Another red line crossed? As AP reports, Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations – “U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything.” The White House is not happy – in unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line. Continue reading »
Former members of 9/11 Commission last week leveraged the 10th anniversary of their report to announce a dozen recommendations that primarily fan fears of foreign terrorism.
The former commissioners urged at a July 22 forum strong spending on counter-terrorism intelligence and far fewer congressional oversight committees.
News coverage of the forum avoided mysteries and ongoing disputes. Dissenters like former National Security Council counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke were long gone and out of sight. Continue reading »
Over 50 Libyan fighters died in exchanges over Tripoli’s airport during the weekend in one of the worst outbreaks of violence since Gaddafi’s ouster. With state authority on the verge of collapse, France and Britain have ordered citizens to evacuate.
One hundred people have died in the battle for the airport, with 400 others believed to be wounded, the country’s health ministry announced. Continue reading »
In a landmark gun control case, a federal judge in Washington DC has overturned the city’s total ban on carrying handguns outside the home, saying it is unconstitutional.
“There is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,” Judge Frederick Scullin said. Continue reading »
Government and private entities are working to shred privacy and warehouse personal, relationship, and communications data. Once unimaginable surveillance technologies are being perfected and implemented. The most intimate details of lives are routinely and unthinkingly surrendered to data-gatherers. Is it still possible to be an anonymous whistleblower? Is it still possible to be anonymous at all? Your physical location and activities for the past ten years are known and have been logged. If you attend a church or synagogue or mosque or a demonstration or visit an abortion clinic or a “known criminal activity location” or meet with a “targeted person” or a disliked political activist, it is routinely recorded. Your finances, sexual orientation, religion, politics, habits, hobbies, and information on your friends and family are gathered, indexed, and analyzed. Facial recognition, camera analytics, license plate readers, and advances in biometrics allow you to be de-anonymized and remotely surveilled 24/7/365 by machines. Forensic linguistics, browser and machine fingerprinting, and backdoors substantially eliminate the possibility of anonymous Internet activity. Thanks to “The Internet of Things,” your thermostat and electric meter report when you arrive home and your garbage can reports when you throw out evidence to be collected by the few remaining human agents. “Predictive profiling” even knows what you will do and where you will go in the future, so the data collection bots can be waiting for you. Data collection now begins at birth. And no data gathered will ever be thrown away. And none of the data gathered belongs to you or will be under your control ever again. An internationally-known private investigator and longtime HOPE speaker, Steve will describe in frightening detail how the last shreds of everyone’s anonymity are being ripped away. Real world examples will be used. Surprises can be expected.
… You don’t sit down and draft this stuff up when everything is just ducky. You do it when you know or believe: If this shite hits the fan – its gonna get a whole lot worse even faster. Continue reading »
A week after Russia revealed photos of Ukraine deploying Buk missiles in the east as well as radar proof of Ukraine warplanes in the vicinity of MH-17, the US has yet to present any of the incontrovertible evidence supposedly in its possession that proves it was the separatists who shot down the plane, a narrative which has already propagated through western media. Instead, several hours ago the US. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released satellite images taken by the private civilian company Digital Globe (and thus not government sourced), which US officials say offer proof that Russian forces have been shelling eastern Ukraine in a campaign to assist rebel groups fighting Ukraine’s government in Kiev. …
Much has been said in the popular press about Italy’s surprising economic recovery (which based on recent data is starting to lose steam), as well as its much improved fiscal picture (even if the country’s public debt hits record highs quarter after quarter and the bad debt within its banking system just rose by 24% from the prior year, to €169 billion the highest since 1998). Little has been said about just how Italy managed to pull this economic miracle off. The answer: robbing private suppliers to pay Paul, or rather, the public sector.
According to Reuters, the Italian state owes some 75 billion euros ($102 billion)to private suppliers, as reported by the Bank of Italy. The unpaid bills have starved companies of cash and triggered layoffs, factory closures and bankruptcies.
“Only a Fool Wouldn’t Know that Our Relationship with Israel Causes Us War with Muslims”
In the classic 6th Century B.C. Chinese military strategy treatise – The Art of War -the brilliant military commander Sun Tzu wrote:
It is said that if youknow your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
“By Falsely Associating Itself with Judaism, Zionism Uses Jews Everywhere as Human Shields”
The Nation debunks the claim that Palestinians are using civilians as “human shields”
This is arguably one of Israel’s most insidious claims, because it blames Palestinians for their own death and deprives them of even their victimhood. Israel made the same argument in its war against Lebanon in 2006 and in its war against Palestinians in 2008. Notwithstanding its military cartoon sketches, Israel has yet to prove that Hamas has used civilian infrastructure to store military weapons. The two cases where Hamas indeed stored weapons in UNRWA schools, the schools were empty. UNRWA discovered the rockets and publicly condemned the violation of its sanctity.
International human rights organizations that have investigated these claims have determined that they are not true. It attributed the high death toll in Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks. Human Rights Watch notes: Continue reading »
It is not an exaggeration to say Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive, authoritarian regimes on the planet. Despite having been the main foreign instigator pushing for conflict in Syria, as well as its increasingly disturbing ties to the attacks on 9/11, it remains one of the U.S. government’s closest allies.
I’ve covered some of the human rights abuses of the Saudi regime on several occasions due to the fact that it so clearly exposes the total hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. The most recent example was the recent sentencing of human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion,” i.e., effectively utilizing free speech. I covered this in detail in the post: Saudi Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Jailed for 15 Years for Free Speech Under New “Anti-Terror” Law.
Thanks to revelations from Edward Snowden, we now know that our taxpayer money is directly funding the ability of this autocratic regime to brutalize its citizenry.
Shortly after our report yesterday that the Liberian man suspected of carrying the Ebola virus has died while quarantined in Nigeria, the local health ministry confirmed that he was indeed the first confirmed Ebola death in the Nigerian city of Lagos, which with a population of roughly 20 million, is the largest city in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. The victim, who worked for the Liberian government, collapsed at Lagos international airport after arriving on a flight from Monrovia via the Togolese capital Lome on Tuesday, according to the Nigerian government. And now the “red alert” scramble begins in Nigeria, with a population fo 170 million, to isolate who else the deceased may have come in contact with. And while borders have not yet been closed, health specialists have been deployed to all sea ports and international airports to identify any passengers displaying symptoms associated with Ebola.
If my fellow Americans understood the history of Israel and Palestine, their views would change overnight … and they would demand that Israel no longer be given unconditional support and blank checks to do whatever they want: Continue reading »
The middle east is burning again: first it was the fascinating ascent of the brutal Al-Qaeda spinoff ISIS, creating its own Caliphate in northern Iraq and in the process taking over a third of Syrian territory as well as all of its oil infrastructure. Then, the latest iteration of the Israel vs Gaza conflict has now claimed over 1000 lives and is dragging virtually all neighboring countries into it as well. And the cherry on top is that the Libyan “liberation” by the US has just gone full circle, as the country is is now witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since Gadhafi’s ouster. End result: nearly two years after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, moments ago the US once again shuttered its embassy in Libya, this time in Tripoli, evacuating more than 150 Americans to Tunisia. This is happening just 24 hours after the US Secretary of State was literally next door in Egypt, assuring the region that peace and stability are just around the corner.
The US embassy in Libya has shut down and all diplomatic staff have been evacuated to neighboring Tunisia by military escort because of ongoing clashes and violence between rival militias sweeping the country.
Some 150 personnel including 80 Marines were moved across the border “due to the ongoing violence”, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf tweeted.
Washington has claimed that Moscow is ‘culpable’ in the Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine, as it was Russian authorities that gave the rebels heavy weapons and training. However, the claim was only backed up by reports in social media.
“We’ve seen that there were heavy weapons moved from Russia to Ukraine, that they have moved into the hands of separatist leaders,”said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “And according to social media reports, those weapons include the SA-11 [Buk missile] system.”
Once again citing “some social media reports,” Earnest added that Russia trained the self-defense forces operating in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Continue reading »