Category Archives: USA

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ‘Resigns’

Helene Cooper reports for The New York Times:

‘Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation on Monday, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.

[...] Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks.

The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.’

READ MORE…

US Statements, Actions on Syria Starkly Different

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

‘Vice President Joe Biden spent four hours today in private meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The topic: how to impose regime change on Syria, Turkey’s war-torn neighbor to the south.

Publicly, the US has been in favor of regime change for years, and had been backing “moderate” rebel factions on and off in hopes of installing one of them.

Since entering a direct war with ISIS in Syria two months ago, the US war focus has been on ISIS and other rebel factions, strikes which the US concedes are benefiting the Assad government.

Over the past few weeks, the US has been reiterating, over and over, that their policy is regime change, but their actions in the ISIS war are supporting the exact opposite, and when asked point blank, President Obama conceded earlier this week that no actions were being taken to try to remove Assad from power at this point.’

SOURCE

Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA’s Monster Data Center

Robert McMillan reports for Wired:

An aerial view of the cooling units at the NSA's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water spigot to the massive data center operated by the National Security Agency in Bluffdale, Utah.

The legislation, proposed by Utah lawmaker Marc Roberts, is due to go to the floor of the Utah House of Representatives early next year, but it was debated in a Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee meeting on Wednesday. The bill, H.B. 161, directs municipalities like Bluffdale to “refuse support to any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state.”

The NSA brought its Bluffdale data center online about a year ago, taking advantage Utah’s cheap power and a cut-rate deal for millions of gallons of local water, used to cool the 1-million-square-foot building’s servers. Roberts’ bill, however, would prohibit the NSA from negotiating new water deals when its current Bluffdale agreement runs out in 2021.’

READ MORE…

Seattle police may dump plans for body cams, citing records requests

Joe Mullin reports for Arstechnica:

Police in Seattle are just weeks away from implementing pilot program in which 12 officers will test different types of body cameras. It’s a first step in a plan to put body cameras on the department’s more than 1,000 officers by the year 2016.

Now that plan may get put on ice, due in part to an overly broad public records requests. The Seattle Times reported this morning that an anonymous man, known only by the email address policevideorequests@gmail.com, has made an official request for “details on every 911 dispatch on which officers are sent; all the written reports they produce; and details of each computer search generated by officers when they run a person’s name, or check a license plate or address.”

The requestor also wants all video from patrol car cameras currently in use, and plans to request video from body cams once they are implemented. He has requested the information “every day, in spreadsheet form.”‘

READ MORE…

Antiwar Voices Absent from Corporate TV News Ahead of U.S. Attacks on Iraq and Syria: Interview with Peter Hart

‘A new analysis of corporate TV news has found there was almost no debate about whether the United States should go to war in Iraq and Syria. The group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that of the more than 200 guests who appeared on network shows to discuss the issue, just six voiced opposition to military action. The report, titled “Debating How — Not Whether — to Launch a New War,” examines a two-week period in September when U.S. involvement in Iraq and Syria dominated the airwaves. The report also finds that on the high-profile Sunday talk shows, out of 89 guests, there was just one antiwar voice — Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation. We speak to Peter Hart, activism director at FAIR.’ (Democracy Now!)

The siege of Julian Assange is a farce

John Pilger writes:

Czu.jpg[...] Ny has never properly explained why she will not come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In December 2010, the Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US before the European Arrest Warrant was issued.

Perhaps an explanation is that, contrary to its reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had been in Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan – in which Sweden had forces under US command.

The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up; and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables.’

READ MORE…

Familiar Bedfellows: Hillary and Henry

Sheldon Richman writes for The Future Freedom Foundation:

Hillary and Henry sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G-E-R!

It says a lot about former secretary of state and presumed presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton that she’s a member of the Henry Kissinger Fan Club. Progressives who despised George W. Bush might want to examine any warm, fuzzy feelings they harbor for Clinton.

She has made no effort to hide her admiration for Kissinger and his geopolitical views. Now she lays it all out clearly in a Washington Post review of his latest book, World Order.

Clinton acknowledges differences with Kissinger, but apparently these do not keep her from saying that “his analysis … largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.”

Beware of politicians and courtiers who issue solemn declarations about building global architectures. To them the rest of us are mere “pieces upon a chess-board.” Security and cooperation are always the announced ends, yet the ostensible beneficiaries usually come to grief. Look where such poseurs have been most active: the Middle East, North Africa, Ukraine. As they say about lawyers, if we didn’t have so-called statesmen, we wouldn’t need them.’

READ MORE…

America Just Launched Its 500th Drone Strike

Micah Zenko wrotes for the Council on Foreign Relations:

Drone strikes statistics_11.21.14 smallerThe most consistent and era-defining tactic of America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies has been the targeted killing of suspected terrorists and militants outside of defined battlefields. As one senior Bush administration official explained in October 2001, “The president has given the [CIA] the green light to do whatever is necessary. Lethal operations that were unthinkable pre-September 11 are now underway.” Shortly thereafter, a former CIA official told the New Yorker, “There are five hundred guys out there you have to kill.” It is quaint to recall that such a position was considered extremist and even morally unthinkable. Today, these strikes are broadly popular with the public and totally uncontroversial in Washington, both within the executive branch and on Capitol Hill. Therefore, it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity.

Thus, just as you probably missed the tenth anniversary—November 3, 2012—of what I labeled the Third War, it’s unlikely you will hear or read that the United States just launched its 500th non-battlefield targeted killing.

As of today, the United States has now conducted 500 targeted killings (approximately 98 percent of them with drones), which have killed an estimated 3,674 people, including 473 civilians. Fifty of these were authorized by President George W. Bush, 450 and counting by President Obama. Noticeably, these targeted killings have not diminished the size of the targeted groups according to the State Department’s own numbers.’

SOURCE

Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat

Mark Mazzetti And Eric Schmitt report for The New York Times:

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”’

READ MORE…

House Panel Rejects Benghazi Conspiracies

John Johnson reports for Newser:

The House Intelligence Committee spent two years investigating conspiracy theories about the 2012 Benghazi attack and has concluded they’re mostly just hot air. Here’s the takeaway paragraph from the AP:

  • The investigation “determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.”

Yes, then UN ambassador Susan Rice wrongly stated that the attacks were the result of a protest against an inflammatory video, but the panel found that Rice had been given bad intelligence and that neither she nor anyone else in the White House deliberately tried to mislead the public.

The report further finds no evidence that CIA officers were ordered to “stand down” during the attack or were intimidated afterward to avoid testifying, reports CNN. “We concluded that all the CIA officers in Benghazi were heroes,” says Republican panel chairman Mike Rogers and ranking Democrat CA Dutch Ruppersberger. The panel does, however, fault the State Department for having weak security at the US consulate, and Politico expects that criticism to resonate. This is not the end of the Benghazi inquiries: A House select committee appointed in May is still conducting its own investigation.’

SOURCE

George Carlin: Bullshit is everywhere

If the war on terror fuels terrorism, how does terrorism actually end?

With 13 years of the war on terror resulting in a sharp increase in terrorism, Kathy Gilsinan asks ‘how does terrorism actually end?’ in the The Atlantic:

[...] Much of that period corresponded with massive international military efforts to root out terrorism. And as the U.S. winds up its war in Afghanistan—a country that saw a 13-percent increase in terrorism-related fatalities last year—and considers the extent to which it wants to intervene militarily to halt the spread of ISIS, it’s worth asking: How does terrorism actually end? The question is one that the Rand Corporation addressed in a 2008 study that the Global Terrorism Index authors cite. That report examined 268 terrorist groups that halted their attacks between 1968 and 2006. In only 7 percent of those cases, the report found, military intervention brought about the end of a terrorist group.

That finding suggests the debate over whether to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria—and whose boots, and how many, and whether they should be combat boots or just training-and-advisory boots—misses a larger point about the conditions that are most associated with terrorism. The report’s authors devote the final section of the study to examining the factors that correlated with higher levels of terrorism in 2012-2013; among the most significant they found were ethnic and religious tensions, as well as levels of state repression including, for example, human-rights abuses and extrajudicial killings. “This can be viewed in two ways,” the authors write. “Either increased terrorism leads governments to implement stricter, authoritarian and illegal acts toward its citizens through torture or state violence, or the repression results in terrorist acts as retaliation. This can create a vicious cycle of violence making it difficult to clearly identify causality.”

These correlations also speak to the relationship between terrorism and conflict more broadly. “The most common context for the onset of terrorist violence is within an ongoing conflict,” the authors write. About 70 percent of the fatal terrorist attacks recorded in the Global Terrorism Database between 1970 and 2013 took place in countries with serious ongoing conflicts.

This point—that war breeds violence—is not particularly novel or satisfying. But the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq continue to top the list of countries most affected by terrorism does highlight the limitations of foreign military intervention in ending terrorist violence. And warnings about threats to the homeland notwithstanding, it’s not primarily Americans who suffer for it.’

READ MORE…

Top US Military Officer Predicts ISIS War Will Last up to 4 Years

Brendan McGarry reports for Military.com:

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin DempseyThe chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff estimates the U.S.-led fight against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria will last up to four years.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey made the estimate on Wednesday during an interview at Atlantic Media’s Defense One conference in Washington, D.C. about the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The U.S. started launching airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to thwart the organization’s advances in some areas, though the militants still control vast parts of northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria.

Under Secretary of Intelligence Mike Vickers later agreed with Dempsey’s estimate warning about the time it will take to train a force inside Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIS.

Dempsey first mentioned the timeline in regards to the challenges the military faces in funding the many conflicts across the globe. He listed the deployment of more American troops to Europe and Africa, as well as the “protracted probably three or four year campaign in the Middle East.”‘

READ MORE…

  1. Joint Chiefs Chairman Predicts ISIS War Will Last Four Years
  2. Joint Chiefs Chairman: Ground Role for Troops in Iraq Likely
  3. Panetta Predicts ’30-Year War’ Against ISIS

Crime-Fighting Robots Go On Patrol In Silicon Valley

If You Thought the ISIS War Couldn’t Get Any Worse, Just Wait for More of the CIA

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

As the war against the Islamic State in Syria has fallen into even more chaospartially due to the United States government’s increasing involvement there – the White House’s bright new idea seems to be to ramping up the involvement of the intelligence agency that is notorious for making bad situations worse. As the Washington Post reported late Friday, “The Obama administration has been weighing plans to escalate the CIA’s role in arming and training fighters in Syria, a move aimed at accelerating covert U.S. support to moderate rebel factions while the Pentagon is preparing to establish its own training bases.”

Put aside for a minute that the Central Intelligence Agency has been secretly arming Syrian rebels with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and antitank weapons since at least 2012 – and with almost nothing to show for it. Somehow the Post neglected to cite a front-page New York Times article from just one month ago alerting the public to the existence of a still-classified internal CIA study admitting that arming rebels with weapons has rarely – if ever – worked.

The Times cited the most well-known of CIA failures, including the botched Bay of Pigs invasion and the arming of the Nicaraguan contra rebels that led to the disastrous Iran-Contra scandal. Even the agency’s most successful mission – slowly bleeding out the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s by arming the mujahideen – paved the way for the worst terrorist attack on the US in its history.’

READ MORE…

CIA Director John Brennan Considering Sweeping Organizational Changes

Greg Miller reports for The Washington Post:

CIA Director John Brennan is considering sweeping organizational changes that could include breaking up the separate spying and analysis divisions that have been in place for decades to create hybrid units focused on individual regions and threats to U.S. security, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.

The proposal would essentially replicate the structure of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and other similar entities in the agency — an idea that reflects the CTC’s expanded role and influence since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

U.S. officials emphasized that the proposal is in its preliminary stages, and could still be scaled back or even discarded. Already the idea has encountered opposition from current and former officials who have voiced concern that it would be too disruptive and might jeopardize critical capabilities and expertise.

But if Brennan moves forward, officials said, the changes would be among the most ambitious in CIA history — potentially creating individual centers focused on China, Latin America and other regions or issues for which personnel are now dispersed across difference parts of the agency.’

READ MORE…

Did Military Burn Pits Make U.S. Soldiers Sick?

’20th Hijacker’ Zacarias Moussaoui Claims Saudi Involvement In 9/11

Kristina Sgueglia and Deborah Feyerick report for CNN:

Zacarias Moussaoui.(Reuters / Sherburne County Sheriffs Office)From his cell in a maximum security prison, terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui is reviving old allegations and making new ones against al Qaeda and a handful of Saudi royals.

The 46-year old French national is claiming that Saudi Embassy officials were involved in a plot to shoot down Air Force One to assassinate Bill Clinton and/or Hillary Clinton during a trip to the United Kingdom.

Moussaoui says he met with a Secret Service agent several months ago and told him what he knew. CNN has reached out to the Secret Service for comment.

In two handwritten letters filed this month in federal court in New York and Oklahoma, Moussaoui claimed that, during the time he was taking flying lessons in Norman, Oklahoma, he met with a Saudi prince and princess and that she “gave me money,” and provided funding for 9/11 hijackers.

Lawyers for the Saudi government have repeatedly denied connections, maintaining Saudi Arabia was cleared by the 9/11 Commission.’

READ MORE…

Rap Album May Send a Man to Prison for Life

Tom Barnes reports for Mic:

freetiny‘Rapper Tiny Doo, aka Brandon Duncan, is currently on trial for murder. Not because he was involved in any actual shootings, but because he recorded a violent rap album in which he claims ties to a gang that did.

A never-before-used 14-year-old California law allows gang members to be prosecuted if they profit off crimes committed by other gang members. Courts are claiming that Duncan’s gang affiliation helped him sell copies of his most recent album, No Mercy. And because that gang is linked to nine shootings, Duncan is facing a potential sentence of life in prison.

[...] This is not the first time that rap lyrics have been submitted as evidence in criminal cases, though. In 2008, rapper Vonte Skinner was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder, largely due to a trove of violent lyrics he’d penned over the years. Thirteen pages of lyrics, featuring lines like “Crackin’ your chest when I show you how the force spits, / Makin’ your mother wish she would have had an abortion,” helped convince a jury Skinner was guilty in the absence of solid witness testimony or other evidence. Earlier this year, in a stunning reversal, he was released in an appeal, which said his lyrics were used to unfairly prejudice the jury against him.

Other rappers haven’t been so lucky. The New York Times asserts that rap lyrics have been submitted as evidence in 18 other cases in New Jersey alone over the years, and they were admitted 80% of the time.’

READ MORE…

On Media Outlets That Continue to Describe Unknown Drone Victims As “Militants”

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

It has been more than two years since The New York Times revealed that “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties” of his drone strikes which “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants…unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” The paper noted that “this counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths,” and even quoted CIA officials as deeply “troubled” by this decision: “One called it ‘guilt by association’ that has led to ‘deceptive’ estimates of civilian casualties. ‘It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants. They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.’”

But what bothered even some intelligence officials at the agency carrying out the strikes seemed of no concern whatsoever to most major media outlets. As I documented days after the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as “militants”—even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been “re-defined” by the Obama administration into Alice in Wonderland-level nonsense.’

READ MORE…

Putin: US wants to subdue Russia, but will never succeed

Reuters reports:

President of Russia Vladimir Putin.(RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin)‘The United States wants to subdue Moscow, but will never succeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

“They do not want to humiliate us, they want to subdue us, solve their problems at our expense,” Putin said at the end of a four-hour meeting with his core support group, the People’s Front.

“No one in history ever managed to achieve this with Russia, and no one ever will,” he said, triggering a wave of applause.’

READ MORE…

Study finds little opposition to attacks on Iraq, Syria in U.S. media

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting reports:

Debate, corporate media style:  Two pro-war guests go at it. While Congress may soon debate the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Syria, a new FAIR study shows that at the critical moments leading up to the escalation of US military action, mainstream media presented almost no debate at all.

The study of key TV news discussion programs from September 7 through 21 reveals that guests who opposed war were scarce.

The study evaluated discussion and debate segments on the Sunday talk shows (CNN’s State of the Union, CBS‘s Face the Nation, ABC‘s This Week,Fox News Sunday and NBC‘s Meet the Press), the PBS NewsHour and a sample of cable news programs that feature roundtables and interview segments (CNN‘s Situation Room, Fox News Channel‘s Special Reportand MSNBC’s Hardball).’

READ MORE…

Stephen Walt’s Top 5 Foreign Policy Lessons of the Past 20 Years

Stephen Walt writes for Foreign Policy:

‘Tell me, friend: do you find the current world situation confusing? Are you having trouble sorting through the bewildering array of alarums, provocations, reassurances, and trite nostrums offered up by pundits and politicos? Can’t tell if the glass is half-full and rising or half-empty, cracked, and leaking water fast? Not sure if you should go long on precious metals and stock up on fresh water, ammo, and canned goods, or go big into equities and assume that everything will work out in the long run?

Today’s world is filled with conflicting signals. On the one hand, life expectancy and education are up, the level of violent conflict is down, and hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the past several decades. Private businesses are starting to take human rights seriously. And hey, the euro is still alive! On the other hand, Europe’s economy is still depressed, Russia is suspending nuclear cooperation with the United States, violent extremists keep multiplying in several regions, the odds of a genuine nuclear deal with Iran still looks like a coin toss, and that much-ballyhooed climate change deal between the United States and China is probably too little too late and already facing right-wing criticisms.

Given all these conflicting signals, what broader lessons might guide policymakers wrestling with all this turbulence? Assuming governments are capable of learning from experience (and please just grant me that one), then what kernels of wisdom should they be drawing on right now? What do the past 20 years or so reveal about contemporary foreign policy issues, and what enduring lessons should we learn from recent experience?’

READ MORE…

State Of Emergency Declared In Ferguson Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

Defense Secretary: U.S. needs “game-changing” military technologies to offset more muscular Russia and China

Robert Burns reports for the Associated Press:

[...] In a memo to Pentagon leaders in which be outlined the initiative, Hagel said the U.S. must not lose its commanding edge in military technology.

“While we have been engaged in two large land-mass wars over the last 13 years, potential adversaries have been modernizing their militaries, developing and proliferating disruptive capabilities across the spectrum of conflict. This represents a clear and growing challenge to our military power,” he wrote.

Speaking just a short walk from Reagan’s tomb, Hagel invoked the late president’s legacy as a rebuilder of U.S. military strength in the 1980s and cited Reagan’s famous call for the Soviets to tear down the Berlin Wall, which epitomized a divided Europe and a world at risk of a new global war.’

READ MORE…

U.S. Secretary of Defense to Consider Ground Troops in Iraq

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

In comments over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel conceded that he is going to have to “consider” the deployment of ground troops to Iraq, though he reiterated that they would not be “combat troops.”

The distinction is increasingly ill-defined, as there are in point of fact already some 3,000 US ground troops in Iraq, and some of them are already on the front lines in the Anbar Province in an “advisory” capacity.

What this new escalation short of combat troops would be, then, is totally unclear, and Hagel did not attempt to clarify the matter. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, however, has been talking up the idea of combat troops as likely necessary at some point in the future.

READ MORE…

French government opposes ISDS, will not sign TTIP agreement in 2015

EurActiv reports:

‘Matthias Fekl, France’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, has made it clear that France will not support the inclusion of the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) in a potential TTIP agreement. The ISDS is a point of heated debate between the EU and the United States. EurActiv France reports.

Europe’s fears over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are not abating, while America is beginning to show signs of impatience. Europe and the United States have reached a standoff in the TTIP negotiations, over the question of the Investor State Dispute Settlement.

This mechanism could give companies the opportunity to take legal action against a state whose legislation has a negative impact on their economic activity.

“France did not want the ISDS to be included in the negotiation mandate,” Matthias Fekl told the French Senate. “We have to preserve the right of the state to set and apply its own standards, to maintain the impartiality of the justice system and to allow the people of France, and the world, to assert their values,” he added.’

READ MORE…

Bush: Meet Bill, my brother from another mother

Toby Harnden reports for The Sunday Times:

George Bush says he and fellow grandfather Bill Clinton are friendsGeorge W. Bush has described Bill Clinton, his fellow former American president, as a “brother from another mother” and has given details of his unlikely friendship with the man who in 1992 had denied Bush’s father a second term in the White House.

The two men, both 68, have bonded over becoming grandfathers. Bush’s twin daughter Jenna gave birth to a daughter, Mila, in April last yearand Clinton’s only child, Chelsea, had a girl, Charlotte,in September.

In an interview with The Sunday Times in his high-rise office in Texas, Bush said that he and his father, President George H.W. Bush, 90, had telephoned Clinton to congratulate him.’

READ MORE…

Japan: Okinawa elects leader determined to halt new US Marine air base

Justin McCurry reports for Christian Science Monitor:

GraphicPreliminary work on a controversial new US Marine Corps base on the strategically important Japanese island of Okinawa took a blow Sunday when voters there elected a new governor who is fiercely opposed to the base.

The election was dominated by the US military presence, including the long-planned closure of Futenma, a base and runway situated in the midst of a densely populated city, and the construction of a new Marine air base in a remote and pristine offshore location farther north.

But the election of Takeshi Onaga may cast doubt on the base move, which has been the subject of wrangling for nearly 20 years.

Mr. Onaga would like to move the US base entirely off Okinawa. He is the first candidate for governor to openly oppose the US military base and win an election.’

READ MORE…

80-year-old man with bad hearing pulled from tractor and beaten by police because ‘they were in fear of their lives’

Editor’s Note: These types of incidents happen so often in America today that it’s hard to keep. The following pages are great for staying up to date with the actions of America’s militarised thug police: Filming Cops, Police State USA, Cop Block, Police the PolicePolice Crime. I would also highly recommend Radley Balko‘s excellent book ‘Rise of the Warrior Cop‘ if you want to know more about the history of why America’s police have become so violent and militarised

KCTV5 reports:

grandpa2A Lone Jack grandfather says he fears for his life after a run in with police.

Bill Swan was on his tractor when he took issue with a utility crew trying to dig on his property. His family says that before long the Lone Jack police arrived and Swan was left bloodied and more from being yanked off the tractor.

“I’m afraid for us to even drive out of our driveway or to get on the street. I don’t know what they will do,” Libby Swan, Bill’s wife, said.

Libby Swan hasn’t asked her husband all of what happened because she doesn’t want to put him through the ordeal right now.

“It’s very unnerving that something happened to him,” she said.

She can only guess that the 80-year-old ended up with a bloodied face, bruised hip and two ribs broken because his hearing is really bad.’

READ MORE…