The Class That Ruled Egypt Under Mubarak Remains in Power: Interview with Professor Seif Da’na

Petraeus Plea Deal Reveals Two-Tier Justice System for Leaks

Peter Maass writes for The Intercept:

David PetraeusDavid Petraeus, the former Army general and CIA director, admitted today that he gave highly-classified journals to his onetime lover and that he lied to the FBI about it. But he only has to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor that will not involve a jail sentence thanks to a deal with federal prosecutors. The deal is yet another example of a senior official treated leniently for the sorts of violations that lower-level officials are punished severely for.

According to the plea deal, Petraeus, while leading American forces in Afghanistan, maintained eight notebooks that he filled with highly-sensitive information about the identities of covert officers, military strategy, intelligence capabilities and his discussions with senior government officials, including President Obama. Rather than handing over these “Black Books,” as the plea agreement calls them, to the Department of Defense when he retired from the military in 2011 to head the CIA, Petraeus retained them at his home and lent them, for several days, to Paula Broadwell, his authorized biographer and girlfriend.’

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The “Snowden is Ready to Come Home!” Story: a Case Study in Typical Media Deceit

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Most sentient people rationally accept that the U.S. media routinely disseminates misleading stories and outright falsehoods in the most authoritative tones. But it’s nonetheless valuable to examine particularly egregious case studies to see how that works. In that spirit, let’s take yesterday’s numerous, breathless reports trumpeting the “BREAKING” news that “Edward Snowden now wants to come home!” and is “now negotiating the terms of his return!”

Ever since Snowden revealed himself to the public 20 months ago, he has repeatedly said the same exact thing when asked about his returning to the U.S.: I would love to come home, and would do so if I could get a fair trial, but right now, I can’t.

His primary rationale for this argument has long been that under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute under which he has been charged, he would be barred by U.S. courts from even raising his key defense.’

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Top Lobbyist: 2016 To Be “Bumper Year” Thanks to Clinton Campaign

Lee Fang writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Top Lobbyist: 2016 To Be “Bumper Year” Thanks to Clinton Campaign‘Each year, UBS — the Swiss financial services giant best known in the U.S. for paying $1.5 billion to settle charges it rigged the Libor benchmark interest rate — hosts a “Global Media & Communications Conference.” 2014’s conference took place last December at the Westin Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

At one presentation, a UBS analyst asked Sir Martin Sorrell, head of the London-based lobbying and advertising mega-firm WPP Group, if he foresaw anything noteworthy for WPP’s future financial prospects.

Yes, responded Sorrell: “2016 should be a bumper year as Hillary Clinton wins the election here.”’

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Uruguay bids farewell to Jose Mujica, its pauper president

Wyre Davies writes for BBC News:

Uruguay's President Jose Mujica flashes a thumbs up as he and and his wife leave their home on the outskirts of Montevideo in their famous VW Beetle - 2 May 2014[…] Given his past, it’s perhaps understandable why Mr Mujica gives away about 90% of his salary to charity, simply because he “has no need for it”.

A little bit grumpy to begin with, Mr Mujica warms to his task as he describes being perplexed by those who question his lifestyle.

“This world is crazy, crazy! People are amazed by normal things and that obsession worries me!”

Not afraid to take a swipe at his fellow leaders, he adds: “All I do is live like the majority of my people, not the minority. I’m living a normal life and Italian, Spanish leaders should also live as their people do. They shouldn’t be aspiring to or copying a rich minority.”‘

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Algerians suffering from French atomic legacy, 55 years after nuke tests

Johnny Magdaleno reports for Al Jazeera:

Algeria's agony lives on, decades after French nuclear tests‘[…] Southern Algerians were not properly warned of their danger after France’s misgoverned nuclear bomb-testing campaign of the early 1960s, which vitrified vast tracts of desert with heat and plutonium and left a legacy of uncontained radiation that is still crippling inhabitants. Estimates of the number of Algerians affected by testing range from 27,000 — cited by the French Ministry of Defense — to 60,000, the figure given by Abdul Kadhim al-Aboudi, an Algerian professor of nuclear physics.

Yet there has been little accountability for France’s disregard. A compensation scheme for victims of France’s nuclear tests exists, but it has made payouts to only 17 people. The majority of those were residents of French Polynesia, where France relocated its nuclear testing campaign after leaving Algeria and experimented with more than 190 nuclear bombs from 1966 to 1996.’

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John Pilger: Real journalists are agents of people

Abby Martin: Never Stop Breaking the Set!

A teary goodbye from Abby Martin. Breaking the Set was a great show and it is very sad to see it go. I very much look forward to seeing what Abby gets up to in near the future.

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

William Dalrymple writes for The Guardian:

British Indian Empire[…] We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality. It was not the British government that seized India at the end of the 18th century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by an unstable sociopath – Clive.

In many ways the EIC was a model of corporate efficiency: 100 years into its history, it had only 35 permanent employees in its head office. Nevertheless, that skeleton staff executed a corporate coup unparalleled in history: the military conquest, subjugation and plunder of vast tracts of southern Asia. It almost certainly remains the supreme act of corporate violence in world history. For all the power wielded today by the world’s largest corporations – whether ExxonMobil, Walmart or Google – they are tame beasts compared with the ravaging territorial appetites of the militarised East India Company. Yet if history shows anything, it is that in the intimate dance between the power of the state and that of the corporation, while the latter can be regulated, it will use all the resources in its power to resist.’

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How Reaganomics Changed Corporations

Thom Hartmann comments on a Roosevelt Institute report that corporations today don’t stimulate investment, growth, and wages because, additional funds are funneled to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.’ (The Thom Hartmann Program)

Iraq: 4,134 Killed in February

Margaret Griffis reports for Antiwar:

‘At least 4,134 people were killed during the short month of February. Another 2,280 were wounded. These numbers combine figures released by the United Nations and various media outlets. The number of fatalities dropped considerably from January’s count of 6,106 dead. That may be due to the shorter month. The number of those injured increased slightly, however, by forty wounded.

In this column, Antiwar.com found that 1,097 civilians and security personnel were killed, and 3,031 militants were reported killed, for a total of 4,128. At least 1,381 were wounded, including 199 militants. Our figures are compiled from news reports, but they should be considered estimates, particularly those of militant deaths.

The United Nations also released their figures, which are complied by their associates in Iraq. They found that 1,103 civilians and security personnel were killed, but they do not count militant deaths. Although that is close to what the media has reported, they found 2,280 who were wounded. That number is much higher. They warn that these are the bare minimum numbers. It is likely that the figures are much higher.’

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Why the rise of fascism is again the issue

John Pilger writes:

ukraine_obama_nobel.JPGThe recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.’

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Kremlin Funded Media Sees Cuts as Russian Economy Slows

Delphine d’Amora reports for The Moscow Times:

Pro-Kremlin broadcaster RT and news agency Rossiya Segodnya will have to slash spending by 50 percent or more and likely give up on expansion plans as the steep devaluation of the Russian ruble hits their margins, news reports said.

“The ruble’s devaluation means that our budget is already cut almost in half,” RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan was quoted as saying by the Vedomosti newspaper last week.

State-controlled RT, whose mission statement is to “acquaint an international audience with the Russian viewpoint,” will likely have to cease broadcasting in many countries and give up on plans to create French- and German-language channels, Simonyan said. About 80 percent of the network’s expenditures are in dollars and euros, she added.’

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Phone hacking ‘rife’ at Mirror Group Newspapers

BBC News reports:

Mirror Group Newspapers‘Phone hacking was “rife” at Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) from 1999 to 2006, a court has heard.

Counsel David Sherborne said the hacking was on an industrial scale and far larger than that which took place at the News of the World.

He said that journalists at the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People hacked phones on a daily basis.

The hearing at the High Court in London is considering cases brought by eight high-profile figures.’

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Britain’s Media Regulator Again Threatens RT for “Bias”: This Time, Airing “Anti-Western Views”

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

[…] That RT is “biased” is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far at all. It is expressly funded by the Russian government to present a Russian viewpoint of the world. But all media outlets composed of and run by human beings are “biased,” and that certainly includes the leading British outlets, which rail against Russia (and every other perceived adversary of the West) at least as much as RT defends it.

All of this underscores the propagandistic purpose of touting “media objectivity” versus “bias.” The former simply does not exist. Revealingly, it is British journalists themselves who are most vocal in demanding that Her Majesty’s Government bar RT from broadcasting on “bias” grounds: fathom how authoritarian a society must be if it gets its journalists to play the leading role in demanding that the state ban (or imprison) journalists it dislikes. So notably, the most vocal among the anti-RT crowd on the ground that it spreads lies and propaganda — such as Nick Cohen and Oliver Kamm — were also the most aggressive peddlers of the pro-U.K.-government conspiracy theories and lies that led to the Iraq War.

That people like this, with their histories of pro-government propaganda, are the ones demanding punishment of RT for “bias” tells you all you need to know about what is really at play here. What’s really driving this is illustrated by the edict issued today by one of the High Priests of U.S. Foreign Policy, Brookings President and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hollywood and the New Cold War: Interview with Ted Rall

‘We know a media information war is in full swing. But where does it stop? Hollywood? Where Pussy riot meets Vladimir Putin on Netflix’s “House of Cards”. Where Russian cyber terrorists are pushed into surrendering by threats of rating Pussy Riot and Putin on to their desktops in CBS’s “The Good Wife”. And then there’s just blatant remembering of colder times with FX’s “The Americans”. Political Cartoonist Ted Rall breaks it down.’ (In The Now)

Who Killed Boris Nemtsov?

Justin Raimondo writes for Antiwar:

Practically no one in the West doubts the murder of once-rising reform politician Boris Nemtsov was the work of Vladimir Putin, and/or his allies in government. If Putin didn’t give the direct order, the pundits say, the Russian leader created the “atmosphere of hatred” directed at the Russian opposition, of which Nemtsov was a half-forgotten yet still active leader. This obviates the need for evidence, while giving the accusers ample room to back off if and when facts to the contrary are uncovered – evidence which can then be easily discounted, because, after all, everyone knows a real investigation is impossible in Putin’s Russia. Thus freed of the facts, our new Cold Warriors can elaborate their conspiracy theories without fear of contradiction.

Funny how political murders in the US – the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King – are invariably the work of a “lone nut,” but in Russia it’s always the Putin government. When Dr. David Kelly, a prominent weapons expert and critic of the evidence Whitehall had publicized to justify the Iraq war, committed “suicide” just as he was about to reveal how the British government had doctored up its brief, there were suspicions but these were dismissed as a “conspiracy theory.” An entirely different standard is applied to Russia, and yet, aside from Anglo-American exceptionalism, perhaps there are some good reasons for this. Russia, after all, is a country where contract killings were once a staple of doing business: where gangsterism is widespread, and oligarchs, gorging on the riches of “privatized” companies, are in deadly competition for spoils in a system where government, and not the market, rules.’

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Was Boris Nemtsov killed because in Russia opposition figures are deemed traitors?

Shaun Walker writes for The Guardian:

Flowers were laid at the spot where Russian politician Boris Nemtsov was shot dead on Friday.[…] Nemtsov frequently appeared on lists of “traitors” published online by extremist groups, and given that many radical Russian nationalists have been fighting a war in east Ukraine for the past six months, there have long been fears that the bloodshed could at some point move to the streets of Moscow.

The well-organised hit, in one of the most closely watched parts of Moscow, of a man who was undoubtedly under state surveillance just two days before a major opposition march, does not smack of an amateur job. Assuming a jealous lover or angry fellow liberal would not be able to organise a drive-by shooting in the shadows of the Kremlin towers, the remaining options are disturbing.

If, as Peskov says, it was senseless for the Kremlin to kill someone who posed very little threat, that leaves another option that is perhaps even more terrifying: that the campaign of hate that has erupted over the past year is spiralling out of the control of those who manufactured it.’

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Boris Nemtsov Funeral: Mystery Surrounds Russian Politician’s Death

All our mainstream media is tied into corporate interests: Interview with Nafeez Ahmed

Nafeez Ahmed, former Guardian contributor and currently crowdfunding Insurge, a new media platform, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the paper.’ (Going Underground)

Death, Drugs, and HSBC: How fraudulent blood money makes the world go round

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Medium:

‘Recent reporting on illegal tax evasion by the world’s second largest bank, HSBC, opens a window onto the pivotal role of Western banks in facilitating organised crime, drug-trafficking and Islamist terrorism. Governments know this, but they are powerless to act, not just because they’ve been bought by the banks: but because criminal and terror financing is integral to global capitalism. Now one whistleblower who uncovered an estimated billion pounds worth of HSBC fraud in Britain, suppressed by the British media, is preparing a prosecution that could blow wide open the true scale of criminal corruption in the world’s finance capital.’

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Scale of racism in World Cup host Russia a threat, report says

Rob Harris reports for AP:

‘Russian football is plagued by a racist and far-right extremist fan culture that threatens the safety of visitors to the 2018 World Cup, according to a report provided to The Associated Press.

Researchers from the Moscow-based SOVA Center and the Fare network, which helps to prosecute racism cases for European football’s governing body UEFA, highlighted more than 200 cases of discriminatory behavior linked to Russian football over two seasons.

“It shows a really quite gruesome picture of a domestic league which is full of aspects of racism, xenophobia: The far-right play a significant role in the fan culture,” Fare executive director Piara Powar said in an interview with the Associated Press.’

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Qatar’s unofficial motto: To attract at all costs

#AlbumoftheWeek ~ Sour Soul by Ghostface Killah & BadBadNotGood (2015)

Try These

February Playlist

The Power of the ISIS PR Stunt: Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ Confirms His PR Value

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

The self-proclaimed “Islamic State” likes to dominate the news agenda and knows how to do so. It also likes to project power at moments of weakness. Thus most of the world knows that Isis burned a Jordanian pilot to death in a cage but few recall that at the same time the movement was losing the battle for the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. A motto occasionally seen on Isis social media reads: “Media is half jihad.”

The choice by Isis of “Jihadi John” – Mohammed Emwazi – as its English-speaking executioner has everything to do with media impact and the reaction to his apparent unmasking shows that this simple PR ploy is very effective. Similar attention-grabbing stunts in the past include the demand for a $200m ransom for two Japanese hostages (if the demand had been a more prosaic $2m would media interest have been so intent?) and the burning of the Jordanian pilot because decapitation had lost its shock impact.’

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Why Iran Believes ISIS is a U.S. Creation

Kay Armin Serjoie reports for Time:

[…] Abdullah Ganji, the managing-director of Javan newspaper, which is believed to closely reflect the views of the government and the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards, says that U.S. support for ISIS is in fact a way of ensuring Israel’s security and disrupting the Muslim world in the cause of advancing Western interests.

“We believe that the West has been influential in the creation of ISIS for a number of reasons. First to engage Muslims against each other, to waste their energy and in this way Israel’s security would be guaranteed or at least enhanced,” says Ganji. “Secondly, an ugly, violent and homicidal face of Islam is presented to the world. And third, to create an inconvenience for Iran.”’

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Venezuela says it has detained a U.S. pilot for allegedly taking part in a coup

Arrest of a nonviolent leader in the Maldives challenges the international community

Matt Mulberry writes for openDemocracy:

‘The former President of the Maldives and global climate activist Mohamed ‘Anni’ Nasheed was arrested on February 22 on “terror” charges just days before he was to lead a mass demonstration against the current government. Both the UN and the EU have issued statements of concern over what now appears to be an escalation by entrenched power holders in the Maldives to stifle effective political opposition.

Known to outsiders for its pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and five-star luxury resorts, the Maldives is a nation of about 340,000 people spread across an archipelago of 26 atolls located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, roughly 500 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. Its natural beauty is its biggest asset, given that nearly one-third of the country’s GDP is generated via tourism. But that beauty also has a way of obscuring the intense political struggles that have come to characterize everyday life for most Maldivians over the past 30 years.’

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Ukrainian Football Fans Accused of Acting Like ‘Rabid Dogs’ After Match in Kiev Descends Into Chaos

Pierre Longeray writes for VICE News:

On The Terraces At Football's Most Dangerous Derby‘[…] Ukranian “ultras” have a thuggish reputation throughout Europe and are known for their anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and penchant for neo-Nazi symbolism. There are between 15,000 and 30,000 ultras in Ukraine, according to Esquire.

But despite their reputation for oafish brutality, Kyiv’s ultra supporters have undergone an image change in the past year, putting aside their passion for brawling to defend Ukraine’s Euromaidan protesters against the police and pro-government vigilantes. Many ultras were dragged into Ukraine’s political crisis that erupted in 2013 and joined the thousands of others that poured into Kiev’s Maidan Square to protest the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

“If you don’t get interested in politics,” one ultra told Esquire, “then politics will get interested in you.”‘

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