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Showing posts from June, 2013

Bush advisor: Hastings crash ‘consistent with a car cyberattack’

Russian Times - A former cybersecurity advisor to President George W. Bush says a sophisticated computer hack could have been the cause of the automobile accident that claimed the life of journalist Michael Hastings last week in Los Angeles.

Richard Clarke, a State Department official-turned-special advisor to several United States presidents, said the early morning auto crash...read more.

Millions March in Egypt Protests

ABC News - A sea of bobbing heads hoisting Egyptian flags high spilled out of Tahrir Square as drivers pulled their cars over on the October 6 Bridge to watch the scene below. A long procession of others walked down Ramses Street in the direction of the presidential palace.  Read more.

Anti-Morsi protests sweep Egypt

Al Jazeera - Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Cairo and other cities across Egypt, demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi amid sporadic violence that left several people dead.
The rallies started early on Sunday morning in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the cradle of the Egyptian revolution where Morsi had addressed a jubilant crowd exactly a year ago after being inaugurated as the country's first democratically-elected president.  Read more.

Bradley Manning should win the Nobel Peace Prize

Guardian UK -Peace is more than simply the absence of war; it is the active creation of something better. Alfred Nobel recognized this when he created alongside those for chemistry, literature, medicine and physics, an annual prize for outstanding contributions in peace. Nobel's foresight is a reminder to us all that peace must be created, maintained, and advanced, and it is indeed possible for one individual to have an extraordinary impact. For this year's prize, I have chosen to nominate US Army Pfc Bradley Manning, for I can think of no one more deserving. His incredible disclosure of secret documents to Wikileaks helped end the Iraq War, and may have helped prevent further conflicts elsewhere.  Read more.

Julian Assange: ‘No Stopping’ Release of Additional NSA Secrets

Obama faces protest in South Africa, is unlikely to meet with ailing Mandela

Public Radio International (PRI) -At the U.S. embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, on Friday, hundreds of protestors organized a peaceful protest of President Barack Obama who they say has not delivered on the promises made after his 2008 election.
The protestors were demonstrating against U.S. policy on Cuba, the war in Afghanistan, global warming and human rights violations including the continued use of the Guantanamo Bay prison.  Read more.

Western US Swelters Under Blistering, Record-Breaking Heat

Guardian UK - Last night, I gave my first speech on the NSA stories, Edward Snowden and related issues of journalism, delivered to the Socialism 2013 Conference in Chicago. Because it was my first speech since the episode began, it was the first time I was able to pause a moment and reflect on everything that has taken place and what the ramifications are. I was originally scheduled to speak live but was unable to travel there and thus spoke via an (incredibly crisp) Skype video connection. I was introduced by Jeremy Scahill, whose own speech is well worth watching.  Read more.

Ecuador's Correa says Biden asked him to deny Edward Snowden asylum

Guardian UK - US vice-president Joe Biden has asked Ecuador to turn down an asylum request from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, the country's president said Saturday.
Rafael Correa said he had a "friendly and very cordial" conversation with Biden, and told the vice-president that Ecuador hadn't sought to be put in the situation of deciding whether to harbor an American fugitive. Correa said Ecuador can't consider the asylum request until Snowden is on Ecuadorean soil.  Read more.

WikiLeaks Volunteer Was a Paid Informant for the FBI

Wired - On an August workday in 2011, a cherubic 18-year-old Icelandic man named Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson walked through the stately doors of the U.S. embassy in Reykjavík, his jacket pocket concealing his calling card: a crumpled photocopy of an Australian passport. The passport photo showed a man with a unruly shock of platinum blonde hair and the name Julian Paul Assange.
Thordarson was long time volunteer for WikiLeaks with direct access to Assange and a key position as an organizer in the group. With his cold war-style embassy walk-in, he became something else: the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks. For the next three months, Thordarson served two masters, working for the secret-spilling website and simultaneously spilling its secrets to the U.S. government in exchange, he says, for a total of about $5,000.  Read more.

Ecuador cools on Edward Snowden asylum as Assange frustration grows

Guardian UK - The plan to spirit the surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden to sanctuary in Latin America appears to be unravelling amid tension between Ecuador's government and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
President Rafael Correa halted an effort to help Snowden leave Russia amid concern Assange was usurping the role of the Ecuadoran government, according to leaked diplomatic correspondence published on Friday.  Read more.

US Army censors Guardian website from defence personnel

Guardian UK - The US army has admitted to blocking access to parts of the Guardian website for thousands of defence personnel across the country.
A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve "network hygiene" and prevent any classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.  Read more.

Trayvon Martin witness denies he was the aggressor

Guardian UK - A woman who was on the phone to Trayvon Martin moments before he was shot has rejected attempts by a lawyer in a Florida court to depict Martin as the aggressor in a struggle that ended in his death.
A former resident of the gated community where Martin was killed also testified on Thursday that she saw George Zimmerman on top of Martin during the fatal encounter.  Read more.

Rabbi Michael Lerner: No to Blacks and Yes to gays?

Rabbi Michael Lerner @ Tikkun - On Tuesday the Supreme Court overturned a central part of the Voting Rights Act, one of the main accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans. Southern states, consistent with the racist legacy of slavery that has shaped their politics for the past 150 years at least, are now rushing to put in place new rules to make it more difficult for African Americans and Latinos to vote.

Then on Wednesday the Supreme Court declared the “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional, thereby opening the door to gay marriage and sustaining a lower court decision that had overturned the California state proposition that had tried to prevent those marriages.

Why is it “no to Blacks and Yes to gays?”  Read more.

The Evolution of Human Capital

Paul Krugman - Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, suggested in recent commentary for The New York Times that the golden age of human capital — roughly speaking, the era in which the economy strongly demanded the kinds of skills we teach in liberal-arts colleges and universities — is already behind us.  Read more.

Ecuador to US: We Won't Be 'Blackmailed' over Snowden

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - The clear message from the Ecuadorean government on Thursday is that it would not be bullied or 'blackmailed' by the US government over the possible asylum of Edward Snowden.
At a government press conference held in Quito, officials said the US was employing international economic "blackmail" in its attempts to obtain NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, but that such threats would not work.  Read more.

An Open Letter to Paula Deen

Michael W. Twitty @ Afroculinaria - So it’s been a tough week for you… believe me you I know something about tough weeks being a beginning food writer and lowly culinary historian.  Of course honey, I’d kill for one of your worst days as I could rest myself on the lanai, the veranda, the portico (okay that was really tongue in cheek), the porch..whatever…as long as its breezy and mosquito-free.  First Food Network now Smithfield.  (Well not so mad about Smithfield—not the most ethical place to shill for, eh, Paula?)
I am currently engaged in a project I began in 2011 called The Cooking Gene Project—my goal to examine family and food history as the descendant of Africans, Europeans and Native Americans—enslaved people and enslavers—from Africa to America and from Slavery to Freedom.  You and I are both human, we are both Americans, we are both quite “healthily” built, and yet none of these labels is more profound for me than the fact we are both Southern.  Read more.

Telecoms Implicated in Bush-Era Domestic Spying Now Starting 'Privacy Coalition'

Politico - A number of top telecom firms announced Wednesday that they are forming a new privacy coalition. The 21st Century Privacy Coalition will be headed by former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and former U.S. Representative Mary Bono Mack of FaegreBD Consulting. Founding members of the coalition include AT&T, Comcast, CTIA-The Wireless Association, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable, United States Telecom Association and Verizon.  Read more at Common Dreams.

The Supreme Court Makes History: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Amy Goodman @ Truthdig - The U.S. Supreme Court announced three historic 5-4 decisions this week. In the first, a core component of the Voting Rights Act was gutted, enabling Southern states to enact regressive voting laws that will likely disenfranchise the ever-growing number of voters of color. The second pair of cases threw out the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the legal travesty that defined marriage in federal law as only between a man and a woman, and effectively overturned California’s Prop 8, which bans same-sex marriage. For those who struggle for equality and civil rights, these three decisions mark one brutal defeat and two stunning victories.  Read more.

NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama

Guardian UK - The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
The documents indicate that under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata "every 90 days". A senior administration official confirmed the program, stating that it ended in 2011.  Read more.

US-Japan war games off the California coast imitate Chinese invasion

Russian Times - The US and Japan are preparing for a possible Chinese invasion of the Senkaku Islands. Using a small island off the coast of California, US and Japanese forces are mimicking an armed invasion and an amphibious assault to prepare for a real-life scenario.
The unprecedented drills, code-named Dawn Blitz, are being conducted on San Clemente Island, which is 75 miles northwest of San Diego...read more.

He Can Marry, She Can't Vote: Another Day in Deranged America

William Rivers Pitt @ Truthout - Five years ago, I donned my best suit and took my lady out to a fancy restaurant on Copley Square. I wined her and dined her, and when the moment was right, I presented her with a small diamond that had passed from my grandfather to my grandmother to my mother to me, and asked her to be my wife. A year later, we were wed in a small ceremony in a plain white church in New Hampshire.  Read more.

UK austerity: ‘Diverting money from poor to rich under guise of economic crisis’

Russian Times - The UK’s austerity policy is ideologically driven and is aimed at diverting finance from the poor to the rich under the pretext of the economic crisis, writer John Wight told RT.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is announcing billions more in the government spending cuts while austerity measures are already biting for many people across the UK.  Read more.

Kimberly McCarthy: Texas executes 500th inmate

Guardian UK - The most-prolific death penalty state in the US executed its 500th inmate on Wednesday as protesters gathered outside the penitentiary walls to rally against a grim landmark in America’s capital punishment history.
About 70 people waited outside the prison in central Huntsville, Texas, where Kimberly McCarthy was put to death by lethal injection.  Read more.

'World order unjust and immoral!' Ecuador’s Correa rips into Snowden coverage

Russian Times - Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa came up with scalding online remarks over criticism his country faced from the US press for potentially granting asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“They’ve managed to focus attention on Snowden and on the ‘wicked’ countries that ‘support’ him, making us forget the terrible things against the US people and the whole world that he denounced,” Correa said Wednesday in response to a Tuesday Washington Post editorial.  Read more.

The Personal Side of Taking on the NSA: Emerging Smears

Glenn Greenwald @ Guardian UK - When I made the choice to report aggressively on top-secret NSA programs, I knew that I would inevitably be the target of all sorts of personal attacks and smears. You don't challenge the most powerful state on earth and expect to do so without being attacked. As a superb Guardian editorial noted today: "Those who leak official information will often be denounced, prosecuted or smeared. The more serious the leak, the fiercer the pursuit and the greater the punishment."
One of the greatest honors I've had in my years of writing about politics is the opportunity to work with and befriend my long-time political hero, Daniel Ellsberg.  Read more.

SF Pride: Military Recruiters Welcome, Bradley Manning Not

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - San Francisco Pride is welcoming military recruiters to this massive June 30th LGBTQ celebration, the media exposed Tuesday. The revelation comes just weeks after the Pride board officially dumped Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning as the Grand Marshal.
The national guard will join the celebration's vast corporate and bank sponsors—including AT&T and Bank of America—by setting up recruiting booths. This marks the first time the military will formally recruit at Pride since 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was overturned in 2011.
When the revelations of military recruiters were made public, LGBTQ and anti-militarist groups were already mobilizing against the SF Pride board's controversial dethroning of Bradley Manning as the parade's Grand Marshal.  Read more.

Chimpanzees to be retired from National Institutes of Health

Reuters - The U.S. National Institutes of Health said on Wednesday it is reducing the number of chimpanzees it uses in biomedical research and will retire most of them to sanctuaries, a decision applauded by animal rights groups.
"Chimpanzees are very special animals ... We believe they deserve special consideration," said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, announcing the move.
The decision followed a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in January. About 300 newly retired chimps will join more than 150 others in sanctuaries, with only 50 being kept for future research.  Read more.

The World Says Yes to Snowden, No to Obama

Margaret Kimberly @ Black Agenda Report (BAR) - No one likes a bully and no one likes a liar. The United States government is surely both because other nations have no problem openly treating it with the disdain it deserves. The saga of Edward Snowden provides the latest proof of the disrespect that America has brought upon itself. Its tantrums and rants mean little to anyone outside of the USA bubble.
Snowden is the NSA whistle blower who presented proof to the world that the United States is a lawless nation which treats its own citizens as enemies.  Read more.

Fracked Gas Isn’t a Bridge Fuel—It’s a Gangplank

Josh Fox @ EcoWatch - It’s amazing to watch the bully pulpit, with all the power of this president’s ability to command words, focus on the greatest crisis of our generation. 
However, all the good that President Obama will do with his reductions in CO2 from power plants will be undone by his embrace of fracked gas. It is clear that he does not have the right information on fracked gas. His administration has allowed the gas industry to influence far too much of this process. In March, the President called a meeting to discuss his pending climate plan. The group of 14 energy-industry leaders—nine were CEOs of energy companies...read more.

Dolce and Gabbana sentenced to jail for tax evasion

France 24 - An Italian court Wednesday sentenced fashion house duo Dolce & Gabbana to one year and eight months in prison for tax evasion of around one billion euros ($1.33 billion), according to media reports.
Lawyers for Dolce and Gabbana, whose celebrity clients include Beyonce and Madonna, immediately said they will be appealing, and under Italian law the sentence will be suspended in the meantime.  Read more.

NSA fact sheet on surveillance program pulled from Web

Washington Post - National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander acknowledged Tuesday that a fact sheet on the agency’s Web site inaccurately described the extent to which the communications of U.S. citizens are protected from the spy agency’s collection of e-mail and other material from technology companies.
The agency removed the four-page document Tuesday after lawmakers raised concerns about its accuracy.  Read more.

Second LGBT Victory as High Court Defers on Prop. 8

Common Dreams - In the second decision favorable to marriage equality advocates and deemed a victory by the LGBT community on Wednesday, the US Supreme Court ruled that it will not address the merits of a challenge to California's Proposition 8, saying those who brought the proposed ban of same-sex marriage had no legal standing to do so.  Read more.

Understanding Leaks is Understanding the Rise of a New Fascism

John Pilger @ Truthout - In his book, Propaganda, published in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."  Read more.

Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage hailed as historic victory

CNN - A deeply divided Supreme Court nudged the nation toward broad recognition of same-sex marriage on Wednesday in rulings hailed by advocates as a "joyous occasion" -- but still left many questions unanswered.
Voting 5-4 in each of two decisions, justices threw out part of a law that denied hundreds of federal benefits to same-sex couples and cleared the way for gays and lesbians to once again marry in California.  Read more.

Political Crossover: The Troubling Emergence of "Black Reaganism"

Colin Jenkins @ The Hampton Institute - During the 1976 Republican Presidential Primaries, then-candidate Ronald Reagan coined the term "Welfare Queen" as he detailed the story of an African-American woman from Chicago who was arrested after using multiple identities to collect over $150,000 worth of welfare benefits. Reagan's story had a purpose: to establish a connection between the "evils of taxation" and the consequences of "illegitimate" welfare programs that "rewarded laziness," and to relay this to an American electorate poised to identify a scapegoat for what they viewed as a "dying nation." The engine behind this message was the Republican Party's overtly racist "Southern Strategy," which formulated a conscious effort to "appeal to racist whites" who Republicans believed "could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for Blacks.  Read more.

GM Crops: The Genetic Colonialists

Guardian UK - Given the British government's approach to protecting the environment by trying to sell forests, culling badgers, and cutting environmental protection, the environment secretary's enthusiastic embrace of the genetic modification (GM) lobby is rather predictable, but no less of a disappointment for that.  Read more.

Liberal icon Frank Church on the NSA

Glenn Greenwald @ Guardian UK - In the mid-1970s, the US Senate formed the Select Intelligence Committee to investigate reports of the widespread domestic surveillance abuses that had emerged in the wake of the Nixon scandals. The Committee was chaired by 4-term Idaho Democratic Sen. Frank Church who was, among other things, a former military intelligence officer and one of the Senate's earliest opponents of the Vietnam War, as well as a former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Read more.

Bankers Caught On Tape, Joking About Bailout, And How They'd Never Pay It Back

Business Insider - Once again, we have more embarrassing conversations between bankers ...
The Irish Independent, a Dublin-based newspaper, has uncovered tapes of an internal phone conversation from September 2008 between two executives at Anglo Irish Bank during its bailout deal and they sound pretty scandalous.  The Irish Independent points out that the recordings show they misled the Central Bank.  Read more.

Fired Walmart Workers Arrested in Protest at Yahoo Headquarters

On the Voting Rights Act, the colour-blind have been led by the blind

Gary Younge @ Guardian UK - One of the greatest cheers at an otherwise lacklustre Republican convention in Tampa last year was for Condoleeza Rice, who gave a glowing autobiographical account of her achievements in the third person. "A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham," she said, "the segregated city of the south where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have convinced her that even if she cannot have a hamburger at Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state."  Read more.

Barack Obama to face protests in South Africa after years of laissez-faire

Guardian UK - Symbolism will hang heavy this weekend when Barack Obama visits Soweto, the cradle of South Africa's black liberation struggle, and Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela, who remained in critical condition in hospital last night, languished for years, plotting his nation's rebirth.
Obama should not expect red-carpet treatment from all South Africans, despite the historic affinity between the civil rights and anti-apartheid movements. Workers, students and Muslim groups are among those determined to give Obama a bumpy landing when he descends on Africa's biggest economy.
"NObama" is the cry from the Congress of South African Trade Unions...read more.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Edward Snowden still in airport, signals no extradition

CBS News - Russian President Vladimir Putin bluntly rejected U.S. pleas to turn over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on Tuesday, saying he is free to travel wherever he wants and insisting that Russian security agencies haven't contacted him.
Snowden is in the transit zone of a Moscow airport and has not passed through Russian immigration, Putin said, meaning he is not technically in Russia.  Read more.

New IRS chief admits more targeting cases

Washington Times - In another damaging revelation, the new head of the Internal Revenue Service said Monday that an internal probe had uncovered more instances of agents using “inappropriate” political lists to single out tax-exempt applications for extra scrutiny, and he acknowledged that the practice went on far longer than previously reported.  Read more.

Delta cleared to complete purchase of 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic

Guardian UK - Virgin and Delta have vowed to become a "formidable competitor" on UK-US routes after the American airline was cleared to complete its purchase of a 49% stake of Sir Richard Branson's Atlantic carrier.
The two companies announced a codesharing agreement on more than 100 routes as the start of a proposed joint venture that will, with competition clearance from US authorities, be fully realised in early 2014 and allow them to coordinate timetables to maximise profits.  Read more.

US Death Penalty Enacts Terror, Not Justice

Max Eternity @ Truthout - The death penalty, author Stephen John Harnett contends, comes straight out of the playbook of American slavery and was constructed as "part of the arsenal of violence used both to repress slaves in the South and to intimidate the opponents of slavery in the North." The cover illustration of Harnett's book depicts a black man being lynched - which is fitting because report after report indicate the death penalty serves only to effectively maintain legal lynching.  Read more.

Obama Administration Rebukes China, Russia and Ecuador Over Snowden Extradition

NY Times - An increasingly frustrated Obama administration escalated its criticism on Monday of Russia, China and Ecuador, the countries that appeared to be protecting Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former government contractor wanted for leaking classified documents, who has eluded what has become a global American manhunt.
The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, told reporters that relations with China had suffered a setback over its apparent role in approving a decision on Sunday by Hong Kong to let Mr. Snowden board a flight to Moscow and avoid arrest — even though his passport had been revoked. Mr. Carney also warned the Russian authorities that they should expel Mr. Snowden into American custody.  Read more.

U.S. Mayors Demand End to Federal Crackdown on Medical Marijuana in Their Cities

Americans For Safe Access @ Common Dreams - As mayors from across the country gather today in Las Vegas for the 81st annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, the federal government's crackdown on medical marijuana is expected to be discussed and debated over the weekend. A resolution "in support of states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference" was introduced in advance of the conference by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and co-sponsored by eight other mayors from across the country. Deliberation on the resolution comes days after medical marijuana advocates issued an alarming report detailing how the Obama Justice Department has spent nearly $300 million to undermine medical marijuana laws in the U.S.  Read more.

'A Slow-Motion Train Wreck': The Real Consequences of the Sequester

Allison Kilkenny @ The Nation - The Republican-led House voted to eliminate $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending through 2022 during the much-publicized sequester, causing widespread pain and havoc through American communities, the effects of which we’re starting to see. In some cases, these cuts are literally stripping the clothes from children’s backs and taking food and shelter from the needy.  Read more.

George Zimmerman trial: case that 'awakened America from a stupor' begins in earnest

Guardian UK - His murder trial is already two weeks old, but the case against a Florida neighbourhood watch leader George Zimmerman over the death of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin gets under way in earnest on Monday when prosecutors and defence lawyers deliver their long-awaited opening statements.
Nine days of jury selection, interspersed with aggressive legal debate over the admissibility of certain expert testimony, has provided a glimpse of the passionate arguments expected inside a Sanford courtroom over the next two to four weeks.  Read more.

Glenn Greenwald Tells Comcast and DOJ Lackey David Gregory to Shove It

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - If you haven't heard about the shellacking Glenn Greenwald gave David Gregory on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, June 23, here's a little background. 
Gregory represents the pablum punditry with a status quo bias. His weekly panel of DC insiders passes for serious discussion of public policy without ever piercing the veil of what's behind the curtain in the capital. The program is on a station formerly owned by General Electric and is now the property of Comcast.  Read more.

Whistleblowing 2.0: From the Pentagon Papers to Bradley Manning to PRISM

Waging Nonviolence - With computer technician Edward Snowden’s bombshell revelations about the extent of state snooping — coupled with the ongoing court martial of Private Bradley Manning — 2013 is the year of the whistleblower. These ongoing cases also highlight the perennial plight of the whistleblower along with the state’s enduring efforts to prosecute them as a means to reinforce rank and file obedience. Information has always been a battleground. But, in an age of networked communication, the whistleblowing game is changing what information is leaked and who has the opportunity to leak it. What has changed little are the consequences for those who dare to become whistleblowers.  Read more.

Six Shameful Facts About Hunger

Paul Bucheit @ Buzzflash - Of all the miseries placed on human beings in their everyday lives, the lack of food may be the most inexcusable. Even in a world controlled by unbending attitudes of self-reliance and individual responsibility, the reality of children and seniors and disabled citizens without food is a stain on humanity, a shameful testament to the capitalist goal of profit without conscience.  Read more.

The NSA's metastasised intelligence-industrial complex is ripe for abuse

Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson - Let's be absolutely clear about the news that the NSA collects massive amounts of information on US citizens – from emails, to telephone calls, to videos, under the Prism program and other Fisa court orders: this story has nothing to do with Edward Snowden. As interesting as his flight to Hong Kong might be, the pole-dancing girlfriend, and interviews from undisclosed locations, his fate is just a sideshow to the essential issues of national security versus constitutional guarantees of privacy, which his disclosures have surfaced in sharp relief.
Snowden will be hunted relentlessly and, when finally found, with glee, brought back to the US in handcuffs and severely punished.  Read more.

Michael Hastings Emailed Colleagues Saying He Was 'Onto A Big Story' Hours Before Death

International Business Times - Michael Hastings, the BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone reporter killed in a car crash June 18, sent an email to friends warning that the “Feds are interviewing my ‘close friends and associates.’” In the email, published by Los Angeles television station KTLA 5 Friday, Hastings also said he was “onto a big story, and need to go off the radar for a bit.”  Read more.

Bush's Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme

Consortium News - In early 2003, as the U.S. and British governments were seeking international acquiescence to their aggressive war on Iraq, an unexpected cog throw into the propaganda machine was the disclosure that the National Security Agency was spying on UN Security Council members in search of blackmail material.
The revelation received little attention in the mainstream U.S. news media, which was almost fully onboard the pro-war bandwagon, but the disclosure received wide international attention and stopped the blackmail scheme. U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were forced to abandon a UN resolution and invade Iraq with a ragtag “coalition of the willing.”  Read more.

US politicians issue warning to Russia as Edward Snowden arrives in Moscow

Guardian UK - US politicians attacked Vladimir Putin on Sunday and called for Russia to hand over Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who admitted leaking top secret spying documents.
As Snowden landed in Moscow after leaving Hong Kong, where the US had requested his arrest, leading Democratic senator Chuck Schumer accused the Russian president of sticking a finger in the eye of the US.  Read more.

On 1 Year, Snowden, Manning and More

Julian Assange @ Wikileaks - It has now been a year since I entered this embassy and sought refuge from persecution.
As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation.
But today, Edward Snowden's ordeal is just beginning.
Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy.
Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale.
Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated.  Read more.

Snowden in Moscow; Asks for Asylum in Ecuador

Craig Brown @ Common Dreams - Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower sought by US authorities on espionage charges, departed the Chinese territory by commercial airliner on Sunday morning local time and is en route to Moscow, the South China Morning Post reported.
Russia will not be his eventual destination, the report said. The paper quoted Hong Kong's government as saying the 30-year-old left "of his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel".  Read more.

'Netroots Nation' Loudly Boos Nancy Pelosi for Criticizing Whistleblower Snowden

Craig Brown @ Common Dreams - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) drew loud and vocal backlash Saturday for her comments on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Speaking at 'Netroots Nation', a national gathering of progressive Democratic activists and bloggers, Pelosi claimed it was unfair to label this President George W. Bush's "fourth term."  Read more.

From Afghanistan, Thank You Bradley Manning!

Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers and Hakim, Anti-War Blog - Recognition that 95 million human beings were killed in World War I and II has helped the people of the world understand that the method of war is not cost-effective. An awakened world hoped the United Nations could, as determined in the UN Charter, eventually ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.

The scourge of war in Afghanistan continues, with the United Nations reporting that more than 3,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and wounded in the first five months of this year, a fifth of whom were Afghan children. So, ordinary people should seize opportunities to tell the truth about war.  Read more.

Nevada gov. tells feds state doesn't want 'dirty bomb' radioactive waste buried at desert site

FOX News - Nevada's governor is telling the federal government the state doesn't want highly radioactive waste of the type that could be used to build a "dirty bomb" buried in a shallow pit at the former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas.

The federal Energy Department is reviewing Gov. Brian Sandoval's letter opposing plans to ship about 400 canisters of waste from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to the Nevada National Security Site, agency spokeswoman Aoife McCarthy said Friday.  Read more.

U.S. charges Edward Snowden with espionage in leaks about NSA surveillance programs

Washington Post - Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said.  Read more.

Pregnant Women's Legal Rights Often Violated at Work, Report Finds

Alissa Bohling @ Truthout - A report released Tuesday by two legal advocacy groups found pregnant workers are routinely discriminated against when they need accommodations due to the physical demands of pregnancy.

The DC-based National Women's Law Center and Better Balance in New York found that women workers around the country, particularly those in low-wage jobs and fields predominately held by men, faced a number of barriers that forced them out of work earlier than planned; caused miscarriages, pregnancy complications and other health problems; and put the women and their families in dire economic straits.  Read more.

Apple Co-Founder Slams Surveillance State, Hails NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has cheered NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and admonished the rise of the surveillance state.

Speaking with CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday, Wozniak expressed support for the whistleblower and said, "I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot with a book he wrote..." He continued: read more.

Thousands missing in India's massive floods as death toll exceeds 500

BBC News - The death toll from flooding and landslides following heavy monsoon rains in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has passed 500.

The state's Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, said 556 bodies had been seen floating or buried in "slush", and that the army was working to recover them.

The charity Action Aid says 5,000 people are missing in the area.  Read more.

Is Obama Worse Than Bush? That's Beside the Point

Gary Younge @ Guardian UK - Not long after the story into the National Security Administration's spying program broke, US president Barack Obama insisted the issues raised were worthy of discussion:

    "I welcome this debate and I think it's healthy for our democracy. I think it's a sign of maturity because probably five years ago, six years ago we might not have been having this debate."

In fairly short order, a YouTube compilation appeared, showing Obama debating with himself as he matured. Flitting back and forth between Obama the candidate and the Obama the president, we see the constitutional law professor of yore engage with the commander-in-chief of today. Referring to the Bush White House, candidate Obama says:  Read more.

Millions of Brazilians in the Streets: 'It's More Than Just 20 Cents'

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - Up to a million demonstrators marched on the city of Rio de Janiero Thursday night in an overwhelming statement that the ongoing protests which have rocked the country for the past few weeks are about "more than just 20 cents."

Similar demonstrations were reported in over 80 cities across the country with a total turnout estimated at roughly 2 million people. According to reports, approximately 110,000 took to the streets of São Paulo, 30,000 in the capital Brasilia, 80,000 in Manaus, 50,000 in Recife and 20,000 in Belo Horizonte and Salvador Thursday. In Rio, reports vary but demonstrators estimate that crowd swelled to a million protesters.  Read more.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's War on Teachers and Children

David Bacon @ Truthout - On June 14, the Chicago Public Schools sent layoff notices to 850 school employees, including 550 teachers. The layoffs will hit hardest at those teachers working in African-American and Latino communities. These are the communities that were targeted in the system's recent decision to close 49 schools - the largest single school closure in US history.  Read more.

Ex-Enron CEO Skilling's resentenced to 14 years

USA Today - Ex-Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling — already in prison for his role in the once-mighty energy giant's collapse — was resentenced to 14 years as part of a court-ordered reduction and a separate agreement with prosecutors.

The decision brought a protracted legal conclusion to one of the most notorious U.S. financial scandals.  Read more.

Yahoo completes Tumblr acquisition, aims for 1bn monthly audience

Guardian UK - Yahoo has closed its acquisition of blogging service Tumblr, paying $1.1bn (£711.12m) for the company and promising that it will retain its independence.
The deal was announced on 20 May, and is the most ambitious move yet by chief executive Marissa Mayer to turn around perceptions of Yahoo as a stagnating internet giant that struggles when bringing innovative startups into its business.  Read more.

Skype's secret Project Chess reportedly helped NSA access customers' data

Guardian UK - Skype, the web-based communications company, reportedly set up a secret programme to make it easier for US surveillance agencies to access customers' information.
The programme, called Project Chess and first revealed by the New York Times on Thursday, was said to have been established before Skype was bought by Microsoft in 2011. Microsoft's links with US security are under intense scrutiny following the Guardian's revelation of Prism, a surveillance program run by the National Security Agency (NSA), that claimed "direct" access to its servers and those of rivals including Apple, Facebook and Google.  Read more.

Occupied Elementary: Community Sit-In Against School Shutdown

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Parents and students occupied a Chicago school Wednesday, refusing to budge from a Lafayette Elementary classroom on the final day of education before the school is permanently shut down by the city.
Lafayette was just one of 28 Chicago public schools that held its final day of classes Wednesday after the city's board of education drove through a late-May plan to shutter a stunning eight percent of all public schools in the city.
Wednesday's closures were just the first wave: 49 schools total, almost all elementary level, will permanently close their doors to students.  Read more.

Who Started the Fires in Sweden?

Michele Chen @ Truthout - The Local One evening in May, a modest Scandinavian suburb caught on fire. Images streaming out of Husby, just outside Stockholm, overlaid the Nordic socialist wonderland with a scene straight out of Watts circa 1965 - sidewalks strewn with charred cars, shattered glass and angry kids. For days, the riots bled across the region and jarred international observers who tend to associate Sweden with modular furniture rather than youth mobs. But the most shocked might have been Husby's own neighbors, who had been resolutely ignoring the social fissures roiling next door before they exploded in the headlines.  Read more.

US races to mollify Hamid Karzai over plans for peace talks with Taliban

Guardian UK - The US was scrambling to salvage a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban on Wednesday amid a diplomatic row between Washington and the Afghan president Hamid Karzai over how the process was announced.
Repeated phone calls by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, appeared not to have mollified Karzai, who accused the Obama administration of duplicity. Irritated by a press conference in Qatar at which the Taliban effectively portrayed itself as a government in exile, Karzai suspended talks on a long-term security deal to keep US troops in Afghanistan after Nato leaves in 2014.  Read more.

Sao Paulo, Rio officials reverse subway, bus fare hike that sparked nationwide protests

Washington Post - Leaders in Brazil’s two biggest cities said Wednesday that they reversed an increase in bus and subway fares that ignited anti-government protests that have spread across the nation in the past week.
Many people doubted the move would quiet the demonstrations, which have moved well beyond outrage over the fare hikes into communal cries against poor public services in Latin America’s biggest nation.  Read more.

FBI admits to domestic surveillance drone use

Guardian UK - The FBI has admitted it sometimes uses aerial surveillance drones over US soil, and suggested further political debate and legislation to govern their domestic use may be necessary.
Speaking in a hearing mainly about telephone data collection, the bureau's director, Robert Mueller, said it used drones to aid its investigations in a "very, very minimal way, very seldom".  Read more.

Governments will use whatever technology is available to combat their primary enemy – their own population

Guardian UK - The actions of the US government in spying on its and other countries' citizens have been sharply criticised by Noam Chomsky, the prominent political thinker, as attacks on democracy and the people.
"Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population," he told the Guardian.  Read more.

Former investigators 'break silence' about cover-up of TWA Flight 800 crash

Daily News - Investigators from the first probe of doomed TWA Flight 800 called Wednesday for a new examination of the tragedy, resurrecting old claims that a missile downed the plane.
A half-dozen people involved in the original inquiry into the July 17, 1996, blast that killed 230 people on a Paris-bound flight out of JFK Airport claimed new evidence supports the oft-suggested missile theory. "We're are not speculating in the least," insisted Tom Stalcup, co-founder of the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization.  Read more.

Michael Hastings Dead: Reporter Dies In Car Crash At Age 33

Guardian UK - Tributes have poured in for the award-winning journalist and war correspondent, Michael Hastings, who has died aged 33 in a car accident in Los Angeles.
Described by colleagues as "fearless" and "irascible", news of his death shook the American media establishment when it was announced late on Tuesday.
Hastings was best known for his devastating Rolling Stone cover profile of General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of US-led forces in Afghanistan in 2010.  Read more.

Repeal the Patriot Act

Jim Hightower @ Creators.com - It's back. The Patriot Act — that grotesque, ever-mutating, hydra-headed monstrosity from the Bush-Cheney Little Shop of Horrors — has risen again, this time with an added twist of Orwellian intrusiveness from the Obamacans.
Since 2006, Team Bush, and then Team Obama, have allowed the little-known, hugely powerful National Security Agency to run a daily dragnet through your and my phone calls — all on the hush-hush, of course, not informing us spyees. Now exposed, leaders of both parties are piously pointing to the Patriot Act, saying that it legalized this wholesale, everyday invasion of our privacy...read more.

Nobel Peace laureates call for rejection of Keystone XL pipeline in a letter to Obama

Jacob Chamberlain @ Common Dreams - A group of Nobel Peace laureates called for the immediate rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline in a letter sent to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday.
"We are writing to urge you to once and for all reject the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline," begins the letter penned by 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners—including Mairead Maguire, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams, and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.  Read more.

Journalist Michael Hastings dies in car crash: Rolling Stone reporter brought down Gen. McChrystal

Guardian UK - The award-winning journalist and war correspondent Michael Hastings – who wrote a Rolling Stone story that brought down a top US general – has died in a car accident in Los Angeles.
Hastings won a Polk award for magazine reporting for his Rolling Stone cover report The Runaway General. The story was credited with ending General Stanley McChrystal's career after it revealed the military leader's candid criticisms of the Obama administration. Hastings also wrote for BuzzFeed.
Rolling Stone ran a report late on Tuesday confirming Hastings had died in a car crash that morning and praising him as a "fearless journalist".  Read more.

USA lags behind others in paid vacation, holidays

USA Today - Nearly one in four Americans (23%) has no paid vacation days, according to a report released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C.
"Relying on businesses to voluntarily provide paid leave just hasn't worked," says report co-author John Schmitt, a senior economist at the center.  Read more.

120 killed in India monsoon floods

France 24 - Military helicopters carried out emergency food drops on Wednesday for thousands of people stranded by flash flooding from early monsoon rains which have killed at least 120 in northern India, officials said.
The states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have witnessed torrential rains at least three times as heavy as usual since last week when the annual monsoon broke a fortnight ahead of schedule.
Thousands of houses have been swept away in the flash floods and authorities are using helicopters to evacuate people and drop essential food supplies.  Read more.

Show of Resistance: 'Standing Man' Silent Protest Sweeps Turkey

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Standing man' protests are going viral across Turkey in a silent show of resistance amidst violent government raids on the country's expanding uprisings.

It started with one man who stood silently in Turkey's embattled Taksim Square Monday, facing the Ataturk Cultural Center which is cloaked in Turkish flags and images of Kemal Ataturk.

Performance artist Erdem Gunduz stood with his hands in his pockets in the ground zero of clashes, defying government orders to clear the park of protesters, part of the violent crackdowns led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that have left four dead and over 7,500 injured.  Read more.

The Terror Diaspora

Nick Turse @ Tom Dispatch - The Gulf of Guinea. He said it without a hint of irony or embarrassment. This was one of U.S. Africa Command’s big success stories. The Gulf... of Guinea.   
Never mind that most Americans couldn’t find it on a map and haven’t heard of the nations on its shores like Gabon, Benin, and Togo. Never mind that just five days before I talked with AFRICOM’s chief spokesman, the Economist had asked if the Gulf of Guinea was on the verge of becoming “another Somalia,” because piracy there had jumped 41% from 2011 to 2012 and was on track to be even worse in 2013.  Read more.

Banishing the Dispossed from the Mainstream Media Implies They are Worthless

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - How often do you come across an article or a television news story that presents a poor person in a positive light?  Or for that matter when do you read about or see a story on an unemployed individual or the challenges of a working class American whose salary is receding as the stock market soars?
Oh, yes every once in awhile there will be a hard luck formula piece of reporting about the plight of the economically left behind – but it's comparatively rare and is