Glenn Greenwald at TheIntercept
The Intercept Is Broadening Access
to the Snowden Archive. Here’s Why
From the time we began reporting on the archive provided to us in Hong Kong by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we sought to fulfill his two principal requests for how the materials should be handled: that they be released in conjunction with careful reporting that puts the documents in context and makes them digestible to the public, and that the welfare and reputations of innocent people be safeguarded. As time has gone on, The Intercept has sought out new ways to get documents from the archive into the hands of the public, consistent with the public interest as originally conceived.
Today, The Intercept is announcing two innovations in how we report on and publish these materials. Both measures are designed to ensure that reporting on the archive continues in as expeditious and informative a manner as possible, in accordance with the agreements we entered into with our source about how these materials would be disclosed, a framework that he, and we, have publicly described on numerous occasions.
The first measure involves the publication of large batches of documents. We are, beginning today, publishing in installments the NSA’s internal SIDtoday newsletters, which span more than a decade beginning after 9/11. We are starting with the oldest SIDtoday articles, from 2003, and working our way through the most recent in our archive, from 2012. Our first release today .........
Want to read some of the docs? Go here.
Daniel McAdams at RonPaulInstitute
Bill Clinton to Poland and Hungary: Do As We
Say on Immigration, You Dirty Little Putins!
...Lately the US (and EU bureaucrats in Brussels) have taken to browbeating Hungary and the rest of the "bad boys" in central Europe like Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic for refusing to accept tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from the countries being bombed by the US (with the assistance of EU bureaucrats in Brussels). Don't make your problem our problem, say the central European leaders.
Who do these pipsqueaks think they are questioning Washington like that, scoff the US power elite. The latest missile fired at central Europe came from former President Bill Clinton, who slammed Poland and Hungary in New Jersey earlier this week over their refusal to obey Brussels and Washington.
Clinton's message was clear: "we liberated you and gave you back your sovereignty - now do as we say!"
Poland and Hungary, two countries that would not be free but for the United States and the long Cold War, have now decided now that this democracy's too much trouble. They want Putin-like leadership. Just give me an authoritarian dictatorship and keep the foreigners out. Sound familiar?
As he did for much of his eight years in office, Clinton got this one horribly wrong. Hungary has not "given up on democracy" when it comes to accepting refugees. In fact, Hungary has embraced more democracy than Clinton and his wife would ever tolerate from voters on the immigration issue. Earlier this month the Hungarian parliament approved a nationwide referendum on whether Hungary should accept the mandatory refugee quotas imposed by Brussels. Democracy enough?......Jason Ditz at Antiwar
Israeli DM Resigns, Warns Extremists Have Taken Over
Ya'alon's Predecessor Warns New Govt Shows 'Signs of Fascism'
A right-wing, relatively hawkish figure by any other nation’s standards, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has found himself increasingly vilified by the rest of the far-right coalition, which has lashed him for repeated calls for the Israeli military to behave in an ethical manner and not kill indiscriminately.....
The pinnacle of hypocrisy: Israeli general calls for tolerance
A few days ago the Israeli army deputy chief of staff gave a speech in which he called on Israeli society to engage in self-reflection because, according to him, the atmosphere in Israel is reminiscent of 1930’s Germany. Then, as people were still scratching their heads in amazement, the Israeli army embarked on yet another ruthless attack on Gaza. Typical of Israeli hypocrisy, this general sees no wrong in being a willing executioner, to borrow from the words of the late Edward Said, serving the Israeli army for thirty-five years. Presumably he was talking about others, perhaps people in Israel who blatantly talk about murdering Palestinian children and mothers without shame. Needless to say, he is not one of those, because he is just following orders, serving his country and all he really ever wanted was peace.
Standing somberly at a Holocaust Day memorial ceremony, major-General Yair Golan bowed his head and read the remarks he prepared for this occasion: “We must uproot the budding of intolerance, violence, and the budding of moral decline.” He must have been asleep when they taught about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that occurred in 1948. Oh, never mind, they do not teach about the ethnic cleansing in Israeli schools, in fact teachers in Israeli schools are forbidden from mentioning the “Nakba” the Palestinian catastrophe. The moral standard held by Israel is at such a low that there is very little from which Israel can decline. There is also no, as the deputy chief of staff called it, “budding of intolerance and violence.” The evidence shows that the flowers of Israeli racism bore fruit long ago, and Israeli state sanctioned murder of civilians has been common practice for the past 68 years. Indeed, having been ripe .....
Chris Hedges at TruthDig
Welcome to 1984
The artifice of corporate totalitarianism has been exposed. The citizens, disgusted by the lies and manipulation, have turned on the political establishment. But the game is not over. Corporate power has within its arsenal potent forms of control. It will use them. As the pretense of democracy is unmasked, the naked fist of state repression takes its place. America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly.
“Our political system is decaying,” said Ralph Nader when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It’s on the way to gangrene. It’s reaching a critical mass of citizen revolt.”
This moment in American history is what Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”—the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place. There is no guarantee that what comes next will be better. But this space, which will close soon, offers citizens the final chance to embrace a new vision and a new direction.
This vision will only be obtained through mass acts of civic mobilization and civil disobedience across the country. Nader, who sees this period in American history as crucial, perhaps the last opportunity to save us from tyranny, is planning to rally the left for three days, from May 23 to May 26 at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in what he is calling “Breaking Through Power” or “Citizen’s Revolutionary Week.” He is bringing to the capital scores of activists and community leaders to speak, organize and attempt to mobilize to halt our slide into despotism.....
Lisa Sullivan at CounterPunch
Greetings from the state of Aragua in Venezuela
where we are concluding a small US delegation focused on grassroots solutions to the massive food crisis here.
I am reaching out to you to share my grave concerns about what is happening here in Venezuela, my home for over three decades where I worked for 21 years as a Maryknoll Catholic lay missioner, then as Latin America Coordinator for the School of the Americas Watch.
It is out of concern for the most vulnerable sectors in Venezuela, such as my neighbors, that I break my silence to write. As I watch their efforts to obtain food for their families become more desperate and more futile, and as I witness pounds dropping from their bodies, I think the time has come to do more than share from my own scarce cupboards and gardens as they share with me.....
....The reaction of the US and other global interests seems clearly based on Venezuela’s enormous oil reserves (the world’s largest). Those interests are circling our nation like vultures, ready to swoop in and devour......
I have spent countless hours leading delegations to Venezuela over the past 12 years to share the enormous advances in education, health care, housing and nutrition that returned dignity to millions of Venezuelans under the Bolivarian revolution. Throughout those years there was an almost total boycott of the international media to acknowledge these advances that led to Venezuela becoming the most equal society in the Americas, to its surge to 5th place worldwide for college enrollment and to building new homes for a fifth of its families.
The achievements of the Bolivarian revolution were real, palpable and inspired a continent. Today our reality is widespread hunger. The current government points to an economic war unleashed by wealthy business owners with international support from the US that has led to hoarding and shortages of food.....
...However, having spent a decade traveling the continent witnessing the horrors unleashed by US- trained Latin American military upon their own people, I want to at least alert you to the possibility of a similar scenario here....
Little Sisters Win:
Supreme Court Tells Lower Courts to Protect Them From HHS Mandate
The Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion today in the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, which have been fighting to not be forced to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.
The Little Sisters of the Poor are asking the nation’s highest court to ensure they do not have to comply with Obamacare’s abortion mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
Without relief, the Little Sisters would face millions of dollars in IRS fines because they cannot comply with the government’s mandate that they give their employees free access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Today’s decision removes all of those threats of possible fines.
“The Court’s decision is a win for the Little Sisters and other groups who needed relief from draconian government fines,” the Becket Fund, the Little Sisters’ attorneys, told LifeNews.
“We are very encouraged by the Court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead Becket attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “It is crucial that the Justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn’t need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious—the Little Sisters respectfully object. There is still work to be done, but today’s decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court.”....
Paul Craig Roberts at his blog
Zionist Israel Hides Its Crimes Behind Its Smears of Truth-Tellers
Several years ago two very distinguished American scholars wrote a book, The Israel Lobby.
The book made a very understated case that the Israel Lobby has far more power over the US government and media than is good for America or Israel, as it silences constructive critics who are Israel’s friends. The two scholars were demonized by the Israel Lobby as advocating the return of the Holocaust.
The Israel Lobby presented itself as just a poor little weak thing unable to stand up to all the Nazis assailing Israel. Meanwhile the US Congress was unanimously passing outrageous resolutions handed to it by the Israel Lobby.
A number of former US Senators and Representatives, including Cynthia McKinney, have publicly stated that they were removed from office by the Israel Lobby for criticizing actions of the Israeli government, such as the Israeli government’s attempt to sink the USS Liberty, in which a majority of the American crew were killed or injured.
Instead of defending the US Navy, the cowardly US government was so scared of Israel that the President of the United States and the Admiral conducting the inquiry, Senator John McCain’s father, rushed to the defense of Israel and covered up the incident.
The coverup has been so successful that few Americans today know that a vessel of the US Navy was decimated by an Israeli air and torpedo boat attack, and Washington did not even file a protest. Really! The US is a “superpower,” and the cowardly government cannot even stand up to Israel?
What do you think will happen to these pussies in Washington when they confront by their carelessness and unjustified arrogance the power of Russia and China?....
Tony Cartalucci at LandDestroyer
When dark deeds unfold, point the finger in this direction
This is your real government; they transcend elected administrations, they permeate every political party, and they are responsible for nearly every aspect of the average American and European's way of life. When the "left" is carrying the torch for two "Neo-Con" wars, starting yet another based on the same lies, peddled by the same media outlets that told of Iraqi WMD's, the world has no choice, beyond profound cognitive dissonance, but to realize something is wrong.
What's wrong is a system completely controlled by a corporate-financier oligarchy with financial, media, and industrial empires that span the globe. If we do not change the fact that we are helplessly dependent on these corporations that regulate every aspect of our nation politically, and every aspect of our lives personally, nothing else will ever change.
The following list, however extensive, is by far not all-inclusive. However after these examples, a pattern should become self-evident with the same names and corporations being listed again and again. It should be self-evident to readers of how dangerously pervasive these corporations have become in our daily lives. Finally, it should be self-evident as to how necessary it is to excise these corporations from our lives, our communities, and ultimately our nations, with the utmost expediency....
Really heartbreaking. My blood pressure jumped beyond where it usually does when I hear about gross injustice. UK social services and the legal system are stealing children from parents and putting them in foster homes or giving them up for adoption to the tune of approx. 25,000 kids annually. It has become big business in the UK. I wonder if the same evil is happening in Canada and the US. Nothing surprises me anymore.
This particular show has touched a lot of people who have listened to it as can be seen from the comments to the vid on YouTube.
AMY GOODMAN: What about what’s happening
right now in Brazil, where protests are continuing over the Legislature’s vote to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial? Now El Salvador has refused to recognize the new Brazilian government. The Brazilian—the Salvadoran president, Cerén, said Rousseff’s ouster had, quote, "the appearance of a coup d’état." What’s happening there? And what about the difference between—it looked like perhaps Bush saved Latin America simply by not focusing on it, totally wrapped up in Iraq and Afghanistan. It looks like the Obama administration is paying a bit more attention.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I don’t think it’s just a matter of not paying attention. Latin America has, to a significant extent, liberated itself from foreign—meaning mostly U.S.—domination in the past 10 or 15 years. That’s a dramatic development in world affairs. It’s the first time in 500 years. It’s a big change. So the so-called lack of attention is partly the fact that the U.S. is kind of being driven out of the hemisphere, less that it can do. It used to be able to overthrow governments, carry out coups at will and so on. It tries. There have been three—maybe it depends how you count them—coups, coup attempts this century. One in Venezuela in 2002 succeeded for a couple of days, backed by the U.S., overthrown by popular reaction. A second in Haiti, 2004, succeeded. The U.S. and France—Canada helped—kidnapped the president, sent him off to Central Africa, won’t permit his party to run in elections. That was a successful coup. Honduras, under Obama, there was a military coup, overthrew a reformist presidentThe United States was almost alone in pretty much legitimizing the coup, you know, claiming that the elections under the coup regime were legitimate. Honduras, always a very poor, repressed society, became a total horror chamber. Huge flow of refugees, we throw them back in the border, back to the violence, which we helped create. Paraguay, there was a kind of a semi-coup. What’s happening—also to get rid of a progressive priest who was running the country .....
Wayne Madsen at StrategicCulture
South China Sea Hypocrisy:
Washington's Imperialistic Hold on Tiny Islands
While the Pentagon and US State Department continue to issue forth missives and warnings to China about it activities in staking territorial claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea, Washington has its own sordid history of retaining control of islands claimed by other nations.
Navassa Island is a small 5.2 square kilometer outcropping in the Caribbean Sea between Haiti and Cuba. In 1857, US President James Buchanan unilaterally annexed the island to the United States. Before the American Civil War, the island had previously been the virtual private domain of the Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore, which sent African-American contract workers (the American Union’s quaint term for slaves) to Navassa where they worked to mine phosphate-rich guano. In 1889, the workers rebelled against their horrible working conditions and killed five of their white bosses.
The US Navy quelled the rebellion and returned eighteen of the workers to stand trial for murder. In 1890, the US Supreme Court ruled the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which provided the legal framework for the annexation of Navassa by the United States, constitutional. The high court also upheld ....
Ryan Dawson at ANCReport
Origins of the Syrian War
By Richard H. Black
Senator of Virginia, 13th District
The Syrian War was never an expression of domestic unrest. From the outset, the Syrian War was a foreign covert action, undertaken by NATO intelligence operatives and Arab dictators. The former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, said that as early as 2009, “Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.” Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker, that President Bush ordered clandestine operations to destabilize Syria in 2007—long before the so-called “Arab Spring.” The Saudi Arabians helped conceal the war plans by providing necessary funding, thus hiding them from public disclosure. Together, the U.S., France, Britain and the radical Gulf dictators mapped out plans to topple the free and popular government of Syria. They prepared the sinister Muslim Brotherhood to instigate violence–and impose regime change on the Syrian people.
In 2011, Syria had greater religious freedom and greater women’s rights than any other Arab nation. President Assad kept peace with all nations. He valued religious freedom and respected every faith. In the midst of the war, in 2013, Christians erected one of the world’s greatest statues of Jesus Christ—a towering statue atop a mountain that is visible from Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Our Arab allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, would have beheaded anyone who tried to do that in their countries. The Saudis are determined to force violent Sharia Law on Syria. They want Syria purged of Christians and other minorities. Toppling the elected government of Damascus would end religious freedom and extinguish women’s rights in Syria forever.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of State and CIA launched its long-standing plan to topple secular governments in the Mideast. The Department of State launched plans for Wahhabists to overthrow Mideast secularists and impose brutal Sharia Law in Syria. NATO Commander Westley Clark disclosed that U.S. plans to overthrow seven countries were revealed to him in 2001. Not one of the targeted nations was involved in the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon or the Twin Towers. WikiLeaks published plans drawn up by the U.S. Embassy in Damascus in 2006, to instigate a revolution to overthrow Syria. In 2011, ten years after General Clark discovered the plans for wars of aggression, covert operatives set in motion their deadly plans for Syria.
In Hama, Syria, the homes of all Christian residents were marked with the “Nazarene” symbol. Upon order, Muslim Brotherhood thugs swarmed from radical mosques and attacked them. In just three days, 70,000 Christians fled to Damascus, seeking President Assad’s protection. The strategy employed by covert operatives and the Brotherhood was identical to that used by Nazis, who.....
Brazil Explodes as Social Movements Fight Temer Coup Government
The removal of elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff — and installation of right-wing vice president and U.S. informant Michel Temer — has led to a sharp outburst of resistance against the interim coup regime.
Pepe Escobar at RonPaulInstitute
Beware What You Wish For: Russia is Ready for War
So foreign ministers from the 28 NATO member-nations met in Brussels for a two-day summit, while mighty military power Montenegro was inducted as a new member.
Global Robocop NATO predictably discussed Afghanistan (a war NATO ignominiously lost); Iraq (a war the Pentagon ignominiously lost); Libya (a nation NATO turned into a failed state devastated by militia hell); Syria (a nation NATO, via Turkey, would love to invade, and is already a militia hell).
Afghans must now rest assured that NATO’s Resolute Support mission – plus “financial support for Afghan forces” – will finally assure the success of Operation Enduring Freedom forever.
Libyans must be reassured, in the words of NATO figurehead secretary Jens Stoltenberg, that we “should stand ready to support the new Government of National Accord in Libya.”
And then there’s the icing on the NATO cake, described as “measures against Russia.”
Stoltenberg duly confirmed, “We have already decided to enhance our forward presence in the eastern part of our alliance. Our military planners have put forward proposals of several battalions in different countries in the region. No decision has been taken on the numbers and locations.”
These puny “several battalions” won’t cause any Russian planner.........
Murad Makhmudov, Noriko Watanabe, and Lee Jay Walker at ModernTokyoTimes
Alawites Massacred in al-Zara by Sunni Takfiris:
Alawites to the grave, Christians to Beirut
Sunni Islamist Takfiris from Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra overran a mainly Alawite village in central Syria several days ago. Since then, reports stress that many Alawite civilians have been butchered. Equally disturbing, many civilians from the village of al-Zara are missing and presumed either dead or kidnapped. Therefore, the death toll is likely to increase given the brutal nature of Sunni Takfiris.
Contrary to the mantra of many Gulf and Western media outlets, this was the aim of Sunni Islamists from day one. After all, the slogan “Alawites to the grave, Christians to Beirut” is the objective of various Sunni Islamist sectarian forces in Syria. Given this reality, the latest brutal attack against mainly Alawite civilians, along with the cleansing of Christians and other minorities throughout Syria, is a continuation of what opposition Sunni Takfiris have been doing since outside nations began to meddle into the internal affairs of this nation.
Associated Press reports “Al-Qaida fighters and other ultraconservative Sunni insurgents seized a predominantly Alawite village in central Syria on Thursday, sparking fears of sectarian violence as families from the village were reported missing by activists.”
Reuters also highlights the grim attack by reporting, “Syrian state television broadcast interviews with men and children who had fled the attack. They said rebels killed women, children and elderly people, slaughtered livestock and destroyed houses as they attacked.”....