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Interview: Students, Faculty Protest Presence of David Petraeus at CUNY Honors College

Cross-Posted from FireDogLake

On September 9, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus -- who also formerly headed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) International Security Assistance Force for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and co-wrote the Counterinsurgency Field Manual -- began a new job as an adjunct professor at City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College.

A people’s victory over Syrian attack plan: In Historic First, American Empire is Blocked at the Starting Line

By Dave Lindorff


Let’s be clear here. The people of the US and the world have won a huge victory over a war-obsessed US government and an administration that was hell-bent on yet again launching a criminal war of aggression against a country that poses no threat to the US or its neighbors. Overwhelming public opposition in the US and the nations of Europe, as well as most of the rest of the world to a US strike on Syria have forced the US to falter and to accept the idea of a compromise deal offered by Russia.


Shady PR Operatives, Pro-Israel Ties, Anti-Castro Money: Inside the Syrian Opposition’s DC Spin Machine


During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria on September 3, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain both cited a Wall Street Journal editorial by Elizabeth O’Bagy to support their assessment of the Syrian rebels as predominately “moderate,” and potentially Western-friendly.

“She works with the Institute of War,” Kerry said of O’Bagy. “She’s fluent in Arabic and spent an enormous amount of time studying the opposition and studying Syria. She just published this the other day. Very interesting [Wall Street Journal] article, which I commend to you.”

Kerry added, “I just don’t agree that a majority are al-Qaida and the bad guys.”

What Kerry and McCain neglected to mention was that O’Bagy had been recently hired as the political director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a little known outfit that functions as a lobbying arm of the Syrian opposition in Washington.

Until today, O’Bagy had failed to note her role as a paid Syrian opposition lobbyist in her Wall Street Journal byline and did not note the position in her official bio at the Institute for the Study of War. Only after a storm of criticism did the Wall Street Journal insert a note in O’Bagy’s recent op-ed disclosing her paid position at SETF. O’Bagy was also compelled to amend her bio with a lengthy clarification about her work at SETF.

But her work at the Institute for the Study of War should have been enough to set off alarm bells.

“Logrolling for war”

The Institute for the Study of War’s (ISW) board of directors is led by William Kristol. Kimberly Kagan, the group’s president, was on General Stanley McChrystal’s strategic review team in 2009, advocating for a dramatic expansion of the US presence in Afghanistan. Her husband is Frederick Kagan, the AEI fellow who is the uncle of fellow neocon Robert Kagan.

In its 2011 annual report [PDF], the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) detailed its close working relationship with Palantir Technologies, a private surveillance firm contracted by Bank of America in 2011 in an unsuccessful plot to dismantle Anonymous and sabotage Glenn Greenwald.

The report listed New York Times reporter Michael Gordon as “ISW’s journalist in residence.” Back in January 2013, Gordon published an article pushing claims that Syrian army forces had used sarin gas, thus crossing Obama’s “red line” and triggering a US intervention. Noting that the State Department could not confirm the information in Gordon’s report, former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Pat Lang accused Gordon of “logrolling for war in Syria.”

Despite his past affiliation with a think tank dedicated to pushing for US intervention in Syria, Gordon remains on the Times’ Syria beat.

Rebel marketing

When O’Bagy took to Twitter to boast about McCain’s “shout out” to her during the Senate hearing on Syria, the conservative writer Charles C. Johnson (who recently reported on O’Bagy’s lobbying) asked her if she was in fact employed by the Syrian Emergency Task Force.

“Yes I do humanitarian aid work through the organization,” O’Bagy told Johnson. “Can’t go to Syria frequently and not help the people.”

But O’Bagy’s work has less to do with tending to the needs of war-stricken refugees than it does with leveraging the media to agitate for US intervention. Indeed, she has been among the most prominent and widely cited commentators marketing the Syrian rebels as a bunch of America-friendly moderates.

As she said during an August 26 appearance on Fox News, “What I’ve tried to show through this research and by traveling around with many of these rebel groups is that there are actually a majority of the opposition that would be aligned with U.S. interests.”

Denis McDonough - White House chief of staff on Sunday talk shows

For updates on where politicos are, please follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/officialoutcry


White House chief of staff Denis McDonough will be on all five Sunday shows. Protesters should nonviolently and forcefully confront him. Shouting at marble buildings on Saturday just will not do.
 
Times and places:

Interview starts at 8:20 -- ABC: 1717 DeSales St NW

Interview starts 9:00 -- NBC 4001 Nebraska Avenue NW

No certain time, but CBS: tapes at 10:30 -- 2020 M Street NW
Unknown times:
Fox: in the C-Span building 400 North Capitol Street, Washington D.C.

CNN: On 1st Street NE near Union Station

Full listing of guests (Most other guests appear to be remotes at this time.) 
http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/07/4463707/guest-lineups-for-the-sunday-news.html

The Big Dog and Its Tail: Who’s Hiding Behing the ‘Making Assad Accountable’ Mask?

By John Grant


Responses to wrongdoing must not exacerbate problems.
            - Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute
 
 
Watching news coverage of the debate over bombing Syria, one realizes there’s more going on than Barack Obama or John Kerry are telling Congress and the American people. Kerry may have sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- but that doesn’t mean he has to tell the whole story.

Hackers do damage but government and corporations are the real problem: Internet Hackers and the Real Threat They Expose

By Alfredo Lopez


While certainly not over-shadowing the Obama Administration's military threats against Syria, the cyber attack that brought the mighty New York Times [1] to its knees last week is a major development and should get us all thinking.

ColdType September Issue

 The September issue of ColdType is now on line at http://coldtype.net

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CONTENTS  - 84 pages

Public opposition halts march to war: Obama Backs Down, Seeks Congressional Okay for Syria Attack

By Dave Lindorff


The forces arrayed in Washington propelling the nation into a war against Syria, including the Pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, the cabal of neo-conservative pundits and “think” tanks, whose ranks include President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice, the arms industry, the oil industry and other groups, are very powerful, and it may well be that eventually sheer momentum will lead to a US bombing attack on Syria. But for the moment, a grass-roots anti-war campaign has triumphed. 


Contrary to NYTimes' Michael Gordon's Lies, It Was Syrian "Rebels" Who Blocked Peace Talks

From Bob Parry:

this storyline from Gordon and other mainstream journalists isn’t accurate. Indeed, from May to July. the U.S. news media, including the New York Times, reported a different scenario: that Assad had agreed to participate in the Geneva peace talks but that the opposition was refusing to attend.

On July 31, for example, Ben Hubbard of the New York Times reported that “the new conditions, made by the president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba, … reflected a significant hardening of his position. He said that the opposition would not negotiate with President Bashar al-Assad or ‘his clique’ and that talks could begin only when the military situation in Syria was positive for rebel forces.”

The opposition has spelled out other preconditions, including the need for the United States to supply the rebels with more sophisticated weapons and a demand that Assad’s Lebanese Hezbollah allies withdraw from Syria. The most recent excuse for the rebels not going to Geneva is the dispute over Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

The Bellicose Obama Regime: Once Again, the Answer Is Bombing

By John Grant


Here we go again.

Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our escapade in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria.

“We can’t do a third war in 12 years!"

Manning get’s slammed; a mass-murderer got sprung Crimes and Punishment (or Not)

By Dave Lindorff


Right now I’m thinking about William Laws Calley. 


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.


What Internet do these guys see?: Firings at AOL’s Patch a Study in Corporate Myopia

By Alfredo Lopez


All is abuzz and atwitter (literally) with news of the firing Friday by America On Line's boss Tim Armstrong of half of the staff of its local news project, Patch. The firing comes on the heels of Armstrong's humiliating dismissal of one of AOL's top executives during an August 9 phone call to 1000 Patch staffers.

Al Jazeera America Set to Debut

 

Al Jazeera America Set to Debut

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On November 1, 1996, Al Jazeera began operating. It's headquartered in Doha. It's owned and operated by Qatar's monarchy. 

 

Chairman Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani's a distant cousin of Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

 

700 dead and counting in Egypt: Despite Hand Wringing, Massacres Suit US Policy

By John Grant

 
Watching the White House squirm over the on-going massacres in Egypt one doesn’t know whether to laugh, cry or resort to the vaudevillian method and throw rotten vegetables at them.

President Obama's “condemnation” of the Egyptian military’s massacre of civilians sounded like obligatory ass-covering. Then there was the slippery boiler-plate verbiage spouted by the White House’s new spokesman with the wonderfully apropos name of Josh Earnest. I wouldn't josh you, that's his name. And trust me, he’s the personification of earnestness.

New York Times Fuels Anti-Iranian Sentiment

 

New York Times Fuels Anti-Iranian Sentiment

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Times editors, columnists and contributors support the worst of US policies. They regurgitate official lies. 

 

They abhor truth and full disclosure. They substitute managed news misinformation. They do so consistently.

 

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.

The Missiles That Brought Down TWA Flight 800

If the U.S. public began to raise a fuss about U.S. missile strikes that blow up large numbers of civilians at wedding parties abroad, it's not beyond the realm of the imaginable that the U.S. government would begin blaming the explosions on faulty candles in the wedding cakes.  A similarly implausible excuse was used to explain the 1996 explosion of TWA flight 800 off Long Island, New York, and the U.S. public has thus far either swallowed the story whole or ignored the matter.

If you watch Kristina Borjesson's new film, TWA Flight 800, you'll see a highly persuasive case that this passenger jet full of passengers was brought down by missiles, killing all on board. 

A CIA propaganda video aired by U.S. television networks fits with none of the known facts, makes the claim that there were no missiles, and offers no theory as to what then did cause the explosion(s) and crash into the sea. 

A coverup by the FBI and the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) was blatant and extensive, involving intimidation of witnesses and investigators, tampering with evidence, false testimony before Congress, censoring reports, and numerous violations of normal protocols.  Some of the government's own official investigators concluded that the explosion(s) occurred outside the airplane.  They were not permitted to write analyses in their reports, as in every other investigation.  Their reports were censored.  They were forbidden to testify.  Some 200 eyewitnesses -- people on the ground and in other planes, at least many of whom described seeing one or more missiles rising from the ground to the airplane -- were censored as well.  Not a single witness was permitted to testify at the public hearing.

The military staged a test firing of missiles with witnesses, in an attempt to prove that the witnesses would either not see the missiles or testify inaccurately about what they saw.  However, the witnesses all reported seeing the missiles well.  The report on this test came to the opposite conclusion of what had been hoped for, but the government fed the original, hoped-for line to the media, which dutifully reported it.

Investigators thought and still think a missile or missiles brought down the plane.  Eye-witnesses thought and still think the same.  Explosives residue in the plane wreckage and other physical evidence in the wreckage suggests missile(s).  Data from several different radars at the time of the disaster show pieces of the plane being blown off at speeds that could only have been generated by high explosives, not by a fuel tank exploding.  Radar data also show the plane falling, not rising.  (The CIA claimed, without offering any evidence, that the plane rose into the sky as it was exploding, thus accounting for witnesses' reports of seeing objects rising.)  The damage to the seats and passengers in the plane was random, not greater closer to a fuel tank.

No more evidence was ever offered for a fuel tank exploding than could be offered in the theoretical fiction of a wedding cake exploding, or -- for that matter -- was ever offered for the Maine having been attacked by the Spanish in Havana harbor or for the Gulf of Tonkin incident having occurred or for the WMDs piling up in Iraq, or than has been offered thus far for the dreaded Iranian nuclear bomb program.  There was no wiring near the fuel tank that could have caused it to explode and no other explanation than faulty wiring even hypothesized.

The film concludes that likely three missiles were shot from near the Long Island coast, including at least one from a ship at sea.  The film does not address the question of who did this or why.  But it presents the evidence that it happened, and that the coverup began immediately, with the disaster site being quickly closed off and guarded by roughly 1,000 police officers, roughly half of them FBI -- not the normal procedure for a plane crash.  The likely speculation is, of course, that the U.S. military committed this crime.  Was someone on the plane targeted for murder, and everyone else killed in the process?  Was this a test of technology?  Was it a mistake?  Was it part of some larger plot that failed to develop?  I don't know. 

But I do know that the nation didn't go into a collective state of vicious rabid insanity, demanding vengeance against evildoers who hate us for our freedoms.  No nations were destroyed in a sick parody of justice following the destruction of TWA flight 800.  But neither were those responsible held publicly accountable in any way.

The New York Times seems impressed by the film and favors a new investigation but laments the supposed lack of any entity that could credibly perform an investigation.  Think about that.  The U.S. government comes off as so untrustworthy in the film that it can't be trusted to re-investigate itself.  And a leading newspaper, whose job it ought to be to investigate the government, feels at a loss for what to do without a government that can credibly and voluntarily perform the media's own job for it and hold itself accountable.

The New York Post, too, takes the film quite seriously, and simply recounts its arguments without adding any commentary other than agreement.  But the Daily News offers instead a textbook example of how self-censorship and obedience to authoritarianism work.  Here's the complete Daily News review with my comments inserted:

"If you need to get a person's attention fast, just whisper, 'There's something the government isn't telling you.'

"Works every time."

Like the time the NSA claimed to be complying with the Fourth Amendment? Like the time nobody was being tortured in Iraq? Like the time the fracking studies showed no damage to ground water? Like the time drones weren't killing any civilians with their missile strikes?

Sure, there are bound to be times when the government is honest with us. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but it stands to reason that there are.  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  And it's certainly possible to invent all sorts of fantasies to allege the government to be lying about.  I'm not convinced Obama was born in Africa, aliens visited New Mexico, the World Trade Center was blown up from within, or every person who emails me to complain about it is really being zapped with invisible mind-control weapons (for all I know they just watch television and come away feeling like that).  But shouldn't we take claims of government deception as possibly right and possibly wrong and follow the evidence where it leads? I'm not willing to swear any of the things I list here isn't true unless evidence establishes that.

"In this case, filmmakers Kristina Borjesson and Tom Stalcup are convinced that ill-fated TWA Flight 800, which exploded over Great South Bay on July 17, 1996, was shot down by a missile."

And does the evidence suggest that they are right or wrong?  Should we just pretend to know that they're wrong because the government says so?  Yep:

"The original government investigation and later a second probe by the National Transportation Safety Board disagreed. Both concluded the explosion was caused by a spark in the center fuel tank."

Yet they offered no explanation for where such a spark might have come from, or why so many airplanes have been permitted to fly since, in danger of falling victim to such a spark.

"So someone is wrong. But 'TWA Flight 800' says it's more insidious than that. The government also knows it was a missile, the film strongly suggests, and simply chooses to lie.  Charges of conspiratorial coverups are as common as jaywalking, of course, but 'TWA Flight 800' has more evidence than most. The advocates here include several original investigators as well as aircraft engineers, transportation and safety experts. There also are a half dozen people, civilians with no agendas, who all say they saw something streaking across the sky toward the plane before it exploded."

Why is that insidious?  You don't know whether all these people are right, but the suggestion that they might be is insidious?  The film in fact doesn't say the government "simply" chooses to lie.  In fact, many in the government choose to speak out, forming much of the basis for the film.  Others choose to cover up what happened.  Most of them are clearly just following orders.  Others must have motivations, but whether those motivations are simple or complex is not touched on in the film -- as this review goes on to acknowledge:

"The film doesn't really address two of the biggest questions raised by most conspiracy charges. First, why would someone cover up the truth, and second, given the number of people involved in this investigation, could they all keep a secret this big for 17 years?"

In fact, they aren't all keeping it secret.  Many have been shouting the truth, as they see it, from the rooftops.  Others recount why they've kept quiet.  One woman explains that she was applying for U.S. citizenship and was threatened that her application would be rejected if she spoke out.  The film does not address motivations for the coverup, but let me take a wild stab at doing so: If the U.S. military blew up a passenger jet full of passengers, including U.S. citizens, for no damn good reason, wouldn't we need an explanation for its wanting to go public with that?  Doesn't the military's wanting to keep that quiet require no explanation at all?  When the Joint Special Operations Command murders Afghan women in a night raid and then digs bullets out of their bodies with knives and claims that they were killed by their families, and then later admits the truth, are we shocked by the routine lies or by the vicious crime?  Wouldn't we be more seriously shocked if the U.S. military gratuitously blurted out something true?  Wouldn't taking responsibility for TWA 800 be a remarkable act of civic virtue worthy of the record books?

"But the film isn't after 'why.' It just wants to say that a lot of physical and circumstantial evidence points to a missile.

"Toward that goal, it's on target."

It is indeed, though one wouldn't have guessed that from the beginning of this newspaper's review, from media coverage in general, from history books, or from how most people have been conditioned to react to the next suspicious disaster yet to come.

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden: Whistleblowers as Modern Tricksters

By John Grant


Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.

                      -Paul Radin

 

We Are Bradley Manning

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.


There Should Be No Sighs of Relief: Manning Verdict a Very Pyrrhic Victory

By Alfredo Lopez


The Bradley Manning verdict may seem a victory of sorts for the defense -- it's certainly being treated that way in the mainstream media -- but the decision handed down Tuesday by Court Marshal Judge Colonel Denise Lind is actually a devastating blow not only to Manning, who was convicted of unjustifiably serious charges brought by an aggressive administration seeking to make an example of him, but also to Internet activity in general and information-sharing in particular.

Spinning a Popular American Image: John Wayne, the New Economy and the American Male Worker

By John Grant


The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.
-- D.H. Lawrence

 

Why the art of war is hell

By Jonathan Jones, The Guardian

A new series of exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum highlights the place of contemporary art in interpreting conflict

Jake and Dinos Chapman's Hell
Toy story ... Jake and Dinos Chapman's sculpture Hell show the ravages of contemporary war. Photograph: Peter MacDiarmid/Reuters

The most powerful piece of contemporary art about war is not about a real conflict. It is a vision of atrocities performed by toy soldiers on other toy soldiers.

As the Imperial War Museum opens a contemporary art programme, it is worth asking what are the best responses to war in today's art. For my money the modern masterpiece of war is Jake and Dinos Chapman's Hell. Small plastic Nazis brutalise each another in a model landscape that combines the nerdy verisimilitude of a Hornby railway with the fantastic horrors of Bruegel.

READ THE REST.

August ColdType now on line

 ColdType Issue 76 Now On Line

http://coldtype.net


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CONTENTS  - 72 pages

A TALE OF TWO CAMDENS
– This month we contrast life in Camden, New Jersey, and Camden Town, England.

Gen. Hayden's Snow Job on Snowden - or - Have You Finally No Shame?

 

Gen. Hayden’s Glass House

By Ray McGovern

July 21, 2013

Editor Note: Official Washington’s national security/mainstream media incest was on scandalous display when ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden posed as a CNN analyst to denounce Edward Snowden for exposing surveillance excesses that Hayden had a hand in creating.

Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden should not throw any more stones, lest his own glass house be shattered. His barrage Friday against truth-teller Edward Snowden and London Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald invited a return rain of boulders for Hayden committing the same violations of constitutional protections that he is now excusing.

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