Category Archives: USA

Jade Helm 15 Is Not a Federal Takeover: It’s Domestic Military Expansion

Candice Bernd writes for Truthout:

8 December, 2007: U.S. Army paratroopers prepare to board a C-130 Hercules during Operation Toy Drop, Ft. Bragg, N.C. (Photo: The U.S Army)[…] The mainstream media and much of the independent media have been right to publicly call out (and poke fun at) Gov. Abbott and some Republican presidential candidates for giving Texas’ conspiracy culture far too much credence. However, the exclusive emphasis on some of the more bizarre theories emerging out of rural Texas counties has overshadowed valid concerns from activists about a much larger ongoing domestic military expansion, of which Jade Helm 15 plays a significant part.

Truthout’s Dahr Jamail has reported extensively on the Navy’s ongoing use of nearly every US coastal state’s land and air for its realistic training exercises and war games. In recent years, these exercises have included electromagnetic warfare training and the testing of sonar devices, despite evidence of the exercises’ harmful effects on marine animals and pushback from concerned environmentalists.

“According to the Pentagon, between 1985 and 2012, the US military had completed at least 92 joint land use studies in preparation for expanding its domestic training, which proposed expansions in all but 16 US states,” Jamail writes.

Several branches of the US military, including the Air Force, Army and most prominently, the Navy, are encroaching on public and private lands to expand “realistic” warfare-training exercises domestically. Despite some of the more cockeyed theories to emerge about Jade Helm 15 recently, the realistic training exercise fits into this quiet military expansion in an unprecedented way.’

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The US government told me Bin Laden read my book. But what is it not telling us?

Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, writes for The Guardian:

Osama bin Laden‘[…] I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others – and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim’s name.

And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack? While working at Newsnight, a few weeks after the towers fell, a little birdie dropped off a 30-page memo marked “SECRET,” “eyes only” and “1-99I WF”, which is code for “national security document”. The document suggested that FBI agents were blocked from investigating the Bin Laden family well before 11 September 2001. Calls to the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI insiders authenticated this bombshell of a devastating intelligence failure.

No, the evidence did not show that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attack in advance. But here was something still quite damning: we learned that the Bush family connection to the Bin Laden family business might have been a shield against government probes. Did Bin Laden, reading that, make a note to himself to thank the Bushes for their unintended protection? I assumed the FBI would deny the authenticity of the document. Instead of denying that the Bin Laden investigation had been spiked, the FBI spokesman told Newsnight these chilling words: “There are a lot of things the intelligence community knows and other people ought not to know.”’

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Macedonia, the New US-Russia Battlefield

Leonid Bershidsky writes for Bloomberg:

Macedonia is a poor, landlocked Balkan country of about 2 million. To the Kremlin, it’s also the newest front in an ideological battle, with the U.S. fomenting regime change to counter Russia’s influence. As is often the case, that view is correct to the extent that Russian interests are aligned with those of a corrupt authoritarian ruler.

Here’s what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had to say last week:

I cannot judge for sure, but it so happens objectively that these events in Macedonia are unfolding against the background of the Macedonian government’s refusal to join sanctions against Russia and an active support from Skopje for the plans to build the Turkish Stream pipeline, to which many in Brussels and across the Atlantic are opposed. We cannot get rid of this feeling that there’s some sort of a connection.

The origins of this conjecture, and Lavrov’s sarcasm, are clear. The Kremlin couldn’t help being suspicious about the timing of Macedonia’s political crisis.’

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Cancer Charities Crackdown: Millions In Donations Spent On Luxury Lifestyles

What we know about the U.S. Air Force space plane’s mystery mission

Leonard David writes for Space.com:

Afspc5_mssnart_smleThe U.S. Air Force is set to launch the fourth flight of its X-37B space plane on May 20, and new details are unfolding about the upcoming mystery mission.

For this latest flight of the X-37B space plane, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office has teamed up with several partners, including NASA, to test experimental space technologies.

“With the demonstrated success of the first three missions, we’re able to shift our focus from initial checkouts of the vehicle to testing of experimental payloads,” Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office overseeing the flight, said in a statement.

The forthcoming mission will test an experimental propulsion system jointly developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Space and Missile Systems Center. In addition, the X-37B craft will carry a NASA advanced materials investigation.’

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Why Mr. Kerry Went to Sochi: Interview with Stephen Cohen

Cole Delbyck writes for The Nation:

John Kerry and Vladimir Putin‘Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent sitdown with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Sochi has ushered the Ukrainian crisis onto a new and far more public stage. The Nation’s Stephen Cohen joined The John Batchelor Show to comment on the long-awaited meeting of the minds, as well as the competing strategies for stability in the Ukraine.

It was not certain, Cohen explained, that Putin would make time to meet with Kerry. But prior to Kerry’s visit, Angela Merkel met with Russian leaders to stress the importance of a non-military solution. Cohen speculated that “Merkel and Putin must have decided that this was the last chance to actually implement the Minsk agreement and compel Kiev…to negotiate with the rebels in the East.” Kiev’s close ties to Washington, Cohen said, were likely on Putin’s mind when he “agreed to meet with Kerry, seeking that commitment…to get Kiev to the negotiating table.”’

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW @ The JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW…

Clinton Friend’s Memos on Libya Draw Scrutiny to Politics and Business

Nick Confessore and Michael S. Schmidt report for The New York Times:

[…] An examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.

While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, “message guidance” and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. During the same period, he also worked on and off as a paid consultant to Media Matters and American Bridge, organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.’

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Obama Takes Small Step Towards Demilitarizing Police: Interview with Glen Ford

Neocons 2.0: The problem with Peter Pomerantsev

Mark Ames writes for Pando Daily:

pomerantsevIn his opening statement last month before a US Congressional Committee hearing titled “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information,” the Russian-born British author Peter Pomerantsev served his Republican-led audience a piping hot  serving of neocon alarmism. Quoting “the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip M. Breedlove,” Pomerantsev described Russia’s 2014 takeover of Crimea as “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare.” To which Pomernatsev added his own chilling warning:

“To put it differently, Russia has launched an information war against the West – and we are losing.”

The hearing was put on by Orange County neoconservative Republican Ed Royce; the purpose of the hearings was to drum up fear about Russia’s “unprecedented” information war on the West — a propaganda battle which obviously exists, but whose dimensions and dangers are being cynically exaggerated — and then convert that fear into budget money for US propaganda and NGOs to subvert Kremlin power.

What made Pomerantsev’s lobbying appearance with the neocons so disturbing to me is that he’s not the sort of crude, arrogant meat-head I normally identify with homo neoconius. Pomerantsev’s book, “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible”, is the most talked-about Russia book in recent memory. His many articles on the Kremlin’s “avant-garde” “information war” and its “political technologists” have been hits in the thinking-man’s press: Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books... His insights into the strategic thinking behind the Kremlin’s “information wars” are often sharp and illuminating; and yet there’s always been something glaringly absent in Pomerantsev’s writings. Not so much what he puts in, but all that he leaves out. Glaring omissions of context, that had me start to question if Pomernatsev wasn’t manipulating the reader by poaching the rhetoric of leftist critical analysis, and putting it to use for very different, neocon purposes . . . as if Pomerantsev has been aping the very sort of “avant-garde” Kremlin political technologies he’s been scaring the Ed Royces of the world with.

And then of course there’s the larger nagging question—what the Hell is a presumed journalist/writer like Pomerantsev, who claims to have been most influenced by literary figures like Christopher Isherwood, doing lobbying the US and UK governments to pass bills upping psychological warfare budgets and imposing sanctions on foreign countries? Where does the independent critical analysis stop, and the manipulative lobbying begin?’

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GCHQ’s Rainbow Lights: Exploiting Social Issues for Militarism and Imperialism

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

GCHQ lit up in rainbow coloursOver the weekend, the British surveillance agency GCHQ — the most extremist and invasive in the West — bathed its futuristic headquarters with rainbow-colored lights “as a symbol of the intelligence agency’s commitment to diversity” and to express solidarity with “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.” GCHQ’s public affairs office proudly distributed the above photograph to media outlets. Referring to Alan Turing, the closeted-and-oppressed gay World War II British code-breaker just memorialized by an Oscar-nominated feature film, Prime Minister David Cameron’s office celebrated GCHQ’s inspirational lights.

This is so very moving. Gay Brits are now just as free as everyone else to spy on people, covertly disseminate state propaganda, and destroy online privacy. Whatever your views on all this nasty surveillance business might be, how can you not feel good about GCHQ when it drapes itself in the colors of LGBT equality?

This is all a stark illustration of what has become a deeply cynical but highly effective tactic. Support for institutions of militarism and policies of imperialism is now manufactured by parading them under the emotionally manipulative banners of progressive social causes.

The CIA loves this strategy.’

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Edward Snowden Unpopular at Home, A Hero Abroad, Poll Finds

Steven Nelson reports for U.S. News & World Report:

File photo of  former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden posing for a photo during an interview in an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow, RussiaA poll of Americans and people living in nine other Western countries has found exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden is far more popular abroad than he is at home.

Snowden, a contractor who worked with the National Security Agency, ignited an intense, ongoing global policy debate about mass surveillance in June 2013 by exposing the collection of vast amounts of phone and Internet records and communications by the NSA and allied intelligence agencies.

For his efforts, about 64 percent of Americans familiar with Snowden hold a negative opinion of him, according to KRC Research poll results shared with U.S. News. Thirty-six percent hold a positive opinion, with just 8 percent holding a very positive opinion.

The survey was commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union, which provides legal representation to Snowden, who received asylum in Russia after the U.S. canceled his passport.’

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US Special Ops raid killing five ISIS chiefs had to be coordinated with Syria and Russia

DEBKAfile reports:

US Delta raid - from CNN reconstructionThe US Delta Special Operations raid that killed ISIS oil chief Abu Sayyaf Saturday, May 16, could not have taken place without prior US coordination with Damascus and Moscow, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. The National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan announced after the raid: “The US government did not coordinate with the Syrian regime, nor did we advise them in advance of the operation.” But that statement did not preclude a possible US notice of the coming raid to Moscow, which then passed it on to Damascus.

The operation therefore fixed more than one new Middle East landmark: Not only did the US put its first boots on the ground in Syria, but the US, Russia and the Assad regime seem to be pulling together for the first time against the Islamic State – much in the same way as Washington is funneling its cooperation with Iran against ISIS through Baghdad.

Our military sources note that the area of operation – Al-Amar some 20 km southeast of Deir El-Zour in eastern Syria – is bristling with Syrian air defense units, while Russian air defense facilities cover the distance from there to Damascus.  How likely is it that they all missed the helicopters which dropped US troops?’

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After Syria Raid Will There Be More U.S. Boots On The Ground?

As Chicago Pays Victims of Past Torture, Police Face New Allegations of Abuse at Homan Square: Interview with Spencer Ackerman

‘More victims have come forward to detail recent abuse inside Homan Square, a secret compound used by Chicago police for incommunicado interrogations and detentions which some have described as the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site overseas. Exclusive video obtained by The Guardian shows a Chicago man named Angel Perez being taken inside a “prisoner entrance.” Perez says police handcuffed his right wrist to a metal bar and then sexually assaulted him with a metal object, believed to be a handgun barrel. Perez says the officers also threatened to “go after” his family members, including his father who is battling cancer. Perez is now the 13th person to describe his detainment at the secret police site to The Guardian. Like many detainees, he apparently was never formally arrested — neither booked, nor permitted access to an attorney, nor charged. Now, Perez and four others have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. We are joined by the reporter who broke the Homan Square story, Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.’ (Democracy Now!)

Trident whistleblower says nuclear subs are insecure, unsafe and “a disaster waiting to happen”

The Sunday Herald reports:

William McNeilly, who says he was on patrol with HMS Victorious from January to April this year, alleges that the Trident missiles it carries are vulnerable to a terrorist attack that “would kill our people and destroy our land”. Infiltrators have “the perfect opportunity to send nuclear warheads crashing down on the UK”, he claims.

He has written a detailed 18-page report called The Nuclear Secrets, which claims to lift the lid on the alarming state of the UK’s ageing and short-staffed nuclear deterrent. He went absent without leave from the Royal Navy last week, is on the run and expects to be arrested. “This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us,” he says. “We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public. If we don’t act now lives could be lost for generations.”

The risk was “extremely high”, he told the Sunday Herald. “My information comes from good sources and I have no reason to lie. If change isn’t made, a nuclear catastrophe almost certainly will happen.”

McNeilly’s report alleges 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, based at Faslane on the Clyde. They include failures in testing whether missiles could be safely launched, burning toilet rolls starting a fire in a missile compartment, and security passes and bags going unchecked.

He also reports alarms being muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures being ignored and top secret information left unguarded.

“It’s just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist,” he says. “There were some people that I served with on that patrol who showed clear psychopathic tendencies.”

The Royal Navy has launched an investigation into McNeilly’s report, and is working with the civilian police to find him. It describes his criticisms as “subjective and unsubstantiated”, stressing that submarines never go to sea unless they are completely safe.’

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Meet Silicon Valley’s newest venture capitalist: The Pentagon

Kia Kokalitcheva reported last month for Fortune:

The Defense Department unveiled plans Thursday [April 23rd] to invest in and work with upstart technology companies that can help its mission to defend the United States. It will provide a small amount of funding during the one-year pilot program to technology companies working cyber-security.

The military will team up with CIA’s existing Silicon Valley investment arm, In-Q-Tel, as part of the initiative. Established in 1999, In-Q-Tel has been investing in technology companies on behalf of the CIA in the hope of keeping the intelligence agency close to new and potentially significant innovations.

In recent years, the relationship between the technology industry and the government has taken a beating. They’ve repeatedly clashed over surveillance and regulation while, in some cases, simultaneously doing brisk business with each other.

Speaking at Stanford University on Thursday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said he hopes this new program can help to mend the fences.’

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MOVE Bombing at 30: “Barbaric” 1985 Philadelphia Police Attack Killed 11 and Burned a Neighborhood

’13th May marks the 30th anniversary of a massive police operation in Philadelphia that culminated in the helicopter bombing of the headquarters of a radical group known as MOVE. The fire from the attack incinerated six adults and five children, and destroyed 65 homes. Despite two grand jury investigations and a commission finding that top officials were grossly negligent, no one from city government was criminally charged. MOVE was a Philadelphia-based radical movement dedicated to black liberation and a back-to-nature lifestyle. It was founded by John Africa, and all its members took on the surname Africa. We are joined in Philadelphia by Linn Washington, an award-winning journalist, professor and former columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune who has covered MOVE since 1975.’ (Democracy Now!)

Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution: Interview with Wendy Brown

Editor’s Note: I would highly recommend reading ‘A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power’ by David Miller and William Dinan.

‘Wendy Brown a Professor of Political Science at the University of California Berkeley and author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution explains the idea of Demos and how it drives our Democracy. How Neoliberalism shrinks our capacity to be human and undermines democracy. Are human beings only economic? The debate inside extreme Neoliberalism. The effort to engineer the Neoliberal human. Why Neoliberal state is not small. How Neoliberalism organically moves into every sphere of life. How value works in modern Capitalism. How Facebook became what it is. How to read Citizens United through the Neoliberal lens. Also the lost loss of Liberal Arts education…’ (Majority Report)

Journalists split over Sy Hersh’s bin Laden killing claims: Interview with Gareth Porter

‘The new report on the assassination of Osama bin Laden by famed journalist Seymour Hersh has been garnering major criticism from mainstream press outlets. Ben Swann speaks with investigative journalist Gareth Porter about the flaws in Hersh’s report and where the mainstream media has been failing the public.’ (RT America)

Critics Attack Seymour Hersh After Bin Laden Raid Story Goes Public

‘Seymour Hersh published a HUGE article on what actually happened during the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan. There’s a lot of dispute about this article, and Cenk comes out somewhere in the middle. The critics are saying that the reporting is thinly sourced. Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) goes over the disputed details, and goes on to show and discusses the attempts to smear Hersh’s “The Killing of Osama bin Laden“.’ (The Young Turks)

Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA Contractors

Lee Fang reports for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA ContractorsThe debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online, and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest. Such conflicts have become particularly important, and worth pointing out, now that the debate about NSA surveillance has shifted from simple outrage to politically prominent legislative debates.’

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Muslim-Bashing Can Be Very Lucrative

Dean Obeidallah writes for The Daily Beast:

Muslim-Bashing Can Be Very LucrativePeople keep asking me why does Pam Geller spew so much anti-Muslim crap? Is it part of her work as a pro-Israel activist? Did she once get food poisoning at a Middle Eastern restaurant? Is it simply because she really, really hates Muslims?

Probably all the above, but one other thing is certain: Geller gets paid pretty well to demonize Muslims. I’m talking to the tune of $200,000 a year. True, that might be walking around money for Donald Trump (who actually bashed Geller this week for her draw the Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest), but that puts her in the top 5 percent of all Americans in terms of annual income. Now, $200,000 doesn’t make a person rich these days (although the $9 million in combined divorce settlement and life-insurance payments she reportedly got certainly qualifies her). But for what she does, it’s handsome pay.

In fact, many of the people identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the Center for American Progress (CAP) as the leaders of the anti-Muslim industry in America are paid well for their efforts. I’m talking so much money I almost want to start hating on Muslims—and I’m Muslim.’

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An interview from Democracy Now! in February 2015 with Yasmine Taeb, the co-author of an investigative report by the Center for American Progress titled: “Fear, Inc. 2.0, The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America.”

Jeb Bush’s Entourage Filled with Neocons: Interview with Larry Wilkerson

Larry Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. He discusses how Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush recently stated how he would have authorized the US invasion in 2003 of Iraq, which shows little regard for the fact that neoconservative policy created more chaos in the region. (The Real News)

Obama’s plans for trade deals with Asia (TTP) and Europe (TTIP) in tatters after Senate vote

Dan Roberts, Sabrina Siddiqui and Dominic Rushe report for The Guardian:

US  President Barack Obama delivers remarks on trade at Nike's corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon May 8, 2015 (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)Barack Obama’s ambitions to pass sweeping new free trade agreements with Asia and Europe fell at the first hurdle on Tuesday as Senate Democrats put concerns about US manufacturing jobs ahead of arguments that the deals would boost global economic growth.

A vote to push through the bill failed as 45 senators voted against it, to 52 in favor. Obama needed 60 out of the 100 votes for it to pass.

Failure to secure so-called “fast track” negotiating authority from Congress leaves the president’s top legislative priority in tatters.

It may also prove the high-water mark in decades of steady trade liberalisation that has fuelled globalisation but is blamed for exacerbating economic inequality within many developed economies.’

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CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out Upon Sentencing to 3.5 Years in Prison

‘On Monday former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 42 months in prison for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen about a failed U.S. effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Risen later exposed how the risky operation could have actually aided the Iranian nuclear program. In January Sterling was convicted of nine felony counts, including espionage. He becomes the latest government employee jailed by the Obama administration for leaking information. Since he was indicted four years ago, Jeffrey Sterling’s voice has never been heard by the public. But that changes today. We air an exclusive report that tells his story, “The Invisible Man.” We are also joined by Norman Solomon, who interviewed Sterling for the piece and attended both his trial and sentencing. Solomon is a longtime activist, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, co-founder of RootsAction.org, and coordinator of ExposeFacts.org.’ (Democracy Now!)

Seymour Hersh Interviewed on Bin Laden Killing Story, Responds to White House and Media Backlash

Editor’s Note: This is a 20-minute exceprt from Hersh’s interview on Democracy Now! You can watch the final 10-minutes here.

‘Four years after U.S. forces assassinated Osama bin Laden, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has published an explosive piece claiming much of what the Obama administration said about the attack was wrong. Hersh claims at the time of the U.S. raid, bin Laden had been held as a prisoner by Pakistani intelligence since 2006. Top Pakistani military leaders knew about the operation and provided key assistance. Contrary to U.S. claims that it located bin Laden by tracking his courier, a former Pakistani intelligence officer identified bin Laden’s whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million U.S. bounty. Questions are also raised about whether bin Laden was actually buried at sea, as the U.S. claimed. Hersh says instead the Navy SEALs threw parts of bin Laden’s body into the Hindu Kush mountains from their helicopter. The White House claims the piece is “riddled with inaccuracies.” Hersh joins us to lay out his findings and respond to criticism from government officials and media colleagues.’ (Democracy Now!)

NBC Confirms Hersh: Pakistani Official Turned in bin Laden

Ben Kamisar reports for The Hill:

The CIA discovered Osama bin Laden’s location from a Pakistani intelligence official before the American Special Forces raid that killed the al Qaeda leader, NBC News reports.

A Special Forces operator told the network that the government used a cover story to assert that bin Laden’s courier tipped off the CIA in order to protect the identity of the Pakistani official who gave up the information. The military official added that Pakistani intelligence was hiding bin Laden in the country.

The news comes just one day after a controversial report from journalist Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books alleged that a Pakistani intelligence official gave up bin Laden’s location to the CIA.

But Hersh’s report also asserts the Pakistani intelligence services cooperated with the mission by helping U.S. helicopters enter the country. It also claims that American forces faced no resistance in bin Laden’s compound because the guards were ordered to stand down.’

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Seymour Hersh on The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Seymour Hersh writes for the London Review of Books:

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.’

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How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about

Michael Cohen reports for The Washington Post:

Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation and getting friendly candidates into office: Big Oil, Big Pharma and the gun lobby among them. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. Private companies house nearly half of the nation’s immigrant detainees, compared to about 25 percent a decade ago, a Huffington Post report found. In total, there are now about 130 private prisons in the country with about 157,000 beds.

Marco Rubio is one of the best examples of the private prison industry’s growing political influence, a connection that deserves far more attention now that he’s officially launched a presidential bid. The U.S. senator has a history of close ties to the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison company, GEO Group, stretching back to his days as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. While Rubio was leading the House, GEO was awarded a state government contract for a $110 million prison soon after Rubio hired an economic consultant who had been a trustee for a GEO real estate trust. Over his career, Rubio has received nearly $40,000 in campaign donations from GEO, making him the Senate’s top career recipient of contributions from the company. (Rubio’s office did not respond to requests for comment.)’

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Patriotism at a Price: US Military Paid NFL Teams to ‘Honor’ Soldiers at Games

Sarah Lazare reports for Common Dreams:

NFL_AMERICAN_FLAG.JPGWhat better way to advertise military culture—and recruit teenagers—than by staging heartfelt salutes to “hometown heroes” at professional football games in front of thousands of fans?

That, apparently, is what Department of Defense officials thought when they shelled out at least $5.4 million of U.S. taxpayer’ money to 14 NFL teams between 2011 and 2014—to pay them to promote the military on and off the field.

The vast majority of this money was disbursed by the National Guard, journalists Christopher Baxter and Jonathan D. Salant of New Jersey Advance Media revealed in an article published Thursday.’

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