by Chris Hedges
n Thursday the former National Security Agency official and whistle-blower William E. Binney
and I will debate Stewart A. Baker
, a former general counsel for the NSA, P.J. Crowley
, a former State Department spokesman, and the media pundit Jeffrey Toobin
. The debate, at Oxford University, will center on whether Edward Snowden’s leaks helped or harmed the public good.
The proposition asks: “Is Edward Snowden a Hero?” But, on a deeper level, the debate will revolve around our nation’s loss of liberty.
The government officials who, along with their courtiers in the press, castigate Snowden insist that congressional and judicial oversight, the right to privacy, the rule of law, freedom of the press and the right to express dissent remain inviolate. They use the old words and the old phrases, old laws and old constitutional guarantees to give our corporate totalitarianism a democratic veneer. They insist that the system works. They tell us we are still protected by the Fourth Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Yet the promise of that sentence in the Bill of Rights is pitted against the fact that every telephone call we make, every email or text we send or receive, every website we visit and many of our travels are tracked, recorded and stored in government computers.
Created on Monday, 17 February 2014 19:53
Written by William A. Cook
The Do Nothing Peace Machine
by William A. Cook
n 2010 I edited The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, a collection of articles by world renowned writers who unveil the genocide taking place in Palestine by the occupying power in this “advanced” civilization of 2014, a slow water torture of constant humiliation, destruction and death as the world watches and nothing is done to bring justice to the people of Palestine.
In that text, Dr. Jeff Halper details the quest for “peace” that has been crippled by the state of Israel, the intentional, calculated and indifferent response to the conditions facing the Palestinian people every day.
He offers this reality:
"Israel’s strategy until today is to bypass and encircle them, making deals with governments that isolate and, unsuccessfully so far, neutralize the Palestinians as players. This was most tellingly shown in the Madrid peace talks, when Israel only allowed Palestinian participation as part of the Jordanian delegation. But it includes the Oslo “peace process” as well. While Israel insisted on a letter from Arafat explicitly recognizing Israel as a “legitimate construct” in the Middle East, and later demanded a specific statement recognizing Israel as a Jewish state (both of which it got), no Israeli government ever recognized the collective rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Rabin was forthright as to the reason: If Israel recognizes the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, it means that a Palestinian state must by definition emerge – and Israel did not want to promise that.4 So except for vague pronouncements about not wanting to rule over another people and “our hand outstretched in peace,” Israel has never allowed the framework for genuine negotiations. The Palestinians must be taken into account, they may be asked to react to one or another of our proposals, but they are certainly not equal partners with claims to the country rivaling ours." (“The Problem with Israel,” Jeff Halper, 2007).
Seven years ago, November 22, 2007, I wrote an article about George W. Bush’s plan to bring peace to the mid-east, a plan that used the city of Annapolis as its label with Condoleeza Rice acting as emissary from the American government meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials. That article tracked the reality of the failed peace process from before the Mandate to 2007. It is now 2014 and there is no peace—but there is once again a “peace” initiative under way, an initiative every American President seems obliged to give lip service to knowing beforehand no peace will be affected. Why? Why go through a process all know will not result in peace? Why exercise an illusion? For whose benefit? To what end?
Resting on my bookshelf is a cunning little device, an object I’ve had in my office for decades, a curiosity piece that grabs the attention of children and adults, a strange unfamiliar gadget that appears to have a purpose since it has a handle, two gears fastened to small rounded cylinders that crisscross each other as one turns the handle, it’s called a do-nothing machine. Someone conceptualized it and someone created it and someone turns that handle to do nothing. Why? Why go through a process all know will not accomplish anything? Why spend time on an illusion? For whose benefit? To what end?
Read more: Pretenders to Peace: The Truth Behind Israel
Created on Sunday, 16 February 2014 15:34
Written by Chris Cook
This Week on GR
hough we here in the Garden City have become well-used to spending February counting daffodil blooms, (and gleefully rubbing that pursuit in the faces of Canada's still winter-bound eastern denizens) the weather outside in Victoria lately is pretty frightful. But, looking around the World, we can still count ourselves lucky.
A hundred years' flood in Britain, an unprecedented number of snow and ice storms along the eastern seaboard, and what is shaping up to perhaps be a millennial drought in California and other parts of America's South West must finally confirm to even the most obdurate Climate Change deniers: the times they are truly a-changin'. Right?
Dave Lindorff is an award-winning investigative reporter, long-time muckraker, and founder of the online news site, ThisCan'tBeHappening.net
. Listen. Hear.
Dave's writing regularly appears online at Counterpunch.org and has also appeared in mainstream interests like BusinessWeek, the Nation, Extra! and Rolling Stone magazine. Lindorff is author of the books, 'This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy,' 'Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains,' 'Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal,' and co-authored with Barbara Olshansky 'The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush
Dave Lindorff is now collaborating with one of America's preeminent online investigative journalism sites, WhoWhatWhy
, the latest fruits of that collaboration being a three-part series on Climate Change
Dave Lindorff in the first half.
And; last week, Canada's Supreme Court "dismissed with costs" Don Staniford et al's
leave for appeal of the BC Court of Appeal decision in their defense against Mainstream Canada (a division of EWOS Canada Limited.
Don Staniford is the award winning author and environmental campaigner who has taken on Norway's fish farm industry, and led a boisterous on-line crusade against its subsidiaries here in British Columbia. Staniford is a recipient of the Roderick Haig Brown regional prize for co-authoring, with Alexandra Morton and Stephen Hume, 'A Stain Upon the Sea,' and won too the British Environmental Media Award in 2002. He's founder of the websites, Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, or GAAIA and SalmonFarmingKills.com.
Don Staniford and something smelling rotten in Canada's highest courts in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft
will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around Victoria, and beyond. But first, Dave Lindorff and sometimes needing a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
Read more: Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Lindorff, Don Staniford, Janine Bandcroft Feb 17, 2014
Created on Sunday, 16 February 2014 12:45
Written by Dave Lindorff
The Shape-Shifting Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry is a man of many convictions--many of them in open conflict with one another. Recall that back in 2004, while trying to unseat President George W. Bush, he famously told students at Marshall University who wanted to know his stand on the US invasion of Iraq, that he “actually did vote for” a bill funding the war “before I voted against it.”
Now he’s doing the same thing on climate change, trying to say he’s both in favor of taking actions to prevent or slow the earth’s rapid warming, while he’s also in favor of actions that will make the crisis much worse.
Specifically, Kerry just warned a group of students in Indonesia
 that climate change could threaten their “entire way of life” and also warned that “big companies and special interests” should not be allowed to “hijack” the climate debate.
This was just days after word that his own State Department did exactly that, allowing oil industry lobbyists to micro-manage an environmental impact study for his State Department of the Keystone XL pipeline that Canada wants to build to bring tar sands oil slurry down from northern Alberta for sale to the US.
That industry-corrupted “study” concluded that if the US approved the controversial pipeline, it would be “unlikely to alter” the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere, because the tar sands would be developed whether a pipeline to the US was approved or not
Created on Saturday, 15 February 2014 17:46
Written by Steve Breyman
Avoiding Unpleasant Truths with David Brooks
by Steve Breyman
e all know people who prefer cozier psychic climes to those offered up by reality. They’re ubiquitous, the place is lousy with them. They constitute what might be a solid (if hardly silent) majority in the United States today. Folks incapable of entertaining mental states much north of Miami. The insufferably faux cheery manager. The always look-on-the-bright-side friend. The ‘bad news’ avoider. These people likely even include ourselves from time to time.
Who doesn’t want to “stay calm and carry on,” or “don’t worry, be happy”? What sane person prefers sour or angry moods to the buoyant? But the preference for Zen over Zinn doesn’t change reality; it makes reality harder to change. And it’s plain irresponsible or downright dishonest to substitute counterfeit preoccupations for unflinching analysis.
It’s not just Fox News. New York Times columnist David Brooks has made a career of helping conservatives avoid uncomfortable truths. Brooks is of course not as bad as Roger Ailes’ mad stable of professional prevaricators, but he has a more prestigious perch.
Created on Saturday, 15 February 2014 13:09
Written by Paul Craig Roberts
Russia Under Attack
by Paul Craig Roberts
- Information Clearing House I
n a number of my articles I have explained that the Soviet Union served as a constraint on US power. The Soviet collapse unleashed the neoconservative drive for US world hegemony. Russia under Putin, China, and Iran are the only constraints on the neoconservative agenda.
Russia’s nuclear missiles and military technology make Russia the strongest military obstacle to US hegemony. To neutralize Russia, Washington broke the Reagan-Gorbachev agreements and expanded NATO into former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire and now intends to bring former constituent parts of Russia herself--Georgia and Ukraine--into NATO. Washington withdrew from the treaty that banned anti-ballistic missiles and has established anti-ballistic missile bases on Russia’s frontier. Washington changed its nuclear war doctrine to permit nuclear first strike.
All of this is aimed at degrading Russia’s deterrent, thereby reducing the ability of Russia to resist Washington’s will.
Read more: Getting Behind the Anti-Russia Media Campaign