Sunday, November 19, 2017

Some of my tweets Nov 11 - 18

Get ready for additional invasion of privacy and privates at the hands of the TSA

I hate travelling by air into the United States of America.  It's a torture like you won't find at any airport in any other country on this planet.

James Bovard at RonPaulInstitute
Thanksgiving Travel: Trump's Holiday Gift is More Invasive Airport Security

On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump derided the Transportation Security Administration as a “total disaster.” But his administration is making TSA more intrusive and abusive while its 42,000 screeners remain as incompetent as ever. New TSA screening guidelines will likely make Thanksgiving travel a disaster for legions of Americans — and the worst is yet to come. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, TSA announced more "comprehensive" pat-down procedures which the Denver airport suggested might involve “more intimate contact than before.” TSA preemptively notified local police to expect potential complaints, and plenty of travelers are howling:

*Jenna McFarlane, a 56-year old teacher and graphic designer, was traveling out of Charlotte, N.C., in April when a TSA agent repeatedly told her “to spread my legs wider” and proceeded to “touch my vagina four times with the side of her hand,” as she complained to TSA afterwards. She was selected for a vigorous patdown after an unreliable TSA test gave a false explosive alert for her carry-on baggage.

*Hollywood reporter and author Sharon Waxman complained this summer about an aggressive female TSA agent who “placed both hands around my legs and slowly — very slowly — rubbed up and down. The touching went all the way up to my groin. My private parts were touched by the edge of her hand, twice.” The TSA agent rested her hands on Waxman’s chest much longer than necessary to check for weapons. Waxman groused: “The TSA screening felt like nothing less than physical assault. If anyone other than a government officer had done anything of the kind, I would have reported it as a crime.”

*David Stavropolous complained that a TSA agent doing a search at Chicago O’Hare airport jammed his hand into Stavropolous' groin so hard that it caused bleeding and will require surgery to correct, according to Chicago's NBC station and his lawsuit against TSA.

But there is a ray of hope: TSA’s screeners may soon lose the legal immunity that has shielded all their abuses. Federal judge James Cacheris okayed a lawsuit by Captain James Linlor, an airline pilot, who complained that a TSA agent at Washington Dulles International Airport “rammed his hands into (his) genitals ... and subsequently laughed.”

TSA asked the court to dismiss Linlor’s case because, instead of suing, he could have phoned in his complaint to the TSA Contact Center. TSA also insisted that its screener deserved legal immunity even if he did pummel Linlor’s private parts. The judge scoffed at the government’s inference that “a reasonable federal officer would be surprised to learn that gratuitously striking an individual in the groin while searching them violates the Fourth Amendment.” The case is proceeding.

Federal groping-on-steroids is not making flying safer. In June, KMSP-TV in Minneapolis reported that a TSA Headquarters Evaluation Team succeeded 95% of the time in smuggling weapons and mock bombs past airport screeners. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general notified Congress that TSA screeners and equipment had recently failed to detect mock threats "in the ballpark" of 80% of the time, ABC News reported this month. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., declared that TSA is “broken badly.”

TSA has never bothered examining whether its tactics actually protect the public. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in September that “TSA does not measure deterrence (impact) for any of its aviation security countermeasures.”  Instead, the agency imposes burden after burden upon American travelers based on hunches.

Other Trump policies could soon blight millions of Americans’ travel plans. Starting Jan. 22, TSA may reject drivers’ licenses from many states that fail to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005 (formerly one of the Tea Party’s most hated edicts). Travelers without passports from New York, Michigan, Illinois and other states could be barred from flying domestically, according to information on a DHS website......

Cartoon: Newspeak

Are you man enough to stand up to the Alpha Dogs or are you a cowardly little puppy?

Really worth a full read.

Robert Lipsyte at TomDispatch
Beating Back the Bad Boys 

.....The real job, the hard job, for all of us male bystanders, isn’t to rescue women, but to rescue other men from their own worst behavior and so prevent abuse in the first place, be it by a heroic and possibly dangerous personal intervention or the more difficult political mission of, say, passing an Equal Rights Amendment. One of the crises of contemporary manhood and contemporary bystanderdom, perhaps the very reason for our passivity, our cowardice, is the realization that most of the time we can’t even protect ourselves from the men who intimidate us, who take pleasure in treating us like "girls."

No wonder we, too, derive some pleasure from the precipitous falls of Harvey Weinstein, Leon Wieseltier, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Halperin, and the other celebs, politicians, and male eminences going down at the present moment. We sense with satisfaction that they’re finally paying for whatever they did or tried to do to women (or young men) sexually, for reducing them to powerless objects, just as they’ve always done, even if far less directly, to men like us, like me.

Women are finally rising up, spreading the net, pulling it tight. Maybe, at last, it’s our turn as well. So applaud #metoo, then raise #ustoo, where men can begin to be as courageous as the women who brought down the pigs. We have a lot of catching up to do.

We need to keep expanding the “Harvey effect” into all the corrupt and abusive pockets of politics, entertainment, and business, as perilous as that can sometimes be.  It’s time, too, to begin bucking the trend of rewarding aggressive men.

And count on it, there will be a bro-lash. There are too many underdogs in the pack who think their fates are entwined with those of the alpha dogs, including those generals like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in Washington, too many producers and actors in Hollywood, too many hedge-fund vice presidents in New York, too many engineers in Silicon Valley. But there are also millions of us dudes ready to become ex-bystanders, including old guys like me, who need to redeem ourselves from our histories with the Crazy Ronnies, Docs, and Shads, and young guys who need to be woken to the thrilling power of standing up to such bullies.......

The Murder of a President OR in other words "the 1963 coup in America"

From The Fifth Estate ... an updated documentary on the JFK Files: The Murder of a President

Some of the dirty tactics used by the USA on nations it wants brought down

Will Venezuela prevail and come out stronger or will it go under?  Only time will tell.

From MisiĆ³n Verdad translated and published at TeleSur
US Pressures, Threatens Against Venezuela Debt Restructuring

The U.S. Treasury has organized an assault via U.S. banks withholding notes of credit U.S. oil refineries need to be able to pay for Venezuela’s crude oil.

The U.S. Treasury Department has threatened holders of Venezuelan bonds that it would be problematic for them to deal with Venezuela’s executive Vice President Tareck El Aissami and the country’s Economy Minister Simon Zerpa, also head of finance for Venezuela’s State oil company PDVSA. El Aissami and Zerpa are Venezuela’s main financial negotiators and the U.S. government applied sanctions against the two fo them this year.

The development followed President Nicolas Maduro invitation to Venezuela’s creditors last week to meet in Caracas on Nov. 13 for talks on restructuring payment of US$60 billion of Venezuela’s bonds.

A financial terror campaign on steroids
Venezuela’s debt payments this year anticipate projections for payment of around US$8 billion in 2018 which will now be restructured.
Even though creditors are not forbidden under General License 3 of President Donald Trump’s Aug. 3 decree from participating in talks on Venezuela’s bonds, the U.S. Treasury has now said that any deal with El Aissami and Zerpa, both on the U.S. Treasury’s list of Specially Designated Persons, could be problematic, without referring directly to negotiations as such or to whether a possible agreement might break U.S. law. The U.S. Treasury went on to note that possible penalties for U.S. citizens could mean up to 30 years in prison or fines of up to US$5 million. In the case of financial institutions, the fines could go up to US$10 million.

In coordination with the U.S. Treasury pronouncements, Venezuela’s opposition media have supplemented the U.S. threats with “anonymous statements” supposedly implying that creditors are not planning to participate in the Nov. 13 meeting in Caracas allegedly on account of lack of comfortable facilities for the investors and fears about violence in Venezuela’s capital.

Along with news of this latest U.S. threat against Venezuela, international financial media also reported that on Nov. 8 a creditor of PDVSA’s 2017 bonds asked the International Swaps and Derivatives Association to determine whether the oil company had fallen into non-payment which would activate insurance payouts for credit non-compliance.

The Venezuelan authorities announced on Nov. 3 the start of the procedure to pay US$1.1 billion in capital and interest on the 2017 bond that expired on Nov. 2......

Nigel Farage wants EU to set up a "special committee" to look into George Soros and Open Society's collusion with EU members


Ontario students at the mercy of striking college personnel

They should get a major part or the entire part of the tuition for that period, returned to them. That would be only fair.

Meagan Fitzpatrick at CBC News
Will a lawsuit help Ontario students get their money back after college strike?

Frustrated students seek tuition refunds as government tries to open classrooms by Monday
Frustrated and financially burdened students affected by the Ontario colleges strike are turning to the courts to try to get some cash back.

A class action was commenced on Tuesday that seeks to recover tuition money on behalf of the thousands of students at 24 colleges who have been out of class since mid-October.

Going down the lawsuit road could be a long and ultimately unsuccessful journey, but there could still be some benefits to it in the short term, say class action experts.

"Bringing that lawsuit has got the plight of the students some more press and that is inherently pressure, political or otherwise, potentially economic, on the colleges at least, maybe the union," said Jason Squire, head of the class action group at Lerners LLP in Toronto.

Pressure on the Ontario government to step in and force an end to the strike, now in its fifth week, ramped up Thursday when the latest contract offer from the College Employer Council was rejected by striking faculty, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Premier Kathleen Wynne met with representatives from both sides on Thursday afternoon, and several hours later her government announced it would introduce legislation to force them into binding arbitration and end the strike. The premier said she wants to see students back in class by Monday morning......

Syrian Kurds' and USA's secret deals smuggling headchoppers out of Raqqa ....

and chances are these same headchoppers will do plenty of damage in the near future in the countries who paid them to destroy Syria. 
Patiently waiting for Karma to come along and do the needful like only Karma can.

Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati at BBC
Raqqa’s dirty secret

The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.
A convoy included some of IS’s most notorious members and – despite reassurances – dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey.
Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job.

He drives an 18-wheeler across some of the most dangerous territory in northern Syria. Bombed-out bridges, deep desert sand, even government forces and so-called Islamic State fighters don’t stand in the way of a delivery.

But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting from the town of Tabqa on the Euphrates river to a camp further north.

The job would take six hours, maximum – or at least that's what he was told.

But when he and his fellow drivers assembled their convoy early on 12 October, they realised they had been lied to.

Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo - hundreds of IS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition.............

The other side of Korea

Lee Camp of  RT's Redacted Tonight speaks to Anya Parampil about the historical context of current U.S. aggression against North Korea.
Worth a watch.

In Saudi Arabia .... Game of "The Corrupt Hunt for the Corrupted"

If you are not loving the upheaval going on in the wahhabi cavemen world of Saudi Arabia, then you must be a caveman yourself.

David Hearst at MiddleEastEye
EXCLUSIVE: Senior Saudi figures tortured and beaten in purge
Several detainees taken to hospital with torture injuries, while sources tell MEE scale of crackdown is bigger than authorities have revealed
Some senior figures detained in last Saturday's purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, Middle East Eye can reveal.

People inside the royal court also told MEE that the scale of the crackdown, which has brought new arrests each day, is much bigger than Saudi authorities have admitted, with more than 500 people detained and double that number questioned.

Members of the royal family, government ministers and business tycoons were caught up in the sudden wave of arrests orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, under the banner of an anti-corruption drive.

Some, but not all, of the top figures arrested were singled out for the most brutal treatment, suffering wounds to the body sustained by classic torture methods. There are no wounds to their faces, so they will show no physical signs of their ordeal when they next appear in public.

Some detainees were tortured to reveal details of their bank accounts. MEE is unable to report specific details about the abuse they suffered in order to protect the anonymity of its sources.

The purge, which follows an earlier roundup of Muslim clerics, writers, economists and public figures, is creating panic in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, particularly among those associated with the old regime of King Abdullah, who died in 2015, with power then passing to his half-brother, King Salman.

Many fear the primary purpose of the crackdown is a move by MBS to knock out all rivals both inside and outside the House of Saud before he replaces his 81-year-old father.

On Wednesday night, seven princes were released from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, where they had been held since Saturday. The top royals have been moved to the king’s palace, sources told MEE.

The crown prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who continues be under house arrest, has had his assets frozen, the Reuters news agency reported. Sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz have also been arrested and had their assets frozen.........

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Some of my tweets Nov 5 - 10

America's death bed pipe dreams

Dying empire not giving up on invading and colonizing weak countries.  Now, its evil gaze has fallen on Mid Africa.

Eric Margolis at his blog

`Take up the white man’s burden’
Rudyard Kipling, poet laureate of British imperialism

The British Empire, which at the end of the 19th century ruled one quarter of the earth’s land surface, is long gone.  But its robust successor and heir, the United States, has set about enlarging it.

As I sought to explain in my last book ‘American Raj – How the US Rules the Muslim World,’ the US imperium exerts its power by controlling tame, compliant regimes around the world and their economies.  They are called ‘allies’ but, in fact, should be more accurately termed satrapies or vassal states.  Many states are happy to be prosperous US vassals, others less so.

The US power system has successfully dominated much of the world, except of course for great powers China, Russia and India.  Germany and much of Western Europe remains in thrall to post WWII US power.  The same applies to Canada, Latin America, Australia, and parts of SE Asia.

There is one part of the globe that has remained free from heavy US influence since 1945, sub-Saharan Africa.  But this fact is clearly changing as the US military expands its operations the width and breadth of the Dark Continent.

We are seeing a rerun of the fine old 1930’s film, ‘Beau Geste’ which was taken from a cracking good 1924 Victorian novel by C. Percival Wren.  Set in French North Africa, Wren’s dashing French Legionnaires end up defending a remote fort against masses of hostile Arab and Berber tribesman.

The novel and film negatively shaped western attitudes to the Arab world and its peoples but glorified the French Foreign Legion.  Wren claimed to have been a member of the Legion which was the primary enforcement arm of France’s African colonial empire...........

Corbett talks to Sharmine Narwani on the Mid East fiascos produced and directed by the usual chaos creators

This is a "must watch" analysis on the goings on in the Middle East.

South Korea's Sunshine Policy = South Koreans desire to have peace with their brothers in North Koreans but ...

the USA is hell-bent on preventing that peaceful outcome. The reason being, the USA's lucrative war business which includes the stationing of thousands of US troops in South Korea and the offloading of billions of dollars worth of weapons on an unwilling South Korea held hostage by the mafia bully. Guess what will happen to South Korea if they as much as beg, even on bended knees, that  the US troops on their soil, be reduced by even a few hundred. 

The only reason USA remains afloat today is due to wars which bring death and destruction in every corner of Planet Earth.

Tim Shorrock and Seth Ackerman at GlobalResearch
South Korea’s Sunshine Policy: 
80 Percent of South Koreans Support Peace and North-South Engagement
For South Koreans, the biggest threat to peace isn't North Korea but the United States.

With Donald Trump scheduled to address the South Korean parliament today, Jacobin’s Seth Ackerman spoke to Tim Shorrock, a veteran journalist who’s covered the Koreas for decades.

Shorrock describes how a vibrant South Korean left with roots in the labor and democracy movements of the 1980s is coping with the latest security threat in the White House. Despite a conservative military establishment with deep ties to the US security state, South Koreans are seeking dialogue with the North.

Seth Ackerman: Everyone focuses on Trump’s bluster on North Korea, but less attention is paid to how things are seen south of the demilitarized zone. What’s the mood in South Korea these days?

Tim Shorrock: According to one poll, 80 percent of South Koreans support South-North engagement: direct negotiations, talks on military issues, and family visitations. There’s enormous support for the kinds of cultural and economic exchanges that existed during the years of the “sunshine policy” of 1998 to 2008. They want peace with North Korea. That was the platform that Moon Jae-in, the current president, was elected on this spring.

South Koreans are more afraid of what Trump might do than what Kim Jong-un will do. They’re worried about a war between the US and North Korea that would spill over into South Korea.

For example, there were reports over the summer that Trump was considering a unilateral preemptive strike to take out two or three dozen missile sites in North Korea. That was very alarming to Moon Jae-in’s government.

The night that story came out, Moon’s national security advisor asked for a meeting with H. R. McMaster, his counterpart in the White House. They put out a statement the next day that the US will not act unilaterally and will consult closely with South Korea on any action. That was a sign of how much concern there is within the South Korean government.

A similar pledge was made just before Trump arrived in Seoul for his state visit.

SA: What’s Moon’s background?

TS: Moon was an activist who came out of the progressive democratic movement — a labor lawyer in Busan who was arrested at least twice during the period of military dictatorship. His political roots are in the democratic and opposition movement from the period before democratization..........

Cartoons from around the world on Trump



More cartoons from around the world  on Trump

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When a black Brit travelled from Maine to the inner parts of America

British journalist travels through the "whitest" part of the USA to the "darkest" reaches of it .... in more ways than one.  He gets to meet the racist Spencer as you can see from the vid embedded below. 

Gary Younge at InformationClearingHouse
My Travels in White America – a Land of Anxiety, Division and Pockets of Pain

This summer, Gary Younge took a trip from Maine to Mississippi to find out what has brought the US to this point. From the forgotten poor to desperate addicts, their whiteness is all some of them have left – and that makes fertile ground for the far right

Jeff Baxter’s enduring memory, from childhood, is the glow. Coming down over the hill overlooking the coke plant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the molten iron would make itself known – both as a vision and an aspiration. “It’s like the sun landed there,” says Baxter, a burly, bearded retiree, who achieved his boyhood dream of becoming a steelworker.

Today, the plant, like the one Baxter worked in for 30 years, stands derelict – a shell that represents a hollowing out not just of the local economy but of culture and hope – as though someone extinguished Baxter’s sun and left the place in darkness. Buildings in the centre of town that were once testament to the industrial wealth produced here stand abandoned. More than 40% of the population now live below the poverty line; 9.1% are unemployed.

Cambria County, where Johnstown sits, was once a swing county. Al Gore won it in 2000; George W Bush took it in 2004; it went to Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 – each time by fairly narrow margins. Last year, Donald Trump won it in a landslide.

Baxter, who once backed Obama, voted for Trump, the first time he had ever voted Republican. “I liked [Obama’s] message of hope, but he didn’t bring any jobs in … Trump said he was going to make America great. And I figured: ‘That’s what we need. We need somebody like that to change it.’”

Over at the century-old Coney Island Lunch, this once-bustling institution famous for its chilli dogs and sundowners is virtually empty. “A lot of people have left town,” explains Peggy, who has been serving at the diner for nine years. “There are no jobs. If you’re going to have a life or a steady income, you know, you need to get out of here, because there’s nothing here. I expect a lot of towns go this way. You know, when the steel mills died and the coal died. It’s sad, it’s very sad.”.....

David "Cop-a-feel" and the 93-year old ex-CIA chief and past President of good old America


Tegan Jones at FAIR
Media Make Excuses for Bush Sr.’s ‘Cop-a-Feel’ Assaults

In the flurry of career-ending sexual assault claims coming out of Hollywood, it may seem natural for the media to overlook a little awkward groping from an aging former president. But there’s something unnerving about the assumptions surrounding the non-coverage of the Bush Sr. “Cop-a-Feel” story.
On their own, the facts are simple enough. Five women have accused President George H.W. Bush of grabbing their behinds and making lewd jokes during staged photo ops over the past few years. In each woman’s account, the former president said something along the lines of, “Do you know who my favorite magician is? David Cop-a-Feel!” while squeezing their rear ends in a sexual way.

After the second accusation came out, the Bush team released a brief fauxpology to anyone who he may have “offended”:

    At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.

The media dutifully reported this canned response, and most outlets took it at face value. None noted that when the press release uses the term “people,” it’s not actually referring to all people. It’s referring to women.

If the 41st president’s arm had fallen “on the lower waist” of a man during a picture, the story would have been told differently. If he had joked about “copping a feel” while cupping a man’s glute, few reporters would entertain the idea that the man was being put “at ease.”.....

What's going on in the numero uno Wahhabi land?

Very informative interview if you want to know what's going on in Saudi Arabia from a Lebanese woman who knows what's what.

More here at Corbett's website  

The carried over madness of the past political insanity of McCarthyism

Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews
Learning to Love McCarthyism

Many American liberals who once denounced McCarthyism as evil are now learning to love the ugly tactic when it can be used to advance the Russia-gate “scandal” and silence dissent.

The New York Times has finally detected some modern-day McCarthyism, but not in the anti-Russia hysteria that the newspaper has fueled for several years amid the smearing of American skeptics as “useful idiots” and the like. No, the Times editors are accusing a Long Island Republican of McCarthyism for linking his Democratic rival to “New York City special interest groups.” As the Times laments, “It’s the old guilt by association.”
Yet, the Times sees no McCarthyism in the frenzy of Russia-bashing and guilt by association for any American who can be linked even indirectly to any Russian who might have some ill-defined links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, in the same edition that expressed editorial outrage over that Long Island political ad’s McCarthyism, the Times ran two front-page articles under the headline: “A Complex Paper Trail: Blurring Kremlin’s Ties to Key U.S. Businesses.”

The two subheads read: “Shipping Firm Links Commerce Chief to Putin ‘Cronies’” and “Millions in Facebook Shares Rooted in Russian Cash.” The latter story, which meshes nicely with the current U.S. political pressure on Facebook and Twitter to get in line behind the New Cold War against Russia, cites investments by Russian Yuri Milner that date back to the start of the decade.

Buried in the story’s “jump” is the acknowledgement that Milner’s “companies sold those holdings several years ago.” But such is the anti-Russia madness gripping the Establishment of Washington and New York that any contact with any Russian constitutes a scandal worthy of front-page coverage. On Monday, The Washington Post published a page-one article entitled, “9 in Trump’s orbit had contacts with Russians.”

The anti-Russian madness has reached such extremes that even when you say something that’s obviously true – but that RT, the Russian television network, also reported – you are attacked for spreading “Russian propaganda.”.........

James Corbett talks to Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett on the lies spewed by MSM about Syria

More at the website here.

How the rich in Hollywood wield their power over dreamers who want to make it big in movies

If you read Ronan Farrow's (Mia Farrow's jounalist son) two articles below, you will be able to gauge how much power and privilege the rich and powerful have over the small fry around them who are like fish caught in a net and scaled alive for the rich folks' supers.

Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies

The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.
In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that
Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

In some cases, the investigative effort was run through Weinstein’s lawyers, including David Boies, a celebrated attorney who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential-election dispute and argued for marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Boies personally signed the contract directing Black Cube to attempt to uncover information that would stop the publication of a Times story about Weinstein’s abuses, while his firm was also representing the Times, including in a libel case..........

Weighing the Costs of Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein
Annabella Sciorra, Daryl Hannah, and other women explain their struggles with going public.
In March, Annabella Sciorra, who received an Emmy nomination for her role in “The Sopranos,” agreed to talk with me for a story I was reporting about Harvey Weinstein. Speaking by phone, I explained that two sources had told me that she had a serious allegation regarding the producer. Sciorra, however, told me that Weinstein had never done anything inappropriate. Perhaps she just wasn’t his type, she said, with an air of what seemed to be studied nonchalance. But, two weeks ago, after The New Yorker published the story, in which thirteen women accused Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment, Sciorra called me. The truth, she said, was that she had been struggling to speak about Weinstein for more than twenty years. She was still living in fear of him, and slept with a baseball bat by her bed. Weinstein, she told me, had violently raped her in the early nineteen-nineties, and, over the next several years, sexually harassed her repeatedly.

“I was so scared. I was looking out the window of my living room, and I faced the water of the East River,” she said, recalling our initial conversation. “I really wanted to tell you. I was like, ‘This is the moment you’ve been waiting for your ...

Empire Files: Trump Expands Police-State Crackdown on the Left

Civil Liberties fast disappearing in good old America

The truth of that is becoming all too clear to people who care deeply about freedom.

Chris Hedges at TruthDig
Our Ever-Deadlier Police State

None of the reforms, increased training, diversity programs, community outreach and gimmicks such as body cameras have blunted America’s deadly police assault, especially against poor people of color. Police forces in the United States—which, according to The Washington Post, have fatally shot 782 people this year—are unaccountable, militarized monstrosities that spread fear and terror in poor communities. By comparison, police in England and Wales killed 62 people in the 27 years between the start of 1990 and the end of 2016.

Police officers have become rogue predators in impoverished communities. Under U.S. forfeiture laws, police indiscriminately seize money, real estate, automobiles and other assets. In many cities, traffic, parking and other fines are little more than legalized extortion that funds local government and turns jails into debtor prisons.

Because of a failed court system, millions of young men and women are railroaded into prison, many for nonviolent offenses. SWAT teams with military weapons burst into homes often under warrants for nonviolent offenses, sometimes shooting those inside. Trigger-happy cops pump multiple rounds into the backs of unarmed men and women and are rarely .........

Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen: Children on the brink of starvation ... while 99.99% of the world watches without a care

From Unreported World