While politicians, insiders and experts may be divided over how much the government should spend on the nation’s defense, there’s a
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Thursday, May 30th, 2012 3:00 PM EST
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This week's Sprouts is a discussion with Chase Madar, author of the new book "The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History." Speaking with Madar is David Swanson, host of the weekly program Talk Nation Radio, produced in Charllottesville, Va. Madar discusses the voluminous information that Manning is accused of providing to Wikileaks and to us, and some of the startling insights it gives us into what our supposedly representative government has been up to. The show also looks at the official and public responses to Manning, his mistreatment, his legal status, and the fate of whistleblowers under the Obama administration.
Sprouts is a weekly program that features local radio production and stories from many radio stations and local media groups around the world.It is produced in collaboration with community radio stations and independent producers across the country.
The program is coordinated and distributed by Pacifica Radio and offered free of charge to all radio stations.
By Michael Collins
(Washington, 2/30/2012) At the end of Monday's Leveson Inquiry with Tony Blair on the stand, Lord Justice Leveson sent the credibility of the effort's summary findings straight to Hell. After Blair's pressured presentation and an interruption by a protester who called Blair a war criminal, Leveson began an odd exchange with the former Prime Minister. It began with this request to Blair:
Lord Justice Leveson:
2 So whatever assistance you can give, who have
3 thought about how you change things for the future, I'd
4 be very interested. Let me give you some potential
5 issues. (May 28 transcript page 38)
If things had ended there, this could be seen as a modest invitation, one Leveson might have offered any number of witnesses as a general courtesy. But the justice was not finished. He outlined specific issues covering five pages of transcript.
Chris Hayes was driving me crazy, because I was beginning to think I'd need to start watching television. Luckily I've been saved from that fate, it seems. Hayes' comments on MSNBC, for which he has now absurdly apologized, were the type of basic honesty -- or, better, truth telling as revolutionary act -- that was tempting me.
MSNBC is part of a larger corporation that makes more money from war than from infotainment. Phil Donahue learned his lesson, along with Jeff Cohen. Cenk Uygur did too -- or perhaps he taught them one. Keith Olbermann didn't last. Rachel Maddow wants war "reformed" but would never be caught blurting out the sort of honesty that got Hayes into trouble.
Hayes questioned the appropriateness of calling warriors heroes, and of doing so in order to promote more war-making. He was right to do that. This practice has been grotesquely inappropriate for a very long time.
Pericles honored those who had died in war on the side of Athens:
According to Mitt Romney, the world is not safe. Presumably someone somewhere says the world is perfectly safe, and to that person we can all bellow: "Ha! Mitt's right, and you are wrong!" Except that what Mitt seems to mean is all wrong. He declares in the next breath that Iran is rushing to become a nuclear nation and share nuclear weapons with terrorist groups. According to the Secretary of "Defense" and the rest of the gang with access to the government's secrets, or at least the list of whom Obama plans to murder, Iran has no nuclear weapons program.
Next Romney lumps together as U.S. enemies Pakistan, China, Russia, and Venezuela. Does that make us more or less safe? Or does it just help sell weaponry? According to Mitt the U.S. should have the world's biggest military. According to reality, the United States could cut its military by two-thirds and have the world's biggest military. Military spending has increased every year that Bush or Obama has been president.
Romney says a bigger military means fewer wars. Eisenhower's prediction of 51 years ago, and the past 51 years worth of evidence, says the opposite: the military creates momentum for wars, planning for wars, and neglect of alternatives to war.
According to Mother Jones, "Mitt Romney Wants the Biggest Military Ever, Regardless of Cost." What can we say but "Mission Accomplished"? We've got the biggest military ever, and the financial cost has damaged our economy while requiring tragic trade-offs from human needs spending, not to mention devastating the environment, slashing our civil liberties, and making us less safe.
Mother Jones cheers for Obama's murder program and his illegal war on Libya. Less "liberal" groups and outlets love Obama's militarism even more, promoting it as politically advantageous. Yet, veterans, white males, and warmongers in general will vote heavily for Romney even if Obama commits to savaging Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect weapons spending and untaxed wealth. Why? The same reason poor deluded well-meaning people will vote for Obama: Because Romney will always promise worse.
The New York Times chose this "terror Tuesday" to publish an article called "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will," a bizarre article that never explains what Obama's principles or will are or even offers any evidence that Obama has any principles or will.
There is one section in which the authors point out that Obama went out of his way to sneak the despicable John Brennan into his White House despite Congressional opposition, and that none other than Harold "these bombs are not hostilities" Koh swears Brennan is a moral man. Perhaps we should assume that Brennan's morality oozes upward from his "cave-like office in the White House basement" since his support for Bush's crimes is redeemed by Koh who only supports Obama's crimes.
BBC criticised for using Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been slammed for mistakenly using a photo taken in Iraq in 2003 to illustrate the Syria massacre, in which over 100 people, including 32 children, were brutally killed.
The picture, taken on March 27, 2003, showed a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.
It was posted on the BBC news website under the heading "Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows".
By Michael Collins
(Washington, 5/28/2012) Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair testified before the Leveson Inquiry today. He retains that familiar fatuous exuberance for failed policies and continues to deny the deadly lies he told in over a decade as Prime Minister. He was, as always, quite literally unbearable.(Image: Niecieden)
President George W. Bush had major problems selling his disastrous invasion plans for Iraq. The public smelled a rat. Strong majorities of both Democrats and Republicans opposed a preemptive invasion without confirmation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by UN inspectors. That was during December 2002 and January 2003. Bush needed something special to push his diabolic plan over the top.
Blair's government released two fraudulent intelligence papers during the critical period just before the March 2003 Iraq invasion, the September 2002 report and the Iraq or Dodgy Dossier in early February 2003. Rupert Murdoch's media cartel led the charge for war. He headlined stories about both bogus reports including the outrageous claim that Iraq could launch chemical weapons at the invaders within 45 minutes of an attack and the big lie about Iraq seeking uranium from Niger to develop nuclear weapons..
Blair and Murdoch worked together to provide Bush with the credibility to tell the most disastrous lie ever told by a president:
The former president said he acted alone, independent of the contractorby John Glaser
The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted Thursday that he was behind a series of coordinated misinformation campaigns targeting two USA Today journalists who had scrutinized the contractor in their reporting.
Camille Chidiac is the former president and still the minority owner of Leonie Industries, which USA Today exposed as contracting with the Pentagon to employ “the modern equivalent of psychological warfare,” said he alone was responsible for the attacks on the journalists and was operating independent of the company or the Pentagon.
By Dave Lindorff
It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence -- part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week.
By Michael Collins
Criminal charges against Rupert Murdoch insider and favorite Rebekah Brooks may be a prelude to looming charges arising out of Brooaks' testimony before the Leveson Inquiry last week.
Crown Prosecution Services charged Brooks, her husband, and four others with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice on Tuesday May 15. The alleged conspiracy took place between July 6 and July 19, 2011.
Brooks and the co-conspirators concealed and removed materials sought by police in their investigation of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation subsidiary, News International, according to prosecutors. Brooks resigned as chief executive officer of the subsidiary on July 15, 2011. (Image: SnowViolent)
Brooks' current legal troubles should not obscure the significance of her testimony before the Leveson Inquiry last week. During her several hours on the witness stand, she was confronted with an explosive email that, if true, implicates Conservative Party Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a conspiracy to pervert the British regulatory process in favor of News Corporation's bid to acquire the ten-million-subscriber pay TV company BSkyB. News Corp owns 39% of the company. It sought the remaining 61%.
White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown
By Dave Lindorff
A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.
Why is the New York Times enabling a U.S. government smear campaign against reporters exposing the drone wars?
The Times let government officials anonymously attack a group of journalists and a lawyer who have uncovered evidence that belies the White House's claim that drones aren't killing many civilians. Was their rationale for that justified?
A human rights lawyer and a group of investigative journalists who have exposed the extensive civilian casualties from CIA drone strikes in Pakistan are being smeared by anonymous U.S. government officials, who have even accused them of being sympathetic to al Qaeda.
Two of the anonymous accusations came in articles in The New York Times, despite the paper's own rules against personal attacks by unnamed sources.
Pakistani human rights attorney Shahzad Akbar and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) say the campaign is intended to deter mainstream news organizations from reporting that the White House is lying about how many innocent people are being killed by the drone strikes.
President Obama's top terrorism adviser John O. Brennan recently contended that civilian deaths were "exceedingly rare." The BIJ, though, puts total drone deaths in Pakistan since 2004 at between 2,440 and 3,113, and they say between 479 and 821 of the dead were civilians, including 174 children. Drone attacks in Pakistan have dramatically increased since Obama took office: President Bush was responsible for 52; Obama for 270 and counting.
Relying on the BIJ’s comprehensive research and his own investigations in support of a number of clients who are drone victims or families of victims and who are suing the CIA, Akbar has for the last two years sharply challenged U.S. government assertions regarding civilian casualties, most recently by filing two lawsuits in Pakistan, demanding a criminal investigation into the killings by Hellfire missile of some 50 people, including tribal elders in Waziristan in March 2011. (See Niemanwatchdog.org's May 10 story, Civilian drone victims, unrecognized by the U.S. government and public, seek justice.)
By Laura Kacere, Nation of Change
There’s a good number of us who question holidays like Mother’s Day in which you spend more time feeding money into a system that exploits our love for our mothers than actually celebrating them. It’s not unlike any other holiday in America in that its complete commercialization has stripped away so much of its genuine meaning, as well its history. Mother’s Day is unique in its completely radical and totally feminist history, as much as it has been forgotten.
Mother’s Day began in America in 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation. Written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, her proclamation called on women to use their position as mothers to influence society in fighting for an end to all wars. She called for women to stand up against the unjust violence of war through their roles as wife and mother, to protest the futility of their sons killing other mothers’ sons.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
[Read the remainder of Howe's quote here]
The holiday caught on years later when a West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began promoting it as a way to reunite families after the Civil War. After Jarvis’ death, her daughter began a campaign for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in honor of peace. Devoting much of her life to the cause, it wasn’t until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance in 1914.
The holiday flourished, along with the flower industry. The business journal, the Florists Review, actually admitted to its desire to exploit the holiday. Jarvis was strongly opposed to every aspect of the holiday’s commercialization, arrested for protesting the sale of flowers, and petitioning to stop the creation of a Mother’s Day postage stamp.
Today we are in multiple wars that continue to claim the lives of thousands of sons and daughters. We are also experiencing a still-rising commercialization of nearly every aspect of life; the exploitation of every possible human event and emotion at the benefit of corporations.
Let’s take this Mother’s Day to excuse ourselves from the pressure to consume and remember its radical roots – that mothers, or rather all women, in fact, all people, have a stake in war and a responsibility as American citizens to protest the incredible violence that so many fellow citizens, here and abroad, must suffer through.
The thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the devastating impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on our veterans are just the beginning of the terrible repercussion of war. As we saw last week an announcement of an extension of the military occupation of Afghanistan, let this mother’s day be a day after Julia Ward Howe’s own heart as we stand up and say no to 12 more years of war.
By John Grant
The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
- D.H. Lawrence
The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing.
- Raymond Chandler
American pop culture is certainly not unique in having a love affair with killers. Since the first cave man cracked his neighbor’s head open to control a water hole, eliminating others has been top on the list of problem-solving techniques.
Manufactured False Flag Bomb Plot Exposed, Officials Irate Over Leak Proving CIA Ran Entire Operation
From Pakalert Press
The supposed al Qaeda bomb plot to blow up a U.S. bound plane has completely fallen apparent with recent revelations that the terrorist was actually working for the CIA and Saudi Intelligence the entire time.
By NEWS Unspun
Many victims of acts of terrorism or state aggression receive the sympathy they deserve from the international media. In the case of certain aggressors however, the victims are 'unworthy'. On behalf of these victims, our media has little interest in consulting with experts on terrorism or international relations. Nor do they speculate about what the punishment or international response should be to the attackers.
By Charles M. Young
In journalism and in life, it is best to admit it when you’re wrong, and I was wrong last week. In my haste to write something timely about the triumphant return of Occupy Wall Street to the front lines of protest on May 1, I assumed that Fox Five New York and the NYPD were uniquely stupid as they colluded on a story about the possibility of Arab terrorists secreting bombs in their “cavities,” as the reporter referred to certain familiar orifices that are usually unmentioned on television. Fox Five led their 10:00 pm newscast with the story and I, in my cynicism, thought that only the minions of Rupert Murdoch could lead the news with an imaginary explosion of fecal matter and viscera on a day when Occupy Wall Street had tied up traffic all over Manhattan.
Boy, was I naive.
New York Times Publishes Hate Ad
by Stephen Lendman
The Times notoriously provides one-sided Israel/Palestine coverage. Jewish rights and all things Israel matter. Palestinians don't count.
World Press Freedom Day
by Stephen Lendman
America's First Amendment affirms it. So does Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
By Michael Collins
When things don't work out, doing business with Murdoch can be the kiss of death.
No matter how hard you try, how loyal you are, if something goes wrong, you can be sure it will be your fault.
Reporting has failed to lay the proper foundation for understanding Rupert Murdoch's remarkable testimony before the Leveson Inquiry in London and his behavior of late.
Rupert Murdoch is a nihilist.
Murdoch’s television outlets in the United States stoked the fires for the 2003 invasion of Iraq based on outrageous misrepresentations like the idea that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The war cost tens of thousands of dead and seriously injured U.S. soldiers, several hundred thousand dead Iraqi civilians, and $3 trillion. (Image: acb)
Last summer, Murdoch went full throttle to support Republicans in the U.S. Congress as they fabricated a debt ceiling crisis that seriously damaged the credit rating of the United States of America.
Murdoch’s support of the Tea Party created an utterly irrational voice in U.S. politics that prevents even the most modest necessary reforms. Created by right wing lobbyists, this pseudo party blocks every vital project, from reviving the economy to an effective, coordinated response to the crisis created by climate change.
by Stephen Lendman
Quelle surprise! Britain's parliament discovered what media critics and people wanting real news and information knew decades ago.
By Charles M. Young
I got home at 10:00 pm on the nose, and the first thing I did was take off my shoes after 14 hours of May Day marching with 30-40,000 other conscientious objectors to capitalism. My feet hurt, okay? My second priority was turning on the local news, which happened to be Fox Five New York. According to my watch, it was 10:02. I didn’t see the first few seconds of the story, but it must have have been the lead. There was Ray Kelly, the chief of police, talking about...not Occupy Wall Street?...no, it was a video of him on some talk show, warning of the apparently imminent threat of Arab terrorists “implanting” bombs in their bodies and blowing up airplanes and buildings.
Scott Camil, a veteran of the second-longest U.S. war in history, that on Vietnam, radically changed a discussion of the longest war in U.S. history, that on Afghanistan, on CNN on Sunday.
CNN's Don Lemon tried repeatedly to explain troops posing with body parts as an inscrutable result of war, without questioning the justification of that war. Repeatedly, Lemon instructed viewers not to judge soldiers.
A guest to whom Lemon devoted a great deal of time, Dr. Terry Lyles, followed Lemon's leads and was praised by Lemon as the best guest he'd heard from on the topic. Lyles suggested the problem was one of public relations: "We need to do a better job," he said, "you know, with them psychologically to help them understand that the world is watching. Be careful about what you do and what you capture while what you're doing every day is very difficult."
Scott Camil took a different tack, saying: "Well no we don't know what it's like to be in combat unless you've been in combat, but I think the real question is: you're nit picking when you're talking about things like people posing with bodies. The real question should be why are we at war in the first place? Why are we killing so many people in the first place? The concern over posing with someone that's dead, it seems to me the fact that that person is dead and that we're killing people is more important than what happens after they're dead."
Camil's comment was so effective that the next panelist to speak shifted to his topic. Holly Hughes remarked: "Scott hit the nail on the head because now we've opened a dialogue. What are we talking about now? Shouldn't we be more upset that we're out there killing people? . . . Maybe we need to assess why we're there in the first place."
Camil continued: "What I understand is what it's like to be in a war zone and I understand the behavior in a war zone. And I would say that, first of all, that war is really an institution made up of criminal behavior. When we as civilians want to solve our problems, we're not allowed to murder people and burn their houses down. I don't see why war is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. And furthermore, the majority of people that die are innocent civilians."
Some fundamental truths are rarely spoken on television.
Watch the video:
Scott Camil was honorably discharged with 13 medals including 2 purple hearts following 20 months voluntarily spent as a Marine in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. He testified at the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971, and was a founding member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc. He is an active member of Veterans For Peace and serves as the President of Chapter 014 in Gainesville, Florida.
was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.
By Joseph P. Blake
I believe that absolutely nothing happens in a vacuum.
There is always a connection between why things happen and the something (or someone) that made it happen. All too frequently that connection is not easily apparent, and that creates problems.
I’m convinced there is a connection between the contemporary television shows like “Axe Men,” “Ice Road Truckers”, “Swamp People”, “Hillbilly Noodling”, "Sarah Palin’s Alaska” and a play entitled, “Puddin’ Head.”
The Department of Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia, staged that play – containing racist content – as its contribution to Black History Month this year.
Rupert Murdoch's reign over the $33 billion News Corporation hinges on events surrounding the company's ownership share of Britain's dominant pay TV network, BSkyB (Sky). As Business Insider said, "it's the only asset that really matters" in the News Corp collection of media properties.
As a result of Murdoch scandals, News Corp lost the chance to buy 100% of Sky's shares. More troubling for the media monarch, the company may lose the 39% interest it already holds if British regulators determine that Murdoch is not a fit and proper owner. This would fuel the major News Corp shareholder suits in Delaware and New York that seek to remove Murdoch as board chairman and vastly diminish his power and that of his family and cronies.
Sky reaches 25 million viewers in 10 million homes. Revenues are growing at 10% a year with adjusted operating profit growth averaging around 16% of revenues (see 2009 through 2011). Revenues from 2012 through 2016 should top $70 billion total with adjusted operating profits around $11 billion. What happens with Sky really matters.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that calls for a resumption of peace negotiations.
Look at the image the Washington Post (4/18/12) used to accompany its story about this :
I will admit that a letter might not lend itself to an interesting graphic, but it sure seems odd to use a fiery Molotov cocktail instead.
By John Grant
Whore: (verb) To debase oneself by doing something for unworthy motives, typically to make money.
-The New Oxford American Dictionary
It’s a challenge to make adult sense of the absurdities coming out of Colombia right now.
By Michael Collins
Rupert Murdoch is in big trouble. It is not a perfect storm but we're getting there.
British attorney Mark Lewis is in New York to take legal action in behalf of clients who may have had their phones hacked in the United States.
More significantly, News Corp withdrew its bid to buy the remaining 61% of BSkyB, the highly profitable British cable TV franchise (£1.1 billion 2011, News Corp owns 39% now). (Murdoch images: left, right)
Last week, James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of BSkyB after surviving a challenge to his position just weeks ago.