Category Archives: USA

The Defense Bill That Obama Just Signed Will Make It Harder to Shut Guantanamo

Jason Leopold reports for VICE News:

President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan defense authorization bill into law late Wednesday that contains a provision that will hinder his goal of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before he leaves office.

The $607 billion legislation, which sets defense policies for the next fiscal year and authorizes military spending, specifically prohibits the administration from using any funds to transfer the remaining 107 Guantanamo detainees to the US for detention or prosecution or to “construct or modify any facility in the United States, its territories, or possessions to house any Guantanamo detainee.”

But in a signing statement attached to the bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, Obama said certain restrictions pertaining to Guantanamo might be unconstitutional and infringe on his executive authority. (A signing statement is an official pronouncement issued by a president explaining how he interprets legislation. Obama has issued several signing statements related to Guantanamo restrictions in other annual defense spending bills he signed into law.)


Pfizer-Allergan to Create the World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Company: Interview with James Henry

Jessica Devereux talks to economist James Henry about why the U.S. Congress will turn a blind eye to the Pfizer-Allergan merger deal which will create world’s largest pharmaceutical company, higher drug prices, and hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue. (The Real News)

Drone Terror: Welcome to the Barbarism of ‘Civilisation’

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Middle East Eye:

[…] According to four former US drone operators who had participated in kill missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the slaughter of civilians in drone strikes was widely celebrated as part of an institutional culture in the Air Force. Children were seen as “fun-size terrorists”, and assassinating them by drone was equated with “cutting the grass before it grows too long”.

Michael Haas, a former senior Air Force officer, said that the killings were legitimised by dehumanising the victims: “There was a much more detached outlook about who these people were we were monitoring.” Drone operators were encouraged to develop “bloodlust,” and a trigger-happy approach to missions.

The leaked documents show how technocratic bureaucracy aided this process. As noted by Arjun Sethi, a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, “dossiers of targets are condensed into ‘baseball cards,’ targets are called ‘objectives,’ objectives killed by drone strike are called ‘jackpots’ and a completed drone strike is consolidated and memorialised in a ‘story board’. All these terms trivialise drone strikes and dehumanise their victims.”

IS fighters use religious ideology, language and symbolism to dehumanise the “apostates” (murtadeen) and “disbelievers” (kuffar) they oppose. But “war on terror” warriors don’t need religion. They prefer the secular language of militarised technology, institutionalised bigotry and political ideology to dehumanise innocents as de facto ‘enemy combatants’.

The results are similar: mass deaths of innocents.


The U.S. Air Campaign in Syria Is Suspiciously Impressive at Not Killing Civilians

Micah Zenko writes for Foreign Policy:

The U.S. Air Campaign in Syria Is Suspiciously Impressive at Not Killing Civilians […] The first problem with this theory is that large militant armies are not defeated, either exclusively or primarily, with air power. Military and civilian policymakers repeat the mantra that “you can’t kill your way out” of the problem posed by such adversaries, but then continue to call upon air power to do just that. This is despite the fact that all of the militant armies and terrorist groups that have been bombed and droned for the past 14 years have survived. None have been completely destroyed, which is allegedly the strategic objective against the Islamic State. Moreover, the size of the al Qaeda-affiliated groups that the United States claims to be at war with have either stayed flat or grown, while the total number of State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations has grown from 34 in 2002 to 59 in 2015.

However, the larger concern with this mindset is the assured growth of collateral damage and civilian casualties that will accompany significantly loosened ROEs. Last month, Lt. Gen. Bob Otto, the U.S. Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, observed that the coalition was “challenged in finding enough targets that the airplanes can hit that meet the rules of engagement.” However, he added an important caveat: “If you inadvertently — legally — kill innocent men, women, and children, then there’s a backlash from that. And so we might kill three and create 10 terrorists.”

There was a revealing indicator made public last week of just how challenging it is for pilots to prevent civilian harm while conducting “dynamic targeting” strikes — meaning against unplanned and unanticipated targets in a compressed timeline — despite all the checks and balances in place.


John Pilger on the War on Terror and Western Foreign Policy

Afshin Rattansi interviews award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger on the War on Terror, the birth of the Islamic State and Western foreign policy. (Going Underground)

Coalition or Cold War with Russia? Interview with Stephen Cohen

John Batchelor talks to Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and he is a contributing editor to The Nation. He is also the author of Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. Cohen suggests that powerful forces are working against a post-Paris coalition between Russia and European nations lead by France against the Islamic State. (John Batchelor Show)

The Hypocrisy of U.S. Syria Policy: Interview with Larry Wilkerson

Paul Jay talks to Larry Wilkerson, a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. (The Real News)

Obama to Hollande: Stay the course against Russia

Michael Crowley reports for Politico:

obama_francois_hollande_AP.jpgWhen President Barack Obama hosts French President François Hollande on Tuesday, he’ll have more on his agenda than demonstrating solidarity against terrorism. He’ll also be working to make sure Hollande sticks with the international effort to punish and isolate Vladimir Putin for his aggression in Ukraine.

Privately, Obama officials say they are concerned about whether key European leaders are prepared to extend sanctions on Moscow, which expire in late January. And they are wary of any effort by Putin — who will host Hollande in Moscow later this week — to link events in Syria and Ukraine. The fear is that Putin might try to trade more aggressive Russian action against the Islamic State for France’s backing in reducing or ending the sanctions.

A premature end to sanctions in Europe “is always our worry,” said Evelyn Farkas, who served until last month as the Pentagon’s top official for Russia and Ukraine. “They can’t back away from sanctions. Ukraine is a separate situation” from Syria.


America’s ‘Establishment’ Has Embraced ‘Deep States’

Philip Giraldi, a former military intelligence and CIA case officer, writes for the New York Times:

Citizens in many countries wonder how certain government policies can persist in spite of widespread popular opposition or clear perceptions that they are harmful. This persistence is frequently attributed to a “deep state.”

The phrase is often applied to Turkey, where the nation’s security services and governing elite pursue the same chauvinistic and inward-looking agenda no matter who is prime minister.

But every country has a deep state of some kind. “The Establishment,” as it’s been called in the United States, where it evolved from the Washington-New York axis of national security officials and financial services executives. They are said to know what is “best” for the country and to act accordingly, no matter who sits in the White House.


Quietly, Guam is slated to become massive new U.S. military base

Adam Ashton reports for McClatchy:

Thousands of Marines will land on this island sometime in the next few years, and their first steps will fall on a sturdy-as-granite pier in a sheltered Pacific harbor newly rebuilt to carry wave after wave of tank-driving troops.

“We’re ready for them,” said Cmdr. David Ellis, the executive officer at a Navy base that’s been swelling with military construction projects to prepare for the new troops.

What’s less certain is what the Marines will do when they get here.

This U.S. territory in the Western Pacific, long a way station for passing jets and submarines, is about to become a hub for a force of 4,800 Marines who’ll be charged with readying for war and disasters in East Asia.

The trouble is the Pentagon has not yet persuaded two nearby islands to accept a proposal that would give the Marines a space to train during their Pacific patrols. And some are suggesting, subtly, that it may be difficult to station so many military service members on Guam if they cannot train nearby.


 Will Paris Melt the New US-Russian Cold War? Interview with Stephen Cohen

Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussion of the new East-West Cold War. Accelerating a trend already evident as a result of the Syrian crisis, according to Cohen, the savage terrorist acts on Paris almost immediately resulted in a French-Russian military alliance against the Islamic State in Syria, with French President Hollande and most of Europe dramatically breaking with the Obama Administration’s nearly two-year-old policy of “isolating Putin’s Russia” over the Ukrainian crisis. (The Nation)

The Koch Intelligence Agency

Kenneth P. Vogel, author of Big Money, reports for Politico:

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.

The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.

The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.


Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror: Interview with Former Drone Operators

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to four former U.S. Air Force members and drone whistleblowers. Brandon Bryant, Michael Haas, Stephen Lewis and Cian Westmoreland are also joined by Jesselyn Raddack of the Government Accountability Project. The interview took place as a new documentary, DRONE, was scheduled to be screened in New York. (Democracy Now!)

From Console to Trigger: How the Pentagon “Exploits” Video Game Culture to Wire Youth for War

Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman talk to Tonje Hessen Schei, director of a new documentary film titled Drone, and former drone pilots including Brandon Bryant. After airing a clip from the documentary, they discuss the connection between video games and military recruitment. Bryant says: “I think gamers should be offended that the military and the government are using to manipulate and recruit. We’re more interconnected now than at any time in human history — and that’s being exploited to help people kill one another.” (Democracy Now!)

In Mali and Rest of Africa, the U.S. Military Fights a Hidden War

Nick Turse reports for The Intercept:

The General leading the U.S. military’s hidden war in Africa says the continent is now home to nearly 50 terrorist organizations and “illicit groups” that threaten U.S. interests. And today, gunmen reportedly yelling “Allahu Akbar” stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital and seized several dozen hostages. U.S. special operations forces are “currently assisting hostage recovery efforts,” a Pentagon spokesperson said, and U.S. personnel have “helped move civilians to secured locations, as Malian forces clear the hotel of hostile gunmen.”

In Mali, groups like Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa have long posed a threat. Major terrorist groups in Africa include al Shabaab, Boko Haram and al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM). In the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS, attention has been drawn to ISIS affiliates in Egypt and Libya, too. But what are the dozens of other groups in Africa that the Pentagon is fighting with more special operations forces, more outposts, and more missions than ever?

For the most part, the Pentagon won’t say.

[…] The secret of whom the U.S. military is fighting extends to Africa. Since 9/11, U.S. military efforts on the continent have grown in every conceivable way, from funding and manpower to missions and outposts, while at the same time the number of transnational terror groups has increased in linear fashion, according to the military. The reasons for this are murky. Is it a spillover from events in the Middle East and Central Asia? Are U.S. operations helping to spawn and spread terror groups? Is the Pentagon inflating the terror threat for its own gain? Is the rise of these terrorist organizations due to myriad local factors? Or more likely, is it a combination of these and other reasons? The task of answering these questions is made more difficult when no one in the military is willing to name more than a handful of the transnational terror groups that are classified as America’s enemies.


How US-Backed Intervention in Libya Spread Chaos to Nearby Mali: Interview with Nick Turse

Amy Goodman speak to Nick Turse, author of Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa and journalist for TomDispatch and The Intercept. This interview with Turse was recorded earlier in November with the segment on Mali republished in light of the hostage crisis in Bamako, Mali. (Democracy Now!)

Glenn Greenwald on “Shameless” U.S. Officials Exploiting Paris Attacks, “Submissive” Media’s Drumbeat for War and “Despicable” Anti-Muslim Scapegoating

Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh talks to Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who exposed NSA mass surveillance based on Snowden’s leaks. Greenwald discusses the Paris attacks and the response by U.S. officials and how the media has covered the events since 13th November. (Democracy Now!)

Europe Is Harbouring The Islamic State’s Backers

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Insurge Intelligence:

[…] The ripple effect from the attacks in terms of the impact on Western societies is likely to be permanent. In much the same way that 9/11 saw the birth of a new era of perpetual war in the Muslim world, the 13/11 Paris attacks are already giving rise to a brave new phase in that perpetual war: a new age of Constant Vigilance, in which citizens are vital accessories to the police state, enacted in the name of defending a democracy eroded by the very act of defending it through Constant Vigilance.

Mass surveillance at home and endless military projection abroad are the twin sides of the same coin of national security, which must simply be maximized as much as possible.

“France is at war,” Hollande told French parliament at the Palace of Versailles.

“We’re not engaged in a war of civilizations, because these assassins do not represent any. We are in a war against jihadist terrorism which is threatening the whole world.”

Conspicuously missing from President Hollande’s decisive declaration of war however, was any mention of the biggest elephant in the room: state-sponsorship.


From Paris to Boston, Terrorists Were Already Known to Authorities

map-3Ryan Gallagher reports for The Intercept:

Whenever a terrorist attack occurs, it never takes long for politicians to begin calling for more surveillance powers. The horrendous attacks in Paris last week, which left more than 120 people dead, are no exception to this rule. In recent days, officials in the United Kingdom and the United States have been among those arguing that more surveillance of Internet communications is necessary to prevent further atrocities.

The case for expanded surveillance of communications, however, is complicated by an analysis of recent terrorist attacks. The Intercept has reviewed 10 high-profile jihadi attacks carried out in Western countries between 2013 and 2015 (see below), and in each case some or all of the perpetrators were already known to the authorities before they executed their plot. In other words, most of the terrorists involved were not ghost operatives who sprang from nowhere to commit their crimes; they were already viewed as a potential threat, yet were not subjected to sufficient scrutiny by authorities under existing counterterrorism powers. Some of those involved in last week’s Paris massacre, for instance, were already known to authorities; at least three of the men appear to have been flagged at different times as having been radicalized, but warning signs were ignored.

In the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity, government officials often seem to talk about surveillance as if it were some sort of panacea, a silver bullet. But what they always fail to explain is how, even with mass surveillance systems already in place in countries like France, the United States, and the United Kingdom, attacks still happen. In reality, it is only possible to watch some of the people some of the time, not all of the people all of the time. Even if you had every single person in the world under constant electronic surveillance, you would still need a human being to analyze the data and assess any threats in a timely fashion. And human resources are limited and fallible.

There is no doubt that we live in a dangerous world and that intelligence agencies and the police have a difficult job to do, particularly in the current geopolitical environment. They know about hundreds or thousands of individuals who sympathize with terrorist groups, any one of whom may be plotting an attack, yet they do not appear to have the means to monitor each of these people closely over sustained periods of time. If any lesson can be learned from studying the perpetrators of recent attacks, it is that there needs to be a greater investment in conducting targeted surveillance of known terror suspects and a move away from the constant knee-jerk expansion of dragnet surveillance, which has simply not proven itself to be effective, regardless of the debate about whether it is legal or ethical in the first place.


Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Sole Voter Against Unlimited War After 9/11, Demands Debate on New Military Action

Amy Goodman speaks to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who fourteen years ago cast the sole dissenting vote three days after 9/11 against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the Authorisation for Military Force (AUMF). On 14th September 2001, Lee said: “Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say let’s step back for a moment. Let’s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control.” Today she is calling on Congress to repeal the Authorizations for Military Force, saying they have been used as blank checks for endless war. (Democracy Now!)

How the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Aided Growth of the Islamic State: Interview with Abdel Bari Atwan

Amy Goodman speaks to Abdel Bari Atwan, a longtime journalist and the author of Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. (Democracy Now!)

Obama’s drone war a ‘recruitment tool’ for ISIS, say US air force whistleblowers

Ed Pilkington and Ewen MacAskill report for The Guardian:

A Yemeni man looks at graffiti showing a US drone after al-Qaida in Yemen confirmed the death of its leader in a US drone strike in June.Four former US air force service members, with more than 20 years of experience between them operating military drones, have written an open letter to Barack Obama warning that the program of targeted killings by unmanned aircraft has become a major driving force for Isis and other terrorist groups.

The group of servicemen have issued an impassioned plea to the Obama administration, calling for a rethink of a military tactic that they say has “fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like Isis, while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool similar to Guantánamo Bay”.

In particular, they argue, the killing of innocent civilians in drone airstrikes has acted as one of the most “devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world”.

The letter, addressed to Obama, defense secretary Ashton Carter and CIA chiefJohn Brennan, links the signatories’ anxieties directly to last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. They imply that the abuse of the drone program is causally connected to the outrages.


U.S. Military Leaders Dubious of Bigger War Against ISIS

Bryan Bender reports for Politico:

151117_military_gty_1160.jpgU.S. military leaders are skeptical about calls for escalating the war against the Islamic State, saying they have watched too many of their troops’ hard-won victories slip away amid civilian inattention in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even as U.S. and allied aircraft step up their bombing campaign against the terrorist group after Friday’s attacks in Paris, senior military officials privately express worries that political leaders in Washington and foreign capitals still haven’t absorbed the lessons of America’s last two big wars. In both cases, the military defeated the Taliban, Saddam Hussein’s regime and the Iraqi insurgents, but civilian leadership failed to do the political, economic and diplomatic heavy-lifting needed to sustain those wins.

The same thing could happen again in the fight against ISIL, the military officials say, unless far more is done to train and arm local allies, beef up the State Department’s capacity to assist foreign allies to improve governing structures, counter the terrorist group’s message in mosques and in social media and employ much more international leverage to end the Syrian civil war. Otherwise, the growing pressure to strike back hard against ISIL will mean that guns and bombs once again get far more attention and resources than the other levers of power that would ultimately prove more consequential.

The military officials say these concerns are behind President Barack Obama’s refusal to launch a more expansive military operation that includes American ground troops against the terrorists.


Could Islamic State Be Strengthened by U.S., French, Russian Bombing? Interview with Abdel Bari Atwan

Amy Goodman speaks to Abdel Bari Atwan, a longtime journalist and the author of Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. (Democracy Now!)

Strikes on Raqqa in Syria Lead to More Questions Than Results

Anne Barnard reports for The New York Times:

First France and then Russia answered Islamic State attacks on their citizens with a strategy of direct reprisal: intensified airstrike campaigns on Raqqa, the militants’ de facto capital within Syria, meant to eliminate the group’s leadership and resources.

But on Tuesday in the early hours of those new campaigns, there seemed to be more questions than decisive results. Chief among them: Why, if there were confirmed Islamic State targets that could be hit without killing civilians, were they not hit more heavily long ago? And what, in fact, was being hit?

More broadly, the Raqqa airstrikes are renewing a debate about how effective such attacks can be in defeating or containing the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, without more commitment to measures like drying up its financial support, combating its ideology or — what outside forces on all sides so far appear to have ruled out — conducting a ground assault.

Several people in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey who have been able to make contact with relatives in Raqqa say the recent French airstrikes — a barrage of about 30 on Sunday night and seven more on Monday — did not kill any civilians. But neither did they inflict serious military damage, those people said, instead hitting empty areas or buildings, or parts of the territory of factory complexes or military bases used by the Islamic State.


After Paris, Rights Groups Warn Against Knee-Jerk ‘National Security’ Overreach

Nadia Prupis reports for Common Dreams:

As some European leaders pitch a reactionary response to Friday’s brutal attacks in Paris, human rights and civil liberties groups are warning against the expansion of surveillance and other government powers under the guise of “national security.”

On Monday, French President François Hollande announced that he would propose a bill to extend the country’s state of emergency by three months as the manhunt for suspects spreads across Europe. The bill would also implement changes to the French Constitution that would strip citizenship of convicted terrorists, increase surveillance, and employ “more sophisticated methods” to curb the weapons trade.

Also on Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK would add 1,900 new security and intelligence staff—and that he would consider speeding up a vote on the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, introduced to Parliament earlier this year, which would allow unprecedented mass surveillance of internet users.

“I am determined to prioritize the resources we need to combat the terrorist threat,” Cameron said.

In the U.S., meanwhile, CIA director John Brennan warned that the Paris attacks should serve as a “wake-up call” to surveillance opponents and criticized “a number of unauthorized disclosures, and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists.”

But as critics pointed out, Friday’s attacks were carried out despite the fact that France passed an expansive surveillance law earlier this year following the January shootings at Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters and other sites. Further, French police stated over the weekend that at least one suspect in Friday’s attacks had been known to them for some time—yet these safeguards were apparently insufficient in thwarting those plans.


France Seeks Revenge Attacks ISIS in Syria: Interviews with Barry Lando, Phyllis Bennis and Paul Gottinger

“We Shouldn’t Play into the Hands of ISIS”: Vijay Prashad on Danger of Military Escalation in Syria

Amy Goodman speaks to Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline, about the danger of military escalation in Syria after the ISIS attacks in Paris, France this past Friday. (Democracy Now!)

Paris attacks: No security can stop ISIS – the bombers will always get through

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

Apocalyptic press coverage and predictions of further attacks in Paris play into the hands of IsisThe “Islamic State”, as Isis styles itself, will be pleased with the outcome of its attacks in Paris. It has shown that it can retaliate with its usual savagery against a country that is bombing its territory and is a power to be feared at a time when it is under serious military pressure. The actions of just eight Isis suicide bombers and gunmen are dominating the international news agenda for days on end.

There is not a lot that can be done about this. People are understandably eager to know the likelihood of their being machine-gunned the next time they sit in a restaurant or attend a concert in Paris or London.

But the apocalyptic tone of press coverage is exaggerated: the violence experienced hitherto in Paris is not comparable with Belfast and Beirut in the 1970s or Damascus and Baghdad today. Contrary to the hyperbole of wall-to-wall television coverage, the shock of living in a city being bombed soon wears off.

Predictions of Paris forever trembling in expectation of another attack play into the hands of Isis.

A further disadvantage flows from excessive rhetoric about the massacre: instead of the atrocities acting as an incentive for effective action, the angry words become a substitute for a real policy.


Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Whistleblowers are always accused of helping America’s enemies (top Nixon aides accused Daniel Ellsberg of being a Soviet spy and causing the deaths of Americans with his leak); it’s just the tactical playbook that’s automatically used. So it’s of course unsurprising that ever since Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing enabled newspapers around the world to report on secretly implemented programs of mass surveillance, he has been accused by “officials” and their various media allies of Helping The Terrorists™.

Still, I was a bit surprised just by how quickly and blatantly – how shamelessly – some of them jumped to exploit the emotions prompted by the carnage in France to blame Snowden: doing so literally as the bodies still lay on the streets of Paris. At first, the tawdry exploiters were the likes of crazed ex-intelligence officials (former CIA chief James Woolsey, who once said Snowden “should be hanged by his neck until he is dead” and now hasdeep ties to private NSA contractors, along with Iranobsessed Robert Baer); former Bush/Cheney apparatchiks (ex-White House spokesperson and current Fox personality Dana Perino); right-wing polemicists fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarism; and obscure Fox News comedians (Perino’s co-host). So it was worth ignoring save for the occasional Twitter retort.

But now we’ve entered the inevitable “U.S. Officials Say” stage of the “reporting” on the Paris attack – i.e. journalists mindlessly and uncritically repeat whatever U.S. officials whisper in their ear about what happened. So now credible news sites are regurgitating the claim that the Paris Terrorists were enabled by Snowden leaks – based on no evidence or specific proof of any kind, needless to say, but just the unverified, obviously self-serving assertions of government officials. But much of the U.S. media loves to repeat rather than scrutinize what government officials tell them to say. So now this accusation has become widespread and is thus worth examining with just some of the actual evidence.