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Bringing the ‘War on Terrorism’ Home

Cleveland May Day terrorist plot – another frame-up by the Feds

by Justin Raimondo

The Obama cult is revving up its motors for the reelection campaign, with Joe Bidendeclaiming “General Motors is alive and bin Laden is dead”: that’s the signature slogan MSNBC apparently intends to repeat endlessly until we get some relief on election day. It must be the concatenation of the stars in alignment with Mars, but it looks like I actually agree with something Arianna Huffington said: that this campaign slogan is “despicable,” which it surely is. Naturally, Ms. Huffington doesn’t acknowledge the lie at the heart of the first part of that slogan: GM still hasn’t paid back the bailout money shelled out by taxpayers. If they’re making money, why not reimburse the tax slaves? But never mind: what concerns us here is that the Obama administration is taking credit for a long process – finding OBL – that began in the Bush administration and only culminated under this President’s watch.

But never mind that, too, because one has to wonder: who cares that bin Laden is dead when our endless “war on terrorism” continues? As Glenn Greenwald points out, that war hasn’t slowed down a bit, indeed it is escalating – not only abroad, where our“regime change” machine is homing in on Syria and Iran after having devastated Libya and destabilized Pakistan, but also here in this country. Is it just a coincidence that on May Day, the very day the “Occupy” movement chose for nationwide protests against corporate dominance of American politics, the FBI announced the arrest of five “anarchists” who were supposedly plotting to blow up a bridge in Cleveland?

Not that there was ever any danger of the bridge actually being blown up: like all the high-profile “domestic terrorism” cases touted by the feds these days, this was yet another case of the FBI infiltrating a fringy group and instigating its members into participating in a bogus “plot,” which the feds could then hold up as another “success story” in their ongoing domestic “war on terrorism.” It’s a veritable growth industry, one the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have a vested interest in propagating and encouraging: the more “plots” they can uncover, the more tax dollars are poured into their coffers.

That the timing of this announcement is politically motivated is obvious even to the most naïve observer: this administration is directly threatened by the Occupy movement, in spite of their strenuous attempts to co-opt it. The President’s war chest this time around is going to dwarf that of the Republicans, supposedly the party ofCorporate Greed, and the bucks aren’t coming from little old ladies on Social Security and college students dipping into their piggy banks. Last election season, Obama’s bundlers outpaced the Republicans by more than two-to-one, unleashing a veritable cornucopia of corporate donations, earning him the soubriquet “the candidate from Goldman Sachs.” Rather than put up with dissent from his left flank, Obama and his minions in law enforcement are seemingly determined to frame up the Occupy movement just like they tried to do the same with the ultra-right-wing “Hutaree” militia – and let’s hope they have as much success with the former as they did with the latter. Because the judge in the Hutaree case threw the government’s case out, acquitted the defendants, and rebuked prosecutors for bringing the case to court in the first place.

The Hutaree were engaged in a lot of talk, some of it ill-considered, but that is not a crime. The only crime involved the instigations of a paid government informer who insisted that the Hutaree carry out a “war” against the federal government and concocted a plan to kill some police officers. One of the defendants came out of the trial advising people to “watch what you say” – because “even the most innocent statements can be used against you.” In post-9/11 America, that’s sage advice.

The Hutaree militia members were charged with “seditious conspiracy” to overthrow the government, based on over 100 hours of clandestinely recorded audio and the testimony of their paid informant. No doubt prosecutors knew they were treading on shaky legal grounds, but obtaining a conviction is not necessarily the government’s first concern in cases of this kind, because the effect of such prosecutions is to publicize the difficulties “anti-government” individuals and organizations will run into if they persist in their activities. These cases have a chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech, and that is a key aspect of these trumped-up cases. Are you going to oppose the will of the federal government and get yourself into all sorts of trouble – or are you going to keep a low profile, keep your mouth shut, and avoid all sort of unpleasant legal problems? That’s the question “anti-government” activists have to ask themselves, these days, and there’s no doubt many potential dissidents are choosing the second alternative.

In the Cleveland case, we are assured that the elements of the “bomb” wereinoperable, and the FBI was in on the details of the “conspiracy” from day one: in other words, this was another Hutaree-type “plot,” a pretext for the government to entrap and prosecute “dangerous radicals” whose only crime is operating outside an acceptable ideological context. In short, it is a propaganda exercise designed to show that the feds need all the “legal tools” given to them by the “Patriot” Act – and that these incursions on our constitutional rights need to be preserved and extended. It’s propaganda aimed at keeping Americans fearful, so that they’ll surrender what is left of their rights to a government ready, willing, and eager to extend its authority into every aspect of our lives – in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

Our phony “war on terrorism” on the international front has given the government ablank check to descend on Americans and root out “subversion” while trampling on free speech and narrowing the range of permissible dissent. One by one, the liberties guaranteed to us in the Constitution are being chipped away by government prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and politicians on the make. Last time this happened – around 1776 – the American people had to take matters into their own hands in order to teach them a lesson – a lesson it appears they have forgotten. And if this be “seditious conspiracy,” then let the feds make the most of it!

Filed under News Commentary War on terror DHS FBI Dissent antiwar False flag Cleveland Ohio

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The CIA’s Inquisition: How Terrorism And Conspiracy Theory Became The New Blasphemy And Heresy

Saman Mohammadi

“The world is mental in some way that we do not yet understand, but that which we’re edging toward understanding. And the world is made of language. I can’t say that enough. Whenever we get into these discussions about reality, or effects in space and time, we are operating outside this assumption that the world is made of language.” – Terence McKenna, from a talk he gave on September 11, 1993.The Excavator
 

“As always: combatting Terrorism is not the end of the War on Terror; the War on Terror is the end in itself, and Terrorism is merely its pretext.” – Glenn Greenwald, “Since bin Laden’s death,” May 1, 2012.

Jose Rodriguez, one of the CIA’s inquisitors, defended torture and the Agency’s destruction of evidence on CBS’s 60 minutes on Sunday, April 29.

As the former Deputy Director for Operations, Rodriguez committed many war crimes, torture being among them. He is a 21st century version of a Spanish inquisitor. His job is to protect National Security orthodoxies, smear victims with false charges, and sell the lie to the American people that the War on Terrorism is a noble struggle which the CIA must fight with an iron will.

According to CIA inquisitors and their defenders in the press, no questions about CIA policies should be raised because the CIA is holy and pure, while its detractors are just a bunch of conspiracy theorists, left-wing radicals, and Islamofascists.

As we can see, there are many similarities between the modern charges of terrorism and conspiracy theory made by intelligence agencies and the medieval charges of blasphemy and heresy made by religious authorities. The Catholic Church promised its flock salvation; the National Security State promises its flock security. Neither salvation or security can be delivered by political and religious authorities, but that fact hasn’t stopped religion and government from going out of business yet.

The most important element of the CIA’s 21st century inquisition is staining the victim with guilt. In CIA torture sessions, the “terrorists” who confess their guilt are treated more mildly and kindly than the “terrorists” who insist on their innocence.

American playwright Arthur Miller said that staining the victim with sin and guilt has been used by political and religious authorities throughout history, most famously in Salem, Massachusetts in the late seventeenth century and during McCarthyism in the 1950s. “This is not a phenomenon from 1692 or 1952 or anything like it. It is right now,” said Miller.

The assumption of guilt is stronger than the weight of facts. Whether the innocent victim is a “heretic,” or a “terrorist,” the wolves of terror and torture always justify their actions by spreading mass hysteria, indoctrinating the population, placing propaganda above truth, and smearing critics.

Deanna Proach wrote in her article, “The Spanish Inquisition: The Use of Torture in the Inquisition,” that during the early period of the Inquisition, “Only those who refused to confess their sins were tortured severely.” Think about that. Once you’re called evil, it’s game over. No trial can save your ass. You are condemned to die. Osama Bin Laden could’ve hired the smartest Jewish lawyer in Israel, bribed the judge of history with CIA money, terrorized the Jury into accepting Allah as the master of the Earth, and he still would have lost the case because he was declared Evil by the U.S. government.

The power of evoking evil in the enemy is a religious power, and modern totalitarian governments have embraced this power with zeal, especially the governments of America, England, and Israel. False flag events such as 9/11 and 7/7 show that the CIA, Mossad, and MI6 are fine with exploiting the god-like faith that has been invested in them by their flocks. They have been corrupted because it is hard to resist the power and glory that one receives from having the public believe in the justness of your institutional authority.

Criminal abuse of the public trust is natural whenever political and religious authorities are given total obedience. The corruption of the Catholic Church, political Islam, and institutions like the CIA, MI6, and Mossad all stem from the same root: mindless public faith.

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Filed under Commentary Dissent Terrorism CIA Totalitarianism Propaganda Media

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‘Lasting Pride’ For the Hell We Left in Iraq

By John Glaser

“We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” – President Barack Obama, Fort Bragg, N.C., December 2011

“You will leave with great pride – lasting pride.” – Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to U.S. troops, December 2011

I’ve written repeatedly about the terrible dictatorship and lasting sectarian violenceWashington left in Iraq after the troop withdrawal of December 2011. Contrary to the lies of these indecent politicians, the enduring effects of the illegal U.S. war in Iraq are still causing havoc and bloodshed throughout the country. Iraq is neither secure, nor is it a democracy as was promised by warmongers in Washington.

A new Congressional Research Service report takes a look at post-withdrawal Iraq and at one point lists the most high-profile incidents of sectarian violence:

On February 7, 2012, the AQ-I affiliate Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for two of the deadliest attacks on Shiites since the U.S. withdrawal—on January 5 and January 14, 2012, which killed 78 and 53 Shiite pilgrims, respectively. In one of the most complex attacks in recent months, on February 23, 2012, bombings in 12 Iraqi cities killed over 50 persons; based on the method and scope of the attacks, Iraqi observers attributed the attacks to AQ-I. AQ-I claimed responsibility for a broad series of attacks—encompassing six cities—on March 20, 2012; over 40 persons were killed. Another spate of attacks took place in Baghdad and Kirkuk on April 19, 2012, killing about 36 persons.

As for the record of the government (other than what’s included in the above hyperlinks), the report had this to say:

The State Department’s report on human rights for 2010 released April 8, 2011, largely repeated the previous year’s characterizations of Iraq’s human rights record as follows: “Extremist violence, coupled with weak government performance in upholding the rule of law, resulted in widespread and severe human rights abuses.” The State Department report cited a wide range of human rights problems committed by Iraqi government security and law enforcement personnel, including some unlawful killings; torture and other cruel punishments; poor conditions in prison facilities; denial of fair public trials; arbitrary arrest; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; limits on freedoms of speech, assembly, and association due to sectarianism and extremist threats; lack of protection of stateless persons; wide scale governmental corruption; human trafficking; and limited exercise of labor rights.

All this, as America continues to give money and weapons to the Maliki government. What exactly do U.S. troops have to be proud about?

Filed under News Commentary Iraq antiwar dissent War Washington DC Pentagon

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Leading Bahrain activist Zainab al-Khawaja detained

SOURCE

A prominent pro-democracy activist in Bahrain has been detained for seven days after being arrested for allegedly insulting police, rights groups say.

Zainab al-Khawaja was held on Saturday night after sitting in a road leading to the Bahrain International Circuit, a day before the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

She was demanding the cancellation of the race, the end of the crackdown on dissent, and the release of her father.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has been on a hunger strike in prison for 76 days.

Activists said Zainab al-Khawaja was arrested while sitting peacefully in the middle of a main road in protest at the detention of her father, and that she had been charged with disrupting traffic and insulting an officer.

Her sister, Maryam, said: “I can guess it’s because nobody really believes in the legal system. Zainab’s mentality is you can only bring about the fall of the regime when you stop treating it as a government.”

On Tuesday morning, both the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said Ms Khawaja had been remanded in custody for another seven days pending an investigation.

'Toying with life'

Amnesty International said on Monday that the authorities were “toying with the life” of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, himself a leading human rights and opposition activist, after Bahrain’s highest court postponed an appeal against his life sentence until 30 April.

The Court of Cassation did not give any reason for the second postponement since it started considering Mr Khawaja’s case on 2 April.

He told his family on Sunday night that he was happy with his decision to remain on hunger strike and that if it killed him he would “at least be free”.

"The Grand Prix has come and gone but for the people of Bahrain the media spotlight has moved on while Bahrain’s authorities have yet to turn the corner on the human rights situation in the country," said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director, Hasiba Hadj Sahraoui.

Filed under News Activism Bahrain Amnesty International Dissent

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Syria: The virtue of civil disobedience

Civil disobedience is the only way to mobilise people in big cities that are deemed to be regime strongholds in Syria.

By Donatella Della Ratta 

Something is happening in Syria, away from the media spotlight. Last March 27, when Damascus woke up, the independence flag - symbol of the Syrian revolution -  was raised in different districts, from Berzeh to Mezzeh, from school walls to bridges. Civil disobedience groups had successfully managed to coordinate the biggest anti-regime protests conducted simultaneously in different parts of the Syrian capital.

When you make Mutasem Abou AlShamat notice that raising the independence flag is nothing more than just a symbolic action - although beautiful - this Damascene in his 20s, smiles and calmly explains: “You have to look at what lies behind the action, not at its immediate content. Doing this simultaneously means that different non-violent groups are finally getting together and organising common actions. Achieving this degree of coordination should not be taken for granted in Damascus, where security control is tight, communications are either tracked or lacking and moving from one area to another is extremely difficult.”

"This is a step further to coordinate a much bigger operation that is in the pipeline," he says, mysteriously.

Mutasem is a member of the Syrian non-violent movement. Together with many other groups, mostly based in Damascus and Aleppo, he has joined “Ayyam al hurryia” (Freedom days), a consortium of individuals and loose organisations which share a common goal: “To topple the regime through peaceful resistance and civil disobedience”.

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Filed under Commentary Dissent Civil Disobedience Syria REVOLUTION Rebellion

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Fear of Tyranny Is Now Treated As A Psychiatric Disorder In The West

Side Note: If there is one thing that I hate, it’s the notion that the USA is immune to the nightmarish conditions of oppression that have occurred (and continue to occur) in other nations. America is NOT immune to Soviet Union-like conditions, Americans are NOT exceptional in any way, shape or form. Americans need to sober up, stop their horse-shit hero-worship of the President (ALL PRESIDENTS - not just the current one) and start pushing back against the police state that is growing up around them. The simple fact that Americans can be in so much denial about what is occurring around them - like the growing surveillance state for example - demonstrates how HUMAN Americans are compared to other HUMANS in the world.

One more thing: The author uses the word “Islamism” which is political Islam - i.e. a theocracy under Islam. A theocracy under any religion will ultimately show the same results.

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SOURCE

The modern totalitarian state is the psychotherapist for the whole of society. It acts on the elitist principle that it knows everything and the people deserve to be mind controlled and brainwashed for their own good.

Defenders of the totalitarian system demonize their democratic critics as insane, and suppress political speech with the mind control techniques that have grown out of modern psychological and mental health research. If you point out their contradictions, lies, and inconsistencies in their narratives, they call you a conspiracy theorist and chew you out with psycho-babble. And if you acknowledge that you fear their despotic vision for Western society and the world, they call you paranoid and say you have a psychiatric disorder.

It does not matter what twisted and perverted ideology that the totalitarian power-seekers hide behind. It could be Communism, Nazism, Islamism, Neoconservativism, or Environmentalism. Every “ism” is a thought-control prison. Citizens are suppressed in the same manner under every totalitarian hellhole by their mental overlords.

Anti-democratic elites in all totalitarian prisons use the language of mental health to dismiss dissenters and enforce their dogmatic beliefs and totalitarian policies on an unwilling public. In 2009, Brendan O’Neill of Spiked.com wrote a powerful essay called,“The Psychologisation of Dissent: The Global Warming Skepticism Mental Disorder,” about how the West is following in the footsteps of the Soviet Union. O’Neil wrote:

“The idea that ‘climate change denial’ is a psychological disorder – the product of a spiteful, willful or simply in-built neural inability to face up to the catastrophe of global warming – is becoming more and more popular amongst green-leaning activists and academics. And nothing better sums up the elitism and authoritarianism of the environmentalist lobby than its psychologisation of dissent. The labeling of any criticism of the politics of global warming, first as ‘denial’, and now as evidence of mass psychological instability, is an attempt to write off all critics and sceptics as deranged, and to lay the ground for inevitable authoritarian solutions to the problem of climate change. Historically, only the most illiberal and misanthropic regimes have treated disagreement and debate as signs of mental ill-health.”

In the West, the mislabeling of dissent as “paranoia” and “crazy” has been taken to an extreme. People who believe there should be government transparency and media accountability have been exiled out of the mainstream political community.

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Filed under Commentary Totalitarianism US Government Americans Dissent

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The Hunger Games as a Metaphor for the Warfare State

by Joel Poindexter

Much has been written about The Hunger Games and many of the underlying libertarian themes in that story. Jeffrey Tucker recently described the similarity between the fictional games and voting. Brent Railey noted just the other day the realities of the black market springing up to provide what the state can’t, or won’t, and the futility in relying on political figures for salvation. A co-worker of mine suggested that another lesson is that when fighting one evil, it’s important not to become just as evil yourself; a lesson from later in the series. In this essay I’d like to draw attention to the allegory of the games and the modern warfare state.

Briefly, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the trilogy, here’s the background. North America has descended into a full-blown totalitarian state, with the people forced to live in virtual internment camps. The citizens of each region, or district, work as slaves to the Capitol, providing such goods as coal, seafood, or electronics.

In order to maintain control over the people and remind them of their impotence, a group of teens is selected each year to fight in a gladiatorial arena. The event, called the Hunger Games, is televised for the entertainment of those in the Capitol, and the punishment of those in the various districts. A rebellion ensues and, well, you ought to just read the series.

So right off the bat it’s pretty clear: An impoverished underclass, already forced to pay tribute to the government, has its youth pressed into violent service by the wealthy and politically powerful, for the entertainment and enrichment of this ruling elite. This pretty well describes the nation-state in virtually all times and all places, but it goes far beyond this.

The next similarity one finds is the way in which children are selected for the games: a draft. Each child’s name is placed in a bowl, and a representative from the Capitol draws the “winner.” There is a slight twist, one that makes the process even more similar to the actual draft. Each child may be entered additional times in exchange for greater food rations for their family.

The obvious effect is that poorer families are at greater odds of having their children selected for the games. In similar fashion, special rules applied during the draft allowed wealthy draftees to receive deferments, effectively allowing them to avoid military service. In modern times the ranks of the military are almost exclusively made up of the middle class and poor, who are promised better-paying jobs and opportunities otherwise not available at home.

While the people of most districts generally dread the “reaping,” in others, participation in the games is a coveted experience. In these districts, children, known as “Careers,” volunteer to go after training their whole lives. In very much the same way, military service is a generational endeavor. There are many soldiers now serving who can trace their family’s participation in wars going back many generations. It’s not uncommon for recruits to explain that their reason for joining was, at least in part, because their fathers and grandfathers served; “it’s just what we do.”

It continues.

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Filed under Commentary Military Anti-War Hunger Games Propaganda Dissent

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How the US uses sexual humiliation as a political tool to control the masses

Side Note: Naomi Wolf is exactly right - one of the most powerful weapons that the State has against the people is INTIMIDATION.

This enormous new sector of the economy has a multi-billion-dollar vested interest in setting up a system to surveil, physically intimidate and prey upon the rest of American society.” 

That is what these strip searches, video cameras and all that other shit is all about. [A Police State is also big-business for the corporations that win the contracts to build the stuff that destroys your rights and privacy.] Totalitarian governments rule with fear, and fear through intimidation is a very old method that governments use BECAUSE it works. Don’t be intimidated and it stops working. 

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Believe me, you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. And yet, it’s exactly what is happening

Naomi Wolf

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.

Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”

In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest – that is, who are not yet convicted – haven’t been introduced into a prison population.

Our surveillance state shown considerable determination to intrude on citizens sexually. There’s the sexual abuse of prisoners at Bagram – der Spiegel reports that “former inmates report incidents of … various forms of sexual humiliation. In some cases, an interrogator would place his penis along the face of the detainee while he was being questioned. Other inmates were raped with sticks or threatened with anal sex”. There was the stripping of Bradley Manning is solitary confinement. And there’s the policy set up after the story of the “underwear bomber” to grope US travelers genitally or else force them to go through a machine – made by a company, Rapiscan, owned by terror profiteer and former DHA czar Michael Chertoff – with images so vivid that it has been called the “pornoscanner”.

Believe me: you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. History shows that the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations.

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Filed under Commentary Dissent Intimidation NDAA Police State Supreme court Totalitarianism US Government USA Surveillance Surveillance State

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Art of Resistance – Günter Grass

by Gilad Atzmon

 Gunter

Outrage in Germany, Nobel Laureate Günter Grass has, once again told the truth about Israel being the greatest threat to world peace.

Günter Grass, Germany’s most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, sparked outrage in Germany on Wednesday with the publication of a poem, “What must be said,” in which he sharply criticizes Israel’s offensive approach towards Iran.

Once again, it is the artist rather than the politician, who tells the truth as it is.  Once again it is the Artist rather than the academic who speaks out.

 Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” Wrote Grass.

In the poem, published by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitungnewspaper and other European dailies on Wednesday, Grass also calls for an

unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.”

Israel and some German Jewish prominent voices were quick to react. The Israeli Embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of ‘What must be said.’

What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,” the statements reads.

Pretty outrageous, don’t you think? In the open Israel together with its supportive Jewish lobbies (AIPAC, AJC)  are pushing for a new global conflict. Yet, shamelessly the embassy defies criticism tossing in the air the old blood libel. The appropriate timely question here is why Israel and AIPAC are pushing for a world war and a potential nuclear conflict just before Passover? Can they just wait for another Yom Kippur (atonement day)?

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Filed under Commentary Writer Günter Grass Gilad Atzmon Dissent Free Speech Israel Palestine Germany Nobel Prize AIPAC AJC Tel Aviv Haifa Essay Politics

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Payola for the Most Profitable Corporations in History

By Bill McKibben

Along with “fivedollaragallongas,” the energy watchword for the next few months is: “subsidies.” Last week, for instance, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendezproposed ending some of the billions of dollars in handouts enjoyed by the fossil-fuel industry with a “Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act.”  It was, in truth, nothing to write home about — a curiously skimpy bill that only targeted oil companies, and just the five richest of them at that. Left out were coal and natural gas, and you won’t be surprised to learn that even then it didn’t pass.

Still, President Obama is now calling for an end to oil subsidies at every stop on his early presidential-campaign-plus-fundraising blitz — even at those stops where he’s also promising to “drill everywhere.” And later this month Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a much more comprehensive bill that tackles all fossil fuels and their purveyors (and has no chance whatsoever of passing this Congress).

Whether or not the bill passes, those subsidies are worth focusing on.  After all, we’re talking at least $10 billion in freebies and, depending on what you count, possibly as much as $40 billion annually in freebie cash for an energy industry already making historic profits.  If attacking them is a convenient way for the White House to deflect public anger over rising gas prices, it is also a perfect fit for the new worldview the Occupy movement has been teaching Americans. (Not to mention, if you think about it, the Tea Party focus on deficits.) So count on one thing: we’ll be hearing a lot more about them this year.

But there’s a problem: the very word “subsidies” makes American eyes glaze over. It sounds so boring, like something that has everything to do with finance and taxes and accounting, and nothing to do with you. Which is just the reaction that the energy giants are relying on: that it’s a subject profitable enough for them and dull enough for us that no one will really bother to challenge their perks, many of which date back decades.

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Filed under Commentary Dissent Free Speech Corporations USA Government Oil Essay

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Spying on the Spies

by Justin Raimondo

Stewart Nozette, a brilliant scientist whose work was instrumental in advancing the US space program, was convicted last year of attempting to spy on behalf of Israel, and this month was sentenced to 13 years in prison and a substantial fine. Under investigation for over-charging the government for various services performed by his nonprofit, Nozette was found to be in possession of classified documents – and, in the course of their inquiry, FBI agents discovered an email written by him threatening to turn over classified information to the Israelis if the government pursued its fraud case.

In the indictment [.pdf], prosecutors went out of their way to absolve the Israeli government of any fault, since agents had snared their prey by conducting a sting operation. Nozette was approached by an FBI agent who claimed to be a Mossad agent, and asked to hand over classified documents in return for money. As the prosecutors put it: “The indictment does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.”

However, Nozette worked as a consultant for Israel Aerospace Industries, an Israeli government-funded company with strong links to Israeli intelligence, from 1989 to 2009, during which time he had a “Q” security clearance which gave him access to our most closely guarded secrets. It’s worth noting that when the FBI agent masquerading as an Israeli intelligence operative first approached Nozette with the proposal that he work for the Mossad, the sneaky space scientist replied: “I thought I was working for you already,” and said he had handed over sensitive intelligence to the Israelis in the past.

Israeli spying in the US is a topic the government, and the news media, don’t like to talk about, and yet the GAO has stated [.pdf] the Israelis run the “most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally” and that “classified military information and sensitive military technologies are high-priority targets for the intelligence agencies of this country.”

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Filed under News Commentary Free Speech Dissent Surveillance Surveillance State Big Brother US Government Police State Anti-War

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They Shoot Youth, Don’t They?

by JOHNNY BARBER

On March 30, 1976, the Palestinian people declared a general strike and demonstrated against the Israeli confiscation of thousands of acres of land in the Galilee. The Israeli’s responded with violence, killing six unarmed Palestinian demonstrators and injuring hundreds. Every year Land Day is commemorated in Palestine in remembrance of those who would rise up to protect their land.

On this Land Day, I was at Erez Crossing. Several hundred youth had managed to find their way around the Hamas policemen blocking the roads leading to Erez. At the crossing, they moved to within two hundred yards of the Israeli gate. There they found their path blocked by rows of concertina wire across the road. The shabob set fire to tires in the roadway and threw stones towards the Israeli wall, most falling into the roadway, well short of their target. Intermittently and without warning, the Israeli occupation forces open fire on the stone throwers. Each volley consists of one to three shots, and with each volley, young men fall. Others immediately retrieve them. Dozens of youth mob the wounded. Somehow they manage to carry them through the crowd and load them onto motorcycles where they are ferried to the Palestinian side of the crossing to waiting ambulances.

I wonder about the young soldiers, picking their targets amongst the crowd and firing, like shooting fish in a barrel. I remember in 2002, the head of the IAF, Dan Hurlitz was asked what it felt like releasing a bomb over Gaza, and he said, “No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked.  But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.” I disagree with Hurlitz on this point. In any caring world this is a completely legitimate question. It is the answer that rings of illegitimacy. It is the answer of a sociopath. I wonder if this dehumanization trickles down to the soldiers opposite us. I wonder what they feel.

And I wonder about the young stone throwers, completely exposed to the guns of the Israelis, knowing full well someone is going to be shot.

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Filed under Commentary Free Speech Freedom Palestine Israel Dissent Geopolitics Essay Police State

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Someone You Love: Coming to a Gulag Near You

By Chris Hedges

The security and surveillance state does not deal in nuance or ambiguity. Its millions of agents, intelligence gatherers, spies, clandestine operatives, analysts and armed paramilitary units live in a binary world of opposites, of good and evil, black and white, opponent and ally. There is nothing between. You are for us or against us. You are a patriot or an enemy of freedom. You either embrace the crusade to physically eradicate evildoers from the face of the Earth or you are an Islamic terrorist, a collaborator or an unwitting tool of terrorists. And now that we have created this monster it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to free ourselves from it. Our 16 national intelligence agencies and army of private contractors feed on paranoia, rumor, rampant careerism, demonization of critical free speech and often invented narratives. They justify their existence, and their consuming of vast governmental resources, by turning even the banal and the mundane into a potential threat. And by the time they finish, the nation will be a gulag.(Illustration: Mr. Fish)

This is why the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was contested by me and three other plaintiffs before Judge Katherine B. Forrest in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, is so dangerous. This act, signed into law by President Barack Obama last Dec. 31, puts into the hands of people with no discernible understanding of legitimate dissent the power to use the military to deny due process to all deemed to be terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers, and hold them indefinitely in military detention. The deliberate obtuseness of the NDAA’s language, which defines “covered persons” as those who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” makes all Americans, in the eyes of our expanding homeland security apparatus, potential terrorists. It does not differentiate. And the testimony of my fellow plaintiffs, who understand that the NDAA is not about them but about us, repeatedly illustrated this. 

Alexa O’Brien, a content strategist and information architect who co-founded the U.S. Day of Rage, an organization created to reform the election process and wrest it back from corporate hands, was the first plaintiff to address the court. She testified that when WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, she discovered that the company was attempting to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals and websites as well as jihadist ideology.

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Filed under Commentary Dissent Surveillance State Surveillance Terrorism Police State Gulag NDAA Obama Anonymous Occupy OWS

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Final Curtain Call? Deep State Surveillance and the Death of Democratic Alternatives

ANTIFASCIST CALLING

Over the decades, the maintenance of power and class privileges by corporate, financial and political elites have relied on covert and overt forms of violence, oftentimes in unspoken arrangements with transnational criminal networks (the global drug trade) or intelligence-connected far-right terrorists: the minions who staffed and profited from Operations Condor and Gladio come to mind.

Once viewed as the proverbial “tip” of the imperial spear that advanced elitist dreams of “full-spectrum dominance,” the “plausibly deniable” puppeteering which formerly characterized such projects now take place in full-daylight with nary a peep from bought-off guardians of our ersatz democratic order, or a public narcotized by tawdry spectacles: Kony 2012 or American Idol, take your pick!

Mixing intellectual and moral squalor in equal measure with the latest high-tech gizmos on offer from Silicon Valley or Chengdu, the general societal drift towards data totalitarianism, once a hallmark of police states everywhere, is the backdrop where “too big to fail” is code for “too important to jail”!

With the current global economic crisis, brought on in no small part by private and public actors resorting to various frauds and market manipulations which reward privileged insiders, we have reached a social endpoint that analyst Michel Chossudovsky has accurately described as the “criminalization of the state,” that is, the historical juncture where “war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide ‘who are the criminals’, when in fact they are the criminals.”

It should hardly surprise us then that American “hero,” Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accused of murdering 17 innocent Afghan civilians, including 9 children and then burning their bodies, joined the Army after the 9/11 attacks not out of a sense of patriotic “duty,” but because he was a thief and swindler who went on the lam to avoid accounting for his crimes.

Indeed, ABC News reported that Bales “enlisted in the U.S. Army at the same time he was trying to avoid answering allegations he defrauded an elderly Ohio couple of their life savings in a stock fraud.”

Meanwhile Bales’ attorney John Henry Browne told CBS News that his client has “no memory” of the massacre and that it was “too early” to determine “what factors” may have led to the “incident.”

Some hero.

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Filed under Commentary Dissent Free Speech Surveillance Police State Surveillance State Imperialism Empire Geopolitics Afghanistan Iraq USA Big Brother

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