The Identity Project and ten other civil liberties and human rights organizations filed comments today with the US Department of Homeland Security objecting to the DHS keeping records of what we say and publish and who we associate with on social media. (See our FAQ: U. S. government monitoring of social media. The DHS isn’t the only Federal agency spying on us on social media. We submitted comments earlier this month on parallel proposals by the Department of State to expand social media monitoring that it began last year over our objections and those of many other organizations and individuals.) The comments from civil liberties and human rights groups were submitted in response to a notice from the DHS last month that ‘Social media handles and aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results’ would be added to DHS ‘Alien Files’. Our comments were co-signed and submitted jointly on behalf of: The Identity Project (IDP) Government Information Watch National Workrights Institute Woodhull Freedom Foundation
Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi is telling all when it comes to placing blame for the nation’s opioid crisis. He says drug distributors pumped opioids into communities in the United States knowing that people were dying and that the US government is helping. Joe Rannazzisi is a tough and blunt former DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) deputy assistant administrator with a law degree, a pharmacy degree, and a growing rage at the unrelenting death toll from opioids. Congress has often been complicit in atrocities, especially when a politician profits off of the removal of the rights of others. So it should not come as a surprise that Rannazzisi is blaming Congress and the drug industry for the opioid epidemic gripping the nation. Rannazzisi ran the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. Now in a joint investigation by 60 Minutesand The Washington Post, Rannazzisi tells the inside story of how, he says, the opioid crisis was allowed to spread. Its quick spread was also aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives.
This post was published at shtfplan on October 16th, 2017.
Statement by Journalist Support Committee The Journalists Support Committee in Yemen, with deep regret, continues to pursue the media blackout imposed by the coalition governments upon Yemen. The coalition has prevented foreign journalists from entering Yemeni grounds, therefore, preventing media coverage of the dire and dangerous conditions in Yemen. The committee notes that the Yemeni authorities -who are led by the internationally recognized president- and the Saudis have consistently restricted journalists from entering Yemen, with excuses that do not match with human rights laws and other international treaties, charters, and conventions or with the preamble of article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Committee draws attention to the coalition preventing cargo planes carrying aid and belonging to the United Nations from reaching Yemen in September because the plane had journalists on board. Ahmad Ibn Al-Aswad, the spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen said: ‘The coalition reckons that it is not possible to assure the safety of the journalists in areas controlled by the rebels’ he then advised them to board commercial flights instead.
Two Federal lawsuits have been filed against the Federal government and officers and agents of the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies for violating air travelers rights by demanding that they identity themselves and/or provide evidence of their identities. The complaint in Amadei v. Duke was filed today by the ACLU in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (the district in which New York’s Kennedy Airport is located) on behalf of nine of the passengers on Delta Airlines Flight 1583 from SFO to JFK on February 22, 2017. As was reported at the time of the incident, visibly-armed U. S. Customs and Border Protection Officers blocked the door of the plane when it arrived at JFK. Passengers were told they wouldn’t be allowed to leave unless and until they showed the officers their ‘documents’, which they were told meant ‘government-issued ID’. CBP officials and spokespeople helped make the legal case against themselves and the agency by telling reporters that this was a ‘routine’ practice consistent with agency policy, not an isolated incident or one that could be blamed on mistake, individual ‘bad apples’, or front-line officers.
Fresh off its humiliating six-year-long debacle in Syria, and with very few viable wars within its grasp, the Pentagon, along with the Israeli Lobby-led US Congress and Senate – are now trying to tighten to noose on Iran. For the last 3 weeks, hawkish Republican Senators have been pressuring President Donald Trump to ‘decertify’ the Iran nuclear deal in October, and to reimpose harsh sanctions – despite the fact that Iran is in full compliance with the international P5+1 brokered nuclear containment agreement. According to the terms of the deal as recognized by Congress, the President must re-certify the deal every 90 days.
On April 30, 1934, under pressure from Italian-American lobby groups, the United States Congress passed a law enshrining Columbus Day as a national holiday. President Franklin Roosevelt quickly signed the bill into law, and the very first Columbus Day was celebrated in October of that year. Undoubtedly people had a different view of the world back then… and a different set of values. Few cared about the plight of the indigenous who were wiped out as a result of European conquest. Even just a few decades ago when I was a kid in elementary school, I remember learning that ‘Columbus discovered America’. There was no discussion of genocide. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore at West Point that I picked up Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States (and then Columbus’s own diaries) and started reading about the mass-extermination of entire tribes.
The White Helmets. Who are they, who created them, and what purpose do they serve in Syria? These questions remain largely unanswered by the governments, corporate media and NATO member-aligned NGOs, including the UN, that have focused their efforts on regime change in Syria for the last seven years. The White Helmets have achieved an almost cult-like status thanks to a diverse, well-oiled and multilaterally-funded support system. Their pictures adorn the front pages of most corporate media sites whenever Syria is mentioned. Their unprecedented success can be attributed to a top-drawer PR campaign – one that has been maintained to the highest standards ever since the White Helmets became the public face of ‘first responders’ in Syria following their establishment in March 2013. Such a publicity coup would not have been possible without some heavyweight organizations working behind the scenes to create a brand that would eclipse all others in Western public perception.
A group of hard-left agitators affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement disrupted a free speech event put on by the American Civil Liberties Union at the College of William & Mary, rushing the stage and preventing the guest from even speaking while chanting Antifa like slogans about how bad the country is and the need to shut down free speech once and for all. The ACLU’s Claire Gastaaga was at the college to speak on the subject of ‘Students and the First Amendment’ but shortly after taking the stage she was overrun with BLM protesters who made it clear they were there to do one thing – shut down free speech completely. As Reason Magazine reported, the disruption was livestreamed and documented a variety of different shocking statements made by the group that paint a clear picture of who the people on the hard-left really are as well as what they seem to be willing to do to achieve their goals. The agitators began to chant ‘ACLU, you protect Hitler too,’ in apparent reference to the ACLU’s continued stance on protecting all Americans right to free speech, including idiot white supremacists. ‘Shame, shame, shame,’ they continued before then making a series of chants that should shock any decent American who supports our system of government. In what could easily be interpreted as meaning that the protesters were willing to break other Americans Constitutional rights as long as it achieved their own goals, the group shouted, ‘the revolution will not uphold the Constitution.’
This post was published at shtfplan on October 6th, 2017.
These are a few observations leading to a hypothesis. First, there is a video, taken at ground level, of a man going from victim to victim lying on the ground at the concert. He is checking their pulses, asking if they’re all right, calling for medical help. Notice the color of the blood on the ground and on the victims. It is a quite bright red. Would real bloodstains on the ground be that color, or would they be darker? Next, there is the matter of how Stephen Paddock, the accused shooter, brought 23 weapons and ammo into the Mandalay Hotel and up to his suite. He was a well-known high-stakes gambler. Hotel personnel surely knew him. They knew he lived in the Vegas area. Yet there he is with a number of suitcases – or over the course of a few days, he appears in the lobby with another suitcase or two each time. These hotels are security-conscious to the max. No suspicion was aroused? And Paddock risked exposure to take weapons he would never use up to his suite? Did Paddock bring in the weapons through another hotel entrance with the help of staff? Was this part of the operation an inside job? Did he actually bring in all these weapons? Or was his hotel suite staged as a prop by others? Was it set up as a showcase for gun-control advocates who, after the fact, would push for new restrictive laws?
Jimmy Kimmel is once again trying to be the moral voice of our country in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. Two weeks ago, Kimmel dedicated his late-night show to stopping GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare. Now, he is using his platform to call for immediate action on guns. In a monologue frequently interrupted by the comedy host being on the brink of tears, Kimmel condemned Republican lawmakers for letting the ‘gun lobby’ take over America. He dismissed their offerings of prayers for the Las Vegas victims and suggested, ‘they should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.’ All of this made for good viral material to influence the current gun debate. Liberals and Democrats are all behind Kimmel’s desire to act immediately on guns – yet, there is no real legislation that would have done a damn thing to stop the deadliest mass shooting in American history. (RELATED: Democrats Immediately Call For Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting) The current focus is stopping a bill that would remove restrictions on gun suppressors, an item the Las Vegas shooter did not use. Noted firearm expert Hillary Clinton has offered the theory that a silencer would have allowed the shooter to kill dozens with no one hearing him, apparently believing that a suppressor makes one of those dreaded assault rifles completely inaudible.
Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Fascist Franco may have been dead for more than four decades, but Spain is still encumbered with his dictatorial corpse. A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union, self-described home/patronizing dispenser of human rights to lesser regions across the planet: ‘In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else.’ Call it democracy nano-Franco style.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.
Yes. Since December 2016, all visitors to the U. S. under the ‘Visa Waiver Program’ (VWP) have been asked to identify the social media IDs they use to the Department of State on the online ESTA form. In several recent notices in the Federal Register, and in official statements in response to questions about those notices, the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that it already searches for and reviews information about individuals from social media.
Why is the U. S. singling out immigrants and visitors for this surveillance? The U. S. government is targeting foreigners first because they are legally more vulnerable. Under U. S. law, foreign visitors and immigrants have often been held to have fewer rights than U. S. citizens. We don’t think this is the way it ought to be, and we don’t think this is even a correct reading of the U. S. Constitution and the human rights treaties that the U. S. has ratified. But this is often the way that courts have ruled. Most acts of terrorism in the U. S., like most crimes of any sort, are committed by U. S. citizens. Most of those criminals are white, and most of them are Christian, not that this should matter either. In practice, the government knows that it is more likely to be able to get away with surveillance of foreigners – on social media or in any other realm – than with surveillance that targets U. S. citizens equally or that focuses on, say, white Christian nationalist sources of terrorism.
Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept exposes the fake news put out by the US Department of Homeland Security (an euphemistic name for a Big Brother operation that spies on US citizens) that Russia hacked 21 US state elections, news that was instantly spread around the world by the presstitute media. The propagandists running Homeland Security were contradicted by the state governments, forcing Homeland Security to retract its fake news claims. The unasked/unanswered question is why did Homeland Security put out a FAKE NEWS story? Greenwald explains that the US media is so conditioned by the National Security State to see Russian President Putin lurking behind and masterminding attacks on America that it is ‘now religious dogma’ – a requirement – to find Russian perfidy everywhere. The result Greenwald correctly says is that ‘an incredibly reckless, anything-goes climate prevails when it comes to claims about Russia. Media outlets will publish literally any official assertion as Truth without the slightest regard for evidentiary standards.’ In other words, the United States no longer has a media. It has a propaganda ministry for the military/security complex, the neoconservatives, and the Israel Lobby. And the idiot Americans sit in front of the TV and absorb the propaganda, and they read the New York Times and think that they are sophisticated and in the know.
The Spanish state police violence have turned against the people showing that they are clearly still a fascist reign supported by troops. Riot officers have been firing rubber bullets at crowds protesting in a Barcelona street, sending people running for cover. Countless are injured. This demonstrates that Spain is not a place for investment and one should be very cautious about even buying a house in Spain after this display of ruthless authoritarianism. The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy has demonstrated he is a fascist and this is EXACTLY the type of person that caused the American Revolution. We should all take pause and read just the first two paragraphs of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. The King sent a whole army to his house to kill him for writing these words. He was warned the army was coming and told to flee into the hills which he did. I fully disagree with Donald Trump for supporting Rajoy. That has been a total disgrace and Trump needs to study history.
Just look around the world and throughout recent history, and you will find a number of compelling cases where western-backed NGOs have been frequently acted as enablers for the military interventions, sanctions and economic blockades that followed. Look at Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iran and Sudan – all were given the ‘human rights’ treatment prior to aggressive western actions. In most cases, claims of human rights violations and exaggerated atrocity reports preceded western action.
Before the Gulf of Tonkin incident was used as an excuse to incite major U. S. involvement in the Vietnam War, the United States was already deploying thousands of troops to Vietnam – and a recently recovered audio recording reveals that the deployments were occurring against the wishes of the president in office. Former President John F. Kennedy was planning for a full withdrawal from Vietnam during his last months in office. His exit strategy is featured on the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary series on Vietnam, in an episode that looks at U. S. involvement in Vietnam from when Kennedy took office in January 1961, to when he was assassinated in November 1963. The episode includes an audio recording from Nov. 4, 1963, in which Kennedy shares his reaction to the military coup d’tat that resulted in the assassination of US-backed, South Vietnam leader Ngo Dinh Diem, and his brother Nhu:
Camille Otrakji Creative Syria – 2015 [Editor’s note: this article was written in 2015] ‘America and France should broaden their outreach to Syrian dissidents, human rights groups, artists, professors – indeed, almost anyone who’s willing to talk with outsiders. They should convey the message that the West is standing with the Syrian people as they move into the future. When Syria is truly ripe for change, these helping hands can ensure a safe passage.’ ~ David Ignatius, a 2005 article titled ‘Careful with Syria’ The ‘America and France’ that Mr. Ignatius called on to motivate Syrians to rebel against their government was actually a group of westerners residing in Damascus: Diplomats, NGO management and staff, resident journalists and professional photographers, students studying Arabic in Damascus. Not all of course, but many. There are three different headings under which countries in the Middle East are classified as far as the United States is concerned; Most valuable allies; Israel and Saudi Arabia Well-behaved allies; Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt (and many more) Pressure/destabilization targets; Syria, and Iran. If Syria’s authoritarian leadership (‘regime’) had an inherent propensity to distrust the intentions of resident foreigners eager to befriend Syrians, their extensive experience with the consequences of such contacts turned their caution into paranoia. They would question or detain anyone who travels to attend private meetings, workshops or conferences without prior arrangements with the Syrian security services. Syrians who frequently visited foreign embassies in Damascus (4thof July events, dinners at Ambassador’s house …etc.) were never trusted again.
The cities of San Francisco and Oakland have filed lawsuits against Chevron, Exxon, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell for the effect of their activities on climate change: higher sea levels. The cities seek billions in damages to counteract the effects of the changing climate. Reuters quoted San Francisco officials as saying that the five oil companies ‘knowingly and recklessly created an ongoing public nuisance that is causing harm now and in the future risks catastrophic harm to human life and property.’ The companies themselves were restrained in their comments, with Chevron saying the lawsuits would only serve special interests rather than effect a real change, and Exxon finding the claims made by the cities lacking in merit. Conoco and BP did not comment, and Shell said climate change should be addressed by government policy and cultural change rather than by litigation. This is not the first time that communities decided to sue Big Oil like they sued Big Tobacco 30 years ago. Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish is pursuing 21 different lawsuits against Big Oil for damage to the state’s wetlands, which is causing coastal erosion. Five the lawsuits have already been scheduled for 2019. Chevron is the defendant in 19 of the 21 cases.
The Spanish government is facing the real moment of truth. It is displaying that it is by no means concerned about human rights nor is it a true democratic system. Spain has reverted to Franco fascism as now more than 40,000 people have gathered in Barcelona to protest over the Catalan independence vote being shut down as the Spanish Government sends in 16,500 troops to deal with the activists. This is showing just how far out of touch this entire EU anti-democratic government has gone. The people no longer matter – the elite know what is best for them. This is 86 years from the beginning of the Second Republic in Spain so 2017 is precisely on target for this type of civil unrest. What this is demonstrating is the old adage – the king is dead, long live the king. No matter what form of government takes power, it will ALWAYS, and without exception, seek to act only in its own self-interest precisely as Thrasymachus argued against Socrates.
Via The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board, Congress needs to learn how the FBI meddled in the 2016 campaign. When Donald Trump claimed in March that he’d had his ‘wires tapped’ prior to the election, the press and Obama officials dismissed the accusation as a fantasy. We were among the skeptics, but with former director James Comey’s politicized FBIthe story is getting more complicated. CNN reported Monday that the FBI obtained a warrant last year to eavesdrop on Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager from May to August in 2016. The story claims the FBI first wiretapped Mr. Manafort in 2014 while investigating his work as a lobbyist for Ukraine’s ruling party. That warrant lapsed, but the FBI convinced the court that administers the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to issue a second order as part of its probe into Russian meddling in the election.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 20, 2017.