The Worst Snowden Revelation of Them All. So far ...

Justin Raimondo

One common reaction to Edward Snowden’s exposure of the National Security Agency’s pervasive surveillance of Americans and people around the world has been: Well, at least they aren’t doing what US government agents did in the 1960s and 1970s – targeting dissident political activists, spying on and disrupting their constitutionally-protected activities, and seeking to discredit them with programs like Cointelpro.

Except they are, as it turns out.

The latest revelations and newly-released documents, detailed by Glenn Greenwald in a shocking piece for his new outlet, The Intercept, show that’s exactly what they’re doing. Whereas J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI used old-fashioned methods – primitive bugging devices, poison pen letters, and physical infiltration of "suspect" groups – today’s Thought Police use the Internet to, as Greenwald puts it, "control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the Internet itself."

In a presentation by the British spy agency GCHQ to the NSA, and the Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand intelligence agencies, the top-secret JTRIG unit instructed their allies in the methodology of targeting and destroying political dissidents, and countering their influence on the Internet. Their approach is oh-so-"scientific," citing social science theories about human motivation, giving the whole document the aura of an academic study – albeit one written by someone with a sensibility that veers from the playful to the downright sinister.

Syria, Sarin, and Subterfuge: They Made It All Up

Justin Raimondo

For months prior to the events in Ghouta the Syrian rebel propaganda machine had been revving up its motors, churning out murky YouTube videos supposedly documenting poison gas attacks by Syrian government forces. None of which were very convincing.

It wasn’t until late summer that the rebel narrative took hold in the mainstream media with an account of a Syrian government attack on Ghouta that reportedly killed anywhere from 1400 to approximately 250 people. The Obama administration latched on to these allegations and then some, assuring us that there was absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the Assad forces were responsible. Indeed, the President presented the American people with a fairly precise scenario that sounded almost like an eyewitness account:

"In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces."

Administration officials made it seem as if we had tracked in real time the various steps Syrian government troops took in preparing the atrocity, and the War Party shouted hosannas to the NSA. There was just one problem: it was all a lie.

[Firstly,] as Seymour Hersh reports in the London Review of Books, there was no way the administration could have monitored communications between Assad and his commanders, since the Syrians had discovered – and plugged up – holes in their security months prior to the incident. (We know this thanks to Edward Snowden.) So they were lying about that. Secondly, the sensors the Americans (or someone) had planted near Syrian chemical arms caches detected nothing in the days prior to the attack: if Assad had launched the sarin-packed missiles, alarm bells would’ve gone off in Washington. They didn’t. Yes, but there was an attack utilizing poison gas that took place in Ghouta on August 21 – so who did it?

Ukraine Defends Its Sovereignty

Justin Raimondo

EU leaves door open for Ukraine deal after summit

Ukraine Defends Its Sovereignty Against the EU and the new cold warriors

Remember the "Orange Revolution"? - You’ll be forgiven if you don’t: Ukraine’s "color revolution," organized, financed, and planned in the West, blends into the rainbow gallery of failed Western-backed regime-change operations launched in the wake of the Soviet Union’s fall: Yugoslavia (2000), which rid the world of Slobodan Milosevic and yet failed to permanently install a "pro-Western" government; Georgia’s "Rose Revolution" (2003), which ensconced the lunatic Mikhail Saakashvili in power; Kyrgyzstan’s 2005 "Tulip Revolution," which adopted the color pink as its emblematic tint, that ended in a bloody uprising and fueled continuing chaos; Lebanon’s "Cedar Revolution," which tried to impose this template in yet another (2005) attempt to install a "pro-Western" regime with backing from "pro-democracy" groups in the US and Europe. The Cedar-ites succeeded in driving Syria from Lebanon, but failed in their attempt to neutralize Hezbollah and seize power in their own right.

The "Orange Revolution" was different, however, in that it had a powerful narrative that went beyond mere talking points: the charismatic leader of the revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, former Prime Minister under the pro-Soviet government of Leonid Kuchmas, and once head of the Bank of Ukraine. He arose as the West’s "golden boy," a "reformer" lionized by the Western media who was famously "poisoned" with dioxin, a highly unusual method of murdering someone, to say the least – on a par with the mysterious deaths of Russian exile Alexander Litvinenko and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat by means of polonium poisoning.

On the strength of alleged election fraud on the part of the Ukrainian authorities in favor of Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-government pro-Russian candidate, and his alleged poisoning – purportedly at the hands of Vladimir Putin and the KGB – Yushchenko was elevated to the presidency in a 2004 run-off election. However, the Orange revolutionaries soon started devouring their own, as the movement split into different interest groups aligned with this or that dubious oligarch and the economy continued its downward slide.

The NSA spy scandal and the attack on press freedom

Chris Marsden

Recently released police documents on the August 18 arrest and questioning at London’s Heathrow airport of David Miranda, the domestic partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, are a serious warning on the advanced stage of the decay of democracy in Britain and internationally.

They show that Miranda was held on blatantly trumped up terrorism charges, aiming to block reporting on the NSA spying scandal. While British, US, and European intelligence agencies have developed the mass electronic spying apparatus of a police state—as Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed—the internal security forces have developed the legal and police apparatus of an authoritarian regime.

A document from the Metropolitan Police HQ at Scotland Yard, released as a result of a court action taken out by Miranda, states: “Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security... Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism.”

Such remarks could easily be made by officials of any police-state dictatorship. Under such a broad definition, virtually any genuine reporting on the conduct of the state—which could embarrass or expose criminal behavior by state officials, and is written with distrust towards them—can be pursued as terrorism.

Remember the Torture at Abu Ghraib?

David Duke

Our policies in the Mideast and elsewhere are actually Israeli policies rather than truly American ones.

Probably no event in recent history has been more damaging to the image of America than the tortures that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. President Bush claimed that one of the justifications of attacking Iraq, was that people were being tortured by Saddam Hussein in that country.

Now that the graphic, disgusting pictures of Abu Ghraib reveal unspeakable tortures of Iraqi men and women in American custody (and the world only saw a very small portion of them), it is certain that America’s enemies will use Bush’s own logic to inspire and justify murderous attacks on Americans.

What happened at Abu Ghraib is as unAmerican and as damaging to America as any attack by al-Qaeda . The tortures that occurred there are symbolic of the fact that America has lost its way and that those in control of our nation have no sense of American justice or our honorable traditions.

No appeal to patriotism is any excuse for the tortures. I am a Patriot. I love America. I even instructed anti-Communist officers for the U.S. Government in Laos during the Viet Nam War. But, what happened at Abu Ghraib is symbolic that America has lost her heart and soul, and I grieve for our lost sense of morality and justice.

Any government that would spawn those kinds of injustices on other peoples will someday commit them on its own. Once the line is crossed, there is no going back.

Kristol Clear

Philip Giraldi

Top L-R: Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, Robert
Kagan Bottom L-R: Zbigniew Brzezinski, William
Kristol and Elliott Abrams. More members here.
(American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus)

It has been noted ironically by Justin Raimondo at and also by Scott McConnell over at The American Conservative how the neoconservative dominated American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus, which sees Chechens and other Central Asian Muslim militants as “freedom fighters” against Russian rule, exists side by side with other organizations like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the American Enterprise Institute that feature many of the same neoconservatives dedicated to restraining Political Islam while extirpating what they frequently describe as “Islamic fascism.” As is frequently the case with ideologically driven positions, the American neocon supporters of Chechen independence have failed to note that the Chechen nationalist uprising of the 1980s has now morphed into an Islamic based insurgency. The contradictory behavior is particularly glaring as Chechens have frequently been identified among al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and elsewhere and have carried out major terrorist operations in the Russian Confederation, highlighted by the killing of 186 schoolchildren at Beslan in September 2004. The friends of Chechnya response to the massacre has been to successfully pressure the State Department to provide political asylum and a government job for Ilyas Akhmadov, a rebel leader who might have been party to the terrorist attack, a bit of hypocrisy that the Russians have noted vis-à-vis Washington’s professed global war on terror.

Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt Knew

Justin Raimondo

That FDR’s deception holds some lessons for our own day seems too obvious to even comment on, and I’ll let my readers draw their own conclusions as to its meaning and applicability in the present context.

Today is the seventy-first anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an act that brought us into World War II, pushed a reluctant America onto the world stage, and ushered in the age of empire. The official history of that event is that it was a "sneak attack" precipitated by war-crazed Japanese militarists, and that the totally unprepared Americans – kept from arming themselves by evil "isolationists" in Congress and the Republican party – were caught completely by surprise.

There is, however, one big problem with this official history: it’s a lie.

The truth is that, by the winter of 1941, the Americans had decrypted the various Japanese military and diplomatic codes: President Roosevelt, key members of his cabinet, and top military leaders, including Gen. George C. Marshall, US Army chief of staff, had access to this intelligence, which was intercepted, decoded, and transmitted directly to them. We know this because Robert Stinnett, in researching his seminal book, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor, obtained heretofore unknown documents under the Freedom of Information Act, which trace the intelligence stream from interception stations throughout the Pacific to the 36 Americans cleared to look through what was, in effect, a window into Japanese plans and preparations for the Pearl Harbor attack. The President and 35 other Americans in top political and military circles knew where the attack was to take place, they knew when it was to take place, and they watched it unfold, step by step, with full knowledge of its import.

It is widely remarked that even on the eve of Pearl Harbor, the vast majority of the American people stubbornly resisted efforts to drag us into the European war. The Court Historians responsible for constructing the FDR cult would have had great difficulty denying the pattern of presidential prevarication that had us effectively fighting the Axis powers long before war was officially declared.

Déjà Vu: Fascism on the Rise

Justin Raimondo

Patras could be anywhere. Patras could be where you are.
Patras could be what your future looks like. Ready for it?

All the themes of incipient fascism are present, to some degree, in our present-day political culture.

Here in America we have only just begun to feel the social and political effects of the worldwide economic crisis: rising unemployment, a wave of bankruptcies and foreclosures, and a general contraction in economic activity. State and local governments are imposing austerity measures, and the federal government faces a “fiscal cliff” that may be much steeper than anyone now imagines. In Europe, however, they are already halfway down into the abyss, with Greece falling faster and harder — and several southern European countries not too far behind.

The response of governments throughout the continent has been a regime of “austerity” designed to reduce deficits piled up as a result of many decades of extravagance: populations which have come to expect government subsidies as their just due are being subjected to draconian budget cuts, and the social and political structures built up since the end of the second world war are in danger of collapse. The decline and probable fall of the euro augurs worse to come, with the spillover effect threatening us here in the US.

The last worldwide economic depression led to the rise of national socialism in Germany, fascism in Italy, and ultimately to a devastating global conflict that killed millions: could it happen again?

Where Do We Go Next?

Philip Giraldi

Rep. Ron Paul did not get a speaking slot at the GOP convention.

It was perhaps inevitable that the GOP would turn on the Ron Paul supporters to eliminate them from their version of a body politic. I predicted it would take place and so did a number of others. But what has been surprising is the timing. It seemed reasonable to assume that the Republican gatekeepers would wait until after the convention or even the election to keep the Paulistas in harness and supportive, nurturing their faint hopes that their message would somehow have an impact, encouraging them to vote for Mitt Romney. But the Republican Party leadership decided instead to purge Paul supporters at both the state and local level and also on the convention floor. As Justin Raimondo has noted, a harrowing worthy of Josef Stalin took place in a number of states employing procedural ploys, stripping delegates of their accreditation, and even illegal closing of caucuses, which denied to Ron Paul’s supporters any ability to have significant impact at the convention. The deal was sealed when the GOP rules committee revised its convention guidelines, initially to make it impossible to cast dissident votes or to propose nominations from the floor, and subsequently to allow the national party to veto and replace state delegates. As one Associate Press report put it somewhat laconically in an early report on convention preparations “Republican officials have reduced the ranks of Paul delegates.” Jordan Bloom, who attended the Paul events in Tampa, reported that Paul’s supporters were angry and frustrated, many having experienced political corruption up close and personal for the first time. One friend of mine on Capitol Hill likened the caucus deals finally arrived at in various states to having a burglar steal everything you own and then return a couple of days later to give you half back if you do not complain. That’s what happened. The Paul supporters were outgunned and out-muscled and, led by a campaign team that wanted accommodation, wound up taking what they could get.

Hands Off Tuvalu!

Justin Raimondo

Howard Berman threatens fourth-smallest nation on earth

No country is safe from the power of the Israel lobby — no, not even tiny Tuvalu, a nation consisting of nine minuscule islets in the middle of the Pacific Ocean totaling ten square miles. Rep. Howard Berman, former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee and longtime Democratic party power broker, is threatening the Tuvaluans with economic sanctions because they are allowing Iranian ships to register under the Tuvaluan flag. “This has the effect of assisting the Iranian regime in evading US and EU sanctions and generating additional revenues for its nuclear weapons program,” said the bullying Berman in a letter to Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Willy Telavi. The reflagging is “sanctionable activity,” Berman continued, and “given the close and co-operative relationship that our two governments now enjoy, it would be unfortunate if this action were permitted to stand.” A very thinly-veiled threat — but to do what? What will be the consequences if Tuvalu gives Berman the answer he so richly deserves?

As our Jason Ditz points out, Tuvalu has no significant relations with the US: there is no US military base, and the amount of US aid — a desalinization plant, a few other minor contributions — is negligible.

There is one way, however, that Berman could try to bully the Tuvaluans into compliance with his diktat: the US Tuna Treaty, as its called, is a typical mercantilist arrangement whereby the governments involved give US ships permission to fish for tuna in the South Pacific in return for a hefty payment. The private companies involved are subsidized by the US government to the tune of $6 million per year to pay for their licenses. The treaty is up for renegotiation next year: it would be an easy task for the powerful Berman to insist on the US taking a hard line and depriving Tuvalu of some $10 million in revenue per year.

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