Category Archives: USA

Medea Benjamin: If Americans Can Sue Saudis over 9/11, Drone Victims Should Be Able to Sue U.S.

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speaks to Medea Benjamin, author of the book Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection, to get her response to the vote by Congress to allow Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks, overriding President Obama’s veto of the bill. The legislation would allow courts to waive claim of foreign sovereign immunity after an act of terrorism occurs within U.S. borders. “If innocent families [of drone attacks] were able to take the U.S. to court instead of seeing joining ISIS or al-Qaeda as their only resort, that would be a very positive thing.” (Democracy Now!)

Protests Erupt Over U.S. Police Killings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte

Protests escalated in Charlotte, North Carolina, when hundreds took to the street and blocked Interstate 85 to express outrage over the police shooting of 43-year-old African American Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Video footage shows people blocking the highway, where fires were lit. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in the city. This comes as police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have released a video showing a white police officer shooting and killing 40-year-old African American Terence Crutcher while his hands were in the air. Protestors called for the arrest of police officer Betty Shelby, who fatally shot Crutcher. It has since been reported that she will be charged with manslaughter. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Bree Newsome, artist and activist from Charlotte who scaled the 30-foot flagpole on the South Carolina state Capitol and unhooked the Confederate flag last year; Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change; Corine Mack, president of the NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch; and Marq Lewis, founder and a community organizer for We the People Oklahoma, a Tulsa-based grassroots organization. (Democracy Now!)

Google Patent: Driverless Cars Would Detect Police Lights, Pull Over

Levi Sumagaysay reports for Silicon Beat:

Image result for pulled over by policeMost drivers know to pull over to the side of the road when a cop car’s lights are flashing, or when an ambulance is rushing to the scene of an emergency. But let’s face it, some drivers don’t have a clue.

Google’s driverless cars to the rescue?

A recent patent filing by the tech giant describes how its self-driving cars could detect flashing lights, determine the type of emergency vehicle based on the color of the lights and the order in which they’re flashing and then pull over if needed.

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U.S. Media Ask Which Candidate Can Better Exploit Our Irrational Fear of Terrorism

Adam Johnson writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

Politico: Who Has the Upper Hand on Terrorism?The media’s tendency to focus on horserace issues—who’s up and who’s down, what the cosmetics are of an event rather than the substance—is routinely derided by media critics, and mocking it has become something of an election year tradition. But one 2016 topic in particular, terrorism, has become the hot horserace topic of the year in a way that goes beyond the silly to the potentially damaging:

  • Clinton, Trump Jockey Over Who Would Best Fight Terrorists (WNBC, 9/20/16)
  • Who Has the Upper Hand on Terrorism, Clinton or Trump? (Politico, 9/20/16)
  • Terror Threat Clash: Trump, Clinton Accuse Each Other of Boosting Enemy (Fox News, 9/19/16)
  • Clinton, Trump Spar Over Terrorism in Wake of Latest Attacks (USA Today, 9/20/16)

Something missing from these reports is any discussion of the relative danger of terrorism. The reporters begin with the premise that voters are afraid of it, never challenging the underlying rationality of those fears.

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Ralph Nader: Donald Trump is a Freeloading, Pontificating Empty Suit Who Has Cheated on Everything He’s Done

Amy Goodman speaks to consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who says that Donald Trump is “a freeloader on the backs of taxpayers who have to make up the difference for the taxes he doesn’t pay or get less public services.” (Democracy Now!)

The Trump Foundation: What’s Known Is Shocking, But We Need to Know More

Jill Abramson writes for The Guardian:

[…] If the Clinton Foundation had done all of these things, Hillary (and perhaps Bill and Chelsea too) might well be headed to prison, the place Donald Trump and his supporters insist she belongs.

But it’s the Trump Foundation, not the Clinton Foundation, which reportedly bought a portrait of its namesake, settled legal claims for him, donated money to a rightwing advocacy group and whose purpose is somewhat opaque.

I know about the Trump Foundation’s ersatz charity mostly from the work of one dogged investigative reporter from the Washington Post, David Fahrenthold, who bothered to contact more than 300 charities to see whether they’d received donations from the Trump Foundation. His reporting unfolded as so many other journalists were writing their 50th stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails. It is only in the past week that the Post’s reporting on the Trump Foundation has gained traction. The issue should come up in the first presidential debate Monday, as those “damn emails”, as Sanders called the over-covered controversy over Clinton’s private email server, surely will. (The Trump campaign, by the way, has claimed that the report is “peppered with inaccuracies and omissions”.)

There is a clear disparity in the attention focused on Clinton’s supposed ethics problems compared with Trump’s. There has been some excellent reporting on everything from Trump University to his business practices, especially the tax breaks he received on real estate deals uncovered by the New York Times. But these revelations seem to roll off Trump’s back, while in the Clintons’ case they create indelible stains.

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Donald Trump on Terror Is Just McCarthyism For a New Age

Simon Jenkins writes for The Guardian:

[…] In 1950, a little-known American senator, Estes Kefauver, achieved national fame by holding televised hearings into America’s “organised crime”, drawing on blood-curdling fantasies of a Sicilian-American “mafia”. This mafia was, Kefauver claimed, holding American cities to ransom. Communities lived in fear of it. The national economy was menaced by it.

The televised hearings were at times ludicrous. One hoodlum after another was dragged to Washington to protest that all he was running was a few protection rackets on the Lower East Side. Try as Kefauver might to find a Mr Big to justify his extravagant hearings, he found only a disorganised trail of small-time hoods. He still demanded a new Washington bureaucracy to “crack down on organised crime” – and ran unsuccessfully for president. The search for “a mafia” was subcontracted to Hollywood.

Two years later another senator, Joe McCarthy, decided to exploit a different “existential” scare. His committee investigated what he claimed was the “massive” penetration of the government and military by communists and homosexuals. Fear of a spurious threat to the state was turned into a witch-hunt by McCarthy and his aide, a certain Richard Nixon. There was a red under every bed – and a blackmailer in it. McCarthy, until his mental collapse, became a national celebrity. Americans have seemed to get a frisson from being told they are threatened, perhaps because they never have been.

Likewise with Trump. The New York bomber was no more attacking America than, in Britain, Lee Rigby’s killers were “attacking Britain”. Why lend them such glory? These are pathetic groups, sometimes just individuals, committing nasty crimes. For better or worse, it happens every day. That the criminals occasionally yell, “Allahu Akbar” should be neither here nor there. That they may have travelled to the Middle East or downloaded jihadi tracts is a legitimate concern to the police. It is not a threat to the stability, let alone the existence, of the state. Yet such is the current hysteria that he is to be prosecuted for having a “weapon of mass destruction”, namely a pressure cooker.

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Lie Witness News: Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

Instead of Trump’s Wall, Why Not a Binational Border City?

Tanvi Misra reports for City Lab:

Donald Trump keeps talking about the big, beautiful wall he’s going to erect on the U.S.-Mexican border. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton wants to build bridges—metaphorical ones, that is.

Mexican architect Fernando Romero has taken a more literal approach to Clinton’s proposition. He’s long been a proponent of “building bridges,” and believes that boundaries are obsolete. “With technology, those borders are just becoming symbolic limits,” he recently told Dezeen Magazine. “The reality is that there exists a very strong mutual dependency of economies and trades.” That’s why he has now designed a master plan for a walkable, super-connected metropolis straddling the U.S.-Mexico border.

Back in the early 2000s, Romero’s architecture firm conceptualized a tunnel-like “Bridging Museum” in the Rio Grande Valley, which would act as “both a funnel and a window between the borders.” But his vision for a utopian border city, on display at the London Design Biennale, is much more complex and detailed.

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Washington Post Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer)

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Three of the four media outlets which received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden – The Guardian, The New York Times and The Intercept – have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That’s the normal course for a news organization, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which – by virtue of accepting the source’s materials and then publishing them – implicitly declares the source’s information to be in the public interest.

But not The Washington Post. In the face of a growing ACLU-and-Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend’s release of the Oliver Stone biopic “Snowden,” the Post editorial page not only argued today in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden — their paper’s own source — stand trial on espionage charges or, as a “second-best solution,” “accept a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”

In doing so, The Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own paper’s source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against their paper’s own source are the claims made to justify it.

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There Is No Media

David Uberti writes for Columbia Journalism Review:

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 12.00.53 PM.png[…] Herein lies the caveat journalists should consider before they wet the bed over Gallup’s latest data: There is no media. There is only my media and your media.

“The media”—“such as newspapers, TV, and radio” per Gallup’s definition—has given way to an amorphous blob of email newsletters, podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels, tweets, Snaps, Facebook Live streams, and countless other vessels we couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago. Many people who produce content for them adhere to journalistic standards, but an increasing proportion of them do not. Consuming the fruits of that labor is an intensely personalized experience.

Peer further into Gallup’s data. Trust in media among self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and independents was in the same ballpark in 1998. That was in the early years of the cable news wars. The nearly two decades since coincided with an intense fragmentation of media among more digitally focused individuals and organizations.

Nowhere has this explosion been more forceful than with conservatives, whose half-century project of demonizing the lamestream media has begun splattering into myriad splotches on the internet. The world of a lone conservative media superpower, Fox News, is gradually giving way to a multi-polar world of abundant right-leaning choices.

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Why Do Americans Distrust the Media?

Derek Thompson writes for The Atlantic:

Do Americans “trust” “the media”? The question is often asked and often answered. But, to be fair, it’s not a very precise question.

Trust is a slippery measuring stick. Do I “trust” technology? Well, I trust strangers on Uber to be on time, but don’t trust my cable company to arrive within a four-hour window; I trust my iPhone to not explode, but don’t trust my email to be unhackable. Asking whether I trust “technology,” yes or no, is asking for an non-summarizable opinion of a diverse group of products and people, which fall along a continuum of confidence.

“The media,” like “technology,” is not a single tangible object, but rather an information galaxy, a vast and complex star system composed of diverse and opposing organizations, which are themselves composed of a motley group of people, each of whom are neither all good nor all bad, but mostly flawed media merchants, with individual strengths, weaknesses, biases, and blindspots. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 200,000 Americans working for broadcast television and cable programming, 197,000 employed in digital publishing and broadcasting, 183,000 working for newspapers, 99,000 working for magazines, 86,000 in radio, and 64,000 employed in the editing and production of books. Asking survey respondents to briefly summarize their feelings about the daily work of one million strangers is asking for an impossible, and potentially meaningless, oversimplification, like, “Do you think food is too raw?” or “Is clothing red?”

With these enormous caveats out of the way, the fact remains that Americans’ “trust” in “the media” is falling steadily, according to Gallup. Even if the precise definitions of these terms is debatable, the overall decline is clear and noteworthy.

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Why the News Media May Be Too Broken to Stop Trump by Itself

John Ziegler writes for Mediate:

trump[…] During the past couple of weeks it has become clear that the news media may not really be fully devoted to disqualifying Trump and, to the extent that they are, they may be too badly broken as institution to pull it off. This growing concern has led to several interesting opinion pieces in the mainstream media which range from frustration/confusion to overt panic.

The rising realization seems to be, just as I wrote about a couple of months ago, that the modern media may just not be equipped to properly deal with a candidate like Trump. There are many reasons this is the case; his lack of any formal political record, his talent for bringing ratings (which is like kryptonite to the media’s intensity of criticism), his amazing ability to constantly make stuff up so that” lies” are no longer considered “news,” and a dramatic lack of public trust in the news media (especially among conservatives) are all significant elements of this phenomenon.

However, for my money, the three most significant explanations for the news media’s impotence (at least so far) regarding Trump have to do with their pathetically short attention spans in this ratings-driven environment, Trump offering too MUCH fodder for attack, and a “false equivalency” which results in a “fake fairness” of coverage effect.

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Former McClatchy DC Bureau Chief: Clinton Surrogate Blumental Pitched Me ‘Birther’ Story in 2008

Rachel Stoltzfoos reports for The Daily Caller:

Hillary Clinton surrogate Sid Blumenthal personally pitched a reporter on the President Obama “birther” story when she was campaigning for president in 2008, a former Washington reporter said Thursday.

The Clinton campaign and the media have consistently refuted Trump’s claim Clinton started the birther movement, which Trump re-upped Friday when he said for the first publicly that he believes Obama was born in the United States. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said, drawing a slew of media fact checks almost immediately. “I finished it.”

But former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher has backed up Trump’s version of events, saying he was personally pitched the story by a Clinton surrogate in 2008.

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The Behavioral Science Behind the Negative TV Ads of Trump and Clinton

Christopher Graves and Steve Simpson writes for Harvard Business Review:

In a series of conversations leading up to the U.S. presidential election in November, Christopher Graves — a recent Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident honoree for behavioral science, Global Chairman of Ogilvy Public Relations, and chair of the PR Council — and Steve Simpson — Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather North America — will dissect and debate the candidates’ communications and marketing strategies and techniques.

Graves: Steve, let’s kick off with two television spots that have been running head to head from Clinton and Trump. Trump’s first authorized general election spot, called “Two Americas: Immigration” sets a vision of a dystopian America under Clinton against a safe America under Trump. The first half, under Clinton, is dark and foreboding. Then the tone shifts abruptly.

 

Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones’ War on Your Mind

Nolan Higdon wrote for Project Censored in 2013:

In 1833, William Miller predicted the second coming of Jesus Christ in the year 1843. Only after his fourth failed prediction, each of which saw hundreds of thousands of followers turn out, did his followers abandon him. By this time, Miller had already absconded with copious amounts of their money, spent on his publications and for ascension robes that were supposed to prepare them for Jesus Christ’s arrival. A profiteer relying on distortion and unfulfilled predictions, contemporary radio personality and activist Alex Jones operates in the same mode as Miller. Instead of ascension robes, Jones profits from the fear and uncertainty he relentlessly peddles via DVDs, publications, books, a TV show, a radio show, and websites.

Jones is recognized as a spearheading figure of anti-establishment reporting for many Google-searching-truth-seekers. Jones’s work includes an abundance of unfulfilled predictions that often rely on distorted and unproven claims. Despite his many predictions going unfulfilled, Jones and his claims increasingly appear in the corporate press as major media outlets rely on Internet sources for news content. As a result, the works of Alex Jones have broken into the so-called mainstream. This creates a serious problem for investigative journalists and scholars who focus on controversial subjects. Jones’ self-promotional, unfulfilled predictions and his speculative writings and reports can take away from other legitimate, fact-based researchers who investigate similar topics by shifting the focus from the relevant facts of the particular topic to his unverified and often sensational claims. The result is that those inclined to believe the so-called mainstream media disassociate themselves with some political movements and topics because Jones’ and his speculative reports become the face of said particular movements and topics. Jones’ ability and pattern of delegitimizing controversial, yet evidence-based contingents of so-called truth movements through radicalization and guilt by association, is eerily analogous to the blueprints of various US Government programs– most notably COINTELPRO from the 1960s and ‘70s. More recently, this has also been the case regarding establishment efforts to discredit the Occupy Wall St. Movement. This article will explore the work of Alex Jones’ and the effects he has had on others who research similar controversial subjects, and how research into those very subjects comes to be viewed in the public once Jones is perceived as a spokesperson or figurehead.

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U.S. Foreign Policy for Sale? Behind the Trump Organization’s Vast Financial Network

Amy Goodman and Narmeen Sheikh speak to Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald and author of a new article on the Trump Organization’s business ties overseas. (Democracy Now!)

House Intel Panel Blasts Snowden In New Report, One Day Before Movie Release

Jenna McLaughlin reports for The Intercept:

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence urged President Barack Obama on Thursday not to pardon Edward Snowden, concluding in an unclassified summary of a two-year investigation that the former NSA contractor was “not a whistleblower” — echoing what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing earlier in the week.

Edward Snowden is no hero — he’s a traitor who willfully betrayed his colleagues and his country. He put our service members and the American people at risk after perceived slights by his superiors,” said Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., in a statement about the report on Snowden’s disclosure of documents on NSA worldwide surveillance programs.

The entire panel — Democrats and Republicans alike — signed a letter sent directly to the president, asserting that Snowden is “not a patriot.” The unclassified summary of the report, disclosed alongside the letter, is just three pages long; the classified version is 36 pages with 230 footnotes.

The summary was released one day before the premiere of Oliver Stone’s movie about the NSA whistleblower.

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Snowden by Oliver Stone (Trailer)

Pardon Edward Snowden

Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch and Salil Shetty of Amnesty International write for The New York Times:

Edward J. Snowden, the American who has probably left the biggest mark on public policy debates during the Obama years, is today an outlaw. Mr. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed to journalists secret documents detailing the United States’ mass surveillance programs, faces potential espionage charges, even though the president has acknowledged the important public debate his revelations provoked.

Mr. Snowden’s whistle-blowing prompted reactions across the government. Courts found the government wrong to use Section 215 of the Patriot Act to justify mass phone data collection. Congress replaced that law with the USA Freedom Act, improving transparency about government surveillance and limiting government power to collect certain records. The president appointed an independent review board, which produced important reform recommendations.

That’s just in the American government. Newspapers that published Mr. Snowden’s revelations won the Pulitzer Prize. The United Nations issued resolutions on protecting digital privacy and created a mandate to promote the right to privacy. Many technology companies, facing outrage at their apparent complicity in mass surveillance, began providing end-to-end encryption by default. Three years on, the news media still refer to Mr. Snowden and his revelations every day. His actions have brought about a dramatic increase in our awareness of the risks to our privacy in the digital age — and to the many rights that depend on privacy.

Yet President Obama and the candidates to succeed him have emphasized not Mr. Snowden’s public service but the importance of prosecuting him.Hillary Clinton has said Mr. Snowden shouldn’t be brought home “without facing the music.” Donald J. Trump has said, “I think he’s a total traitor and I would deal with him harshly.”

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Leaked Documents Reveal Secretive Influence of Corporate Cash on Politics

Ed Pilkington reports for The Guardian:

The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian.

The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation.

The files open a window on a world that is very rarely glimpsed by the public, in which millions of dollars are secretly donated by major corporations and super-wealthy individuals to third-party groups in an attempt to sway elections. They speak to a visceral theme of the 2016 presidential cycle: the distortion of American democracy by big business that has been slammed by both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

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The Kingmaker Club

Stephen Kinzer writes for The Boston Globe:

epa05501742 A Houthi militiaman keeps watch as Yemenis attend a rally in support of the newly formed supreme political council, Sana'a, Yemen, 20 August 2016. According to reports, the supreme political council, formed by Houthi rebels and ex-president Ali Saleh three weeks ago, called on Saudi Arabia to direct negotiations to put an end to the 17-month conflict in Yemen, in an attempt to bypass stalled UN-sponsored peace talks between the Houthis and Yemen's Saudi-backed government. EPA/YAHYA ARHABViolently intervening in the affairs of other countries has brought the United States much grief over the last century. We are hardly the only ones who do it. The club of interventionist nations has a shifting membership. During the current round of Middle East conflict, two new countries have joined: Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Both have succumbed to the imperial temptation. Both are paying a high price. They are learning a lesson that Americans struggle to accept: Interventions have unexpected consequences and often end up weakening rather than strengthening the countries that carry them out.

Turkey’s long intervention in Syria has failed to bring about its intended result, the fall of President Bashar Assad. Instead it has intensified the Syrian conflict, fed a regional refugee crisis, set off terrorist backlash, and deeply strained relations between Turkey and its NATO allies. As this blunder has unfolded, Saudi Arabia has also been waging war outside its territory. Its bombing of neighboring Yemen was supposed to be a way of asserting regional hegemony, but it has aroused indignant condemnation. The bombing campaign has placed Saudi Arabia under new scrutiny, including more intense focus on its role in promoting global terror, which the Saudi royal family has managed to keep half-hidden for years.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia intervened in foreign conflicts hoping to establish themselves as regional kingmakers. Both miscalculated. They overestimated their ability to secure quick victory and failed to weigh the strategic costs of failure or stalemate. If the Turks and Saudis had studied the history of American interventions, they would have been more prudent. We know the sorrows of empire. From Iran to Cuba to Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, the legacy of our interventions continues to haunt us. Ambitious powers, however, continue to ignore the stark lesson that American history teaches. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the latest to repeat our mistake. It is the same mistake that has undermined many nations and empires. They overestimated their ability to shape events in foreign lands. Now they are paying for their delusional overreach.

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MPs Deliver Damning Verdict on David Cameron’s Libya Intervention

Patrick Wintour and Jessica Elgot report for The Guardian:

David Cameron’s intervention in Libya was carried out with no proper intelligence analysis, drifted into an unannounced goal of regime change and shirked its moral responsibility to help reconstruct the country following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, according to a scathing report by the foreign affairs select committee.

The failures led to the country becoming a failed a state on the verge of all-out civil war, the report adds.

The report, the product of a parliamentary equivalent of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, closely echoes the criticisms widely made of Tony Blair’s intervention in Iraq, and may yet come to be as damaging to Cameron’s foreign policy legacy.

It concurs with Barack Obama’s assessment that the intervention was “a shitshow”, and repeats the US president’s claim that France and Britain lost interest in Libya after Gaddafi was overthrown. The findings are also likely to be seized on by Donald Trump, who has tried to undermine Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy credentials by repeatedly condemning her handling of the Libyan intervention in 2011, when she was US secretary of state.

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“Millions of People in Laos Still Live in Fear” as Obama Pledges $90 Million to Clean Up U.S. Bombs

Amy Goodman and Narmeen Sheikh speak to Karen Coates and Jerry Redfern, co-authors of the book Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos, about the legacy of the U.S. bombing campaign in the country during the Vietnam War. President Obama recently became the first U.S. president to visit Laos and pledged $90 million to help clear Laos of the unexploded U.S. munitions. The U.S. dropped at least 2 million tons of bombs on Laos. That’s the equivalent of one planeload every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. Experts estimate that Laos is now littered with as many as 80 million bomblets—the baseball-sized bombs found inside cluster bombs. (Democracy Now!)

Overthrowing Other People’s Governments: The Master List

William Blum, author of Killing Hope, writes:

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

  • China 1949 to early 1960s
  • Albania 1949-53
  • East Germany 1950s
  • Iran 1953 *
  • Guatemala 1954 *
  • Costa Rica mid-1950s
  • Syria 1956-7
  • Egypt 1957
  • Indonesia 1957-8
  • British Guiana 1953-64 *
  • Iraq 1963 *
  • North Vietnam 1945-73
  • Cambodia 1955-70 *
  • Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
  • Ecuador 1960-63 *
  • Congo 1960 *
  • France 1965
  • Brazil 1962-64 *
  • Dominican Republic 1963 *
  • Cuba 1959 to present
  • Bolivia 1964 *
  • Indonesia 1965 *
  • Ghana 1966 *
  • Chile 1964-73 *
  • Greece 1967 *
  • Costa Rica 1970-71
  • Bolivia 1971 *
  • Australia 1973-75 *
  • Angola 1975, 1980s
  • Zaire 1975
  • Portugal 1974-76 *
  • Jamaica 1976-80 *
  • Seychelles 1979-81
  • Chad 1981-82 *
  • Grenada 1983 *
  • South Yemen 1982-84
  • Suriname 1982-84
  • Fiji 1987 *
  • Libya 1980s
  • Nicaragua 1981-90 *
  • Panama 1989 *
  • Bulgaria 1990 *
  • Albania 1991 *
  • Iraq 1991
  • Afghanistan 1980s *
  • Somalia 1993
  • Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
  • Ecuador 2000 *
  • Afghanistan 2001 *
  • Venezuela 2002 *
  • Iraq 2003 *
  • Haiti 2004 *
  • Somalia 2007 to present
  • Honduras 2009
  • Libya 2011 *
  • Syria 2012
  • Ukraine 2014 *

Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?

A: Because there’s no American embassy there.

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Every Move You Make

James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory, writes for Foreign Policy:

[…] Over his two terms, Obama has created the most powerful surveillance state the world has ever seen. Although other leaders may have created more oppressive spying regimes, none has come close to constructing one of equivalent size, breadth, cost, and intrusiveness. From 22,300 miles in space, where seven Advanced Orion crafts now orbit; to a 1-million-square-foot building in the Utah desert that stores data intercepted from personal phones, emails, and social media accounts; to taps along the millions of miles of undersea cables that encircle the Earth like yarn, U.S. surveillance has expanded exponentially since Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.

The effort to wire the world — or to achieve “extreme reach,” in the NRO’s parlance — has cost American taxpayers more than $100 billion. Obama has justified the gargantuan expense by arguing that “there are some trade-offs involved” in keeping the country safe. “I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said in June 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA), revealed widespread government spying on Americans’ phone calls.

Since Snowden’s leaks, pundits and experts (myself included) have debated the legality and ethics of the U.S. surveillance apparatus. Yet has the president’s blueprint for spying succeeded on its own terms? An examination of the unprecedented architecture reveals that the Obama administration may only have drowned itself in data. What’s more, in trying to right the ship, America’s intelligence culture has grown frenzied. Agencies are ever seeking to get bigger, move faster, and pry deeper to keep pace with the enormous quantity of information being generated the world over and with the new tactics and technologies intended to shield it from spies.

This race is a defining feature of Obama’s legacy — and one that threatens to become never-ending, even after he’s left the White House.

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The Tyranny of 9/11

John W. Whitehead writes for The Rutherford Institute:

We’ve walked a strange and harrowing road since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties.

We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade the citizenry to march in lockstep with a police state. In doing so, we have proven Osama Bin Laden right. He warned that “freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life.”

These past 15 years have indeed been an unbearable, choking hell.

What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.

This is not freedom. This is a jail cell.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

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US Response to 9/11 Seen as Driving Force in Spread of Terror

Jason Ditz writes for Antiwar:

While within the United States, there is still plenty of willingness to use the 9/11 anniversary as a time for politicians to make public appearances and give hawkish speeches praising America’s “unity” in reaction to the attacks, internationally there is growing willingness to be more circumspect about the results.

France, which has found itself a primary target for ISIS terror attacks, increasingly sees the US reaction to 9/11 as the instigating cause of that, with several high-profile analysts and top officials saying that the post-9/11 interventions led to an “era of instability” of which much of Europe, including France, has been a victim.

French President Francois Hollandeechoed this sentiment, noting that the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the creation of ISIS, and that even though (France’s then-President) Jacques Chirac refused to participate in the war, France has become a main target for ISIS.

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9/11 Then and Now: Terror, Militarism, War, and Fear

Rami G Khouri writes for Al Jazeera:

We do not know how many have been killed or injured in the dozen countries across the Middle East and South Asia where the so-called 'global war on terror' continues unabated, writes Khouri [Getty]Terrorism is a terrible thing, but it is made even more terrible and tragic when people and governments fail to react to it intelligently and allow it to perpetuate itself and expand – which is precisely what is happening today, 15 years after the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda against the United States.

I was in Boston on September 11, 2001, and I find myself in Boston again this week. As I watch the public’s mood here, I see a very bizarre combination of militaristic triumphalism, political perplexity, and slightly hysterical fears about new terror attacks; nearly 50 percent of Americans tell pollsters today they worry about terror attacks in the US.

No wonder, then, that the balance sheet of events since 2001 is mostly negative and frightening for the whole world.

A review of American actions against terrorism since 9/11 registers one very big achievement: No major terror attack by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) against the US mainland has occurred since 2001, due to significantly enhanced anti-terror measures in the US and globally.

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Secrets of 9/11: New Details of Chaos, Nukes Emerge

William M. Arkin and Robert Windrem report for NBC News:

Based on a review of newly unclassified documents, memoirs and other published accounts, and interviews with U.S. officials, NBC News has learned that:

  • Three dozen live nuclear weapons were aboard U.S. Air Force bombers at three airbases when al Qaeda struck New York and Washington.
  • Because of inadequate communications equipment and procedures, top U.S. officials couldn’t talk to each other or to anyone else. Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to speak to Bush to know why the U.S. was preparing to go to DEFCON 3 — but the White House couldn’t put him through to Air Force One. Bush had no way to receive phone calls.
  • After Bush left Florida, where he had been reading a book to schoolkids, his plane was low on fuel but for hours had nowhere to land.
  • Most of the top 10 people in the president’s line of succession, including Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, either refused to follow the protocol and go to their designated secure sites, or were out of the country, or were never contacted.
  • Now-disgraced Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, third in line, observed protocol and was taken to an underground bunker in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But that left him out of touch with all other top government leaders.
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft was in a government plane and tried to return to Washington, but was turned away by the FAA.
  • Education Secretary Rod Paige, 16th in line to the White House, was left on the tarmac in Sarasota, Florida. He rented a car and drove back to Washington.

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