Free speech is now being considered a threat to national security, says Antiwar.com founder Eric Garris. - The website’s founder and managing editor Eric Garris, along with longtime editorial director Justin Raimondo, filed a lawsuit in federal court today, demanding the release of records they believe the FBI is keeping on them and the 17-year-old online magazine. Antiwar.com says this is one more example of post-9/11 government overreach, and a stark reminder that the First Amendment has been treated as little more than a speed bump on the road to a government surveillance state. The lawsuit is particularly timely, considering recent scandals in which the Department of Justice secretly seized months of journalists’ phone records at the Associated Press, and did the same and more to a FOX News reporter, while the IRS is acknowledging it singled out conservative groups that criticize the government for extra scrutiny.
Two years after the CIA & Mossad started the war: US Senate committee votes to arm their "Syrian" "rebels"
A US Senate committee had passed a bill that would allow, if signed for the Obama administration to supply arms to Syrian opposition — a move that could threaten the entire region if these weapons end up in terrorist cells operating on the ground. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 15-3 vote showed bipartisan support among US politicians for arming the rebels.
Pepe Escobar: Assad talks, Russia walks
Assim Qansou, a representative of the socialist party in Lebanon’s parliament, told the Lebanese al-Nashrah newspaper that during the battle in al-Qusseir city, the Syrian army has arrested tens of French, British, Belgian, Dutch and Qatari officers. The EU’s anti-terror chief said in April that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s government. Gilles de Kerchove estimated the number in Syria at about 500.Intelligence agencies are concerned some could join groups linked to al-Qaeda and later return to Europe to launch terrorist attacks.The UK, Ireland and France are among the EU countries estimated to have the highest numbers of fighters in Syria.
Lee Rogers: The Internal Revenue Service is a domestic terrorist organization. They have terrorized millions of Americans as part of an effort to scare them into paying an unlawful and unethical tax on their labor called the Federal Income Tax. The recent scandal involving the IRS specifically targeting various patriot and tea party groups who applied for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status is outrageous but really only represents a small portion of their criminal activity. For anyone not familiar with the nature of the scandal, the IRS has admitted that it made it difficult if not impossible for specific organizations related to tea party and patriot causes to achieve 501(c)(4) status. The IRS was actually requiring these groups to provide them with all sorts of ridiculous information including social media postings, donor lists and even reading lists as part of the application process. Some of these groups have reported that the IRS took years to process their applications. Other groups gave up seeking tax exempt status when faced with the absurd requirements and lengthy application times.
One of the methods used to extract information from Muslim inmates in Guantanamo was to apply sexual interrogation techniques, Terry Holdbrooks, former guard at the camp has told RT. Such a degradation methods, the former US soldier said, were used on innocent men. Holdbrooks, who wrote a book about GITMO prisoners, claims that it is the inmates’ religious perseverance in the face of pain and humiliation made him convinced that US was not fighting for the right cause.
RT: Were you given any orders as how to treat the inmates?
TH: Our interaction with the detainees was such that we were told not to talk to them, not to treat them as humans, to not engage in conversation with them whatsoever. And the army sort of made a mistake by allowing somebody who is inclined to sociology and to studying people by leaving me with individuals from all over the world unsupervised for eight hours. I was very low in rank so I was delegated all the work, while those who were higher in rank were sitting in the air-conditioned shacks, nurturing their hangovers. So the instructions I was given were simple – don’t interact, don’t talk, they are not humans.
A new report shows that US assassination drones in Pakistan have killed “scores of innocent civilians” instead of targeting terrorists. - On Tuesday, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) published a report entitled “Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan” that says the United States’ refuses to acknowledge that the CIA-led drone campaign “undermines efforts to assess the program’s legality.” The ICG called on Washington to “demonstrate respect for the international humanitarian law principles of humanity, distinction, proportionality and military necessity.” The report said the US must “establish clearer lines of authority and accountability, including greater congressional and judicial oversight.”
“The Obama administration should terminate any practice, such as the reported signature strikes, that does not comply with principles of international humanitarian and human rights law. It must also introduce transparency to the drone program, including its governing rules, how targets are selected and how civilian damage is weighed.”
Signature strikes target groups of men by using behavior patterns associated with terrorist activity rather than targeting terrorists with known identities. Pakistan’s tribal regions are often attacked by US assassination drones.
After a massive series of sectarian bombings killed 133 people on Monday, more bombings hit Tuesday, killing scores of additional people. They cap a solid week of fighting that has seen more than 400 people killed and many hundreds more wounded. - The month of April had sparked major concerns about the rise of sectarian violence in Iraq, with a death toll the highest it had been since Summer 2008. The overall toll was 460, for the entire month, meaning May is set to blow past it dramatically. Summer of 2008 was the period when the last sectarian civil war was winding down, and the Maliki government has been downplaying the significance of the recent attacks and insisting it has things in control. Still, the sheer number of deaths suggests that the next sectarian war may no longer be “coming,” it may have already arrived.
Income inequality increased by more in the first three years of the crisis to the end of 2010 than it had in the previous twelve years, before factoring in the effect of taxes and transfers on income, according to new OECD report and data. - The analysis says that the welfare state has cushioned the blow for many but warns that further social spending cuts in OECD countries risk causing greater inequality and poverty in the years ahead. After taxes and transfers, the richest 10 per cent of the population in OECD countries earned 9.5 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent in 2010, up from 9 times in 2007. The gap is largest in Chile, Mexico, Turkey, the United States and Israel, and lowest in Iceland, Slovenia, Norway and Denmark.
David Swanson: Our elected and unelected officials tell us that drone strikes target top level enemies of the United States who are imminent threats to us, and that killing innocent people is avoided altogether or minimized. Congressional hearings, with a couple of excellent exceptions, question outside academics about the legality of this purported strategy. The Obama administration declines to send any witnesses. But drone pilots have begun talking to the media. And they describe policies that bear a lot closer resemblance to reporting from the areas where the missiles strike. These pilots should be brought before Congress. Here is a stunning new interview with one of them.
Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to Syria, a move that illustrates the depth of its support for the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, American officials said Thursday. - Russia has previously provided a version of the missiles, called Yakhonts, to Syria. But those delivered recently are outfitted with an advanced radar that makes them more effective, according to American officials who are familiar with classified intelligence reports and would only discuss the shipment on the basis of anonymity. Unlike Scud and other longer-range surface-to-surface missiles that the Assad government has used against opposition forces, the Yakhont antiship missile system provides the Syrian military a formidable weapon to counter any effort by international forces to reinforce Syrian opposition fighters by imposing a naval embargo, establishing a no-fly zone or carrying out limited airstrikes.
Times of Israel: Netanyahu to Putin: ‘Your missile sales to Assad could trigger war’
The Israeli military says its troops have shot at a target inside Syria, after gunfire from Damascus hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. - The military said in a Tuesday statement that the gunfire from Damascus damaged a military vehicle without causing any injuries. The statement added that the Israeli soldiers “returned precise fire.” Tel Aviv has recently boosted military activities in the occupied Golan Heights, where clashes between Syrian forces and foreign-sponsored militants have spiked dramatically in recent weeks.
The Daily Star: Israeli unit crosses technical fence in Ghajar - GHAJAR, Lebanon: An Israeli army unit crossed the technical fence just south of the occupied village of Ghajar at dawn Monday, without passing the Blue Line [entering through Syria instead], to a road dug by Israelis by the eastern bank of the Wazzani River. The crossover comes two months after three Israeli bulldozers backed by tanks and armored vehicles crossed the same fence to dig the road that runs parallel to the river. The Israeli unit consisting of 10 army personnel stayed within the area around the makeshift road for a short while, positioning themselves behind rocks and mounds of earth along the Wazzani River.
A new video shows foreign-backed militants in Syria whipping two men for violating marriage procedures based on their interpretation of Islam. - The incident has occurred in the northwestern city of Saraqeb in Idlib Province, where a court formed by the militants issued a verdict to flog the men - the husband and father of a local woman. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafi militants in Syria have conducted similar acts in over two years of turmoil in the country. They say their own interpretation is the only correct way of implementing the rules of Islam. Unrest has gripped Syria since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
Just months after a study was published showing that two Monsanto products, a genetically modified (GM) maize and Roundup herbicide, damaged the health of rats, the journal that published the study appointed a former Monsanto scientist to decide which papers on GM foods and crops should be published, a new article reveals. - Monsanto and GM foods suffered a storm of bad publicity after a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) in September 2012 reported that a GM corn and Roundup caused organ damage and increased rates of tumors and premature death in rats. But in early 2013 Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto researcher with close ties to the biotech industry, joined the senior editorial staff of FCT. Goodman was given the specially created position of associate editor for biotechnology.
A massive tornado has ripped through part of the Central US state of Oklahoma, near its Oklahoma City capital, killing 91 so far, including many elementary school children, and leaving a trail of devastation with winds of up to 200 miles (320 km) per hour.
The killer tornado struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore Monday afternoon, flattening homes, two schools and a hospital, leaving at least 120 injured with numerous people reported missing. According to the National Weather Service, the dangerous storm system remains a threat to as many as 10 more US states as more twisters are expected to emerge from it. While rescue and emergency workers searched for more survivors through the rubble of an elementary school that was directly hit by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma state authorities confirmed 91 deaths on Monday, a figure that is still expected to climb.
Gawker: Mile-Wide Tornado Hits Oklahoma City Suburb, Killing at Least 51 - VIDEOS
Niles Williamson: Devastating tornado kills at least 91 in Oklahoma City
The journalism world has been rightly outraged by the Justice Department dragging the Associated Press (and now a Fox News reporter) into one of its sprawling leak investigations. As we wrote last week, by obtaining the call records of twenty AP phone lines, “the Justice Department has struck a terrible blow against the freedom of the press and the ability of reporters to investigate and report the news." But there are several other important lessons that this scandal can teach us besides how important free and uninhibited newsgathering is to the public’s right to know.
Ed Hightower: New revelations of US government spying on the press
Bruce Schneier: I'm going to start with three data points. One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks. Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSec hacker movement, was identified and arrested last year by the FBI. Although he practiced good computer security and used an anonymous relay service to protect his identity, he slipped up. And three: Paula Broadwell, who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels -- and hers was the common name. - The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we're being tracked all the time.
Sister Teresa Forcades is one of Catalonia's foremost political figures, but uniquely for a faith-led figure in Spain, her ideology is feminist and left-wing. Against a backdrop of continued economic contraction and austerity, she spoke to the Guardian about the need for an alternative to capitalism and criticised the misogyny of the Catholic church
At last we know. The mysterious legal authority for Barack Obama’s killer drone program flows from another administration with an elastic interpretation of executive power: that of Richard Nixon. - In a chilling 16-page dossier known simply as the White Paper, one of Obama’s statutory brains at the Justice Department cites the 1969 secret bombing of Cambodia as a legal rationale justifying drone strikes, deep inside nations, against which the United States is not officially at war. This startling disclosure is drafted in the antiseptic prose of an insurance adjuster announcing the denial of a claim based on a pre-existing condition. Yet, the bombing of Cambodia (aka Operation Menu), which involved more than 3,000 air strikes, was almost universally acknowledged as a war crime. Now the Obama administration has officially enshrined that atrocity as precedent for its own killing rampages.
It was inevitable. A technology like 3D printing that essentially puts cheap labor, manufacturing, and retail all in the same place - upon one's desktop - spells the absolute, utter and permanent end to the monopolies and unwarranted power and influence of the corporate-financier elite who have lorded over humanity since human civilization began - a permanent end the elite will fight against with the total summation of their ill-gotten power and influence. The pretext being used to begin this war, is a 3D printed gun built and demonstrated by Defense Distributed in Austin, Texas. After designing, printing out, and firing the 3D printed gun, the US State Department demanded that the designs, distributed for free on the Internet, be taken down - claiming tenuously that by posting the designs on the Internet, arms export bans may have been violated - this the same government that is on record, openly shipping arms, cash, and military equipment to its own listed terrorist organizations from the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK or MKO) in Iraq and Iran, to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in Libya, to Al Qaeda's Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra.
:: Next >>