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09.06.15

Links 6/9/2015: Debian 8.2, HandyLinux 2.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Want your kids to learn coding? Train the darn teachers first

    A number of schools have failed to train their teachers in the government’s flagship computing curriculum introduced last year, which was intended to turn Blighty into a nation of coders.

    One third of 27 secondary schools teaching kids up to and including GCSE level have failed to spend any money training staff in the computing curriculum (on the new Key Stage 3 and 4), according to a number of Freedom of Information responses sent to software company MapR Technologies.

  • Hardware

    • IT Support 3/3: Lenovo, little did I know

      Around two years ago I wrote about my problems with the Lenovo support Germany.

    • IT Support 2/3: Dell
    • IT Support 1/3: HP

      Tech support called me a few hours later and the guy at the other end started by asking, if I already tried to fix the issue by clearing the NVRAM. After my short but descriptive “what?!” he explained to me how I could clear the NVRAM just before I told him that I did not even switch on the server yet. He was surprised and wanted to know how I then knew, the NIC was broken. That’s when I pointed him to the picture, I sent in. Silence. So I explained to him what could be seen on said picture and he asked if he could put me through to another colleague. I agreed.

      I will spare you the details of that second conversation but it was basically the same.
      Cleared NVRAM? No. Why? See picure please. … … NIC is broken hardware-wise. Ah, ok. We will send you a permission sheet so you can bring it back to your retailer.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Amazon, UPenn sued over student’s cyanide suicide

      Amazon and the University of Pennsylvania are being sued by the family of a student who killed herself two years ago with cyanide she allegedly purchased without a problem from the online retailer.

    • Japan lifts evacuation order for town near doomed nuke plant

      Japan’s government on Saturday lifted a 4 1/2-year-old evacuation order for the northeastern town of Naraha that had sent all of the town’s 7,400 residents away following the disaster at the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant.

      Naraha became the first to get the order lifted among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the plant’s reactors into triple meltdowns in March 2011.

      The central government has said radiation levels in Naraha have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts.

  • Security

    • How small states prepare for cyber-war

      After famously gathering in public to sing its way to freedom from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia quickly reclaimed its Nordic and Hanseatic linkages, joining the EU, NATO and the eurozone. Necessity, not evolution, sparked Estonia’s rapid metamorphosis from tiny post-Soviet republic into world-leading info-state, my term for countries at the forefront of achieving secure connectedness. Centuries of Russian subjugation, German invasion, and Soviet occupation created a messy record of who actual citizens were and the legitimacy of land titles.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Disturbing: Is this evidence Obama is building his own military unit?

      During the Vietnam War it was common knowledge that President Johnson was selecting and approving bombing targets from the Oval Office – the height of micromanagement. One of the concerns I have in prosecuting combat operations against Islamic jihadists is the belief that drones are the panacea for everything.

      Let me be clear, drones are not a strategy, although they do create nice talking points of one guy killed here, five guys killed there, oops, an American and Italian hostage killed here. But what I find most interesting about the Obama administration reliance on drone usage is that the liberal progressive left would be going apoplectic if a Republican presidential administration were using similar tactics.

    • Putin Now ‘On the Offensive’ in Syrian Conflict – German Newspaper

      Despite Western countries’ failed policies in the Middle East, the Russian President made it clear that Russia is ready to cooperate with Washington to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

    • US launches secret drone campaign in Syria

      The Washington Post, citing U.S. officers, reported Tues.in that the collaborative effort has-been chargeable for “several” current strikes against senior ISIS operatives deemed “high-value targets”. Other officials would discuss the program only on the condition of anonymity.

    • CIA Running Anti-ISIS Drone Campaign in Syria

      Officials are also insisting that the Syria war won’t be using the same model as the Pakistan and Yemen drone wars, but rather that the Syria CIA war, in which they are working closely with special forces, could itself be a model for even more drone wars elsewhere around the world.

    • U.S. launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria
    • US steps up with secret kill squad
    • CIA, US special forces launch drone campaign in Syria: Report

      The new programme has only conducted a handful of strikes in Syria so far, unnamed US officials told The Washington Post

    • CIA Conducting Secret Campaign against IS in Syria, U.S. Media Says
    • Reporters face subpoenas in case over CIA head’s resignation

      A couple suing over leaks in the federal investigation that led to CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation intend to subpoena at least two journalists in an attempt to compel testimony about their sources, The Associated Press has learned.

      That legal strategy was driven by a judge’s decision in July to quash efforts by lawyers for Scott and Jill Kelley to question Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was the Defense Department’s general counsel at the time of the investigation.

      The judge had told the Kelleys’ lawyers that because Johnson was a Cabinet secretary, they could not question him until after subpoenaing reporters about any conversations Johnson or his subordinates had with journalists about Jill Kelley’s relationship with Petraeus or Marine Gen. John R. Allen.

      “It may turn out that the information plaintiffs seek cannot be obtained through any other means, but that … has yet to be established,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in her ruling.

    • The CIA’s Drone War Comes to Syria

      It was probably only a matter of time before the Obama administration employed its preferred fallback counterterrorism strategy against the growing threat posed by ISIS: The Washington Post’s Greg Miller reports today that the CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, have launched a secret drone campaign in Syria.

      Unnamed U.S. officials tell the Post that the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center is only involved in identifying and locating the targets while JSOC is carrying out the strikes, which are exclusively focused on “high value targets.” Officially, the CIA has no established presence within Syria, though it has certainly been involved in the conflict, notably by vetting and supplying rebel groups in the country. The drone program means that its role has escalated, likely due to recent setbacks in the not-secret campaign against ISIS.

    • The Islamic State Conundrum

      Sadly, in the interim it is causing shocking cultural damage and brutalizing and killing a lot of people (mostly Muslims) in acts designed to shock with their “authenticity.” But the number of deaths from ISIS itself pale next to the ongoing deaths and devastation resulting from over a decade of western-imposed war.

    • Pentagon’s ‘Secret Kill’ Campaign In Syria Revealed!

      The report from The Washington Post stressed that the revelation breached the vow of transparency given by United States President Barack Obama in relations to the country’s counterterrorism efforts. Also, Mr. Obama had promised to eventually changed CIA’s framework from one that is spying in nature to being one of a paramilitary force.

    • Obama’s Drone War Escalates In Syria, Despite Fueling Violence In Other Countries

      President Barack Obama’s administration has apparently expanded covert drone operations in Syria in order to strike leaders of the Islamic State. But the expansion is destined to fail as much as previous operations in other countries, which have only fueled the rise of violent extremism.

      A number of anonymous U.S. officials spoke to The Washington Post, for a September 1 report, about drone operations and how the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are working together. The CIA and JSOC have been responsible for recent strikes on senior Islamic State operatives.

    • Washington launches new drone assassination program in Syria
    • Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS
    • Former CIA Boss and 4-Star General: U.S. Should Arm Al Qaeda

      Former CIA boss and 4-star general David Petraeus – who still (believe it or not) holds a lot of sway in Washington – suggests we should arm Al Qaeda to fight ISIS.

    • David Ignatius: U.S. drone strikes batter Jabhat al-Nusra

      Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, has disclosed that it suffered heavy casualties when the U.S. launched drone attacks last month to defend a moderate opposition group called “Division 30.”

    • Ex-CIA chief Petraeus wants US to rope in al Qaeda to tackle IS

      The heart of the controversial idea stems from former commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and ex-CIA director David Petraeus’ experience in Iraq in 2007, when the US persuaded Sunni militias to stop fighting with al Qaeda and work with American military, The Daily Beast reported.

    • Report: Former CIA Director Petraeus Urging Cooperation with Al-Qaeda Against ISIS
    • David Petraeus’ bright idea: give terrorists weapons to beat terrorists

      The latest brilliant plan to curtail Isis in the Middle East? Give more weapons to current members of al-Qaida. The Daily Beast reported that former CIA director David Petraeus, still somehow entrenched in the DC Beltway power circles despite leaking highly classified secrets, is now advocating arming members of the al-Nusra Front in Syria, an offshoot of al-Qaida and a designated terrorist organization. Could there be a more dangerous and crazy idea?

    • Former CIA Chief: US Should Support Al Qaeda to Defeat ISIS
    • Petraeus’s Plan to Defeat Islamic State Won’t Work

      It sounds like the “Sunni Awakening” from his time in Iraq, but there’s little to no chance of repeating that in Syria today. Recent U.S. action, and inaction, shows why.

      Just last week, the commander of Division 30, the Syrian “moderate” opposition group that hosts a few dozen U.S.-trained fighters, sent out a worrying notice: His troops had just been bombed by planes from Assad’s air force. The U.S. military did not respond.

    • Former CIA director Petraeus wants to use Al-Qaeda to fight ISIS – report

      Former Army general and CIA director David Petraeus has been urging US officials to consider using the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, The Daily Beast reported.

      Petraeus has been discreetly urging US officials to consider using “moderate” members of Al-Nusra Front to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, the website reported, citing four sources familiar with conversations – including one person who reportedly spoke to Petraeus directly.

    • Indira Gandhi considered military strike on Pakistan’s nuclear sites
    • Indira Gandhi considered strikes on Pak’s nuke sites: CIA
    • Indira Gandhi considered military strike on Pakistan’s nuclear sites: CIA document
    • CIA’s warning led Pakistan to end Harkat support

      Pakistan backed away from supporting Harkat-ul-Ansar terror group which it used as a proxy against India in the late 90s fearing that its backing would land it on the US list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism”, according to recently declassified CIA documents.

    • Rajiv Gandhi saw Pakistan as buffer against USSR
    • Cuban-born ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles hospitalized after crash

      Cuban officials accuse Posada Carriles of masterminding the downing of a Cuban jet off Barbados in 1976 that killed 73 people.

      Havana also says that he was behind several assassination plots against former President Fidel Castro, and was involved in a 1997 Havana hotel bombing that killed an Italian tourist.

    • Tony Abbott says decision on joining air strikes in Syria will be made ‘next week’
    • Australian air strikes in Syria may help Assad but still worth doing: ex-CIA chief David Petraeus

      The former CIA director and commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, David Petraeus, has backed the proposed plan for Australia to extend its anti-Islamic State bombing campaign into Syria, even as he admitted it would help the “despicable” regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

      But he added that such action would also assist moderate Syrian rebels which the US-led coalition “have to support” to defeat Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

      Answering questions after giving the Lowy Lecture at Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday night, Mr Petraeus revealed he had spoken about the proposal – to go before Cabinet’s national security committee next week – with foreign minister Julie Bishop earlier that day.

    • Gen Petraeus’s mad plan to bring Syrian al-Qaeda into US war against ISIS

      America loves its military generals. It elected two of them president – Eisenhower and Grant – and has deified a great many more, in particular MacArthur and Patton.

    • Forty Years Ago: Allende’s End

      Henry Kissinger, then presidential assistant for national security affairs, had met the chief of the CIA’s undercover operations to approve a plot to oust Allende, the report said.

    • Obama’s Covert Drone War on Syria

      Claiming the drone campaign “reflects rising anxiety among US counterterrorism officials about the danger the Islamic State poses, as well as frustration with the failure of conventional strikes to degrade the group’s strength” is subterfuge, concealing Washington’s real mission.

      The way to defeat the Islamic State is simple. Stop supporting it with arms, funding, training and direction.

      Near the end of its detailed report, WaPo admitted “(t)he CIA has long-standing ties to the Jordanian intelligence service and operates clandestine bases in that country where the agency has trained and armed thousands of fighters sent back into Syria’s civil war.”

    • As Obama’s War In Iraq And Syria Rumbles On, Are Intel Books Getting Cooked?
    • Faux reports of progress against IS: The harsh lessons of history

      Allegations that American military analysts may have “cooked the books” to skew intelligence assessments about the campaign against Islamic State (IS), providing a more optimistic account of progress, are a sign of bad things to come.

      Bad intel leads to bad decisions. Bad intel created purposefully suggests a war that is being lost, with the people in charge that loathe to admit it even as they continue to stumble forward, ever-more blind. And if that sounds like America’s previous war in Iraq, or its earlier one in Vietnam, you are not wrong.

    • (W)Archives: Cooking the Books on the Islamic State and the Viet Cong

      According to recent press reports, the Pentagon’s Inspector General is investigating whether officials from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) have skewed intelligence assessments to show more progress in the fight against the Islamic State than the facts would justify. Allegedly, these politicized assessments have made their way to senior officials right up to the president.

    • Is the Islamic State Winning or Losing?

      Accusations were recently levied at CENTCOM for cooking the intelligence on its campaign against the Islamic State. What do we know? One year after it started, is the anti-Islamic State campaign any closer to victory?

    • Politicization of Intelligence: Lessons From a Long, Dishonorable History

      In the struggle against ISIS, such “obscuration of the facts” is something our country cannot tolerate, particularly if it is being fostered by senior defense and intelligence community officials too afraid to speak truth to power. Only time will tell whether the current investigation — presently led by an agency facing a $100 million lawsuit by former intelligence whistleblowers — will be an honest one.

    • Can we trust Iran? Can they trust us?

      The people of the Middle East have long memories for good reason. They are descendants of 5,000 year-old-civilizations who invented writing, astronomy and mathematics. What happened 60 years ago is recent history.

      In 1953 Iran, a CIA-organized coup overthrew the elected president, Mossadeq, and reinstated Shah Reza. He and his CIA-trained secret police became quite unpopular over the next two decades.

      Finally a broad-based alliance (including a widely admired Muslim scholar, the Ayatollah Khomeini) succeeded in unseating him. While differing factions negotiated their future form of government, student supporters of the Ayatollah occupied the U.S. Embassy, taking its personnel hostage. They’d wanted the Shah extradited from the U.S., to put him on trial in Iran.

    • Michigan Imam: Release of Marine Detained in Iran May Be Imminent: Listen

      A Dearborn Heights imam said a former U.S. Marine from Michigan held captive in Iran for the past four years may be released soon.

      Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi told the Detroit Free Press he spent nearly an hour last week in the prison in Tehran where Amir Hekmati, of Flint, has been held on charges that he’s a spy for the CIA. Hekmati’s supporters say the charges are bogus.

    • Sotloff’s Legacy: A Year After His Murder, Millennials Keep Signing Up For Arabic

      One of them is Maryanne Rodriguez, who attended Coral Reef Senior High in Miami-Dade. In June, Rodriguez graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts with a major in Arabic. Along the way, she’s studied in Jordan, Yemen and Morocco – and last weekend she left for Turkey on a Fulbright Fellowship.

      Rodriguez believes it’s crucial to be able to conduct more honest discussions with Middle Easterners about issues ranging from women in Islam to U.S. drone attacks in the region.

    • Valerie Plame’s Head ‘Spins’ Over Scooter Libby Question To Trump

      Donald Trump would not say if he would pardon former George W. Bush White House official Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Trump said the question was “not pertinent,” but Valerie Plame’s response on Twitter to The Daily Caller’s question to Trump about Libby was, “My head is spinning.”

    • From a Tibetan Adventurer, a Tale of Bravado and Betrayal

      The relations between China and Tibet are a matter of controversy. The People’s Republic of China insists on affirming the imperial borders of the Manchu or Yuan era, but ties in that era were more complex and fluid. There was no “China” and both these were, in fact, foreign empires who ruled over China. However, what matters now is that Tibet is under the firm control of the PRC and there is little chance in the near term that this situation will change. The only change that can come is through negotiation and dialogue and better awareness in China of how shoddily they have treated their minority peoples and culture. This is a lesson that Gyalo learnt the hard way, going through the process of associating with the CIA and Indian intelligence agencies to stoke an insurgency against Chinese rule, failing and thereafter seeking to achieve Tibetan autonomy through dialogue.

    • Doyle McManus: A Joe Biden candidacy could divide Democrats over foreign policy

      oe Biden hasn’t decided whether to run for president, but he tells almost everyone who asks that he’s giving it serious thought.

      Can a 73-year-old vice president who’s been a punch line for comedians really win the Democratic nomination against a juggernaut like Hillary Rodham Clinton?

    • Andrew Niccol on the Drone Pilot Thriller, Good Kill

      Ever since his 1997 debut Gattaca, filmmaker Andrew Niccol has established himself in the world of science fiction with his original ideas about what the future might look like, but his latest movie Good Kill, his third film with Ethan Hawke, is far more grounded in the world as it is today than any of his previous work.

      [...]

      CS: How do you research a movie like this? Are you able to do research that much, because I couldn’t imagine that the military would give you much access to this realm.

      Niccol: Yeah, I had to rely on ex-drone pilots, and there’s so much burnout, which is kind of what you sort of see with Ethan’s character in the movie, that they are available out there. There are a few things that they won’t say, that they won’t tell you, but I relied on them heavily to make the movie look and sound authentic, so yeah, that was an important part of it. The other thing that I relied on was Wikileaks, because that’s the only way you can really see a drone strike, is through Wikileaks, so I should’ve credited Chelsea Manning as a researcher for the film. And it’s ironic of course, because there is a video with every drone strike because that’s how it’s done, but we rarely see them.

    • Independent Investigation Undermines Key Evidence Justifying U.S. Hostility Toward Iran

      Interviews with more than a dozen former FBI, CIA and other federal officials found compelling evidence that the 1996 bombing of a U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia was carried out by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida—not Iran-supported Saudi Hezbollah, as U.S. officials claim.

      The findings are significant, writes independent investigative reporter Gareth Porter, because the attack “remains a key part of the litany supporting a coercive US policy toward Iran.”

      Published in 2009, Porter’s findings are again relevant because the man accused of planning the attack—Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shiite oppositionist—is reported to have been captured in Beirut on Aug. 8.

    • Drones offer military risk-free killing at the expense of diplomacy
    • Who Are We Supposed to Feel Sorry for in ‘Good Kill’?

      The real conflict will be internal as Egan fights with his demons as each and every drone mission becomes more morally questionable than the prior one, especially after the mysterious voice known only as “Langley” begins to give the orders. Much of the film’s action takes place in the control room where they perform these missions. Egan and his team, which include such boring archetypes as the brutish, war-hungry males and the lone sensitive, considerate female, carry out countless missions to eradicate “threats to America.”

    • Director Andrew Niccol on drones, PTSD, and ‘Good Kill’ on Blu-ray today

      Good Kill is a film that delves deep into painting a portrait of the human side of drone warfare. Set in 2010, the film is a blistering journey that not only is about military unmanned aerial vehicles, but also a harsh look into the life of someone facing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), written and directed by creative genius Andrew Niccol.

    • Bernie Sanders Says He Will Not End Drone Program If Elected President

      Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Sunday that if elected president he would not end the U.S.’s controversial drone program in the Middle East.

    • US presidential candidate: I would continue assassination drone program
    • Bernie Sanders Says He Wouldn’t End Drone Program

      Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would not put a stop to the United States’ lethal and controversial drone campaign if he entered the White House, the presidential contender said in a television interview Sunday.

    • Sanders: I wouldn’t end drone program

      The U.S. lethal drone campaign would not come to an end if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) entered the White House, the presidential contender said on Sunday,

      In an interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Sanders indicated that he would limit the use of drones so that they do not end up killing innocent people abroad, but declined to say that he would end the targeted killing campaign completely.

      “I think we have to use drones very, very selectively and effectively. That has not always been the case,” Sanders said.

    • Bernie Sanders Wouldn’t End Obama’s Drone Program, Promises To Use It ‘Very Selectively’
    • Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
    • Bernie Sanders Embraces Limited Use of Drones as One Tool of Foreign Policy
    • The 19 most important years in the history of military drones
    • Allegations against Sweden, Germany for participating in Afghan ‘kill decisions’
    • Germany, Sweden helping US with ‘kill decisions’ in Afghanistan
    • Germany and Sweden Are Said to Help Make Afghan ‘Kill Decisions’

      Two European allies of the United States have been directly participating in so-called kill decisions against insurgents in Afghanistan despite rules prohibiting them from doing so, according to two senior Western officials with knowledge of the operations.

      The accusations concern airstrikes, mostly by drones, that American officials have justified as part of a lasting counterterrorism mission agreed to with the Afghan government. However, some of the strikes have come under question as being far more aggressive than the security deal allows for.

    • Five dead in new Israeli raid on Syria

      The officials said the cell had been behind the four rockets fired on Thursday into Israel.

      [...]

      The Golan is regarded internationally as occupied territory despite Israeli annexation.

    • SA researchers take on threat of autonomous weapons

      A new military law unit at the University of Adelaide has kicked off its work this morning, with the looming threat of autonomous weapons systems high on its agenda.

    • More On-Air Shootings to Be Expected

      The more we secure our safety, the less secure we seem to feel.

    • What will it take to bring peace to our planet?

      The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called “hypocrites” and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter. Whew!

    • In Order To Breathe

      It’s not just a “crazy person” with guns though. The culture of aggression, dripping with violence, is pervasive. Drones, a president with a kill list, invasions, a conquest-oriented foreign policy, a conquest-oriented domestic policy enforced through police militarization, and an utterly terrifying array of politicians that pander to our basest predispositions: fear. And especially fear of anyone dissimilar.

    • What happens if a jet engine sucks in a drone?

      Engine manufacturers spend a lot of time throwing various objects into running jet engines to see what happens, and to make sure they either keep working or shut down safely. To test bird strikes, they actually use a “chicken gun” that shoots dead birds into the engine fan. However, no one is testing for drones, yet.

    • When it comes to drones, do Americans really care about international law?

      If the American public is really as disengaged from foreign policy as we think, how much can they really know—or care—about international law? In reporting on their fascinating and important research on international law and US public support for drone strikes, Sarah Kreps and Geoffrey Wallace find that US citizens are surprisingly receptive to arguments that drones should not be used because they violate international law. Their compelling findings make valuable contributions to debates about the power of international law in everyday politics, but some key omissions leave their conclusions open for debate. Do American voters support drones even when compared to other options? And perhaps even more fundamental, why do they care about international law at all?

    • Drones are ‘legally blind’ so why do we rely on them?

      Hoping to dispel many of the myths surrounding drones, Cockburn has written a new book, “Kill Chain: Drones and the Rise of High-Tech Assassins.” Addressing a packed audience at Edinburgh’s Book Festival held yearly in August, Cockburn argues that people tend to endow the military and political officials responsible for running the U.S. drone program with powers “that they don’t warrant.” In fact, he says, that they’re not anywhere as competent as the hype would lead people to expect. Thanks to a Pentagon inquiry of a bungled drone attack in Afghanistan in 2010, we now have an unexpurgated transcript of conversations between officers, pilots and targeters stationed at command centers in Florida, Afghanistan and Nevada (where most drone operations are carried out) as they try to make up their minds whether to launch a strike on what appears to be a convoy of militants traveling along a desert road. The officers can’t decide whether the individuals they’re seeing in the trucks are armed or not. The possibility that some of the passengers might be children is discounted. After several minutes of expletive-riddled exchanges, an order is issued to go ahead. Twenty-three Afghanis were killed including women and children. The victims proved to be villagers on their way to Kabul to find work. None of them was armed. What the officers believed were rifles, based on the heat they were emitting, turned out to be turkeys the villagers were bringing as gifts to relatives.

    • UK plan to join Syria air strikes threatened by Corbyn

      Prime Minister David Cameron’s hope that Britain would join air strikes against Islamic State (IS) group targets in Syria is fading due to the likely election of anti-war campaigner Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition Labour Party.

      After parliament returns Monday, Cameron’s centre-right government had hoped to call a vote on the issue in a bid to extend Britain’s current role in coalition air strikes against IS targets in Iraq.

      But Corbyn, a leading opponent to the 2003 Iraq war who wants to apologise over the conflict if elected leader of Britain’s main opposition party on September 12, is deeply opposed to the move.

      “I will only proceed going further on this issue if there is genuine consensus in the United Kingdom about it before going back to parliament,” Cameron said during a press conference on Friday.

    • Civilian deaths claimed in 71 US-led airstrikes on Isis

      The US-led coalition’s bombing of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has been described as the “most precise ever”, faces allegations that civilians have been killed in 71 separate air raids.

      A spokesman for US central command (Centcom) disclosed the claims to the Guardian. Many of the claims have been dismissed, but he said 10 incidents were the subject of fuller, formal investigations. Five investigations have been concluded, although only one has been published.

      To date, the coalition acknowledges civilian deaths in a single strike: in November 2014 a US strike on Syria killed two children, a Centcom investigation published in May found. Centcom said it will only publish investigations where a “preponderance of evidence” suggests civilians have died.

    • Assisting Al Qaeda

      For years, drone strikes have been a regular feature of U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen. They have taken out many of al Qaeda’s most important leaders, yet the organization’s reach has increased dramatically.

    • Yemen’s Hidden War: How the Saudi-Led Coalition Is Killing Civilians
    • Yemeni forces successfully captured a Saudi spy drone in Jizan / Pics
    • US & Saudi Arabia War Crimes Keep Killing Yemenis

      The Saudi government made similar representations about their terror-bombing of Yemen that began March 26 and has continued on a near-daily basis to the present.

    • More than five months of conflict in Yemen

      Key dates in Yemen since a Saudi-coalition intervened after Huthi Shiite rebels overran the capital Sanaa and advanced on Aden, the second biggest city.

      UN figures put the overall number of dead in the conflict at more than 4,300, including 400 children, and the number of displaced at 1.5 million.

      Riyadh-led coalition begins offensive

      On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia begins Operation Decisive Storm with air strikes on the rebels after forging a coalition of nine countries to defend embattled Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. Iran opposes the intervention.

    • Questions the Media Should Be Asking About DOD’s Latest Targeted Killing

      Next, there are a number of important questions about the UK’s involvement and stance on Hussain’s death. Where is the British government on this issue? Early reports suggested that both the US and UK are keeping quiet about such killings out of concern that an official announcement will upset Muslim communities inside the United Kingdom. Such silence may speak volumes about the program’s efficacy and sustainability. If a government cannot quickly comment — in defense of or opposition to — the killing of one of its citizens by another nation, then there might be a real problem with the program.

    • Full-Scale Military Drone Operation Confirmed By US DARPA Gremlin Program

      The US’ Department of Defense has confirmed plans to build an army of drones that will eventually replace manned aircrafts in a war zone.

      The Gremlins program, unveiled by DARPA — Defense Advanced Research Project Agency is researching unmanned aerial vehicles that can be launched mid-air by a larger aircraft.

    • 34th Senator Backs Iran Deal, Ensuring Implementation

      Two more Democratic senators have backed the Iran nuclear deal, meaning the agreement is all but certain to gain passage through Congress. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and Delaware Senator Chris Coons came out in support of the historic accord between Iran and six world powers. Obama has said he will veto any resolution by Congress to block the deal. The White House is now only one vote short of the 34 required to uphold the veto.

    • Cardin’s opposition to Iran deal sets back White House hopes

      White House hopes for stopping a congressional challenge to the Iran nuclear deal and sparing President Barack Obama from using a veto suffered a blow Friday when a key Senate Democrat announced his opposition.

      [...]

      In the House, some 110 Democrats were on record supporting the deal as of Friday, with around 15 opposed.

    • Nine protesters arrested at Volk Field

      Voices for Creative Nonviolence, along with several other groups protesting the use of military drones and police violence, marched from Madison to Volk Field in Camp Douglas, leading to nine arrests Aug. 24.

      For eight days, the group trekked from downtown Madison to the Wisconsin Air National Guard Base at Volk Field. While protesting at Volk, nine group members crossed a restricted area and were arrested. According to Voices for Creative Nonviolence member Buddy Bell, the nine members arrested spent a few hours in the Juneau County Jail before being released.

      When the group reached Volk, they were met by officers from the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office. After singing and chanting the names or drone victims and a black woman reportedly killed by police, several members crossed into a restricted area and were arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct. The nine arrested will be in Juneau County court on Sept. 30.

    • We’re not weaponizing drones, Grand Forks County sheriff says

      Grand Forks area law enforcement officials want to make one thing clear: They have no intention of weaponizing unmanned aircraft in the near future, despite some saying it’s legal to under state law.

    • One Day Soon, That Drone Overhead May Be Pointing a Taser at You

      The Federal Aviation Administration issued proposed regulations on drone use earlier this year. Drones would not be allowed to fly over people unless they are directly involved with the flight. The rules would apply to drones that weigh 55 pounds or less. Drone flights could take place only during the daytime. They would be limited to an altitude of 500 feet and speeds of 100 mph. And they could not fly near airports or restricted airspace. The operator would have to maintain eye contact with the drone at all times.

      It could take years for these regulations to be implemented. Meanwhile, the FAA has reported 700 near misses between airplanes and drones in U.S. airspace so far this year. Some of the drones have been flying at high altitudes—10,000 feet or more.

      Twenty-six states have passed laws regulating the use of drones, and six more states have adopted resolutions. Issues addressed in these laws include defining what a drone is, the manner in which they can be used by law enforcement and other state agencies, how they can be used by the general public, and how they can be used to hunt game.

      In February, the White House began requiring government agencies to inform the public where federal agencies fly drones, how frequently, and what information they secure from drone use.

      Two federal bills are pending: in the Senate, The Protecting Individuals From Mass Surveillance Act, and in the House, Preserving American Privacy Act. The Senate bill would require a warrant before federal law enforcement officers could use drones and manned aircraft, but it carves out an exemption within 25 miles of the border, and it wouldn’t bind state or municipal agencies. The House bill would require warrants to conduct state or federal drone surveillance with some exceptions. Evidence obtained in violation of both these bills would be inadmissible in court.

      Given the significant invasion of privacy occasioned by the use of drones by law enforcement, warrants should be mandatory before using them for surveillance. And weaponized drones of any sort should be outlawed.

    • In a first, drones used to smoke out criminals
    • Military sources: Al-Shabaab attack in Somalia kills dozens of AU troops
    • Somalia: Al-Shabaab’s Revenge Sparks Another Crisis in Somalia

      On Tuesday, exactly a year after leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed by a ferocious American drone assault, Al-Shabaab got its revenge.

    • Three Uzbeks Among Six Killed in US Drone Strike Against North Waziristan

      All of the casualties were identified by Pakistani officials as “suspected militants.”

    • U.S. Drone Kills Five Alleged Extremists in Pakistan

      Following that incident, the Pakistani Government condemned the incident saying that those acts violate this country’s soverighnty and international right.

    • Pakistan condemns US drone strike in North Waziristan

      Pakistan condemned a US drone strike in North Waziristan tribal region that killed six people. ”Pakistan condemns such strikes which are in disregard of our territorial sovereignty and international law,” Xinhua news agency quoted Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s statement as saying.

      The statement added that the strike in North Waziristan resulted in a number of casualties. ”These strikes also generate distrust among the local populace. We reiterate our call for cessation of such strikes,” the statement said. A US drone fired two missiles at a compound in Karwanda area of Datta Khel Tehsil, and some foreigners were among those killed.

    • Pakistan: U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6

      Pakistani officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed at least six people after it struck a house in North Waziristan Tuesday. Officials say the compound belonged to suspected militants. The identities of the victims have not been determined.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Researcher Scoffs at Stonewalled CIA Request

      A researcher seeking budget records for intelligence support the CIA gave Israel told a federal judge that the agency is improperly claiming ignorance of its own policy.

      Grant Smith, who runs the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, says he filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to inspect the CIA’s funding for Israel-related intelligence.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange stays indoors, fears CIA drone attack
    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fears being ‘droned’ by Central Intelligence Agency if he leaves

      The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief said he told Snowden to ignore concerns about the “negative PR consequences” of sheltering in Russian Federation because it was one of the few places in the world where the CIA’s influence did not reach.

    • Julian Assange gets paranoid about Harrods

      Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who will not face a Swedish sex charge inquiry because he thinks it is all a CIA plot, now thinks the dark forces of Mohamed Abdel Moneim Al-Fayed have joined in.

      Al-Fayed who is a big supporter of the monarchy, and particularly Prince Phillip, has apparently been involved in a plot to spy on Assange and all his doings.

      Al-Fayed owns Harrods which is just across the road from Assange who has placed himself under house arrest in the Ecuadorean embassy secretly helping police to spy on him in his embassy hideout.

    • Assange: Snowden Would Have Been Kidnapped or Killed in Latin America

      Edward Snowden fled to Russia somewhat than Latin America, says fellow whistleblower Julian Assange, as a result of he warned the Nationwide Safety Company leaker that he can be kidnapped or probably killed there.

      “Snowden was nicely conscious of the spin that may be placed on it if he took asylum in Russia,” the editor-in-chief, who’s sheltered on the Ecuadorian embassy in London, advised in London.

      “He most popular Latin America, however my recommendation was that he ought to take asylum in Russia regardless of the damaging PR penalties, as a result of my evaluation is that he had a big danger he might be kidnapped from Latin America on CIA orders. Kidnapped or probably killed.”

    • Judge Orders CIA to Release Information about Killing of Pablo Escobar…11 Years after Initial Request

      Eleven years after it was asked to release the information, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been ordered by a federal judge to produce at least some records pertaining to the killing of former Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

      The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2004 to learn more about the CIA’s involvement in the killing of Escobar, as well as a Colombian death squad, Los Pepes. The CIA at first didn’t respond to the request, and then sent the think tank only some declassified foreign broadcast reports and government records that were heavily redacted.

      IPS sued the CIA in federal court, where U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth this week ordered the CIA to produce an index of classified documents that it says it can’t release, with explanations of how publishing the documents would harm U.S. interests.

    • Cryptic Clinton emails may refer to Iranian scientist

      New Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department appear to lift the curtain on the bizarre circumstances surrounding Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who claims to have been abducted by the CIA.

      The just-released emails, which were sent to Clinton back in 2010, seem to support what State Department sources have long maintained: that Amiri was not abducted, but a defector and paid informant who changed his mind about helping the U.S.

      The emails also appear to offer insight into the department’s plans to get Amiri back to Iran safely.

      Amiri’s complicated story began in 2009, when he mysteriously disappeared while on a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Almost immediately, Tehran accused the U.S. of abducting him. The U.S. denied the accusation, saying it had no knowledge of Amiri’s whereabouts.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics

      The climate change-driven fires of Washington continued their record-setting ravages not so far from the dinner party while the gathering’s Sixties Age “Berkeley liberal” host called for the nuclear incineration of Baghdad and Fallujah and his Bernie-fan spouse explained that Iraq’s dire straits reflect its primitive and savage nature – not the criminal racist and petro-imperialist destruction of that nation by the America Empire over more than three decades. The destruction has always been driven by Washington’s longstanding compulsion to secure and sustain global dominance by controlling the supply of global oil – the very substance whose over-extraction and burning has most particularly driven the world to the edge of full environmental catastrophe.

      No doubt the liberal and progressive couple is more than okay with Sanders’ recent announcement on ABC News last Sunday that if elected president he will not discontinue Barack Obama’s controversial and mass-murderous drone program in the Middle East. Since Obama took office in January of 2009, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports, at least 2,464 people and 314 innocent civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia. Nine times more strikes have occurred under Obama than under George W. Bush. Obama’s strikes have killed nearly six times more people and twice as many civilians as Bush’s. At least seven American citizens have been extra-judicially killed by Obama’s drones, including one 16-year-old. Obama directly ordered many if not most of the strikes. A study by the human rights group Reprieve found that as of Nov. 24, 2014, US attempts to liquidate 41 alleged terrorists with drones killed 1,147 civilians, including more than 200 children. The U.S. under Obama has carried out drone attacks on weddings (“for better or worse”) and funerals, along with “double-tap” strikes on rescue workers. A proud record under the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize! If anything, the nice liberal couple (the husband, quite explicitly) mentioned above would like to see a much higher civilian Muslim body count.

  • Finance

    • Ignoring the Cause of Welfare: Not Laziness but Low Wages

      Numerous US media outlets recently uncritically echoed a methodologically flawed report by an anti-immigration organization with ties to white supremacist groups (FAIR.org, 9/4/15). Beyond this serious problem, however, lies a larger and more endemic issue in media: an overarching anti-welfare framing.

      News articles like those on a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report, which claims 51 percent of US households headed by immigrants receive some kind of welfare benefits, internalize anti-government assistance values, implicitly assuming that receiving welfare is a bad thing.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fox’s Megyn Kelly Bemoans The “Anti-Cop … Thug Mentality” She Sees In “Black Communities”
    • The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the ‘Do Something’ Lie

      It didn’t take long for the universal and entirely justified outrage over a picture of a dead three-year-old to be funneled by the “do something” pundits to justify regime change in Syria. The “do something” crowd wants us to “do something” about the refugee crisis and “solve” the “bigger problem,” which, of course, involves regime change. To create the moral urgency and to tether the refugee crisis to their long-standing warmongering, these actors have to insist the US has “done nothing” about Syria.

    • Cultural Imperialism and Perception Management: How Hollywood Hides US War Crimes

      There is an unspoken, yet very clear, bond between Hollywood and the US government that overtly supports US foreign policy. The movie industry in Hollywood has been active in hiding US war crimes and sanitizing the US military campaigns in NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, Anglo-American occupied Iraq, and elsewhere in the world. Moreover, the dominance of Hollywood as a tool of cultural imperialism in Europe and the rest of the world make Hollywood films an excellent tool for getting Washington’s ideas out internationally and sedating global audiences with misleading narratives.

    • The True Story Behind Boris Pasternak’s ‘Dr. Zhivago’

      Among the book’s most intriguing revelations is how Doctor Zhivago became a weapon of the Cold War. In 1958, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency commissioned a Russian translation of Doctor Zhivago. While the book was officially banned inside the Soviet Union, the CIA distributed it to Russian expatriates and eventually smuggled it inside the USSR itself. Doctor Zhivago was sold on the black market and was passed hand-to-hand as fast as Soviet citizens could read it.

    • Sanders pledges his campaign to save Democratic Party

      In a speech Friday afternoon to the Democratic National Committee, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders portrayed his presidential campaign as the only way to rebuild popular support for the Democratic Party and save its electoral prospects in 2016.

    • Bernie Sanders: ‘People Are Responding to Our Message’
  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Report: Colombia collecting bulk data without warrants

      Intelligence agencies in Colombia have been building robust tools to automatically collect vast amounts of data without judicial warrants and in defiance of a pledge to better protect privacy following a series of domestic spying scandals, according to a new report by Privacy International.

      The report published Monday by the London-based advocacy group provides a comprehensive look at the reach and questionable oversight of surveillance technologies as used by police and state security agencies in Colombia.

    • Problem: Male Operators Use Surveillance Cameras For Ogling Women; Mayor’s Solution: Employ Only Female Operators

      Lo Barnechea is a commune of Chile located in Santiago Province, with a population of about 75,000. Its Mayor, Felipe Guevara, has decided what Lo Barnechea really needs is a massive surveillance system installed in aerostats tethered over the area, as explained by a post on the Derechos Digitales site (original in Spanish.) It’s not clear from the article why he chose this unusual approach; perhaps it’s because most of his district is mountainous, and that poses problems for conventional surveillance systems.

    • 14-year-old added to UK police database for using Snapchat to send naked selfie

      A 14-year-old boy has been added to a UK police intelligence database for using Snapchat to send a naked picture of himself to a female classmate he was flirting with from his bedroom. She saved the image and shared it with others, which is how the case came to light. Although the boy was not arrested or charged, the incident was nonetheless recorded as a crime of “making and distributing an indecent image of a child,” even though it was of himself. As The Guardian reports, “the [database] file remains active for a minimum of 10 years, meaning the incident may be flagged to potential employers conducting an advanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, such as for those who work with children.”

  • Civil Rights

    • US Turns Teen Into ‘Terrorist’ – OpEd

      The crime of providing material support for terrorists only came into existence with the Patriot Act passed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. There are now people serving very long prison terms for providing humanitarian aid, translating documents, sending money abroad, or expressing views in support of nations or groups the United States classifies as terrorist. These crimes are vaguely defined and are often of little consequence to ISIS or any other organization the federal government designates as an enemy.

    • Former APA President, Cornell Professor Defends Cooperation With CIA

      In light of allegations this summer that the American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense during the administration of George W. Bush, Prof. Robert Sternberg, former president of the APA, spoke critically of the accusations against him and his colleagues.

      On July 2, former federal prosecutor David Hoffman released an independent 542-page report that concluded top APA officials and psychologists cooperated with the CIA and the DoD to help justify the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation programs.

    • Letter: How can Cheney defend war in Iraq, CIA torture?

      A recent broadcast of “Sunday Morning” with Charles Osgood treated us to the bizarre (if eminently consistent) ramblings of former vice president Dick Cheney and his doting daughter. He defended the war in Iraq and its CIA prisoner torture, and seemed unable to see how the Arab world could possibly take issue with the physical and political destruction we have wrought throughout the Middle East.

      While profiting financially from that and other wars, Cheney cynically waves the flag and still contends that the country, whose moral high ground he personally helped to undercut, is still “exceptional.” In addition to causing virtually every other country on the planet to lower its opinion of the righteousness of U.S. motives, the Bush administration oversaw the rolling out of the Patriot Act – the greatest restrictions on the liberty of American citizens in history, while his followers continue to whip into a frenzy the easily duped, who think that making assault rifles illegal signals Armageddon.

      Predictably Cheney sides with Israeli hawks over the Iran nuclear agreement, and has the unmitigated chutzpah to shift blame from himself and his fellow draft-dodging warmongers to President Obama for the rise of terrorism in general and Islamic State in particular. Small wonder Cheney’s supporters line up behind The Donald as the leading Republican contender to run the country. Exceptional indeed.

    • Who Is Listening to Dick Cheney?

      Dick Cheney is a former vice president who had an enormous effect on public policy, and therefore on history. He should be interviewed by media outlets. He should be asked tough questions about every single aspect of his tenure in the White House. We cannot pretend that Cheney does not belong in history books, or that he will vanish if we just wish hard enough.

      But the line should be firmly drawn. Cheney is part of history, and there he should stay. But not so much that we pretend he is toothless and apolitical. He should not be steered out as a fun toy, the way Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright and other, shall we say, controversial politicians have been on stunt-cast on shows ranging from Gilmore Girls to The Colbert Report.

    • Legal case demands details about how CIA used windowless warehouse in Lithuania as secret prison

      In one of Vilnius’s best known museums, over 50,000 visitors a year squeeze themselves into cells used by the KGB in the 1960s to hold dissidents and human rights activists. A few miles up the road, a more recently constructed prison is gaining similar international attention.

      The windowless white warehouse about the size of an Olympic swimming pool was constructed in 2004. It soon became a topic of gossip among the 750 inhabitants of Antaviliai, a small hamlet ten miles north east of the Lithuanian capital and encircled by pine forest.

      The workmen who built it worked mostly at night, using brand new equipment that was out of place among the tumbledown factory buildings, allotments and unpretentious Communist-era housing blocks. Villagers, who only agreed to interviews on the condition of anonymity, describe how English-speaking security guards had patrolled the perimeter of the site and vehicles with tinted windows shuttled up and down the forest road leading to the capital. According to one resident, a van from a Vilnius restaurant – often used at the time for government receptions – regularly delivered food to the building.

    • Feinstein Slams New Book by Former CIA Officials

      Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the CIA’s controversial interrogation program, said Saturday that a new, critical book by some top former CIA officials “doesn’t lay a glove” on her panel’s conclusions that the agency carried out torture to get information that had already been extracted by “more traditional and acceptable ways.”

    • Canada files charges against Syrian officer in CIA rendition case

      Canadian federal officials have filed charges against a Syrian intelligence officer for torturing a Canadian citizen given up by the CIA.

    • Swiss police fire rubber bullets during pro-refugee protest in Zurich (VIDEO)

      A pro-refugee demonstration in Zurich has ended with riot police firing rubber bullets after leftist protesters intervened in the rally. People have taken to the streets to criticize European governments in their handling of the ongoing crisis.

    • Kansas Man To Be Sentenced For Wichita Airport Bomb Plot, Could Face 20 Years of Prison Time, Judge Says

      A Kansas man who has plead guilty to trying to use a weapon of mass destruction is set to be sentenced on Monday. Judge Monti Belot of the U.S. District said that if Terry L. Loewen rejects the plea, he can withdraw it, but he is “almost certain” that he will accept the 60-year-old man’s proposed sentence of 20 years.

    • Mysterious Fuat Avni’s possible CIA ties

      What a mysterious whistleblower, who tweets under the pseudonym Fuat Avni, has reported lately has once again turned out to be true when the government initiated an operation on Tuesday, Sept. 1, against a critical media group, Koza İpek.

    • Accused 9/11 Co-Conspirator Wants Trial Halted Until He Gets Better Medical Care

      One of the five accused Sept. 11 co-conspirators is asking a federal court to place a freeze on his ongoing military trial until the U.S. provides him with improved medical care at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility, where he has been detained since 2006.

      Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who was held in CIA black sites from 2003 to 2006, has several chronic health problems that his lawyers say are the direct result of three years of abuse under the agency’s torture program and inadequate medical treatment since being transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

    • What’s Wrong with Police in America

      Instead a violent incident was peacefully halted…incredibly with nobody hurt.

      That’s how policing is done in much of Europe, where police shootings are almost unheard of. It’s how it should be done here.

      But the whole concept of policing in the US is quite different from what prevails in most democratic countries. For one thing, abroad police are not ubiquitous in most places. I was in Finland, Austria and southern Germany last year, as well as in Quebec, and it’s actually hard to find a cop in any of those places when you’re looking for one. I walked for two hours in Montreal and didn’t see a single police officer, on foot or in a patrol car. Not so in New York, Philadelphia, Boston or even my local community of Upper Dublin, PA, where it’s easy to pass two or three cop cars just while driving the three miles between my house and the train station.

    • Other Voices: Media is under fire again

      That’s chiefly because Obama and his national security advisers have reiterated the disdain for reporters that for White House occupants stretches back to Richard Nixon.

    • Canada’s Insidious Role in the US-NATO War on Libya: “Boots on the Ground”

      In direct contravention of these legally binding resolutions, Canadian troops were on the ground in the North African country. On September 13, three weeks after Tripoli fell to the anti-Gaddafi National Transition Council, Canada’s state broadcaster reported: “CBC News has learned there are members of the Canadian Forces on the ground in Libya.”[i] A number of other media outlets reported that highly secretive Canadian special forces were fighting in Libya. On February 28, CTV.ca reported “that Canadian special forces are also on the ground in Libya” while Esprit du Corp editor Scott Taylor noted Canadian Special Operations Regiment’s flag colours in the Conservatives’ post-war celebration. But, any Canadian ‘boots on the ground’ in Libya violated UNSCR 1973, which explicitly excluded “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

    • 290 foreign agents exposed in Russia in 2014 – television

      Russian secret services have said that in 2014 security agencies exposed 290 foreign agents and published several reports concerning the work of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers in Moscow, involving disguise techniques such as dress-changing when communicating with their informers.

      The ChP program on NTV television on Sept.4 showed video footage of disguise techniques used by the wife of CIA agent Robert Hynes.

      The video shows two “well-groomed ladies,” the CIA agent’s wife Laura Carlson and the wife of yet another CIA agent, Janice Chisholm, leaving the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and heading to a coffee shop.

      Having entered the coffee shop, Chisholm went to the toilet while Carlson waited for her near the door. A while later, a man in a hat went out of the toilet and hastily left the coffee shop.

    • Death at sea

      This year 350,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea compared with 219,000 during the whole of 2014, itself a record year. Greece alone has seen 234,000 people land on its shores, compared with 35,000 in 2014. Authorities are struggling to cope as most people cross to a handful of small islands situated kilometres from the Turkish coast. Some 23,000 have arrived in the past week, 50% more than the previous week. The majority of recent migrants are fleeing from Syria and Afghanistan. Most people will journey further north to seek asylum in countries like Germany, which accepts most asylum-seekers in total, and Sweden, which takes in most as a share of its own population. Germany expects at least 800,000 asylum-seekers this year compared with 173,000 in 2014.

    • Argentina official says doors open to Syrian refugees

      Argentina’s cabinet chief said on Friday that the South American nation is willing to welcome more Syrian refugees fleeing their country’s civil war.

      Anibal Fernandez said that the government eased the entrance of Syrians through a program begun last year, but he didn’t specify how many of the refugees had arrived so far. He said the Syrians will be welcomed through the country’s tradition of helping out during humanitarian crises.

    • Canada less welcoming to refugees under Harper’s leadership

      Canada has long prided itself for opening its doors wider than any nation to asylum seekers, but the number it welcomes has waned since Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper took power almost 10 years ago.

      Harper has rejected calls to take immediate action to resettle more Syrian refugees, despite the haunting image of a drowned 3-year-old washed up on a Turkish beach that has focused the world’s attention on the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

    • If All Lives Really Matter: The False Racial Unity of Glenn Beck’s Massive March on Birmingham

      Contrary to what conservative pundits would have you believe, Black Lives Matter is not a call to division.

      It’s actually a call for unity.

      Because the truth is, we aren’t united and haven’t been.

      [...]

      And unity can’t be achieved by papering over the chasms of racial injustice with trite and whitewashing refrains of All Lives Matter. Rather real divisiveness has to be confronted without regard to respectability and addressed without apology.

      [...]

      So to respond to Black Lives Matters with All Lives Matter is fundamentally manipulative and disingenuous. It not only misses the point; it misrepresents it as well. Black Lives Matters doesn’t assert that all lives don’t matter. It asserts that all lives already don’t matter in this country, specifically those lives of people of color. It is a demanding cry for the nation to wake up to the daily reality people of color face in this nation.

    • Guatemala ex-president goes to court after night behind bars
    • Guatemala’s President resigns amid corruption probe, faces prison for “criminal conspiracy”

      As I type this blog post, the former Army general who was a member of Guatemala’s CIA-backed G2 elite death squad is sitting in court, forced to listen to tapped audio recordings of his own phone conversations which the Ministerio Publico claims are proof he presided over a scheme of kickbacks and self-dealing known as #LaLinea. The corruption scandal set off a protest movement against government corruption which miraculously, unbelievably, led to the removal a sitting president in Guatemala by means other than a military coup.

    • Is Guatemala’s President Going to Jail? Legislature Strips Pérez Molina of Immunity After Protests
    • A Central American spring?
    • Take 10,000 refugees, petition urges Mexico

      A petition that has picked up 15,000 signatures in four days is urging the Mexican government to take an international leadership role and permit the immigration of 10,000 Syrian refugees.

    • Republicans Want “Border Wall”… Even With Canada!
    • Why border walls – even with Canada – are not the Republicans’ Trump card

      Despite the novelty value of proposing a wall along the 49th parallel, and the controversy that Walker’s comment has already prompted on both sides of the border, the Wisconsin governor was addressing an increasingly familiar refrain on the contentious election issue of immigration.

    • Donald Trump’s Shaky Grasp on Immigration

      To these voters, a country where 13 percent of the population was born abroad and where 17 percent identify as Latino is a scary place. But what is most paradoxical about that belief is that Mr. Trump’s central proposition — that illegal immigration into the United States remains a critical problem — is actually wrong. Mr. Trump, as Mr. Massey succinctly put it, “is beating a dead horse.”

    • Inside Ben Carson’s quiet surge

      And though Trump’s rhetoric has upended the Republican presidential race, Carson is no stranger to controversy. He told CNN earlier this year that some people become gay in prison, indicating homosexuality is a choice — a comment for which he later apologized. And in August, he said that while he wouldn’t use drones to kill undocumented immigrants, he would order strikes on caves used to transport people across the southern U.S. border.

    • Ben Carson’s Views: A look at the candidate’s views on immigration, gun rights, women’s rights, and same-sex marriage

      “Drones can help with surveillance,” Carson told CNN. “In no way did I suggest that drones be used to kill people.”

    • Candy and cuddly toys: Migrants finish epic trek to Germany
    • 47 dead as rebels battle IS Jihadists in Syria

      In recent days, the US-led air campaign fighting IS in Syria has carried out strikes against the group near Marea, according to the Pentagon. More than 240,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with peaceful anti-government protests.

    • US commentators call for Australian-style gun law reform

      At the Lindt cafe siege, we saw very clearly that Australia is not immune from horrendous gun violence. We can only hope the US will follow us, and not the other way around.

    • Nestle: Forced labor has no place in our food supply chain

      Nestle says “forced labor has no place in our supply chain” following a U.S. class action lawsuit that alleges the Swiss food company knowingly supported a system of slave labor and human trafficking to make its Fancy Feast cat food.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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