Category Archives: USA

Putin: US Spy Agencies Backed Islamist Separatists in 2000s

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

During interviews for a documentary on the early days of his presidency, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed his government had intercepted phone calls made by US intelligence assets in Azerbaijan to Islamist separatist groups in the northern Caucasus of Russia.

Russia has faced several separatist movements in and around Chechnya since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Putin claimed to have confronted President George W. Bush with the evidence, and to have been assured by Bush that he would prevent further actions and “kick the asses of” those agents responsible.’

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US used German spooks to snoop on EU defence industry

John Leyden reports for The Register:

The NSA UnchainedGermany’s BND spy agency spied on European politicians and enterprises at the behest of the NSA for over a decade.

Der Spiegel reports (in German) that for years the NSA sent its counterparts at the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst – Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service) thousands of so-called selectors – IP addresses, emails, and mobile phone numbers – it wanted targeted for online surveillance.

German cyberspies fed this data into their own surveillance systems. The reports generated were evaluated at BND headquarters before intelligence was passed back to the NSA.

In practical terms, it seems that the BND have been tapping the Internet Exchange Point DE-CIX in Frankfurt, since at least 2009.

Results from the bulk tap of this Internet exchange were then passed over, in part at least, to the Americans as part of a collaborative agreement involving intel agencies.

The selectors included referred to European politicians and European aerospace and defence firms, including the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Eurocopter.’

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Defence Industry Gets “Fail Grade” for Anti-Corruption

Stella Dawson reports for Reuters:

Two thirds of the world’s major defence companies get a “fail grade” for combating corruption in their business operations, despite improvements in industry practices in the past three years, an anti-corruption group said on Monday.

In its survey of 163 companies, Transparency International UK found that 107 showed limited, or no evidence of ethics and anti-corruption programmes.

However, 33 percent of corporations surveyed worldwide have improved significantly since the Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index was first published in 2012, rising several notches on the six-point TI UK scale.’

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NATO role in 2011 Gadhafi ouster may have given rise to Islamic State presence in Libya

John Vandiver and Slobodan Lekic reports for Stars & Stripes:

As NATO announced the end of its seven-month bombing campaign in Libya that helped topple dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the top military officials expressed their pride in the alliance’s achievement.

“A successful chapter in NATO’s history is coming to an end,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Libya’s new leaders in Tripoli in October 2011, just days after rebels had caught and murdered a fleeing Gadhafi. Rasmussen said he expected a new Libya to arise, “based on freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and reconciliation.”

Top U.S. officials also chimed in.

“We came, we saw, he died,” a triumphant then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared to a television reporter.

Four years after NATO’s “successful chapter,” Libya is in chaos, a failed state with two rival but powerless governments and dozens of warlords and militia groups fighting it out in the streets of its cities. The once-thriving oil-based economy — now a waypoint for tens of thousands of refugees from Africa and the Middle East fleeing to Europe — could be the radical Islamic State group’s next target.’

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Two decades since the Oklahoma City Bombing

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from part one. You can read part two here.

Roger Charles writes for WhoWhatWhy:

The Murrah Federal Building two days after the bombing.‘Two decades have passed since the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing. It was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history, and 168 people died, including 19 children.

The attack on the Murrah Federal Building was said to be the work of Timothy McVeigh and two confederates, described as right-wing extremists with an anti-government agenda. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection and Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier were given prison sentences.

Now, however, major cracks have appeared in the federal government’s story—a story long considered by some victims’ families to be little more than a stonewall of mendacity and distortion. New revelations suggest that the government may be covering up prior interactions between intelligence services and the accused. In this way, Oklahoma City poses some of the same questions raised by 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing—other national security traumas where Washington has worked hard to block potentially devastating disclosures.’

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From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

Patrick Cockburn writes for The Independent:

Few recall that David Cameron led Britain into one war in Libya that overthrew Gaddafi, but was disastrous for most Libyans. Without this conflict, the drowned bodies of would-be emigrants to Europe would not be washing up in their hundreds on Libyan beaches. To get the full flavour of what went wrong, it is worth watching a YouTube clip of Cameron grandstanding on a balcony in Benghazi on 15 September 2011, as he lauds Libya’s new freedom. Then turn to almost any recent film of Benghazi or Tripoli showing militias battling in streets and buildings shattered by shellfire.

Another scene worth revisiting via YouTube is the House of Commons on 29 August 2013, when Cameron lost the vote which would have opened the door to British military intervention in Syria. Ostensibly this was in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government in Damascus, but would have had an effect only if it had turned into a Libyan-type air campaign to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. There is every reason to believe that al-Qaeda-type movements would have filled the vacuum and Syria would have descended even deeper into anarchy.

What is striking here is not so much that Cameron never seemed to have much idea about what was going on in Libya or Syria as the degree to which his culpability has never been an issue. Contrast this with the way in which Tony Blair is still pilloried for the decisions he took over going to war in Iraq in 2003. Focus on the decisions taken in the lead-up to the invasion has become a national obsession in which Blair is a scapegoat, as if most of the British establishment and popular opinion did not support him at the time. Admittedly this support was partly the result of concocted evidence about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMD, but there is something absurd about the fact that it is almost impossible these days to meet a diplomat or a general who does not claim to have been deeply, if silently, opposed to the whole venture at the time.’

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Europe’s security challenges should mean more defense spending, says Pentagon chief

David Alexander reports for Reuters:

Europe should be spending more on its military given the security challenges facing the region, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday, adding that falling investment had eroded Europe’s ability to be a capable U.S. ally.

“They’re not doing enough. They are spending a smaller share of their GDP than they have in the past, (than) we do now and (than) many, like Russia, are spending. It’s too low,” Carter told a group of university students training as military officers.

The Pentagon chief made the remarks after being asked by one student what the United States could do to encourage Europe to be more financially committed to its own defense.

Low European military spending has long been a sore point for the United States. U.S. presidents and defense secretaries regularly urge the allies to stop the slide in spending.’

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The world of threats to the US is an illusion

Stephen Kinzer writes for The Boston Globe:

‘When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.

Geography is our greatest protector. Wide oceans separate us from potential aggressors. Our vast homeland is rich and productive. No other power on earth is blessed with this security.

Our other asset is the weakness of potential rivals. It will be generations before China is able to pose a serious challenge to the United States — and there is little evidence it wishes to do so. Russia is weak and in deep economic trouble — not always a friendly neighbor but no threat to the United States. Heart-rending violence in the Middle East has no serious implication for American security. As for domestic terrorism, the risk for Americans is modest: You have more chance of being struck by lightning on your birthday than of dying in a terror attack.’

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Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Forensic “Science”

Jordan Smith reports for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Forensic “Science”Last week, The Washington Post revealed that in 268 trials dating back to 1972, 26 out of 28 examiners within the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit “overstated forensic matches in a way that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent” of the cases. These included cases where 14 people have since been either executed or died in prison.

The hair analysis review — the largest-ever post-conviction review of questionable forensic evidence by the FBI — has been ongoing since 2012. The review is a joint effort by the FBI, Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The preliminary results announced last week represent just a small percentage of the nearly 3,000 criminal cases in which the FBI hair examiners may have provided analysis. Of the 329 DNA exonerations to date, 74 involved flawed hair evidence analysis.

While these revelations are certainly disturbing — and the implications alarming — the reality is that they represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flawed forensics.’

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What Obama’s Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About the U.S. — and the Rest of the World

Jon Schwarz writes for The Intercept:

‘[…] During Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, he explicitly promised that “as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.” Samantha Power, author of A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide and now Obama’s ambassador to the U.N., recorded a video urging Armenian Americans to support him because he would acknowledge the genocide: “I know [Obama] very well and he’s a person of incredible integrity. … He’s a true friend of the Armenian people, an acknowledger of the history … he’s a person who can actually be trusted.”

Obama’s commitment was quietly removed from his website sometime afterDecember 2010, and this Armenian Remembrance Day, he broke his promise for the seventh year in a row.’

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Obama’s Lawyers: Let’s Extend the 9/11 Wars Forever

Shane Harris reports for The Daily Beast:

Obama stated unconditionally in his State of the Union address in January that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.”

But in a recent speech to the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law, an often-used venue for Obama administration officials to make extensive remarks on national security policy, the Defense Department’s general counsel seemed to reinterpret the president’s earlier statements. The lawyer appeared to walk back his more emphatic pronouncements about the end of America’s longest war.

“Although our presence in [Afghanistan] has been reduced and our mission there is more limited, the fact is that active hostilities continue,” Stephen Preston, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, said in a speech April 10. And, he added, “There is no doubt that we remain in a state of armed conflict against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and associated forces as a matter of international law.”

Preston’s observations were supported by facts: Thousands of U.S. troops remain in the country. They are still dying there. And President Obama has decided to slow their withdrawal so the U.S. can continue to conduct counterterrorism operations.’

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The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool: Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘In all the years I’ve been writing about Obama’s drone killings, yesterday featured by far the most widespread critical discussion in U.S. establishment journalism circles. This long-suppressed but crucial fact about drones was actually trumpeted as the lead headline on the front page of The New York Times yesterday:

The reason for the unusually intense, largely critical coverage of drone killings yesterday is obvious: the victims of this strike were western and non-Muslim, and therefore were seen as actually human.’

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John Oliver on the NCAA not paying athletes

‘The NCAA doesn’t pay athletes because they consider them amateurs. The NCAA considers them amateurs because they don’t get paid.’ (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)

When the Student Movement Was a CIA Front

Aryeh Neier writes in a book review of Patriotic Betrayal for The American Prospect:

In its March 1967 issue,  Ramparts, a glossy West Coast muckraking periodical that expired in 1975, and that strongly opposed American involvement in the war in Vietnam, published an exposé of the close relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Student Association. This other NSA—not to be confused with the National Security Agency—was then the leading American organization representing college students, with branches on about 400 campuses. Its ties with the CIA were formed in the early years of both institutions following World War II, as the Cold War was getting under way.

According to  Ramparts, the CIA had been providing much of the funding for the NSA through various “conduits.” NSA officers, many of them wittingly, had served the interests of the CIA by participating actively in international youth and student movements. The NSA’s activities were financed by the Agency both to counter communist influence and also to provide information on people from other countries with whom they came in contact. The disclosures about the CIA’s ties to the NSA were the most sensational of a number of revelations in that era that exposed the Agency’s involvement in such institutions as the Congress for Cultural Freedom; the International Commission of Jurists; the AFL-CIO; Radio Free Europe; and various leading philanthropic foundations. Karen Paget’s new book, Patriotic Betrayal, is the most detailed account yet of the CIA’s use of the National Student Association as a vehicle for intelligence gathering and covert action.’

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Sony should not be able to tell journalists what to print

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

sonySony, which spent weeks holding itself out as a free speech martyr after North Korea allegedly hacked its emails, is now trying to do more damage to the spirit of the First Amendment than North Korea ever did. The corporation is using high-powered lawyers and lobbyists in an attempt to stifle the rights of media organizations to publish newsworthy information already in the public domain. Ironically, some of those emails include Sony and the MPAA’s attempts to censor the Internet on a much larger scale.

Sony’s lawyer, David Boies, has spent the week sending out a hyperbolic letter to various news organizations, pressuring them to avert their eyes from the hacked email trove that WikiLeaks published on its site last week. Boies, while misleadingly claiming that journalists could be breaking US law by even looking at the emails, also said if media organizations refused to write stories about them, they would somehow be “protecting the First Amendment.”

The head of the MPAA and former Democratic Senator Chis Dodd went a step further yesterday, outrageously suggesting the US government should go after WikiLeaks in some fashion for re-publishing the emails.’

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How the Rich Get Into Ivies: Behind the Scenes of Elite Admissions

Sam Biddle writes for Gawker:

How the Rich Get Into Ivies: Behind the Scenes of Elite AdmissionsA million-dollar full-ride scholarship endowment to an Ivy League school is a good deed. But it doesn’t just earn you karma—it nets you fawning emails from the school’s development officials, customized campus tours for your kids, and private meetings with the school’s president, leaked Sony emails show.

The dump of tens of thousands of emails from Sony Pictures’ upper ranks, now conveniently indexed on WikiLeaks, lays bare the inner workings of one of the world’s most powerful corporate properties. But it also shows how the rich, powerful, and connected navigate the world: with rolodexes and billfolds of equal thickness.

Newly surfaced emails from Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton provide a schematic for how millions of dollars in Adam Sandler grosses can yield immensely preferential treatment for your children, not only providing access to a college admissions process that’s out of reach for virtually all other Americans, but giving them better opportunities both in college and in internships and job opportunities afterward.’

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The Volatility / Quantitative Easing Dance of Doom

Nomi Prins, author of All The Presidents’ Bankers, writes:

The battle between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of global financial policy is escalating to the point where the ‘haves’ might start to sweat – a tiny little. This phase of heightened volatility in the markets is a harbinger of the inevitable meltdown that will follow the grand plastering-over of a systemically fraudulent global financial system. It’s like a sputtering gas tank signaling an approach to ‘empty’.

Obscene amounts of central bank liquidity applauded by government leaders that have protected the political-financial establishment with failed oversight and lack of foresight, have coalesced to form one of the most unequal, unstable economic environments in modern history. The ongoing availability of cheap capital for big bank solvency, growth and leverage purposes, as well as stock and bond market propulsion has fostered a false sense of economic security that bears little resemblance to most personal realities.

We are entering the seventh year of US initiated zero-interest-rate policy. Biblically, Joseph only gathered wheat for seven years before seven years of famine. Quantitative easing, or central bank bond buying from banks and the governments that sustain them, has enjoyed its longest period of existence ever. If these policies were about fortifying economic conditions from the ground up, fostering equality as a force for future stability, they would have worked by now. We would have moved on from them sooner.

But they aren’t. Never were. Never will be. They were designed to aid big banks and capital markets, to provide cover to feeble leadership. They are policies of capital creation, dispersion and global reallocation.  The markets have acted accordingly.’

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The Legacy of Agent Orange

From Reuters:

‘As April 30 approaches, marking 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War, people in Vietnam with severe mental and physical disabilities still feel the lingering effects of Agent Orange.

Respiratory cancer and birth defects amongst both Vietnamese and U.S. veterans have been linked to exposure to the defoliant. The U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange onto Vietnam’s jungles during the conflict to expose northern communist troops.

Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj travelled through Vietnam to meet the people affected, four decades on.’

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Jeb Bush praises Obama over NSA spying

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Jeb Bush Praises Obama’s Expansion of NSA SurveillanceOne of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (fromAmerica’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.

To illustrate how true this all is, consider the comments today of leading GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He appeared on Michael Medved’s conservative talk radio program, and was asked by the host what his favorite part of the Obama administration has been. His answer? As McClatchy’s Lesley Clark noted on Twitter, Bush hailed “Obama’s enhancement of NSA.”’

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Koch Brothers Reveal List of 5 Potential GOP Candidates to Support

Matt Wilstein reports for Mediate:

On Monday, The New York Timesand, in turn, Mediaite — reported that billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch had settled on Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) as their preferred Republican candidate to back in the 2016 presidential election. “We will support whoever the candidate is,” David Koch reportedly said at a fundraising event. “But it should be Scott Walker.”

Now, however, in an interview with USA TodayCharles Koch has said that their field of potential endorsees is larger than just one. He confirmed that they are actually looking at five candidates who they believe have “a good chance of getting elected: Walker, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.’

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US Military Spending Still Up 45% Over Pre-9/11 Levels; More Than Next 7 Countries Combined

Dan Froomkin reports for The Intercept:

Despite a decline in military spending since 2010, U.S. defense expenditures are still 45 percent higher than they were before the 9/11 terror attacks put the country on a seemingly permanent war footing.

And despite massive regional buildups spurred by conflict in the Ukraine and the Middle East, the U.S. spends more on its military than the next seven top-spending countries combined, according to new figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

That’s nearly three times as much as China, and more than seven times as much as Russia.’

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Our Enemies, the Saudis

Justin Raimondo writes for Antiwar:

The US military has gone all around the globe, striking Afghanistan, Iraq, PakistanSomalia, and Libya, in search of Al Qaeda “safe havens” – and yet the biggest safe haven of them all, the center of the vipers’ nest, has remained sacrosanct. All but four of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the Kingdom, and that government has spent billions spreading the fundamentalist Wahabi version of Islam – the religious doctrine that inspires and motivates the terrorists – to the four corners of the earth.

And there is a more direct connection than just ideological affinity at work here: there are 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 detailing the involvement of foreign governments which we are not allowed to read. Those members of Congress who have read it strongly hint that the Saudi government was heavily involved in the planning and preparations for the attack.

When are we going to stop pretending the Saudis are our allies?’

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H-Bomb by Anthony Freda

FBI Informant Exposes Sting Operation Targeting Innocent Americans in New “(T)ERROR” Documentary

Editor’s Note: This is just an excerpt of the interview. You can watch it in full at Democracy Now!

TTIP: Is democracy threatened if companies can sue countries?

Michael Robinson writes for BBC News:

Protesters in London demonstrating against TTIPThose protesting against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed new trade treaty between the European Union and the United States, are part of a growing international opposition to pacts that allow multinational companies to sue governments whose policies damage their interests.

Opponents claim this right, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), poses a threat to democracy.

But what is ISDS and why does it provoke such controversy?’

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Regulatory cooperation in TTIP: united in deregulation

Corporate Observatory Europe reports:

‘Negotiations between the EU and the US to conclude a transatlantic trade and investment treaty (TTIP) continue to generate controversy. Many are concerned about the anti-democratic nature of private arbitration tribunals that would enable investors to sue states in private courts, but another aspect of the talks is just as threatening to the public interest: “regulatory cooperation”.

This project, which is unprecedented in the history of international trade, means the establishment of permanent institutional arrangements for communication and negotiation between European and American technocrats.

The objective is to continue the work of harmonization of regulatory frameworks between the EU and the US once the TTIP negotiations are done. In this way, roadblocks that were not resolved during the TTIP talks can be resolved while also ensuring that no new regulation is likely to become a “barrier to trade.”

The fundamental problem with this approach is that it considers regulations simply in terms of whether they impact or restrict transatlantic trade, whereas standards and regulations are the result of political and societal debates over much wider concerns. Therefore, far from being a simple technical discussion as claimed by the Commission, the risk is that regulatory cooperation talks follow the same logic as the arbitration courts: a bad law for trade is necessarily a bad law!

Regulatory cooperation could thus become the graveyard for public interest regulations.’

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TTIP leak: EU proposal undermines democratic values

Lora Verheecke reports for Corporate Observatory Europe:

According to a leaked European Commission proposal in the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, EU member state legislative initiatives will have to be vetted for potential impacts on private business interests.

The proposal forms part of a wider plan for so-called “regulatory cooperation”. Civil society groups have already denounced earlier iterations of this plan as being a tool to stop or roll back regulation intended to protect the public interest. The new elements in the leaked proposal expand the problem, according to civil society organisations.

Civil society groups have condemned the “regulatory exchange” plan as an affront to parliamentary democracy. “This is an insult to citizens, elected politicians and democracy itself”, says Max Bank of Lobby Control.

The “regulatory exchange” proposal will force laws drafted by democratically-elected politicians through an extensive screening process. This process will occur throughout the 78 States, not just in Brussels and Washington DC. Laws will be evaluated on whether or not they are compatible with the economic interests of major companies. Responsibility for this screening will lie with the ‘Regulatory cooperation body, a permanent, undemocratic, and unaccountable conclave of European and American technocrats.’

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Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech[…] I defy anyone to listen to any Democratic apparatchik insinuate that Snowden is a Russian agent and identify any differences with how Nixon apparatchiks smeared Ellsberg (or, for that matter, how today’s warnings from Obama officials about the grave harm coming from leaks differ from the warnings issued by Bush and Nixon officials). The script for smearing never changes — it stays constant over five decades and through the establishments of both parties — and it’s one of the reasons Ellsberg so closely identifies with Snowden and has become one of his most vocal defenders.

A reader this morning pointed me to one of the most illustrative examples of this dynamic: an April 1967 New York Times editorial harshly chastising Martin Luther King for his anti-war activism. That editorial was published three days after King’s speech on the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City, which, as I have written about many times, was one of the most powerful (and radical) indictments of American militarism delivered in the 20th century.’

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TSA Trained Disney, SeaWorld to SPOT Terrorists

Jana Winter reports for The Intercept:

Going to Disney World this summer? Don’t laugh excessively with widely open staring eyes — because those behavior indicators could identify you as a potential terrorist. Packing a Mickey Mouse costume? Wearing a disguise is another indicator.

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration’s embattled $900 million behavior detection program, called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is not just used at airports. It’s also used at theme parks.

TSA has trained security teams from SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens to use the same checklist of behavior indicators, which includes “wearing a disguise,” “whistling,” “exaggerated yawning” and “excessive laughter,” according to interviews and documents obtained by The Intercept.’

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Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States

Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper report for The New York Times:

As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets — but also the prospect of a dangerous new arms race in a region where the map of alliances has been sharply redrawn.

[…] The United States has long put restrictions on the types of weapons that American defense firms can sell to Arab nations, meant to ensure that Israel keeps a military advantage against its traditional adversaries in the region. But because Israel and the Arab states are now in a de facto alliance against Iran, the Obama administration has been far more willing to allow the sale of advanced weapons in the Persian Gulf, with few public objections from Israel.

[…] Industry analysts and Middle East experts say that the region’s turmoil, and the determination of the wealthy Sunni nations to battle Shiite Iran for regional supremacy, will lead to a surge in new orders for the defense industry’s latest, most high-tech hardware.’

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