?

What is the situation today, five years later?

Successors? UK is militarily with USA to keep Anglo-America as a dominant world force even if a shadow of 50 years ago; France tries to keep its hold on former colonies in Africa; they use NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization for military and EU-European Union for political support. In empires the local elites line up to do the killing; yet the Western powers have mainly to do that themselves.

A whiff of SCOTUS skunk: The Odor Seeping Out of Our Criminal Justice System

By John Grant


I just thank God I’m out of this place.
              - Henry Lee McCollum

First there was Ferguson, Missouri and the gunning down of an unarmed black youth and the ad-nauseum follow-up emphasizing over-and-over the shooting officer’s fear. Now it’s the release of two half brothers in North Carolina clearly railroaded into convictions and death sentences by a notoriously remorseless, good-'ol-boy district attorney.

No! Your data is not safe!: Hackers Used Government Spyware to Data-rob iCloud

By Alfredo Lopez


One sensationally reported incident this week exposes a dual threat: your data isn't safe on a corporate-controlled "cloud" and spying software made for police and government agencies makes it completely accessible.

War by stealth and by mini-armies: US Invades Iraq...Again, and Secretly

By Dave Lindorff


Flash! The US has re-invaded Iraq!

Let’s get reimbursed!: Time-Warner Customers of the World Unite!

By Alfredo Lopez


Are you a Time-Warner Internet customer? Have you ever experienced an outage? Have you called the company for a reimbursement? Most people would probably answer "no" to that last question. In fact, most company customers don't realize that these companies aren't required to reimburse and, in Time Warner's case, they usually don't. You have to call them.

Maybe it's time to make this sensitive movement for Time Warner a bit more sensitive.

Get a grip America: Who’s the Real Aggressor in Ukraine? (Hint: It’s Not Russia)

By Dave Lindorff

 

            The US corporate media are awash in fevered articles and news stories about a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine, as though it was 1938, with German troops marching into Sedetenland and Austria. But let’s step back and look at what’s going on, calmly and rationally.

 

Where even the reality cop shows are boring: Smart Social Policies in Finland, Dumb Ones in the US

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Kuopio -- Finland can be a shock to a visitor from America. The cities are clean, the highways and byways are smoothly paved and pothole-free despite the punishing winter climate faced by a country that straddles the Arctic Circle, schools look shiny and new, and it’s hard to see anyone who looks destitute.

 

Obama Opened Floodgates for Offshore Fracking in Recent Gulf of Mexico Lease

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In little-noticed news arising out of a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas lease held by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floodgates have opened for Gulf offshore hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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