| Snowden: An Open Letter to the People of Brazil!

An Open Letter to the People of Brazil ~ EDWARD SNOWDENFolhapress.

Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera.

Espionage Whistleblower Edward Snowden to Seek Asylum in Brazil

I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.

I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those.

At the NSA, I witnessed with growing alarm the surveillance of whole populations without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and it threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time.

The NSA and other spying agencies tell us that for our own “safety” –for Dilma’s “safety,” for Petrobras’ “safety”– they have revoked our right to privacy and broken into our lives. And they did it without asking the public in any country, even their own.

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world.

When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for five years or more.

They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.

American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not “surveillance,” it’s “data collection.” They say it is done to keep you safe. They’re wrong.

There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement –where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion – and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever.

These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.

Many Brazilian senators agree, and have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens.

I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so –going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from traveling to Latin America!

Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.

Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now, the whole world is listening back, and speaking out, too. And the NSA doesn’t like what it’s hearing.

The culture of indiscriminate worldwide surveillance, exposed to public debates and real investigations on every continent, is collapsing.

Only three weeks ago, Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that the mass surveillance of innocents is a violation of human rights.

The tide has turned, and we can finally see a future where we can enjoy security without sacrificing our privacy. Our rights cannot be limited by a secret organization, and American officials should never decide the freedoms of Brazilian citizens.

Even the defenders of mass surveillance, those who may not be persuaded that our surveillance technologies have dangerously outpaced democratic controls, now agree that in democracies, surveillance of the public must be debated by the public.

My act of conscience began with a statement: “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded.

That’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under.”

Days later, I was told my government had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.

If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems.

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| Here are the top 10 American corporations profiting from Egypt’s military!

Here are the top 10 American corporations profiting from Egypt’s military ~ GlobalPost.

The US government gives Egypt $1.3 billion a year. Egypt then uses that money to buy weapons from US corporations.

The irony is thick: Obama calls on Egypt’s interim government to stop its bloody crackdown on protesters, but continues to give it $1.3 billion a year in military aid.

For decades, Egypt has been one of the largest recipients of US foreign military aid, receiving everything from F-16s to teargas grenades.

So who are the companies reaping the benefits?

The list below were the 10 biggest US Defense contracts involving direct military aid to Egypt from 2009 to 2011, according to The Institute for Southern Studies.

See the table at the bottom of the page for full details of the contracts.


1. Lockheed Martin

Amount: $259 million


USAF F-16C. Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, Lockheed Martin provided Egypt with 20 F-16s as well as night vision sensor systems for Apache helicopters. Lockheed Martin is the biggest beneficiary of US government defense contracts — receiving a record $36 billion in 2008.

Globally, Lockheed Martin is one of the largest defense contractors. Seventy-four percent of its revenues come from military sales.



2. DRS Technologies

Amount: $65.7 million


Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr Creative Commons.

The US Army contracted this US-operated, Italian-owned military services company to provide vehicles, surveillance hardware and other resources to Egypt in December 2010.



3. L-3 Communication Ocean Systems

Amount: $31.3 million


Courtesy: L3 Communications

L3 Communications provided the Egyptian government with a $24.7 million sonar system and military imaging equipment.



4. Deloitte Consulting

Amount: $28.1 million


Tim Boyle/Getty Images/span>

Deloitte, the world’s second largest professional services firm, won a $28.1 million Navy contract to provide planning and support for Egyptian aircraft programs.


5. Boeing

Amount: $22.8 million


An Egyptian army Apache helicopter flies over a crowd of pro-military demonstrators in Tahrir Square in Cairo on July 26, 2013. (Ed Giles/AFP/Getty Images)

While most people know Boeing for it’s commercial flights, it is also the second largest defense contractor in the world.

Boeing won a $22.5 million Army contract in 2010 to provide Egypt with 10 Apache helicopters. The Aerospace also received a contract to provide logistics support to Egypt.


6. Raytheon

Amount: $31.6 million


In 2010, Raytheon gave the Egyptian military 264 moths of Hawk missile systems training. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

The world’s largest guided missiles provider gave Egypt and Turkey 178 STINGER missiles, missile launch systems and 264 months of technical support for the Hawk missile system.



7. AgustaWestland

Amount: $17.3 million


An Apache helicopter flies over a crowd of protesters in Cairo on July 26, 2013. (Ed Giles/Getty Image)

AgustaWestland — also owned by the same Italian company that operates DRS Technologies — secured a contract to provide helicopter maintenance for the Egyptian government.



8. US Motor Works

Amount: $14.5 million


An Armored Personnel Carrier stationed on a street in Cairo on July 4, 2013. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

US Motor Works landed a $14.5 million contract in 2009 to provide engines and spare parts for the Egyptian Armament Authority.



9. Goodrich Corp.

Amount: $10.8 million


(Koen Verheijden/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Air Force and Goodrich brokered a $10.8 million contract to obtain and distribute reconnaissance systems for the F-16 jets the Egyptian Air Force uses.


10. Columbia Group

Amount: $10.6 million


A Knox class frigate, with the flag of Egyptian Navy. Wikimedia Commons

Columbia Group provides $10.6 million-worth of unmanned vehicle systems, along with technical training, to the Egyptian Navy.

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| Hypocrisy Alert: Israel’s Nuke Arsenal Off-Limits!

Israel’s Nuke Arsenal Off-Limits ~ Robert ParryConsortiumnews.

Exclusive: It was a typical day in the life of the mainstream U.S. news media. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu went on American TV and threatened war on Iran for its alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon, while being spared any inconvenient questions about Israel’s very real – and rogue – nuclear arsenal, notes Robert Parry.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer devoted more than six minutes of a ten-minute interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the topic of Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon, with Netanyahu explicitly threatening to attack Iran if it crossed his personally drawn “red line” on the level of permitted refinement of nuclear fuel.

No where during that interview – or in the major news articles that I read about it – was there any reference to Israel’s own rogue nuclear arsenal or how destabilizing it is for one religious state possessing nukes to threaten to attack another religious state lacking a single nuke. The imbalance in this nuclear equation is so breathtaking that you might have thought it would be at the center of a testy Q-and-A. Instead it was nowhere.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, drawing his own “red line” on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

Netanyahu also was allowed to denounce Iran as “apocalyptic” without any question about Netanyahu’s own frequent references to Israel facing “existential” threats. Indeed, Israel’s attitude toward using nuclear weapons is sometimes called the “Samson Option,” recalling the Biblical hero who destroyed himself along with his enemies. So, again, you might have thought Schieffer would pounce on Netanyahu’s self-serving remark. But, nah!

In other words, it was a typical day in the life of mainstream U.S. journalism, a profession which purports to be “objective” – meaning it should treat all parties to a dispute equally – but, of course, isn’t.

An “objective” interview or article would have included at least some reference to Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the question of whether Israel has the unilateral right to wage war (or even threaten war) against another country, with the particular irony that Israel is accusing Iran of pursuing a course that Israel has already taken.

But it is expected now that “objective” U.S. journalists will avert their eyes from a reality that Israel would prefer not to mention. In the real world of U.S. journalism, “objectivity” means following the bias of the powers-that-be and framing issues within the conventional wisdom.

In the CBS interview, Netanyahu also was allowed to take a free shot at Iran and its president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, who was disparaged by Netanyahu as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” whose strategy is to “smile and build a bomb.”

Netanyahu was given free rein, too, to demand that President Barack Obama demonstrate “by action” that he stands with Israel in its military threat against Iran. Those demands “should be backed up with ratcheted sanctions,” Netanyahu said. “They have to know you’ll be prepared to take military action; that’s the only thing that will get their attention.”

(It might be noted here that the United States has lots and lots of nuclear weapons and indeed is the only nation to have actually used them in warfare against other human beings. Meanwhile, Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.)

Netanyahu seemed perturbed that the Obama administration is hoping to reach an accommodation with President-elect Rowhani that would involve Iran accepting new safeguards on its nuclear program in exchange for relaxed economic sanctions.

The New York Times reported that “a senior [Obama] administration official” told reporters on Friday that Rowhani’s more moderate tone suggested he was “going in a different direction” from his predecessors and might be interested in reaching a broad settlement with the West.

In the CBS interview, Netanyahu was signaling that any accommodation with Iran – beyond one that would demand Iran’s total capitulation on its right to process uranium at all – is unacceptable to him. The U.S. press corps then repeated Netanyahu’s hard-line remarks without any of that troublesome context regarding Israel’s possession of an undeclared nuclear arsenal, considered one of the world’s most sophisticated.

That the U.S. press corps routinely fails to provide that sort of context is clear evidence that the principle of “objectivity” is one that is selectively applied, which would seem to negate the very notion of “objectivity.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

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ALSO SEE:

Israeli PM threatens to strike Iran ~ Al Jazeera.

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel may have to act against Tehran unilaterally to curb it from achieving its nuclear goal.

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| 9/11 in Context: The importance of the growing contradictory evidence!

9/11 in Context: The Importance of the Growing Contradictory Evidence ~ Elizabeth Woodworth, Global Research.

Nearly 12 years after the event, the official account of 9/11 continues to be actively studied by academics around the world. The idea of 9/11 as a false-flag operation to build support for an aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East is steadily gaining ground, suggesting that a policy change is overdue.

This essay provides a brief overview of recent academic evidence, high-level conferences, and media documentaries that raise fresh questions regarding the official account of 9/11. It then describes the 9/11 Consensus Panel as an up-to-date source of evidence-based research for any investigation that may be undertaken to settle 9/11′s unanswered questions.

Finally, this essay argues that mortality from all terror events combined lags far behind annual mortality from preventable common causes such as obesity, smoking, and impaired driving. More importantly, all these causes together will be dwarfed by the mortality from predicted “business as usual” global warming events — which cry out for a unified emergency response.

Today is the second anniversary of the day the United States announced the destruction and disposal of Osama bin Laden during a special military operation.

In spite of this announcement, worldwide skepticism and research continue to dog the official account of 9/11.

Had the United States Government called an immediate investigation (it did not form the 9/11 Commission until late 2002) and provided consistent and transparent proof of its claims against Osama bin Laden and the 19 alleged hijackers, things might have been different.

In the wake of the officially failed evidence, NGO’s continue to dig into the disturbing and unanswered questions that haunt this world-changing event. Year by year, these research bodies have been delving ever more deeply into new photographic, FOIA, and witness evidence.

Recent high-level conferences in Kuala Lumpur,[1] Bremen, Germany,[2] and Toronto, Canada,[3] have raised public awareness of the urgent need to revisit the watershed event behind the global war on terror.

An issue of the international magazine Nexus, which sold on news-stands across France in March and April this year, devoted 12 pages to the work of the 9/11 Consensus Panel (www.consensus911.org) and its 28 peer-reviewed Consensus Points of evidence against elements of the official story.[4]

In late 2012, PBS aired one of its most-watched documentaries, “Experts Speak Out,” in which 40 architects and engineers demonstrate that the structural collapses of the Twin Towers and WTC 7 could only have been caused by controlled demolition.[5]

Indeed many serious investigations have been undertaken by the major media, including Canada’s flagship CBC program, The Fifth Estate.[6] These explorations were summarized in my 2010 essay reporting that “eight countries – Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Russia – have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.[7]

In February, 2010, the American Behavioral Scientist published six articles introducing the concept of “State Crimes Against Democracy” (SCADS), including “Beyond Conspiracy Theory: Patterns of High Crimes in American Government.”[8]

Why has all this effort to establish the truth about 9/11 persisted for nearly 12 years?

1. First, because many high officials have cast doubt on the official story. To name just one, a dismayed General Wesley Clark reported in a 2007 interview with Amy Goodman that on September 20, 2001, and again later in November, his former Pentagon staff told him that the US was going to “take out” seven Middle East countries in the next five years, beginning with Iraq; then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan.[9]

2. In carrying out these operations, the “global war on terror” spawned by 9/11 has maintained an unprecedented degree of fear and divisiveness in the world;

3. This war has been justified by a pervasive, shadowy enemy that can only be countered by flawless surveillance, suspension of civil rights, and unlimited military spending;

4. This “forever war” has redefined world relationships (Muslim and Christian) and given the West a new kind of entitlement to occupy lands that might foster terror against it;

5. It has virtually bankrupted the West through trillions spent in Afghanistan and Iraq that are roughly equivalent to the bank bailouts;

6. September 11th and its offspring terror war have wrecked our confidence in the first principles of democracy. Ever-reminded that terror lurks all around, we must cower and surrender freedoms to contain it.

7. Worst of all, preoccupation with terror has taken our attention off the vital need to address global warming and planetary survival. War-on-terror hawks have done quite the opposite, having manufactured public consent to occupy the very lands that house the cheap oil that is cooking the planet as it approaches 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2.[10]

How do we get back to first principles and return to global, survival-oriented priorities?

The central question is: “Do we choose to act from what we want our world to be, or from what we fear it might become?”

Do we design a harmonious world fit for all humanity, or do we stifle our vision and hopes for peace behind fear, prisons, martial law, and infinite military spending?

All great periods of history – the golden ages of optimism, learning, culture and prosperity — have been inspired by the creative, expansive human imagination. This imagination is inspired by the belief that a civilized world is possible because we can make it so. It is inspired by a vision of human beings as a world family whose spirits embrace justice, order, and decency.

As President John F. Kennedy said in his famous speech of 1963:

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”[11]

Because of 9/11, however, our new century has been dominated by an obsessive fear of Muslim peoples. This fear, fueled daily by the Western media, has persuaded America to compromise its fundamental democratic rights and principles in favor of a “security” that has not yet become evident.

Thus it is crucial to know whether 9/11 transpired as we have been told — and for this we need the means to identify the best evidence possible.

The 9/11 Consensus Panel and its Approach to Evidence

The 9/11 Consensus Panel was formed in May, 2011. Its purpose and procedures are briefly outlined below:

· The media has claimed for a decade that it is unable to evaluate the technical evidence being presented against the official story of 9/11.

· A parallel problem existed in medicine during the years when there were contradictory, unranked approaches to evaluating the 22 million articles in the biomedical literature databases.

· This problem was greatly reduced by the introduction of “evidence-based” medicine, which applied formal rules of evidence in evaluating the clinical literature.

· Using widely accepted tools such as the Delphi Method, medicine has now developed hundreds of standard Consensus Statements to guide physicians in diagnosis and treatment.
· Similarly, 20 expert members[12] of the new 9/11 Consensus Panel have now developed Consensus Points of “best evidence” opposing the official account of 9/11.

· The Panel Members, who remain blind to one another throughout the process, provide three rounds of review and feedback that are refined into 28 Points (thus far) of “best evidence”.

· This scientific process has yielded an unprecedented degree of credibility for points of evidence relating to 9/11 that can be trusted by the media and the public.

· The 9/11 Consensus Points provide a ready source of evidence-based research to any investigation that may be undertaken by the public, the media, academia, or any other investigative body or institution.

Conclusion:

We have seen that the evidence supporting the official story of 9/11 has become increasingly open to question. We have also seen that preoccupation with 9/11 has continued unabated through the ever-present war on terror.

But to keep things in perspective: lives lost to the sum total of terror events are far fewer than those lost annually to preventable deaths from obesity, smoking, and impaired driving.[13]

This should translate into the media giving more time to the prevention of obesity, traffic accidents, and smoking, and less time to preventing terror events.

That would be fine except that all these things taken together pale by comparison with the disease and mortality[14] that will ensue if we continue with “business as usual” in the face of recent evidence that “observed [fossil fuel] emissions continue to track the top end of all scenarios.”[15]

In order to steel ourselves to confront global warming — the most serious challenge ever faced by civilization — we need to reframe our priorities.

We need to wage war on our own behaviour, and it’s time to gear up, impose discipline, and win the planet back.

This means taking our declared “war on global warming” to the front page of every newspaper, to the top of all social media discussions, and to the Number One item in every town hall meeting on Platform Earth.

Notes 

[1]International Conference: “9/11 Revisited — Seeking the Truth,” sponsored by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia and President of Perdana Global Peace Foundation (http://www.perdana4peace.org/events/conferences/911_revisited/).

[2]“Quo Vadis NATO? — Challenges for Democracy and Law,” University of Bremen, April 26-28, 2013 (http://ialana.de/files/pdf/veranstaltungen/13-Veranstaltungen/IA%20Bremen%20Programm_englisch%2018_4-1.pdf). Presenters included: Dr. Hans-Christof Graf von Sponeck, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General; Prof. Dr. Christopher Weeramantry, former Vice President of the International Court of Justice; Dr. Dieter Deiseroth, Judge at the German Federal Administrative Court; Wolfgang Nescovic, former Judge at the German Federal High Court; Prof. Dr. Reinhard Merkel, Professor for criminal law and philosophy of law, University of Hamburg; Dr. Andreas von Bülow, former German Assistant Secretary of Defense; and Dr. Daniele Ganser, Swiss historian and peace researcher.

[3]The Toronto Hearings, September 2011, chaired by four international judges, including Mr. Ferdinando Imposimato, Honorary President of the Italian Supreme Court (http://torontohearings.org/panelists/). The Proceedings are available at: http://www.amazon.com/The-9-11-Toronto-Report/dp/1478369205/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1367431792&sr=8-2&keywords=toronto+hearings).

[5]“9/11 Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out,” produced by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (ae911truth.org) was the most watched and most shared PBS video nationwide for several weeks, with over a million viewers. (http://video.cpt12.org/video/2270078138/).

[6] CBC. The Fifth Estate. “The Unofficial Story”, November 27, 2009 (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/the_unofficial_story/ ) The Fifth Estate has won 243 awards, including an Oscar for best documentary, three international Emmy Awards, and 31 Geminis.

[7]Elizabeth Woodworth, “The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Part II: A Survey of Attitude Change, 2009-2010,” Global Research, February 15, 2010 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-media-response-to-the-growing-influence-of-the-9-11-truth-movement/17624).

[8]These are listed at http://abs.sagepub.com/content/vol53/issue6. The print issue is available for $24 from Sage Journals at journals@sagepub.com, telephone 1-800-818-7243.

[9] “The Plan — According to U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.),” Interview with General Wesley Clark, Amy Goodman, March 2, 2007 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE). For other military leaders who share General Clark’s concern, see http://patriotsquestion911.com/

[10] Global Carbon Project, “Global Carbon Budget, 2012,” December 12, 2012 (http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/12/files/CarbonBudget2012.pdf).

[11] John F. Kennedy. American University Commencement Address, June 10, 1963 (http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx).

[12]The Panel Members’ photos and biographies are available at http://www.consensus911.org/panel-members/.

[13]World Health Organization. “Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for mortality worldwide, accountable for at least 2.8 million deaths each year.” (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/index.html).

CDC Atlanta. “The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.” (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/).

CDC Atlanta. “In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

[14]Climate Institute, “Human Health,” (http://www.climate.org/topics/health.html). This short summary from 2009 or 2010 estimates the health impacts of global warming.

[15] Global Carbon Project, “Global Carbon Budget, 2012,” December 12, 2012 (http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/12/files/CarbonBudget2012.pdf).

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| N. Korea threatens ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear strike against US!

N. Korea threatens ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear strike against US ~ RT.

A spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry says his country may deliver a pre-emptive nuclear strike against its enemies in case an attack on Pyongyang is launched.

“Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to a preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,” said the statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

 

The reclusive state has ramped up its military rhetoric after conducting its third nuclear test last month, threatening to use every means, including the nuclear arsenal, against any aggression.

 

Lately Pyongyang accused Washington and Seoul of preparing an attack on North Korea under the guise of a joint military exercise.

 

As the annual two-month drill goes on, North Korea has imposed no-fly and no-sail zones off both its coasts, a move indicating that it plans to hold its own war games, South Korea’s governmental sources said.

 

Military experts say North Korea is years away from developing a long-range missile and a nuclear warhead to attack mainland US.

 

The war of words continues as the UN Security Council mulls over a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang, which are meant to be a response to the February nuclear test.

 

All permanent members of the UNSC condemned the test, including North Korea’s reluctant ally China, which indicates the sanction-imposing resolution is likely to be adopted.

 

The new measures are expected to include mandatory inspections of cargoes going in or out of North Korea, additional restraints on luxury trade and freeze of assets of two organizations related to the nuclear test.

AFP Photo / Pedro Ugarte

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| The 2nd Amendment and the madness of killing kids!

The 2nd Amendment and Killing Kids ~ Robert Parry, Consortium News.

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Exclusive: As Americans reel in shock over the slaughter of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, defenders of “gun rights” insist, in effect, that such deaths are part of the price of “liberty” enshrined by the Framers in the Second Amendment. But this was not what James Madison had in mind, argues Robert Parry.

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The American Right is fond of putting itself inside the minds of America’s Founders and intuiting what was their “original intent” in writing the U.S. Constitution and its early additions, like the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” But, surely, James Madison and the others weren’t envisioning people with modern weapons mowing down children in a movie theater or a shopping mall or now a kindergarten.

Indeed, when the Second Amendment was passed in the First Congress as part of the Bill of Rights, firearms were single-shot mechanisms that took time to load and reload. It was also clear that Madison and the others viewed the “right to bear arms” in the context of “a well-regulated militia” to defend communities from massacres, not as a means to enable such massacres.

James Madison, architect of the U.S. Constitution and author of the Bill of Rights.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Thus, the point of the Second Amendment is to ensure “security,” not undermine it.

The massacre of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, which followed other gun massacres in towns and cities across the country, represents the opposite of “security.” And it is time that Americans of all political persuasions recognize that protecting this kind of mass killing was not what the Founders had in mind.

However, over the past several decades, self-interested right-wing “scholarship” has sought to reinvent the Framers as free-market, government-hating ideologues, though the key authors of the U.S. Constitution – people like James Madison and George Washington – could best be described as pragmatic nationalists who favored effective governance.

In 1787, led by Madison and Washington, the Constitutional Convention scrapped the Articles of Confederation, which had enshrined the states as “sovereign” and had made the federal government a “league of friendship” with few powers.

What happened behind closed doors in Philadelphia was a reversal of the system that governed the United States from 1777 to 1787. The laws of the federal government were made supreme and its powers were dramatically strengthened, so much so that a movement of Anti-Federalists fought bitterly to block ratification.

In the political maneuvering to assure approval of the new system, Madison and other Federalists agreed to add a Bill of Rights to ease some of the fears about what Anti-Federalists regarded as the unbridled powers of the central government. [For details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

Madison had considered a Bill of Rights unnecessary because the Constitution, like all constitutions, set limits on the government’s power and it contained no provisions allowing the government to infringe on basic liberties of the people. But he assented to spell out those rights in the first 10 amendments, which were passed by the First Congress and ratified in 1791.

The intent of the Second Amendment was clarified during the Second Congress when the U.S. government enacted the Militia Acts, which mandated that all white males of military age obtain a musket, shot and other equipment for service in militias.

The idea was to enable the young country to resist aggression from European powers, to confront Native American tribes on the frontier and to put down internal rebellions, including slave revolts. There was nothing particularly idealistic in this provision; the goal was the “security” of the young nation.

However, the modern American Right and today’s arms industry have devoted enormous resources to twisting the Framers into extremist ideologues who put “liberties” like individual gun ownership ahead of all practical concerns about “security.”

This propaganda has proved so successful that many politicians who favor common-sense gun control are deemed violators of the Framers’ original intent, as essentially un-American, and face defeat in elections. The current right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court has even overturned longstanding precedents and reinterpreted the Second Amendment as granting rights of individual gun ownership.

But does anyone really believe that Madison and like-minded Framers would have stood by and let deranged killers mow down civilians, including children, by using guns vastly more lethal than any that existed in the Revolutionary era? If someone had wielded a single-shot musket or pistol in 1791, the person might get off one volley but would then have to reload. No one had repeat-firing revolvers, let alone assault rifles with large magazines of bullets.

Any serious scholarship on the Framers would conclude that they were, first and foremost, pragmatists determined to protect the hard-won independence of the United States. When the states’-rights Articles of Confederation wasn’t doing the job, they scrapped it. When compromises were needed – even on the vile practice of slavery – the Framers cut the deals.

While the Framers cared about liberty (at least for white men), they focused in the Constitution on practicality, creating a flexible system that would advance the “general Welfare” of “We the People.”

It is madness to think that the Framers would have mutely accepted the slaughter of kindergarteners and grade-school kids (or the thousands of other American victims of gun violence). Such bloody insecurity was definitely not their “original intent.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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*ALSO SEE:
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SECOND AMENDMENT ~ Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Such language has created considerable debate regarding the Amendment’s intended scope. On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.

In 1939 the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter in United States v. Miller. 307 U.S. 174. The Court adopted a collective rights approach in this case, determining that Congress could regulate a sawed-off shotgun that had moved in interstate commerce under the National Firearms Act of 1934 because the evidence did not suggest that the shotgun “has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated milita . . . .” The Court then explained that the Framers included the Second Amendment to ensure the effectiveness of the military.

This precedent stood for nearly 70 years when in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court revisited the issue in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290). The plaintiff in Hellerchallenged the constitutionality of the Washington D.C. handgun ban, a statute that had stood for 32 years. Many considered the statute the most stringent in the nation. In a 5-4 decision, the Court, meticulously detailing the history and tradition of the Second Amendment at the time of the Constitutional Convention, proclaimed that the Second Amendment established an individual right for U.S. citizens to possess firearms and struck down the D.C. handgun ban as violative of that right. The majority carved out Miller as an exception to the general rule that Americans may possess firearms, claiming that law-abiding citizens cannot use sawed-off shotguns for any law-abiding purchase. Similarly, the Court in its dicta found regulations of similar weaponry that cannot be used for law-abiding purchases as laws that would not implicate the Second Amendment. Further, the Court suggested that the United States Constitution would not disallow regulations prohibiting criminals and the mentally ill from firearm possession.

 

Thus, the Supreme Court has revitalized the Second Amendment.  The Court continued to strengthen the Second Amendment through the 2010 decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago (08-1521).  The plaintiff inMcDonald challenged the constitutionally of the Chicago handgun ban, which prohibited handgun possession by almost all private citizens.  In a 5-4 decisions, the Court, citing the intentions of the framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment, held that the Second Amendment applies to the states through the incorporation doctrine.  However, the Court did not have a majority on which clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the fundamental right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.  While Justice Alito and his supporters looked to the Due Process Clause, Justice Thomas in his concurrence stated that the Privileges and Immunities Clause should justify incorporation.

 

 

However, several questions still remain unanswered, such as whether regulations less stringent than the D.C. statute implicate the Second Amendment, whether lower courts will apply their dicta regarding permissible restrictions, and what level of scrutiny the courts should apply when analyzing a statute that infringes on the Second Amendment.

See constitutional amendment.

 

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Erwin Chemerinsky, Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies 26-28 (2006).

Federal Decisions:

 

Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that [the Second Amendment] guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment , like the First and Fourth Amendment s, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.”

District of Columbia v. Heller, 478 F.3d 370 (2008)

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| American Complicity: ‘No Country Would Tolerate Missiles!’

No Country Would Tolerate Missiles ~ Johnny Barber, www.oneBrightpearl-jb.blogspot.com.

We supply the planes, we supply the bombs, we supply the vetoes at the UN Security Council that gives cover to these crimes.

Walid al Nassasra and two of his daughters stand staring into the pit where his brothers sheet-metal roofed, cinder-block home stood until it was hit in a pin-point strike with a precision guided bomb from an F-16 fighter jet (provided by the United States) on 19 Nov 2012 at 10 pm as the family slept. If not for the clothes and bedding strewn about, it would be  difficult to tell that a home once stood here. His brother Taqwfiq, like Walid, is a farmer. Their family has been farming in the Rafah area for 35 years. They are poor people, scratching out a living on a small plot of land. As we sat and talked with Walid, Israeli F-16’s roared across the sky.

His brother as well as a 12 year old nephew remains hospitalized, the nephew is in the ICU with skull and hip fractures. His sister-in-law is blind after her head and upper body was severely burned.

His 4 year-old niece suffers severe burns and a fractured leg stabilized by an external fixation device. In this kind of reduction, holes are drilled into uninjured areas of bones around the fracture and special bolts or wires are screwed into the holes. Outside the body, a rod or a curved piece of metal with special ball-and-socket joints joins the bolts to make a rigid support. The fracture can be set in the proper anatomical configuration by adjusting the ball-and-socket joints. Since the bolts pierce the skin, proper cleaning to prevent infection at the site of surgery must be performed. Yes, i said his niece is 4 years old. She has been released to the home. They bring her to us to show us her damaged body, her face covered in burns, her leg with eight metal screws holding it together. She is crying.  All 9 surviving members of the family were injured in the blast.

2 nephews, Ahmed and Mohamed, were killed. (Yes, every Martyr, innocent civilian, and resistance fighter here has a name. Everyone killed here has family left behind who grieves for them. Everyone.)

There was no warning given. No calls, no leaflets, no roof tapping. Just an enormous explosion in the night that made Walid think his house was bombed, eighty meters away, as all the windows exploded and the walls rattled.
When Walid was asked what he would say to the people of the U.S., he said, “The American people already received our message. During Cast Lead the American people saw that the majority of the martyrs and injuries were civilians, and they didn’t do anything. They deal with Israel as if it is a state in America.”
President Obama said, “There’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” We supply the planes, we supply the bombs, we supply the vetoes at the UN Security Council that gives cover to these crimes. We as Americans are complicit. The question is, “How much longer will we tolerate it?”

 

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| Murdering the Palestinians while rationalizing Obama’s police state!

Murdering the Palestinians while rationalizing Obama’s police state ~ Larry PinkneyIntrepid Report.

“I demand that notice be taken of my negating activity insofar as I pursue something other than life; insofar as I do battle for the creation of a human world—that is, of a world of reciprocal recognitions.”—Frantz Fanon

“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” — Frederick Douglass

The horrible and massive Israeli Zionist slaughter of Palestinian children, women, and old and young men is, in fact, an ongoing bloody affair which takes place due to the blatant and constant support on part of the pro-apartheid Zionist, war criminal U.S. president Barack Obama and his corporate-owned Democrat and Republican party cohorts.

This is the politics of deliberate genocide, terror, and subterfuge. It is also the politics of continued unabated hatred and instability against the everyday ordinary peoples throughout Mother Earth; for as long as this terror, instability, hatred and fear is perpetuated—the U.S. and other ‘Western’ governments have the pretext with which to suppress or outright eradicate the civil liberties and human rights of persons (citizens and non-citizens alike)within the borders of their own nations.

Occasionally, as in recent weeks, the massive wounding and slaughter of the de facto occupied Palestinian people became so obvious that the overwhelmingly biased pro-Zionist U.S. corporate-stream media found it necessary and convenient to intensify its unceasing disinformation and misinformation campaign against the Palestinian people, in particular, and against Arab and African peoples, in general. However, the reality is that allpeople on this planet—be they of so-called Arab, African, Asian, or European, descent are the victims of this deliberately perpetuated insanity.

Both the Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli Jews are, essentially, Semitic people. More importantly however, they—like the rest of the people who inhabit Mother Earth—are human. The conflict between the nation-state of Israel and the occupied Palestinian people is fostered by a combination of an ideologically-driven apartheid-Zionism combined with an entrenched refusal on the part of the U.S. and its allies to address the root causes and legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people. There can and will be no genuine or lasting peace with justice until these root causes are forthrightly addressed.

Grasping history in order to understand the present

At this juncture, it should be clearly understood that all Jewish people are notZionists just as, for example, in the 1930s and 40s all Italians and Germans were by no means fascists. On the other hand, there are some non-Jewish persons, such as Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who are in fact ardently pro-apartheid Zionist. Moreover, it is important to understand that there are deep historical and contemporary factors which shape the unacceptable present day realities, not only as pertains to Palestine and the Middle East, but as it relates to the rest of the world. As long as we remain ignorant and in denial of historical and contemporary causal factors, we remain as malleable putty in the hands of those national and international misleaders who use disinformation, fear, and subterfuge to sustain and maintain their economic and political power—at the horrible expense of everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people.

Obama’s bloody hypocrisy

On November 18, 2012, the wily pro-apartheid Zionist, corporate-owned U.S. president, Barack Obama, in an insipid attempt to defend the recentindefensible actions by the Israeli Zionists to massively attack Gaza and wound and slaughter Palestinian people, publicly stated: “There’s no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside of its borders.” The utter hypocrisy of Obama’s afore described statement issurpassed only by the blood of the innocent children, women, and men murdered by Obama’s own missiles “raining down on” them from outside of their national borders in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and elsewhere. Obama’s hypocritical defense of the murderous actions by the Israeli Zionists is an attempt by one war criminal (i.e., Barack Obama) to defend the indefensible actions of other war criminals (the Israeli Zionists). This, of course, represents Barack Obama’s own brand of massive state-sanctioned terrorism, which in turn, guarantees violent reprisals—which is exactly what Barack Obama, his corporate masters, and their political minions are counting on.

What better way to ensure ‘terrorism’ at home and abroad than by planting, in the fallacious name of peace and national security, ticking political time bombs throughout the world while using that very ‘terrorism’ as the manufactured pretext for ushering in and perpetuating a de facto police state at home? The corporate- owned Barack Obama and his accomplices know precisely what they are doing to the people of this nation and the world—and it has nothing whatsoever to do with economic, political, or physical security for the everyday people of this nation and world!

It should be kept in mind that this same Barack Obama signed the draconian indefinite detention provision of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act)into law, which egregious police state provision impacts both citizens and non-citizens alike inside the United States. Furthermore, this is the very same Barack Obama who has his very own ‘Kill List,’ bestowing upon himself the ‘right’ to engage in unmitigated extrajudicial murders of U.S. citizens and non-citizens anywhere in the world without even the pretense of due process of U.S. law and in horrendous violation of international law. [Reference: The NDAA and Obama’s secret kill list—are you on it?]. Finally, this is the same Barack Obama who, without congressional approval and in violation of both the U.S. Constitution and international law, attacked and “rained down” missiles and bombs upon the people of Libya (North Africa), not to mention the other sovereign nations that he has and is militarily attacking.

There can be no doubt whatever that Barack Obama, in service to his corporate masters, is an utter and complete war criminal and that he and his Democrat and Republican Party cohorts have also economically and politically blind-sided, emaciated, and enslaved, as never before, the people of all colors in the United States—all in the hypocritical name of ‘national security,’ etc.

The physical atrocities being practiced jointly by the Zionist Israeli nation-state and the United States against the ordinary people of Palestine are part and parcel of a much larger scenario of economic and political apartheid being waged against the everyday people of Mother Earth by an insatiably greedy U.S. and global corporate elite.

Link the issues and connect the dots

It is imperative that the ordinary everyday people of the United States and the entire world link the issues and connect the dots between the ongoing atrocities being committed against the Palestinian people and how we ourselves are being duped, set-up, manipulated, economically emaciated, and used as political and physical pawns and cannon fodder by the U.S. and global corporate elite which is currently represented by Barack Obama.

Ordinary peace and justice-loving people of all colors, ethnicities, and nationalities throughout Mother Earth are the targets and victims of perpetual wars and economic austerity. This did not come about through mere osmosis. War, which is actually organized ‘terrorism,’ is big business for the corporate elite profiteers. Missiles, drones, bombs, timers, tanks, warplanes, warships, bullets, land mines, and a litany of related equipment, represent many trillionsof dollars for the corporate elite. The enormous loss in human lives and the pillage of Mother Earth are of little or no consequence to this scandalous corporate elite. In fact ordinary everyday people, who are the cannon fodder and victims in these wars and/or military adventures, are viewed withdemonstrative contempt by this corporate elite. We are viewed as idiots and fools to be manipulated, used, and discarded—as Barack Obama and his ilk (including the corporate-stream media) repeatedly demonstrate by their lies, omissions, and subterfuge.

If we everyday ordinary people link the issues and connect the dots we begin to realize that, in varying degrees, we are all Palestinians. If we link the issues and connect the dots we can take back the political narrative from these corporate-owned political misleaders and their minions, and in so doing, we can begin to regain our dignity and humanity.

Remember well the words of Frederick Douglass when he said, “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” So do not give up or give in! Resist! In Joe Hill’s words, “Don’t Mourn. Organize!” This is a long and arduous struggle—but it is we, the ordinary everyday people, who will ultimately prevail!

Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward, then, my sisters and brothers. Onward!

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Intrepid Report Associate Editor Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, the San Francisco BayView newspaper, the Black Commentator, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist 

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| Simple Truth: A Culture of Delusion!

A Culture of Delusion ~ Paul Craig Roberts.

A writer’s greatest disappointments are readers who have knee-jerk responses. Not all readers, of course. Some readers are thoughtful and supportive. Others express thanks for opening their eyes. But the majority are happy when a writer tells them what they want to hear and are unhappy when he writes what they don’t want to hear.


For the left-wing, Ronald Reagan is the great bogeyman. Those on the left don’t understand supply-side economics as a macroeconomic innovation that cured stagflation by utilizing the impact of fiscal policy on aggregate supply. Instead, they see “trickle-down economics” and tax cuts for the rich. Leftists don’t understand that the Reagan administration intervened in Grenada and Nicaragua in order to signal to the Soviets that there would be no more Soviet expansion or client states and that it was time to negotiate the end of the cold war. Instead, leftists see in Reagan the origin of rule by the one percent and the neoconservatives’ wars for US hegemony.

In 1981 curtailing inflation meant collapsing nominal GNP and tax revenues. The result would be budget deficits–anathema to Republicans– during the period of readjustment. Ending the cold war meant curtailing the military/security complex and raised the specter in conservative circles of “the anti-Christ” Gorbachev deceiving Reagan and taking over the world.

In pursuing his two main goals, Reagan was up against his own constituency and relied on rhetoric to keep his constituency on board with his agenda. The left wing heard the rhetoric but failed to comprehend the agenda.

When I explain these facts, easily and abundantly documented, some of leftish persuasion send in condescending and insulting emails telling me that they look forward to the day that I stop lying about Reagan and tell the truth about Reagan like I do about everything else.

“Knee-jerk liberal” is a favorite term of conservatives. But conservatives can be just as knee-jerk. When I object to Washington’s wars, the mistreatment of detainees and the suspension of civil liberties, some on the right tell me that if I hate America so much I should move to Cuba. Many Republicans cannot get their minds around the fact that if civil liberties are subject to the government’s arbitrary discretion, then civil liberties do not exist. The flag-waving element of the population is prone to confuse loyalty to the country with loyalty to the government, unless, of course, there’s a Democrat in the White House.

Rationally, it makes no sense for readers to think that a writer who would lie to them about one thing would tell them the truth about another. But as long as they hear what they want to hear, it is the truth. If they don’t want to hear it, it is a lie.

Both left and right also confuse explanations with justifications.

When a writer writes about the perils that we as a society face and the implications, it is very discouraging for the writer to know that many readers will not listen unless it is what they want to hear. This discouragement is precisely what every truth-teller faces, which is why there are so few of them.

This is one reason I stopped writing a couple of years ago. I found that solid facts and sound analysis could not penetrate brainwashed and closed minds seeking vindication to keep the mind locked tightly against unsettling truths. Americans want to have their beliefs vindicated more than they want the truth. The success of print and TV pundits is based on allying with a prominent point of view or interest group and serving it. Those served make the writer or talking head successful. I never thought much of that kind of success.

But success as a whore is about the only kind of success that can occur in Washington or in the media these days. Those who refuse to prostitute themselves arouse pity and denunciation, not admiration. A couple of years ago an acquaintance from a university in the northeast called me to say he had recently had lunch with some of my former associates in Washington. When he inquired about me, he said the response was, “Poor Craig, if he hadn’t turned critic, he would be worth tens of millions of dollars like us.”

I replied that my former associates were undoubtedly correct. My acquaintance said that he hadn’t realized that he was having lunch with a bunch of prostitutes.

The incentive to speak the truth and the reward for doing so are very weak. And not just for a writer, but also for academics and experts who can make far more money by lying than by telling the truth. How else would we have got GMOs, jobs offshoring, the “unitary executive,” and a deregulated financial system? It is a very lucrative career to testify as an expert in civil lawsuits. It is part of America’s romance with the lie that experts purchased by the opposing sides in a lawsuit battle it out as gladiators seeking the jury’s thumbs-up.

And look at Congress. The two members of the House who stood up for the Constitution and truth in government will soon be gone. Ron Paul is stepping down, and Dennis Kucinich was redistricted out of his seat. As for the Senate, these thoughtful personages recently voted 90-1 to declare war on Iran, as the sole dissenter, Rand Paul, pointed out. The Senate is very much aware, although only a few will publicly admit it, that the US has been totally frustrated and held to a standoff, if not a defeat, in Afghanistan and is unable to subdue the Taliban. Despite this, the Senate wants a war with Iran, a war which could easily turn out to be even less successful. Obviously, the Senate not only lies to the public but also to itself.

Last week the Pentagon chief, Panetta, told China that the new US naval, air, and troop bases surrounding China are not directed at China. What else could be the purpose of the new bases? Washington is so accustomed to lying and to being believed that Panetta actually thinks China will believe his completely transparent lie. Panetta has confused China with the American people: tell them what they want to hear, and they will believe it.

Americans live in a matrix of lies. They seldom encounter a truthful statement.There is no evidence that Americans can any longer tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Americans fell for all of these lies and more: Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections. Saddam Hussein’s troops seized Kuwaiti babies from incubators and threw them on the floor. Gaddafi fed his troops Viagra to help them rape Libyan women. Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Change–yes we can! The US is “the indispensable country.” America is broke because of food stamps and Social Security, not because of wars, bankster bailouts, and a failing economy. Russia is America’s number one enemy. China is America’s number one enemy. Iran is a terrorist state. Jobs offshoring is free trade and good for the US economy. Israel is America’s most loyal ally. The US missile shield surrounding Russia is not directed at Russia. The South China sea is an area of US national interest. Financial markets are self-regulating.

The list is endless. Lies dominate every policy discussion, every political decision. The most successful people in America are liars.

The endless lies have created a culture of delusion. And this is why America is lost. The beliefs of many Americans, perhaps a majority, are comprised of lies. These beliefs have become emotional crutches, and Americans will fight to defend the lies that they believe. The inability of Americans to accept facts that are contrary to their beliefs is the reason the country is leaderless and will remain so. Unless scales fall from Americans’ eyes, Americans are doomed.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

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| Freedom First: NY judge blocks law permitting indefinite detention!

NY judge blocks law permitting indefinite detention ~ RT.

A US judge has blocked a military law that permitted indefinite detention of anyone without trial for aiding terrorism, declaring it unconstitutional. Journalists and activists claim the law impedes free speech, and could be used against them.

NY Federal District Judge Katherine Forrest said that the law affected anyone who provided so-called material support to organizations such as al-Qaeda or the Taliban. This definition includes text, video or speech that could be deemed favorable of such groups, written by anyone on US soil.

First Amendment rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be legislated away,” Forrest wrote in her 112 page opinion.“This Court rejects the government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention.”

She advised Congress to either clarify the law or consider whether it is needed at all. The legislation was originally passed as part of the controversial 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, a 565-page military appropriations bill signed by Obama on New Year’s Eve 2011.

The lawsuit against the bill was originally filed in January by a group of journalists whose ranks include former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The group argued that Section 1021(b) of the law allows for the detention of US citizens and permanent residents, solely on the “suspicion of providing substantial support” to al-Qaeda or any other organization engaged in hostilities against US. The law employs vague language that does not define the meaning of‘substantial support,’ they said.

Chris Hedges, one of the plaintiffs who successfully sued over unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA. (Image from blogs.villagevoice.com)
Chris Hedges, one of the plaintiffs who successfully sued over unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA. (Image from blogs.villagevoice.com)

They claimed that the US government could use the law to arrest and indefinitely detain individuals for even minor suspicions that something they wrote or said that unwittingly supported a terrorist group – a clear violation of Americans’ First Amendment rights.

The group was supported by left-leaning activists including Michael Moore, Rachel Maddow, Naomi Wolf, Mother Jones magazine and alternative TV station Democracy Now!, and many others who united against the controversial law.

In May, Judge Forrest temporarily suspended the law to hear additional arguments from scholars, journalists and political activists. Hedges testified that he could be detained under the law, since he has interviewed people the government considers terrorists.

Hedges has previously interviewed members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and has also reported extensively on other terrorist organizations.

The ruling

In the ruling, the judge questioned whether a news article perceived as favorable to the Taliban could be considered‘substantial support’ for the group. “Where is the line between what the government would consider ‘journalistic reporting’ and ‘propaganda?’” she said.

“Who will make such determinations? Will there be an office established to read articles, watch videos, and evaluate speeches in order to make judgments along a spectrum of where the support is ‘modest’ or ‘substantial?'”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Bruce Afran, claimed that the ruling was historic, saying it is rare that a judge would declare a federal law unconstitutional for impeding free speech.

The White House fought to preserve the law, arguing that it did not restrict free speech and created no new mechanisms for detention.

Ellen Davis, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s office, declined to comment on the ruling.

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