by Tom Engelhardt
ere’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer
: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about
the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.
For our own safety, of course. That goes without saying.
All of this offers a new definition of democracy in which we, the people, are to know only what the national security state cares to tell us. Under this system, ignorance is the necessary, legally enforced prerequisite for feeling protected. In this sense, it is telling that the only crime
for which those inside the national security state can be held accountable in post-9/11 Washington is not potential perjury
before Congress, or the destruction
of evidence of a crime, or torture
, or kidnapping
, or assassination
, or the deaths
of prisoners in an extralegal prison system, but whistleblowing
; that is, telling the American people something about what their government is actually doing. And that crime, and only that crime, has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law (and beyond) with a vigor unmatched
in American history. To offer a single example, the only American to go to jail for the CIA’s Bush-era torture program was John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower
who revealed the name of an agent involved in the program to a reporter.
Created on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 04:17
Written by Press Release
Supreme Court of Canada should not impose additional hurdles for Indigenous peoples harmed by transnational corporations trying to access justice
by MiningWatch Canada
MiningWatch joins the case against Chevron's Ecuadorian operations, now before the Supreme Court of Canada. Not because we're now taking on Big Oil as well as Big Mining, but because it's an opportunity to dismantle some of the key principles of corporate impunity in Canada.
n Friday, the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law (IHRP), MiningWatch Canada (MiningWatch) and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) filed their factum with the Supreme Court of Canada in Yaiguaje et al. v. Chevron. The joint interveners provided the Court with submissions on the proper interpretation of private international law and corporate law principles in light of the international law obligation to provide effective remedies for human rights violations.
The Lago Agrio litigation is a decades-long struggle between Chevron and Amazonian indigenous peoples from Ecuador who are seeking compensation for extensive pollution of the Amazon Rainforest between 1972 and 1990. In February 2011, after years of litigation in Ecuador, an Ecuadorian court found Chevron liable in the amount of US$18 billion. The award was subsequently reduced to $9.51 billion on appeal. This award is now final for the purposes of Ecuadorian law. Chevron has wound up all of its Ecuadorian operations such that the plaintiffs have not been able to collect.
In 2013, the plaintiffs filed a claim in Ontario seeking to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment against the assets of Chevron Corporation and Chevron Canada.
Created on Sunday, 19 October 2014 02:07
Written by Creative Commons
What Happens When You Talk With Americans About Drone Murders
by Joy First
- World Beyond WarMount Horeb, Wisc. - B
onnie Block, Jim Murphy, Lars and Patty Prip, Mary Beth Schlagheck, and I were at Rest Area 10 along I- 90/94, about 5 miles south of Mauston, from 10:00 am – noon on Thursday October 9, 2014.
We had a model drone and a stack of flyers “6 Things You Should Know About Drones” to help us in reaching the public and so they can learn more about what is going on just up the road at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.
We were there in solidarity with others around the country as part of “Keep Space for Peace Week” and global days of actions against drones sponsored by Code Pink, Know Drones, and other groups.
Created on Sunday, 19 October 2014 02:01
Written by Robert Parry
WPost’s Slimy Assault on Gary Webb
by Robert Parry
- Consortium News
eff Leen, the Washington Post’s assistant managing editor for investigations, begins his renewed attack
on the late Gary Webb’s Contra-cocaine reporting with a falsehood. Leen insists that there is a journalism dictum that “an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.”
But Leen must know that it is not true. Many extraordinary claims, such as assertions in 2002-03 that Iraq was hiding arsenals of WMDs, were published as flat-fact without “extraordinary proof” or any real evidence at all, including by Leen’s colleagues at the Washington Post.
Journalist Gary Webb
A different rule actually governs American journalism – that journalists need “extraordinary proof” if a story puts the U.S. government or an “ally” in a negative light but pretty much anything goes when criticizing an “enemy.”
If, for instance, the Post wanted to accuse the Syrian government of killing civilians with Sarin gas or blame Russian-backed rebels for the shoot-down of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, any scraps of proof – no matter how dubious – would be good enough (as was the actual case in 2013 and 2014, respectively).
However, if new evidence undercut those suspicions and shifted the blame to people on “the U.S. side” – say, the Syrian rebels
and the Ukrainian government
– then the standards of proof suddenly skyrocket beyond reach. So what you get is not “responsible” journalism – as Leen tries to suggest – but hypocrisy and propaganda. One set of rules for the goose and another set for the gander.
Created on Saturday, 18 October 2014 03:14
Written by William Blum
The Islamist State
by William Blum
– The Anti-Empire Report #133
ou can’t believe a word the United States or its mainstream media say about the current conflict involving The Islamic State (ISIS).
You can’t believe a word France or the United Kingdom say about ISIS.
You can’t believe a word Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, or the United Arab Emirates say about ISIS. Can you say for sure which side of the conflict any of these mideast countries actually finances, arms, or trains, if in fact it’s only one side? Why do they allow their angry young men to join Islamic extremists?
Why has NATO-member Turkey allowed so many Islamic extremists to cross into Syria? Is Turkey more concerned with wiping out the Islamic State or the Kurds under siege by ISIS? Are these countries, or the Western powers, more concerned with overthrowing ISIS or overthrowing the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad?
You can’t believe the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels. You can’t even believe that they are moderate. They have their hands in everything, and everyone has their hands in them.
Read more: Now and Then: You Can't Believe a Word They Say
Created on Saturday, 18 October 2014 03:01
Written by Robert Parry
The Neocons — Masters of Chaos
by Robert Parry
- Consortium NewsI
f you’re nervously watching the stock market gyrations and worrying about your declining portfolio or pension fund, part of the blame should go to America’s neocons who continue to be masters of chaos, endangering the world’s economy by instigating geopolitical confrontations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Of course, there are other factors pushing Europe’s economy to the brink of a triple-dip recession and threatening to stop America’s fragile recovery, too. But the neocons’ “regime change” strategies, which have unleashed violence and confrontations across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and most recently Ukraine, have added to the economic uncertainty. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)
Read more: Tripping the Chaos Switch: The Neocons that Remained
Created on Friday, 17 October 2014 05:08
Written by Creative Commons
Warriors burn bridge, demand mining company behind Mount Polley toxic spill leave territory
by APTN National NewsA
n Indigenous resistance group under the name of Secwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors burned a bridge connected to a proposed British Columbia zinc and lead mine owned by the mining company now trying to clean up the Mount Polley environmental disaster, APTN National News has independently confirmed.
Ts’ka7 Warriors issued a statement Wednesday taking responsibility for torching a bridge at the Ruddock Creek Mine operation, of which Imperial Metals is the majority owner.
“Ts’ka7 Warriors burn down Imperial Metals Ruddock Creek Mine Bridge,” said the statement.
“With much discussion with Elders councils and around sacred fires and ceremonies, the Secwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors have acted out their collective responsibility and jurisdiction to and in the Ts’ka7 area by deactivating the Imperial Metals Ruddock Creek mine road.”
APTN National News has independently confirmed the bridge burning, but the extent of the damage remains unclear.
Read more: Burnt Bridge Eviction: First Nations Give Mt. Polley Polluters the Boot
Created on Friday, 17 October 2014 05:03
Written by Thomas C. Mountain
The US and Regime Change in South Sudan
by Thomas C. Mountain
It is no longer a secret that the USA is attempting to carry out regime change in South Sudan. Why? It’s because South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is determined to continue supporting Chinese oil production in his country, China’s only majority owned energy project in Africa.
The USA managed to get the Chinese oil fields shut down a couple years back by promising to provide upwards of $200 million a month in “aid” during the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan over pipeline transit fees if the oil fields were closed.
When the oil shipments were subsequently stopped and the aid money failed to materialize, President Kiir, to avoid complete bankruptcy, for his only independent income is from oil revenue, went hat in hand to Beijing and a $8 billion Chinese rescue package was the result. The Chinese oil fields reopened amidst the gnashing of teeth by Pax Americana and regime change became the USA’s solution to this vexation.