12/20/14

Permalink Congress Passed Legislation Ramping Up Mass Surveillance to Super-Steroid Levels

Fascist Power Grab Wipes out 4th Amendment. Remember how Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to mass surveillance, and how the government promised to rein in spying on Americans? Instead, Congress snuck a provision into the Intelligence Authorization Act which will ramp up spying on us normal, average, innocent Americans.


Permalink $3mn awarded in lawsuit to family of prisoner who died as guards watched laughing

The Colorado Department of Corrections will pay $3 million to the family of a mentally ill inmate who died after guards and nurses at the facility for several hours watched his fatal seizures without helping him. Christopher Lopez, 35, who had bipolar schizoaffective disorder, died at San Carlos correctional facility in Pueblo in March 2013. The last six hours of Lopez’s life were caught on camera by the staff of the facility, who were laughing and joking while watching the inmate shaking from seizures which turned out fatal. Lopez died of severe hyponatremia (low sodium-blood levels), which is treatable if medical help comes early enough.


Permalink From moderate Democrats to white Evangelicals, nearly every demographic group believes torture can be justified

According to a new poll released Tuesday by The Washington Post and ABC News, a majority of Americans believe that torture of suspected terrorists can be justified — even in the wake of graphic revelations by a Senate Intelligence Committee report of exactly what such tactics look like. That public approval conceals partisan differences, as colleagues Adam Goldman and Peyton Craighill write:

Views on the CIA’s tactics break down sharply along ideological lines. Liberal Democrats are most disgusted with the agency’s actions, while conservative Republicans are most likely to defend it. Democrats who identify as moderate or conservative are more supportive of the program, joining majorities of independents and Republicans who say it was justified.

Those ideological poles at opposite ends of public opinion aren't that surprising. But the distribution of demographic groups between them is. A majority of nearly every group — non-whites, women, young adults, the elderly, Midwesterners, suburbanites, Catholics, moderates, the wealthy — said that torture of suspected terrorists can be often or sometimes justified.

Mike Shedlock New Poll Shows US Citizens in Every Demographic Support Torture


Permalink Former Nixon Adviser: Obama Is Now A "Captive" Of National Security Community

Former White House Counsel & key witness in the 'Watergate' investigation John Dean tells Larry why Obama was easy prey for America's 'shadow government' of national security agencies. Plus, what he says Obama does that probably has Nixon smiling.


12/19/14

Permalink US soldiers raped Iraqi boys in front of their mothers

According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report. According to various well respected journalists, including Seymour Hersh, the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed. Sadly, it seems that the evidence released years ago was only scratching the surface. While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it comes out.


Permalink Ukraine’s New American Finance Minister Lost $100 Mil of US Taxpayer Funds, Tagged with Financial Improprieties

Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, a former U.S. State Department officer who was granted Ukrainian citizenship only this week, headed a U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine that involved substantial insider dealings, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled. Jaresco served as president and chief executive officer of Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) with $150 million to spur business activity in Ukraine. She also was cofounder and managing partner of Horizon Capital which managed WNISEF’s investments at a rate of 2 to 2.5 percent of committed capital, fees exceeding $1 million in recent years, according to WNISEF’s 2012 annual report. The growth of that insider dealing at the U.S.-taxpayer-funded WNISEF is further underscored by the number of paragraphs committed to listing the “related party transactions,” i.e., potential conflicts of interest, between an early annual report from 2003 and the one a decade later.

Sputnik News: What is Ukraine Freedom Act, and What Does It Imply?
Sputnik News: Stratfor: Ukraine Coup Plotted by US Over Russian Stance on Syria


Permalink Ukraine forms 'ministry of truth' to "regulate" the media

Ukraine has a new government ministry. This month, the parliament voted to create a ministry of information policy that will be led by Yuriy Stets, the head of the information security department of the national guard. According to the new minister, the information war against Russia cannot be won without it. But in resorting to such measures, does Ukraine not risk losing its battle for democracy?


Permalink CIA: US unsuccessful in “targeted killings”

US counterinsurgency programs and drone strikes targeting militants in Iraq and Afghanistan have been unsuccessful, shows a leaked CIA report. The report shows that the “targeted killings” have had “limited results” and that they bolster the support of the extremists groups. The 18-page document, dated July 7, 2009, was posted by WikiLeaks on Thursday. It was made under former CIA director Leon Panetta a few months before President Barack Obama ordered a "surge" of troops in Afghanistan. It tackles the pros and cons of "high value targeting" operations conducted "against specific individuals or networks." High Value Targets is the term used to describe senior leaders in militant organizations. "HVT operations can play a useful role when they are part of a broader counterinsurgency strategy," the report suggested. "The Taliban has a high overall ability to replace lost leaders,” the report confirmed. The document also acknowledges that the early targeting against al Qaeda leaders in Iraq “did little to slow AQI’s momentum”. Since 2009, the US has carried out numerous targeted killings in Pakistan, Afghanistan and certain other countries, using unmanned aerial vehicles. The drone strikes in Afghanistan are highly controversial as they have claimed many civilian lives so far. (Video)


Permalink What's Behind the Plunge in Oil?

Mike Shedlock In the wake of a widely unexpected, huge oil price decline, I have received many questions and comments. Some speculate US pressure on Saudi Arabia to punish Russia. Others think "big oil" is out to punish the frackers. I responded to a friend today that the explanation is simple. No conspiracy theories needed. This was my proposal:

1. Slowing global economy, especially China and Europe
2. US production expansion
3. OPEC pumping above quotas – they all cheat
4. Iran embargo failing
5. Increased fuel economy
6. Attitudes of millennials towards cars and driving

I give heaviest weight to number one, but they all cascade.

AWIP: The Oil Coup
Sputnik News: Oil Prices Rise as Saudi Petroleum Minister Predicts Increased Demand


Permalink Why the Western Media Will Never Show Putin's Three Hour Press Conference

Alex Christoforou Could President Obama speak in front of hundreds of journalists for over three hours, unscripted and without a teleprompter? Highly doubtful. How about Hillary? Can Mrs. Clinton take on the local and international press in an honest, nothing off limits, press Q & A….once again for over three hours and no teleprompter to assist. No chance. What about John McCain. Could Senator McCain field intelligent questions for over three hours (let alone 15 minutes) without resorting to name calling, warmongering or regime change rhetoric? Please! Cameron, Hollande, Merkel…no way. European leaders are puppets to US policy and could probably not even string together thirty minutes of independent thought, let alone three hours of live debate. What we saw today, for the 10th time, is about as transparent as any world leader can get…and western main stream media hates Putin, and Russia for this.

Pepe Escobar What Putin is not telling us
RT.com: Putin: Russian economy will inevitably bounce back, 2 years in worst case scenario


Permalink Did North Korea really hack Sony Pictures? Some experts aren't so sure

Last week, a dreadful message appeared on the computers of some Sony Pictures employees. "Hacked by #GOP," the text read, referring to a group calling itself Guardians of Peace. "Obey us," they wrote in the message, plastered over a drawing of a skull that seemed to be lifted from children's horror book cover. Far from a stunt, the attack has actually compromised gigabytes, if not terabytes, of internal Sony Pictures files, including five leaked movies and a vast number of sensitive documents. After siphoning off all that data, the hackers apparently used destructive malware to wipe Sony's computers and make them unusable — something akin to a group of robbers stealing boxes of documents from a corporate office and then setting it on fire. As news of the attacks started spreading, rumors soon followed. Unnamed sources pointed the finger at North Korea, partly on the basis that the country was angry about Sony Pictures' upcoming comedy The Interview, which pokes fun at the secluded communist regime and its leader, Kim Jong-un.

RT.com: FBI formally accuses North Korea in Sony hack
PC World: Think North Korea hacked Sony? Think about this
TMZ: North Korean Government: Sony Hackers Don't Work For Us
RT.com: Sony slammed by Deputy PM Clegg for bowing to N. Korean ‘intimidation’
Dmitri Trenin Russia-NK Opening Sends Message to Region
Patrick Martin US stokes conflict with North Korea over Sony hacking


Permalink The Jewish Cosmopolitans Have Reached The Anal Stage

Gilad Atzmon Two month ago, we became aware of an utterly gross video ‘installation’ by Natalie Cohen-Waxberg. In the video, Cohen-Waxberg poo-ed over many national flags including Arab flags. Apparently, smearing other people’s symbols with human excrement is consistent with Jewish cosmopolitan ideology. At the time, I didn’t notice any Jewish Left organisations criticise Cohen-Waxberg’s production. For obvious reasons, I do not want to embed her video into this article. Last month, we watched David Sheen and Max Blumenthal chase Gregor Gysi, the head of the German left, into the toilet. Elementary decency is obviously not something we should expect from that bunch of ‘good Jews.’ Soon after being caught on camera attempting to push into a toilet cabin with another man, Blumenthal gave an interview in which he expressed the worst form of vile Goy-hatred. He denounced ‘German pathology’ and referred to German sickening society. The hatred of Jewish progressives for the Goyim and the nations of the world is cause for great concern. History reveals that it wasn’t Zionism that disturbed the National Socialists and many Europeans in the 1930’s; it was actually Jewish cosmopolitanism and cultural Marxists. Apparently, the link between Cohen-Waxberg and Blumenthal is more than just spiritual. In the following photo, which I assume to be genuine, the kaka artist Cohen-Waxberg is caught on camera together with the pathological goy hater Blumenthal. They seem united and cheered.


Permalink US Silent on Psychologists Role in CIA’s Tortures: Doctors

Physicians for Human Rights had not received any response from the US Federal Commission to their call to investigate the role of health professionals in CIA’s torture program, Deputy Director of the organization told Sputnik. US government has not responded to calls to prosecute doctors, who participated in CIA torture program, the Deputy Director of Communications for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) told Sputnik News Agency. Earlier this week, PHR published expert analysis of CIA Torture Report and called for US Federal Commission to hold health professionals accountable. “Physicians for Human Rights have not received any response directly from the government, regarding our call for a federal commission to investigate the role of health professionals in CIA’s torture program,” Deputy Director of Communications for Physicians for Human Rights Vesna Jaksic Lowe said. Two former military psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, played a key role in the CIA torture program, according to the US Senate Select Committee’s report. The contractors received $81 million for developing an interrogation method to deal with Al-Qaeda detainees. Their potential violations include intentional harm on detainees, human subject research, failing to document evidence of torture and profiting from the torture program.


12/18/14

Permalink The Congressional report on torture confirms that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attacks of September 11

Thierry Meyssan Publicly released excerpts of the report of the Senate Committee on the CIA’s secret torture program reveal a vast criminal organization. Thierry Meyssan has read for you the 525 pages of this document. He found evidence of what he has been saying for years. The declassified portion corresponds to only one-twelfth of the initial report. The report itself does not address the vast removal and sequestration system that the US Navy had put in place during the terms of President George W. Bush; a program that has led to worldwide kidnapping and sequestration of more than 80 000 people aboard 17 flat-bottomed boats stationed in international waters (these ships are: USS Bataan, USS Peleliu, USS Ashland, USNS Stockham, USNS Watson, USNS Watkins, USNS Sister, USNS Charlton, USNS Pomeroy, USNS Red Cloud, USNS Soderman, USNS Dahl MV PFC William B Baugh, Alex Bonnyman MV, MV Franklin J Phillips, MV Huage Louis J Jr, James Anderson Jr. MV). It is content to study 119 cases of human guinea pigs subjected to psychological experiments in Guantánamo and fifty secret prisons from 2002 to late 2009, a year after the election of Barack Obama. The extracts of the report do not indicate the criteria by which these human guinea pigs were chosen. They merely state that each prisoner denounced the following, while indicating that the confessions were not coerced but learned. In other words, the CIA sought to justify its choices by making denunciations post. In the initial report, the names of agents and contractors of the CIA involved have been replaced by pseudonyms. In addition, the declassified extracts were widely censored, mainly to clear the names of foreign accomplices of the CIA.


Permalink George Stinney Jr. Exonerated of Murder 70 Years After Execution at 14

Photo: George Stinney Jr appears in an undated police booking photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Attorneys in South Carolina say they have found fresh evidence that warrants a new trial in the case of a 14-year-old black teenager put to death nearly 70 years ago for the murders of two white girls. George Stinney Jr. was the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the last century, and attorneys say the request for another trial so long after a defendant's death is the first of its kind in South Carolina.

George Stinney Jr. was only 14 when he was sentenced to death and executed for allegedly assaulting two white girls; on Wednesday, he was exonerated for the crime and his brothers and sisters relieved. "They took my brother away and I never saw my mother laugh again," Amie Ruffner, Stinney's sister, previously said. "I would love his name to be cleared." That wish was granted on Wednesday, after South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullins reviewed the case and decided to overturn the ruling due to the fact that Stinney was not adequately represented by his own attorney. Mullins also stated that the boy's confession was likely coerced by authorities and there were not enough witnesses or physical evidence to convict the 14-year-old. Stinney, 14, was charged with the murders of 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 7-year-old Mary Emma Thames. He was arrested after people in the town of Acolu said he had been picking flowers with the young girls. Stinney confessed to the crime but not until he was separated by his parents and put through an interrogation by police. Ultimately, he was found guilty of the murder after jurors deliberated for only 10 minutes.

UPI: George Stinney Jr., executed at 14, cleared of murder 70 years later
WTOC: George Stinney, 14-year-old convicted of '44 murder, exonerated


Permalink Latest Psaki gaffe no laughing matter - Video

Jen Psaki, the US State Department spokesperson, uttered yet another gaffe when she declared that the Obama administration signed off on more economic sanctions against Russia, setting off alarm bells in Russia. The bill, which provides some US$350 million in military and non-military assistance to Ukraine, is expected to be signed “by the end of the week,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday. Perhaps Jen Psaki thought that was not expedient enough. “He signed it yesterday,” Psaki said during the briefing, interrupting RT’s Gayane Chichakyan who was asking a question about the military aid tucked away inside the controversial legislation, called the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014.

RT.com: ‘Can’t stuff this bear’ & other Putin Q&A quotes
Itar-Tass: Key topics of Vladimir Putin's tenth annual press conference


Permalink What Obama’s Ukrainian Stooges Did

Eric Zuesse Here are highlights from a one-hour-and-thirty-seven-minute video documenting the ethnic cleansing or attempted genocide against the residents in southeast Ukraine, the Ukrainian area that had voted overwhelmingly for the man whom Obama overthrew on February 22nd. If the voters in that region were to stay in the then-existing territory of Ukraine, no nationwide Ukrainian vote (such as for Ukraine’s President) would favor the pro-U.S, anti-Russian, Government, that Obama had installed in February of this year. Even if new leaders would be elected, the government would then go back to being predominantly pro-Russian, as it had been under Yanukovych. That’s why Obama wanted the residents there slaughtered until enough escaped to Russia so as to eliminate enough of them from the voter-rolls in Ukraine so as to enable Obama’s Ukrainian coup d’etat to succeed (i.e., be stable) on a long-term basis. So, that’s what was tried; and one chooses for carrying out such a purpose racist fascists — or nazis — whose particular hatred is focussed against ethnic Russians: against the people who lived in the pro-Yanukovych region of Ukraine, Ukraine’s southeast.


Permalink Washington Seeks an Excuse to Wage a Nuclear War on Russia?

Eric Zuesse “We’re Close to the Precipice. Will the Public Remain Silent?” || For America’s elite, the Cold War never ended, because it was never really about communism versus capitalism — not for them. They are fascists, and they want global dominance. All they really care about is dominating the world, destroying enemies, which means anyone who refuses to be controlled by them. Aristocracy hasn’t changed since, well, long before the Bible began. Domination is the big thing, for the aristocracy. Russia threatens the vaunted global control by America’s aristocracy, their dominance over all other aristocracies, because Russia is the second-most-powerful military nation. Russia is the only nation that can say no to U.S. aristocrats and (maybe) get away with it. That’s what this conflict is all about. It’s why they ratcheted up the “enemy” figure for Russia from 6% to 22% in just the past seven years.


Permalink UN claims of asylum seekers’ ‘inhumane’ treatment provoke Dutch ire

The Netherlands, in the throes of an immigration crisis, has accused the UN of publishing ‘one-sided information’ after its senior officials accused the government of “trying to score political points” by “forcing” failed asylum seekers into homelessness. "The Netherlands endeavors to prevent foreign nationals without lawful residence ending up on the street," immigration minister Fred Teeven wrote to AFP. The uproar from UN officials came after the central government recently refused to release €15 million in funds for local authorities to provide accommodation and food for those asylum seekers, who have been deemed to lack genuine humanitarian reasons for staying in the Netherlands without a visa. “In these dark days before Christmas, it is appalling that the Dutch Government will not even commit less than 0.01 per cent of its yearly budget to help people living in absolute misery and poverty,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Mr. Philip Alston.


Permalink The Oil Coup

Mike Whitney Here’s what’s happening: Washington has persuaded the Saudis to flood the market with oil to push down prices, decimate Russia’s economy, and reduce Moscow’s resistance to further NATO encirclement and the spreading of US military bases across Central Asia. The US-Saudi scheme has slashed oil prices by nearly a half since they hit their peak in June. The sharp decline in prices has burst the bubble in high-yield debt which has increased the turbulence in the credit markets while pushing global equities into a tailspin. Even so, the roiled markets and spreading contagion have not deterred Washington from pursuing its reckless plan, a plan which uses Riyadh’s stooge-regime to prosecute Washington’s global resource war.

William Engdahl The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria
The details are emerging of a new secret and quite stupid Saudi-US deal on Syria and the so-called IS. It involves oil and gas control of the entire region and the weakening of Russia and Iran by Saudi Arabian flooding the world market with cheap oil. Details were concluded in the September meeting by US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Saudi King... the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has been flooding the market with deep discounted oil, triggering a price war within OPEC… The Saudis are targeting sales to Asia for the discounts and in particular, its major Asian customer, China.

xymphora Alternative fairly tale "The Oil Coup" This is likely completely backwards. Kerry probably went to see King Abdullah to try to talk him out of this crazy scheme, part of the ongoing manic-depressive influence of Prince Bandar, but the Saudis, furious with the Americans over the failure to remove Assad and the negotiations with Iran, want to pressure the Americans to follow a more Zionist line. Noticing this is noticing American Empire vulnerability, so we can't go there. Of course, we could even travel a stage higher in questioning the idea that the Saudis, as we're constantly told the 'swing producer' (despite the fact that numerous new sources of hydrocarbons have come on line in the last 20 years), actually have that much power at all. The collapse of oil prices is actually due to a collapse in world demand for oil caused by the complete collapse of the world economy caused by the predations of the 1% and neoliberalism, but we're really not supposed to notice this, so we need an alternative fairy tale.

Itar-Tass: Putin says oil-market price conspiracy between Saudi Arabia and US not ruled out


Permalink Russia may seek China help to deal with crisis

Russia could fall back on its 150 billion yuan (HK$189.8 billion) currency swap agreement with China if the rouble continues to plunge. If the swap deal is activated for this purpose, it would mark the first time China is called upon to use its currency to bail out another currency in crisis. The deal was signed by the two central banks in October, when Premier Li Keqiang visited Russia. "Russia badly needs liquidity support and the swap line could be an ideal tool," said Bank of Communications chief economist Lian Ping. The swap allows the central banks to directly buy yuan and rouble in the two currencies, rather than via the US dollar. Two bankers close to the People's Bank of China said it was meant to reduce the role of the US dollar if China and Russia need to help each other overcome a liquidity squeeze. China has currency swap deals with more than 20 monetary authorities around the world. Swaps are generally used to settle trade. "The yuan-rouble swap deal was not just a financial matter," said Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based private equity group Yinshu Capital. "It has political implications as it is a sign of mutual trust."


12/17/14

Permalink US and Cuba to normalise diplomatic relations and end decades of hostility

The United States and Cuba have ended decades of cold war hostility by agreeing to normalise diplomatic and travel relations after 18 months of secret talks on prisoner releases brokered by the Vatican. The surprise breakthrough came after a 45-minute phone call between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro on Tuesday finalised the release of Alan Gross, a US government aid contractor held for five years in Cuba, which accused him of being a spy. But as he was dramatically flown back to the US on Wednesday accompanied by three congressmen, it became clear that a far larger deal had been agreed between the two countries, not just to release other prisoners and spies, but to restore ties between the countries that have been frozen since 1967.


Permalink Russia's next financial option may be 'nuclear'

The Russian Central Bank has seemingly lost control of the ruble, which lost more than 20% in just hours on Tuesday. Currency interventions and interest rates both have failed to save the ruble. The next major step could be limiting the cash flow. After the Russian ruble fell to 1998 lows on Monday, the Central Bank met late into the evening and hiked the main lending rate to 17 percent to offset the tailspin ruble. It worked- for about four hours, then the ruble against nosedived against the dollar, euro, and sterling. On November 10, the bank introduced the ruble's free floating policy- which meant it would stop directl financial support, and would instead let the markets guide it. Before that, the Central Bank tried interventions, and after burning through $80 billion in foreign reserves, the ruble still went bust. The markets took it to to new depths and lows. On Tuesday the euro nearly touched 100 rubles and the US dollar 80 rubles, both more than this time last year.

RT.com: Ruble tempest, tries to make ground after traumatic turmoil
Itar-Tass: Russia has resources, market instruments to rectify economic situation — Medvedev
Russia Insider: Sergey Glazyev Blasts Russia Central Bank in Economic Manifesto
Vineyard of the Saker: Sergei Glaziev: Stupidity Is Worse Than Theft
BNE: Russia Central Bank Is Protecting Foreign Reserves. That's Why It Can't Defend the Ruble
Zero Hedge: China, Russia Dump US Treasurys In October As Foreigners Sell Most US Stocks Since 2007
Itar-Tass: Russia’s Finance Ministry ready to sell $7 billion on market to prop up ruble
Andrea Peters Russian ruble collapses amidst mounting social and political tensions


Permalink “Mass sterilization”: Kenyan Doctors Find Anti-fertility Agent in UN Tetanus Vaccine

According to LifeSiteNews, a Catholic publication, the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association is charging UNICEF and WHO with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus vaccination program sponsored by the Kenyan government. The Kenyan government denies there is anything wrong with the vaccine, and says it is perfectly safe. The Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, however, saw evidence to the contrary, and had six different samples of the tetanus vaccine from various locations around Kenya sent to an independent laboratory in South Africa for testing. The results confirmed their worst fears: all six samples tested positive for the HCG antigen. The HCG antigen is used in anti-fertility vaccines, but was found present in tetanus vaccines targeted to young girls and women of childbearing age.


Permalink U.S. Ambassador to Israel Sparta Gets an Early Hanukkah Gift: an Iron Dome Menorah

So there you have it, a real symbol of the holiday spirit: missiles; i.e. 'Holy War' A pretty spot-on metaphor for the American-Israeli relationship: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro holding a menorah in the shape of the Iron Dome missile system. A State Department official emails to say that the menorah was presented to the ambassador at a staff holiday party. It was made with “an empty box of coffee capsules, an old VHS cassette, paper clips, and heavy-duty tape,” among other materials. By the looks of it, a lapel pin does double duty as a flag.


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