Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- “The War on Terror Sham: Mindboggling Comparison of Scales & Proportions!

This will be a brief presentation on the sham called The War on Terror and the involved costs- in terms of scales in methods, dollars and lives. The price tag for the US War on Terror sham is placed at over $4 Trillion. We’ll be looking at mindboggling facts presented via comparison of scales and proportions when it comes to US Military-Intelligence vs. The Supposed Borderless Terrorists in the Middle East. A massive never-ending war against a fantastical network of technologically and militaristically dwarfed terrorists. Don’t you see who wins in this synthetically created perpetual war?

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Show Notes

The $5 Trillion War on Terror

Exactly How Big Is This So-Called Al Qaeda?

For Afghan troops, donkeys are the new helicopters

The IED: The $30-Bombs That Cost The U.S. Billions

1,600 US bombs dropped in Syria and Iraq during March cost $8.5m a day

About M1 Abrams Tanks

Cost of Camels

Cost of Donkeys

Do the Math: Global War on Terror Has Killed 4 Million Muslims or More

Timeline: Terror Attacks Linked to Islamists Since 9/11

NSA recording 'nearly all' phone calls in Afghanistan

Five Reasons Why Drones Are Here to Stay

Probable Cause with Sibel Edmonds- “Kill First, Ask Later … Wait! Never mind! Don’t Ask or Answer Whatsoever!”

In this episode I provide a brief presentation on our dangerous and Kafkaesque world where our nation claims a 100% right to kill with no reason or explanation needed, a 100% right to kidnap and torture, and a 100% right to blacklist and surveil without having to show any justification. We are going to talk about a US code of operation that confidently says “Kill First, Ask Later … Wait! Actually never mind! Don’t Ask or Answer Whatsoever!” We’ll discuss our murders by drones, our secret no fly lists, secret surveillance target lists, and much more. You may consider yourself immunized from these factual absurdities, but I can assure you: You Are Wrong!

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Show Notes

Almost 2,500 Now Killed by Covert US Drone Strikes Since Obama Inauguration

Nearly 90 Percent of People Killed in Recent Drone Strikes Were Not the Target

Naming the dead: Only 10 of scores killed by US drones in Pakistan last year have been identified

Terror Suspects Are Frequent Targets of U.S. Drones

U.S. ‘Reasonably Certain’ Drone Strike Killed ‘Jihadi John’

‘Am I on the ‘No Fly’ List?’—and Other FAQs to the FBI

Why the no-fly list was declared unconstitutional

Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Will Obama Close Gitmo?

Peter B. Collins Presents Journalist Andy Worthington

As an author and journalist, Andy Worthington is an expert on America’s offshore island prison, Guantanamo. As an activist, he helped lead a year-long campaign to free Shaker Aamer, the last British prisoner who finally went home on October 30. We talk about his return and reunion with family, and the ordeal he experienced as the most high-profile inmate released so far. When he’s healthy—physically and psychologically—Aamer is expected to expose much about his detention, torture, hunger strikes, and the complicity of British officials and intelligence agents in his almost 14-year detention without trial or charge. Worthington also talks about Sen. Feinstein’s recent call to close Guantanamo, and the irrational objections expressed by many American leaders.

*Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantanamo Files and covers America’s gulag on his blog. He is also a member of The Four Fathers, a music group that updated their Song for Shaker after Aamer’s return to England.

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The New Drone Order – Part III_Intro: At the Advent of Winged Drones, Research Progresses Forward

Biology-inspired Engineering and Morphing Technology

Drones with wings? But why?! While some Dronesters are dwelling on the metallic, the plastic, and the 3D printed, other roboticists & researchers are harkening back to the whims of the natural world. There are birds that can maneuver like no human built aircraft can. Researchers have found that the courtship dive of the Anna's Hummingbird makes it comparatively speedier than a jet fighter at full throttle or the space shuttle re-entering the atmosphere. Anyone who's anyone has admired how frustratingly hard it is to catch a fly, much less swallow one. I once knew an old lady who swallowed a fly. It's a good thing it wasn't a drone fly, or she may have sputtered and wheezed. Perhaps she could’ve sued Lockheed Martin if she survived?

The third edition of the New Drone Order series will introduce readers to projects like the Lentink Lab at Stanford University, and other related information.

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*Read Part 2 here

The New Drone Order – Part II_Intro: Dronetopia: Lessons and Parallels from the Insect World

Drone Warfare, Propaganda, Proliferation, Mutualism, Symbiosis & Biomimicry

What can insect societies teach us about our own? Sure, we bug out from time to time, but we’re intelligent, and they’re not. Right? Well, it turns out that humans share common traits with ants, bees, and other insects. We even go to war in similar ways. This edition of the New Drone Order series will explore how drone technology fits into our world system, and question where it’s taking us, utilizing lessons from the realm of insect species to guide the topic, as well as an interview with an expert on insect societies and autonomous robotics. Propaganda, proliferation, global sales, the military industrial complex, and the concept of biomimicry will all be examined. Go on, read it, give it a chance! If you think you’re so different from insects, you’ve got ants in your pants…

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The New Drone Order is Only Beginning: Intro- All is Buzzing on the Geopolitical Front

Drone technology is moving forward, whether we like it or not. MQ-9 Reapers manufactured by General Atomics are sold to the U.S. Air Force, fitted with hellfire missiles provided by Lockheed Martin. The military industrial complex is ticking, unmanned aerial vehicles are soaring, and all is not quiet on the Western front. Few places are quiet on the Eastern hilt of the world. Drone strikes pepper Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Afghanistan, as the world has become an all-access battlefield where remote-controlled homicide can be carried out with minimal effort, for the first time in human history.

Things are changing. Warfare has been altered forever. Machines are learning...how to learn. Humans are doing less of the hunting and killing and delegating these duties to tougher, colder customers. The purpose of this series is to examine players, characters and ideologies that are deeply influencing the way that our future is shaping up, in both negative and positive ways. When one drone strike kills an innocent child in a foreign village, another is used for ocean exploration and hurricane detection. We will enter into the eye of the storm of controversial issues and attempt to chart through territory that pits the right to due process against the rich vein of untapped A.I. (artificial intelligence) technology, which kicks up dirt on greedy politicians, lobbyists and arms dealers who would rather push a button than fight a war themselves. If you think the United States is winning... I'll only tell you this once. The new drone order is only just beginning, and all is buzzing on the geopolitical front.

Editor’s Note- BFP welcomes Erik Moshe to its team. Future articles in Erik’s new series will be available only to BFP activist members.

The New Drone Order: Part I- A.I. Entities, Our Future Friends or Enemies?

Steve is a scientist, entrepreneur, and a jack of many trades. He has degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Physics from U.C. Berkeley. He can be seen online contributing to a wide variety of podcasts, discussions, conferences and foundations. One of his goals is to ensure the smooth transition of autonomous robots into our lives without mucking up our own livelihoods in the process. His company Self-Aware Systems started out to help search engines search better, but gradually, he and his team built a system for reading lips and a system for controlling robots. If he ever owns a cyborg in the near future and he's able to program it himself, it will not be cold-hearted. I'm confident it would be a warm, hospitable homemaker with culinary and family therapeutic skills to boot.

"The particular angle that I started working on is systems that write their own programs. Human programmers today are a disaster. Microsoft Windows for instance crashes all the time. Computers should be much better at that task, and so we develop systems that I call self-improving artificial intelligence, so that's AI systems that understand their own operation, watch themselves work, and envision what changes to themselves might be improvements and then change themselves," Steve says.

In addition to his scientific work, Steve is passionate about human growth and transformation. He holds the vision that new technologies can help humanity create a more compassionate, peaceful, and life-serving world. He is one of the men and women behind the scenes who are doing their very best to ensure that killer robots never reach an operable level - either in perpetuity, or before we're ready to handle it as a species. His "safe AI scaffolding strategy" is one of his main proposed solutions, and a positive way forward.

You can call him an expert in the field of FAI, or friendly artificial intelligence, which is "a hypothetical artificial general intelligence that would have a positive rather than negative effect on humanity.” The term was coined by Eliezer Yudkowsky to discuss superintelligent artificial agents that reliably implement human values.

Getting an entity with artificial intelligence to do what you want is a task that researchers at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), in Berkeley, California are taking on. The program’s aim is to make advanced intelligent machines behave as humans intend even in the absence of immediate supervision. In other words, “take initiative, but be like us.”

Yudkowsky realized that the more important challenge was figuring out how to do that safely by getting AI to incorporate our values in their decision making. "It caused me to realize, with some dismay, that it was actually going to be technically very hard," Yudkowsky says. “Even if an AI tries to exterminate humanity,” it is “outright silly” to believe that it will “make self-justifying speeches about how humans had their time, but now, like the dinosaur, have become obsolete. Only evil Hollywood AIs do that.”

Adam Keiper and Ari N. Schulman, editors of the technology journal The New Atlantis say that it will be impossible to ever guarantee "friendly" behavior in AIs because problems of ethical complexity will not yield to software advances or increases in computing power.

Steve differs in that he is wholly optimistic about the subject. He thinks that intelligent robotics will eliminate much human drudgery and dramatically improve manufacturing and wealth creation. Intelligent biological and medical systems will improve human health and longevity, and educational systems will enhance our ability to learn and think, (pop quizzes won’t stand a chance). Intelligent financial models will improve financial stability, and legal models will improve the design and enforcement of laws for the greater good. He feels that it's a great time to be alive and involved with technology. With the safety measures he has developed, Steve hopes to merge machine with positive psychology - a division that's only a few decades old but has already given us many insights into human happiness.

Cautious attitudes in an evolving drone age

In an article on Vice’s Motherboard entitled "This Drone Has Artificial Intelligence Modelled on Honey Bee Brains", we can see firsthand how bizarre science can get, and how fast we are progressing with machine intelligence.

Launched in 2012, the Green​ Brain Project aims to create the first accurate computer model of a honey bee brain, and transplant that onto a UAV.

Researchers from the Green Brain Project—which recalls IBM’s Blue Brai​n Project to build a virtual human brain—hope that a UAV equipped with elements of a honey bee’s super-sight and smell will have applications in everything from disaster zone search and rescue missions to agriculture.

Experts, from physicist Stephen Hawking to software architect Bill Joy, warn that if artificial intelligence technology continues to be developed, it may spiral out of human control. Tesla founder Elon Musk calls artificial-intelligence development simply “summoning the demon.”

British inventor Clive Sinclair said: "Once you start to make machines that are rivaling and surpassing humans with intelligence, it's going to be very difficult for us to survive," he told the BBC. "It's just an inevitability."

"I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," Bill Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don't understand why some people are not concerned."

Are we jumping the gun with all of this talk of sentient robots triggering an apocalypse? Rodney Brooks, an Australian roboticist and founder of iRobot, thinks so. He views artificial intelligence as a tool, not a threat. In a blog post, he said:

Worrying about AI that will be intentionally evil to us is pure fear mongering. And an immense waste of time.

In order for there to be a successful volitional AI, especially one that could be successfully malevolent, it would need a direct understanding of the world, it would need to have the dexterous hands and/or other tools that could out manipulate people, and to have a deep understanding of humans in order to outwit them. Each of these requires much harder innovations than a winged vehicle landing on a tree branch. It is going to take a lot of deep thought and hard work from thousands of scientists and engineers. And, most likely, centuries.

In an interview with The Futurist, Steve talked about the best and worst case scenarios for a fully powerful AI. He said:

I think the worst case would be an AI that takes off on its own, its own momentum, on some very narrow task and works to basically convert the world economy and whatever matter it controls to focus on that very narrow task, that it, in the process, squeezes out much of what we care most about as humans. Love, compassion art, peace, the grand visions of humanity could be lost in that bad scenario. In the best scenario, many of the problems that we have today, like hunger, diseases, the fact that people have to work at jobs that aren't necessarily fulfilling, all of those could be taken care of by machine, ushering in a new age in which people could do what people do best, and the best of human values could flourish and be embodied in this technology.

Autonomous technology for the greater human good

Steve’s primary concern has been to incorporate human values into new technologies to ensure that they have a beneficial effect. In his paper, “Autonomous Technology and the Greater Human Good”, the most downloaded academic article ever in the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, Steve summarized the possible consequences of a drone culture that’s moving too swiftly for its own good:

Military and economic pressures for rapid decision-making are driving the development of a wide variety of autonomous systems. The military wants systems which are more powerful than an adversary's and wants to deploy them before the adversary does. This can lead to ‘arms races’ in which systems are developed on a more rapid time schedule than might otherwise be desired.

A 2011 US Defense Department report with a roadmap for unmanned ground systems states that ‘There is an ongoing push to increase unmanned ground vehicle autonomy, with a current goal of supervised autonomy, but with an ultimate goal of full autonomy’.

Military drones have grown dramatically in importance over the past few years both for surveillance and offensive attacks. From 2004 to 2012, US drone strikes in Pakistan may have caused 3176 deaths. US law currently requires that a human be in the decision loop when a drone fires on a person, but the laws of other countries do not. There is a growing realization that drone technology is inexpensive and widely available, so we should expect escalating arms races of offensive and defensive drones. This will put pressure on designers to make the drones more autonomous so they can make decisions more rapidly.

Thoughts on Transhumanism

In an interview featured on Bullet Proof Exec, Steve briefly expressed his views on transhumanism, which is a cultural and intellectual movement that believes we can, and should, improve the human condition through the use of advanced technologies:

My worry is that we change too rapidly. I guess the question is, how do we determine what changes are like, “Yeah, this is a great improvement that’s making us better.” What are changes like, let’s say, you have the capacity or the ability to turn off conscience and to be a good CEO, well, you turn off your conscience so you could make those hard decisions. That could send humanity down into a terrible direction. How do we make those choices?

Interview with Dr. Steve Omohundro

I had the privilege of speaking with Steve, and here's what he had to say.

BFP: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. You have an interesting last name. If I may ask, where does it come from?

Steve: We don't know! My great grandfather wrote a huge genealogy in which he traced the name back to 1670 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The first Omohundro came over on a ship and had dealings with Englishmen but we don't know where he came from or the origins of the name.

BFP: How have drones changed our world?

Steve: I think it's still very early days. The military uses of drones, both for surveillance and for attack, have already had a big effect. Here's an article stating that 23 countries have developed or are developing armed drones and that within 10 years they will be available to every country:

On the civilian side, agricultural applications like inspecting crops have the greatest economic value currently. They are also being used for innovative shots in movies and commercials and for surveillance. They can deliver life-saving medicine more rapidly than an ambulance can. They can rapidly bring a life saver to a drowning ocean swimmer. They are being used to monitor endangered species and to watch out for forest fires. I'm skeptical that they will be economical to use for delivery in situations which aren't time-critical, however.

BFP: Do you think artificial intelligence is possible in our lifetime?

Steve: I define an "artificial intelligence" as a computer program that can take actions to achieve desired goals. By that definition, lots of artificially intelligent systems already exist and are rapidly becoming integrated into society. Siri's speech recognition, self-driving cars, and high-frequency trading all have a level of intelligence that existed only in research systems a decade ago. These systems still don't have a human-level general understanding of the world, however. Researchers differ in when that might occur. A few believe it will be impossible but most predict it will happen sometime in the next 5 to 100 years. Beyond the ability to solve problems are human characteristics like consciousness, qualia, creativity, aesthetic sense, etc. We don't yet know exactly what these are and some people believe they cannot be automated. I think we will learn a lot about these qualities and about ourselves as we begin to interact with more intelligent computer systems.

BFP: According to a report published in March by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, drones could create as many as 70,000 jobs and have an overall economic impact of more than $13.6 billion in three years. Which means, the report says, that each day U.S. commercial drones are grounded is a $28-million lost opportunity. If these economic projections prove to be accurate, do you see a prosperous industry on the horizon for them as well?

Steve: I believe they could have that impact but $13.6 billion is a small percentage of the GDP. The societal issues they bring up around surveillance, accidents, terrorism, etc. are much larger than that, though. For there to be a prosperous industry, the social issues need to be carefully thought through and solved.

BFP: Do you think that autonomous robot usage will spin out of control without implementation of the Safe-AI Scaffolding Strategy that you and your colleagues formulated?

Steve: Autonomous robots have the potential to be very powerful. They may be used for many beneficial applications but also could create great harm. I'm glad that many people are beginning to think carefully about their impact. I believe we should create engineering guidelines to ensure that they are safe and have a positive impact. The "Safe-AI Scaffolding Strategy" is an approach we have put forth for this but other groups have proposed alternative approaches as well. I'm hopeful that we will develop a clear understanding of how to develop these systems safely by the time that we need it.

BFP: Drones have landed on the White House lawn and in front of Angela Merkel. Where they might land next is unpredictable, but this uncertainty is a reminder that governments around the world are still trying to find their balance when it comes to an emerging technology of this scale and wide application. What positive ways do you posit that drones can affect the world, or affect the work that you are involved in?

Steve: Flying drones are just one of many new technologies that have both positive and harmful uses. Others include drone boats, self-driving vehicles, underwater drones, 3-D printing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, etc. Human society needs to develop a framework for managing these powerful technologies safely. Nuclear technology is also dual-use and has been used to both provide power and to create weapons. Fortunately, so far there hasn't been an unintended detonation of a nuclear bomb. But the recent book "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety" tells a terrifying cautionary tale. Among many other accidents, in 1961 the U.S. Air Force inadvertently dropped two hydrogen bombs on North Carolina and 3 out of 4 of the safety switches failed.

If we can develop design-rules that ensure safety, drones and other autonomous technologies have a huge potential to improve human lives. Drones could provide a rapid response to disaster situations. Self-driving vehicles could eliminate human drudgery and prevent many accidents. Construction robots could increase productivity and dramatically lower the cost of homes and manufactured goods.

BFP: Have you read any science fiction books that expanded your perspective on A.I.? In general, what would you say got you into it?

Steve: I haven't read a lot of science fiction. Marshall Brain's "Manna: Two Views of Humanity's Future" is an insightful exploration of some of the possible impacts of these technologies. I got interested in robots as a child because my Mom thought it would be great to have a robot to do the dishes for her, and I thought that might be something I could build! I got interested in AI as a part of investigating general questions about the nature of thought and intelligence.

BFP: You recently showed me a video of a supercharged drone with advanced piloting tech that could reach speeds of 90 miles per hour, and that costs about $600. Could you see yourself going out and buying a quadcopter like that, maybe having a swarm of drones spell out "Drones for the Greater Good" in the sky? Or would you rather keep your distance from the "Tasmanian devil" drone.

Steve: I haven't been drawn to experimenting with drones myself, but I have friends who have been using them to create aerial light shows and other artistic displays. The supercharged 90 mph drone is both fascinating and terrifying. Watching the video, you clearly get the sense that controlling the use of those will be a lot more challenging than many people currently realize.

BFP: I've also seen a quadrotor with a machine gun.

Steve: Wow, that one is also quite scary. What's especially disturbing is that it doesn't appear to require huge amounts of engineering expertise to build this kind of system and yet it could obviously cause great harm. These kinds of systems will likely pose a challenge to our current social mechanisms for regulating technology.

# # # #

*Watch Steve's TEDx video from May 2012: Smart Technology for the Greater Good

Erik Moshe is BFP investigative journalist and analyst. He is an independent writer from Hollywood, Florida, and has worked as an editor of alternative news blog Media Monarchy and as an intern journalist with the History News Network. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 2009-2013. You can visit his site here.

 

Murdering journalists … Them and Us: The West & the Real Origin of Islamic Fundamentalism

The West’s weapons of choice in the Middle East- Bombs, Invasions, Overthrows, Torture & Drone Attacks

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.

Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region. And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?

In the 1980s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not (1), leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power.

In the 2000s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.

In 2011, the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East.

And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices.

However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists. God is Great!

Starting with the Cold War, and with the above interventions building upon that, we have 70 years of American foreign policy, without which – as Russian/American writer Andre Vltchek has observed – “almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders” (2). Even the ultra-oppressive Saudi Arabia – without Washington’s protection – would probably be a very different place.

On January 11, Paris was the site of a March of National Unity in honor of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose journalists had been assassinated by terrorists. The march was rather touching, but it was also an orgy of Western hypocrisy, with the French TV broadcasters and the assembled crowd extolling without end the NATO world’s reverence for journalists and freedom of speech; an ocean of signs declaring Je suis CharlieNous Sommes Tous Charlie; and flaunting giant pencils, as if pencils – not bombs, invasions, overthrows, torture, and drone attacks – have been the West’s weapons of choice in the Middle East during the past century.

No reference was made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades in the Middle East and elsewhere, had been responsible for the deliberate deaths of dozens of journalists. In Iraq, among other incidents, see Wikileaks’ 2007 video of the cold-blooded murder of two Reuters journalists; the 2003 US air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded; and the American firing on Baghdad’s Hotel Palestine the same year that killed two foreign cameramen.

Moreover, on October 8, 2001, the second day of the US bombing of Afghanistan, the transmitters for the Taliban government’s Radio Shari were bombed and shortly after this the US bombed some 20 regional radio sites. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the targeting of these facilities, saying: “Naturally, they cannot be considered to be free media outlets. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.” (3)

And in Yugoslavia, in 1999, during the infamous 78-day bombing of a country which posed no threat at all to the United States or any other country, state-owned Radio Television Serbia (RTS) was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like (like how much horror the bombing was causing). The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage.

I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:

“On international politics Charlie Hebdo was neoconservative. It supported every single NATO intervention from Yugoslavia to the present. They were anti-Muslim, anti-Hamas (or any Palestinian organization), anti-Russian, anti-Cuban (with the exception of one cartoonist), anti-Hugo Chávez, anti-Iran, anti-Syria, pro-Pussy Riot, pro-Kiev … Do I need to continue?

“Strangely enough, the magazine was considered to be ‘leftist’. It’s difficult for me to criticize them now because they weren’t ‘bad people’, just a bunch of funny cartoonists, yes, but intellectual freewheelers without any particular agenda and who actually didn’t give a fuck about any form of ‘correctness’ – political, religious, or whatever; just having fun and trying to sell a ‘subversive’ magazine (with the notable exception of the former editor, Philippe Val, who is, I think, a true-blooded neocon).”

# # # #

William Blum, BFP contributing author and analyst, is an American, historian and critic of United States foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military & CIA Interventions Since World War II. He has described his life’s mission as: “If not ending, at least slowing down the American Empire. At least injuring the beast. It’s causing so much suffering around the world.” Mr. Blum can be reached through his website http://killinghope.org .

Notes

  1. US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986), pp.121, 128, 130, 223, 232
  2. Counterpunch, January 10, 2015
  3. Index on Censorship, the UK’s leading organization promoting freedom of expression, October 18, 2001

 

American Exceptionalism and American Torture

Do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture?

In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds. 1

That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.

So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message cannot be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.

The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office. 2

Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.” 3

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, amongst other torture centers employed by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business, as is the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.

Moreover, the key Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?

The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions, amongst other charming examples of American Exceptionalism.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ … But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.” 4

The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely and solely because they were willing and able to torture them.

Four months after Obama and Panetta took office, the New York Times could report that renditions had reached new heights. 5

The present news reports indicate that Washington’s obsession with torture stems from 9/11, to prevent a repetition. The president speaks of “the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era”. There’s something to that idea, but not a great deal. Torture in America is actually as old as the country. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of international torture centers, kidnaping people to these places, solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!

In 2011, Brazil instituted a National Truth Commission to officially investigate the crimes of the military government, which came to an end in 1985. But Mr. Obama has in fact rejected calls for a truth commission concerning CIA torture. 6 On June 17 of this year, however, when Vice President Joseph Biden was in Brazil, he gave the Truth Commission 43 State Department cables and reports concerning the Brazilian military regime, including one entitled “Widespread Arrests and Psychophysical Interrogation of Suspected Subversives.” 7

Thus it is that once again the United States of America will not be subjected to any accountability for having broken US laws, international laws, and the fundamental laws of human decency. Obama can expect the same kindness from his successor as he has extended to George W.

“One of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.” – Barack Obama, written statement issued moments after the Senate report was made public. 8

And if that pile of hypocrisy is not big enough or smelly enough, try adding to it Bidens’ remark re his visit to Brazil: “I hope that in taking steps to come to grips with our past we can find a way to focus on the immense promise of the future.” 9

If the torturers of the Bush and Obama administrations are not held accountable in the United States they must be pursued internationally under the principles of universal jurisdiction.

In 1984, an historic step was taken by the United Nations with the drafting of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (came into force in 1987, ratified by the United States in 1994). Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity. We cannot slide back. If today it’s deemed acceptable to torture the person who supposedly has the vital “ticking-bomb” information needed to save lives, tomorrow it will be acceptable to torture him to learn the identities of his alleged co-conspirators. Would we allow slavery to resume for just a short while to serve some “national emergency” or some other “higher purpose”?

If you open the window of torture, even just a crack, the cold air of the Dark Ages will fill the whole room.

# # # #

William Blum, BFP contributing author and analyst, is an American, historian and critic of United States foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military & CIA Interventions Since World War II. He has described his life’s mission as: “If not ending, at least slowing down the American Empire. At least injuring the beast. It’s causing so much suffering around the world.” Mr. Blum can be reached through his website http://killinghope.org .

Notes

  1. Associated Press, December 11, 2014
  2. New York Times, December 11, 2014
  3. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
  4. New York Times, February 6, 2009
  5. New York Times, May 24, 2009
  6. Washington Post, December 11, 2014
  7. National Security Archive’s Brazil Documentation Project
  8. Washington Post, December 10, 2014
  9. See note 7

We’ve had more than enough Revelations …and the American Majority has spoken

The American Majority & Its Deadly Chronic Disease Called Apathy

They say we need more revelations. I say we have had more than enough revelations on synthetic wars, atrocities, surveillance and torture. They wonder when the majority of Americans are going to speak up. And I say: The American Majority has already spoken—loud and clear.

The United States government has been engaged in the worst kind of human rights abuses, detention and torture around the globe. That’s a fact. And the American Majority knows this. The US Congress, NGOs and various human rights organizations, numerous reports, witnesses, leaks and whistleblowers, even the government propaganda outlets (aka US media) have established this as an undisputable fact: The United States has been engaged in unthinkable ongoing operations involving kidnapping, torture, black sites and detention centers, and murder all over the world. The American Majority knows this. They have spoken: with their silence.

The United States government has been engaged in ongoing police state operations, utilizing all sorts of surveillance and witch-hunt methods. Whether through the NSA’s massive surveillance, or the FBI’s massive informant cadre, or its joint operations with corporate partners, the United States government has been spying on and collecting a wide range of private information from its citizens at home and those abroad. Again, this is a known fact. And everybody knows. Ongoing revelations and leaks have made this an undisputable fact. And the American Majority has already spoken: with their silence.

So is it really more revelations we need? More whistleblowers? More alternative websites in the business of educating the people on these issues? Because from where I stand I can tell with one hundred percent certainty: The American Majority already knows. They have spoken: with their silence. And their silence speaks more than a million words.

Then, what is it that we are trying to do? If knowing, being aware, has so far translated into a loud deafening silence, then, what is the next logical step? Keep telling them what they already know? Ask more whistleblowers to put their lives on the line to tell them what they’ve been told for years?

As a whistleblower and activist for a dozen years I spent much time and energy pointing a finger at entities such as the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Courts and the media. In the end I have come to identify the real culprit in all of this: The American Majority and its deafening silence and persistent indifference. I have known and worked with hundreds of government whistleblowers, who in the end came to much the same conclusion. Sure, the U.S. government can intimidate, gag, classify, prosecute, jail and torture us. But you know what? All that would be for a noble worthy cause if the people were on our side. All those prices paid would be worthwhile and justified, if only the people utilized those sacrifice-driven revelations and reports to fight against our government’s crimes against humanity-and us, the people.

This is why I no longer expect or demand additional whistleblowers and more revelations. We do not need more revelations. We do need less apathy. We do not need additional whistleblowers. We do need a vocal majority. It is not the State and the one percent that is destroying our liberties, world peace and humanity. It is the silence of the American Majority and its deadly disease called pure apathy.

# # # #

The 1st Commandment of U.S. Imperial Pursuits: What’s Good for the Goose is NOT Good for the Gander!

The Sheer Joy of Imperial Hubris & One-Way Equations

It is time for our government to put aside diplomatic lingo and modified expressions and just state the facts as they see and believe them. It is way past time for our nation to hear it from our government - the BS-free and straight-forward version of the first and foremost principle of our nation’s foreign policy. Sure; we have seen it in practice-that is, those of us with eyes wide open, watching our daily imperial operations and executions around the globe. But let’s face it, sometimes you need to hear it from the horse’s mouth plain and simple, and then, be done with it: Putting aside all pretentions and posturing and fakeries.

Fact: We are currently threading our way through a unipolar world as a super-power nation; unchallenged.

Fact: As a super-power nation with multi-fronted imperial pursuits we lay out the rules; solely.

Fact: As an empire we dictate to and impose our rules on the entire world in a one-way fashion; our imperial entitlement.

Fact: Our empire savors the sheer joy of its hubris and imposed one-way equations; an imperial right.

Fact: Not all nations are equal. There is us, the empire, and then there is the rest of the world; an imperial fact.

Fact: Our empire has the absolute right to state and dictate unabashedly that What’s Good for the Goose is NOT Good for the Gander; period.

Allow me to illustrate these facts in action by using recent developments involving US responses to and interactions with the rest of the world- nothing like real-life examples to demonstrate facts that are rarely stated in truthful and plain words.

The Imperial Right to Abuse Human Rights

For years and years the United States has been accusing China of detaining activists and suppressing and imprisoning ethnic separatists and minorities. This is how our imperial operators respond to such practices when countries like China engage in them:

Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department's bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, said China should cease using harassment, detention and arrest to silence human rights activists and their families and friends.

Of course, as we know, China is our competitor, and it does not fall within US imperial extension territory.

Today the U.S. singles out Syria in a rights report:

The United States on Thursday singled out Syria, Russia, China and Egypt for using restrictive laws to suppress political opposition, minorities and journalists seeking to expose abuses, according to the State Department's 2014 Human Rights Report.

As we all know, Syria has not yet fallen into our colonial territories.

Yesterday, the United States declared, loudly and clearly, Iran as a nation among the world’s worst human rights abusers:

Even as they make gestures toward rapprochement with the West, Iran’s leaders remain among the world’s worst human rights offenders, according to a State Department report

Well, Iran is a nation that has remained outside our sphere of influence for quite a while, thus our imperial title given to it as one of the axis of evil- as far as the empire and its interests are concerned.

There are other countries that are engaged in equally or worse practices against human rights- from imprisonment to torture and execution. Some of these countries are considered our colonial extensions here and there. They are under our imperial sphere of influence. We, the empire, do not declare these nations as evil and abusers; in fact, we fortify their power and ability to torture and kill. They are our torturers and murderers. We like them, protect them, and will make sure no one touches them.

Let’s talk about Bahrain: a major strategic partner for the U.S. that received $80.4 million in military financing from the U.S. between 2005 and 2010, and is home to a U.S. naval base which houses the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Thousands of protesters in the small island Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf took to the streets calling for government reform in February and March 2011. The Bahraini government’s response was brutal and systematic: shoot civilian protesters, detain and torture them, and erase all evidence.

On the frontline, treating hundreds of these wounded civilians, doctors had first-hand knowledge of government atrocities. As a result of their efforts to provide unbiased care for wounded protestors, the government initiated systematic and targeted attacks against medical personnel. This assault on healthcare workers and their patients constitutes extreme violations of the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law.

As an imperial mini dog within our Middle Eastern colony, our empire neither sought regime change nor strongly condemned Bahrain. Not only that, our empire rewarded and fortified Bahrain to facilitate its ongoing abuses and keep it in power as one of our dogs:

The resumption of arms sales by the US to Bahrain came as a surprise last week as a human rights crisis continues to rage in the small island country…The silence from the US on the crackdown in Bahrain has been particularly deafening.

There are plenty of imperial dogs around the world whose abuse, torture, imprisonment and murder practices are deemed rightful, and supported by the empire. Think Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Jordan … Call it imperial discretion. Call it imperial hypocrisy. Call it whatever you want. No matter what you call it the fact remains: What’s Good for the Imperial Goose is NOT Good for the Gander Outside the Imperial Colony!

There are Responses to Protests, and then There are Responses to Protests

Do you remember the Occupy Protests here in the States not that long ago? Do you remember the scenes of our police using brutality against peaceful protestors? You should. It wasn’t that long ago. Well, if you don’t, here, I’ll refresh your memory:

A group of legal experts have published a report which contains 130 cases that can be qualified as police brutality against Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York. Researchers at NYU and Fordham University have concluded that NYPD officers acted beyond their powers during their intense crackdown against Occupy protesters.

The study found that police used batons, scooters, horses, and metal barricades to inflict unnecessary force and intimidation on demonstrators. But the barricades were not only used as barriers around encampments.

According to the report, officers threw one protester so hard that she became “semi-airborne” before falling unconscious. An officer then shoved a barricade into her chest. In several instances, officers used pepper spray to disperse peaceful demonstrators.

Let me refresh your memory even further with some graphic films showing how the United States’ police force operated against peaceful activists:

 Our imperial government shrugged off all the brutal forces used against its people as its given right to serve and protect… itself from dissent.

Now, similar brutalities have been taking place in Turkey against some protestors. Let’s watch a video:

How identical is that? Without the uniform color you couldn’t tell the two sets of videos, US police & Turkish police, apart. Both wrong. However, in this similarity, two wrongs don’t make it right. But, two wrongs don’t make it wrong either. According to our imperial standards, two wrongs make one of them wrong, and the other one right. Here is the US response when the target of the dissent (the protest) happens to be a king that is no longer one of its own cadres of kings:

Multiple U.S. officials have supported the protests citing them as a sign of a healthy democracy. Secretary Kerry spoke to reporters about this topic during a joint press conference on Monday morning: And we are concerned by the reports of excessive use of force by police … Carney, along with the State Department, called for a "full investigation" of the reports of injuries and excessive force by Turkish officials.

I have been writing articles about the fallout between the US Empire and the current administration in Turkey. You can read them here and here, and watch my interview video here.

So you see, the Bahrain principle doesn’t apply here. Not any longer. Of course, the imperial standards of its police conduct on the home front do not apply either. Again, What’s Good for the Goose & its goslings is NOT Good for the Gander!

The power and right to unlawfully spy … a power granted only to the Emperor’s throne

How does the empire view spying? Is spying a bad thing? It depends; depends on who is doing the spying on whom. Just like free trade, it is 100% one way, and there is no way around it. Not if the empire gets its say and way. Meaning: The Empire can spy on everyone everywhere in the world, and use its data gathered from spying in any way it chooses. Basically, the entire world, with its population, nations, and nations’ leaders falls within the empire’s fiefdom; they are imperial subjects. Period.

Germany: U.S. might have monitored Merkel's phone

U.S. now bugging German ministers in place of Merkel

Report: U.S. intercepts French phone calls on a 'massive scale'

NSA France: U.S. Conducted Large-Scale Spying On French Citizens

Trust me, everyone is there: French, Brazilians, Russians, Chinese, Venezuelans … you name it. We have a mammoth surveillance-spy agency fit for the empire: massive, powerful, indiscreet, unaccountable … fit for an empire! But wait, that’s an imperial right, and in a unipolar world with one empire, no one else should dare engage in spy trade and spy craft like this. That’s a rule; an imperial rule.

Remember the story, the real story, where our imperial operator was caught in the regime changing business in Ukraine? Intercepted F-Bomb Phone Call Shows U.S. Role in Ukraine

Right. This was a major exposé proving how we topple governments and countries, and how we install our own imperial puppets. Not many of us here at BFP needed that proof, but hey, some did. However, even though relevant to our imperial operations, this is not the point I intend to focus on in this article. Here is what I want to illustrate:

The White House on Thursday suggested that Russia, which has jockeyed with the United States and Europe for influence in Ukraine, played some role in the interception or dissemination of the conversation.

“The video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “I think it says something about Russia’s role.” In a later briefing, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said she had no information about who posted the recording but criticized Moscow for promoting it. “Certainly we think this is a new low in Russian tradecraft,” she said.

The masters of deception and surveillance calling this a new low in Russian tradecraft”? If it establishes ‘lowliness,’ how low does that make the much lowlier imperial spy craft? That’s the question. Rest assured: arrogance and hubris will never go there. The emperors and imperial operators never do. It comes with imperialism: hubris and arrogance, and the strong notion of the earth revolving in only one direction-the Imperial way.

One-Way Free Trade: Our Way

The story goes something like this:

The United States is party to many free trade agreements (FTAs) worldwide. Beginning with the Theodore Roosevelt administration, the United States became a major player in international trade, especially with its neighboring territories in the Caribbean and Latin America. Today, the United States has become a leader of the free trade movement, standing behind groups such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (later the World Trade Organization).

Well, it is a good story, a good fiction story. The empire is pro free trade as long as the trade and its dealers benefit its imperial objectives. Not when certain kinds of free trade practices get in its way. Not when the empire is not a beneficiary; directly or indirectly.

Let me illustrate this how the empire reacts when one of its present or former colonies engages in a free trade arrangement where parties other than the empire become the beneficiary.

Last year Turkey violated one of the top Imperial commandments:

Turkey Mulls Buying Missiles from China, Snubbing NATO

NATO's Mounting Opposition to Turkey’s Chinese Missile System

U.S. talking to Turkey about China missile deal concerns

Turkey’s Choice of Chinese Missiles Poses Problem for West

U.S. Defense Bill Could Undercut Turkey’s Missile Defense Deal with China

It doesn’t matter whether the Chinese offered a much better price. It doesn’t make a difference whether the purchase and payment agreement terms were far more favorable or not. Turkey’s sovereignty as a nation to decide what it purchases or who it purchases from is not relevant. The only thing that matters: who is the beneficiary in this trade deal? Not the empire, then, fu.. Free Trade! The empire doesn’t like that kind of free trade. And it won’t allow it. Over its dead imperial body!

Maybe the empire should have clarified that right from the start: Certain free trade practices flow only one way-with the empire and its extension at the other end. Period.

Imperially Correct Corruption & Thievery

The other day I was discussing the latest allegation that had surfaced regarding Turkey’s PM Erdogan, involving money, bribery and corruption. Here are a few links on the still-developing story:

Turkish president defiant as wiretap scandal swirls

Erdogan overheard telling son to get rid of cash as Turkey corruption probe takes new twist

Turkey protesters clash over 'fake' wiretap

The gist of the story is this: allegedly the PM and his son had received some money (thirty million dollars) through kickbacks and corrupt arrangements, and they were trying to hide the money and destroy the evidence. Of course, for the empire, the news and allegation of corruption and bribery against one of their men who has fallen from favor has come in very handy. Hundreds of headlines playing this story up have been filling the imperial media outlets every day since the story broke.

Now, back to my discussion with my Turkish acquaintances. They were talking about the fact that almost all leaders in countries in that part of the world are engaged in corruption and wealth accumulation through public positions. I was trying to tell them that it was definitely not limited to that part of the world. That here, in this part of the world, our public officials not only do that, but do it multiple times more. The only difference: they do it in an imperially and politically correct way. The result is the same: thievery and corruption equal thievery and corruption, whether it is done in an imperially-politically correct way or not. A good parallel example would be prostitution: whether it is $10 per act street corner prostitution, or, $5000 per hour Manhattan escort service prostitution, it is prostitution.

Then, I gave an example of our famous Billy & his dame. Here are a few excerpts from a piece I wrote on Billy & Hillary last fall: Running for Public Office & Civil Servant Positions- The Fastest & Surest Path from Rags to Riches

Bill Clinton, unlike other presidents, did not inherit any wealth, made almost no money prior to his public service career, and gained little net worth during 20 plus years of his public service. However, magically, between the time he left office and 2010, his individual personal net-worth reached an estimated $55,000,000; that is $55 Million Dollars. Here is what USA Today reported on Clinton’s wealth accumulation in less than 8 years after leaving the White House: But since leaving office we estimate that Clinton has earned more than $125 million before taxes.

As reported by Wall Street and other publications, Clinton didn't come from a wealthy family or have a high-paying job before becoming president, but earned most of his money from speaking fees. Of course, we all know what ‘speaking fees’ stand for: The surest and safest way to bribe public officials in their postpublic office careers for favors and services rendered during their public service careers; here is what I mean…

You would think that would ring an alarm bell or two among those concerned with government corruption, ethics, bribery of public officials, and some such. No? Rest assured, content with their regular invitations to the Clinton Dynasty cocktails and balls, neither the liberal NGO parasites nor the socialist-wanna-be media outlets have uttered a single word or waged any finger-pointing. Well, we’ve never expected that from those obvious parasitic colonies, anyway…

The point I was trying to make was this: There are corruption and thieveries, and there are corruption and thieveries. Although the same acts, judgments and consequences (or lack of) depend on who is committing them, and whether they are committed in an imperially-correct way. Let me give you another example, this one from another imperial dog who is about to fall from imperial favor:

It's been a rough year for the politician, but at least he has his millions of dollars to ease the pain. 56-year-old Hamid Karzai has taken the No. 1 spot on People With Money’s top 10 highest-paid politicians for 2014 with an estimated $82 million in combined earnings.

The Afghan politician has an estimated net worth of $245 million. He owes his fortune to smart stock investments, substantial property holdings, lucrative endorsement deals with CoverGirl cosmetics. He also owns several restaurants (the “Fat Karzai Burger” chain) in Kabul, a Football Team (the “Kandahar Angels”), has launched his own brand of Vodka (Pure Wonderkarzai - Afghanistan), and is tackling the juniors market with a top-selling perfume (With Love from Hamid) and a fashion line called “Hamid Karzai Seduction”.

Mind you, the channels identified by the imperial members of the press are imperially and politically correct ways of channeling corrupt money and covering actual sources such as: heroin money, bribery, extortion …

As always, and as on many other topics, I could go on and write a fairly lengthy novella on this subject, and fill it with hundreds of facts and examples: The Imperial Detention & Torture in Guantanamo and Bagram, the Imperial Kidnapping, Torture & Black Sites, the Imperial Creation and Use of WMD Again and Again, The Imperial No Fly List, The Imperial NDAA, The Imperial’s Perpetual Wars, the Imperial War on Whistleblowers & Dissent … Most importantly: The Imperial Immunity, thus, the Imperial Hubris & Arrogance that claims: What’s Good for the Goose is NOT Good for the Gander!

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: “Abu Zubaydah’s Lawyer on Gitmo & US Foreign Policy Failures”

Peter B. Collins Presents Brent Mickum

Attorney Brent Mickum represented 3 former Guantanamo prisoners, and continues to represent Abu Zubaydah, whose recently published diaries offer further proof that he was not an al Qaeda leader or involved in any attacks on the US. Mickum offers insight into the netherworld of American torture and detention through the stories of his released clients, and Zubaydah's dubious distinction as the best-known detainee who will be held indefinitely without charge or trial. In the second half of the interview, Mickum comments on a powerful essay he recently published, Reflections on American Power and Foreign Policy, a sweeping review of US foreign policy failures since World War II. We talk about blowback from years of covert operations, the outsized influence of Israel on American policy, and Mickum's 11-point indictment of our foreign policy up to and including the recent threats to attack Syria and Iran.

George Brent Mickum IV has a private law practice in Washington, DC and has been part of the Guantanamo defense bar for many years. He previously worked at the Federal Trade Commission, as a special assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice and as the senior investigative counsel for the Senate Special Committee on Investigations

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Processing Distortion: “On Guantanamo, Little Changes Despite Obama’s May Speech”

Peter B. Collins Presents Andy Worthington

Since Obama's May 5 speech, very little has changed at Guantanamo. British journalist Andy Worthington notes that while two Algerians were released in August, and in early October the Pentagon named its Special Envoy for Guantanamo (and Parwan in Afghanistan), very little else has changed since Obama lamented the hunger strike and blamed Congress. Worthington points out that the president can use an existing waiver process on some or all of the 84 men who have been cleared for release since 2009--some far longer. We also discuss about 46 men Collins calls "zombies", who will not be charged or tried but held indefinitely, and the obvious improprieties that have marked the early stages of the trials of Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and 4 co-defendants.

* Andy Worthington is an acknowledged expert on Guantanamo, and his book The Guantanamo Files identifies almost all of the 776 people who have been incarcerated there since 2002. He is based in London, a founder of Close Guantanamo, and his website is here.

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NarcoNews-DHS Investigating Death of Detained Honduran Immigrant

Individual Allegedly Denied Access to Medication & Kept for Days in Frigid, Overcrowded Border Patrol Cell Designed to Hold Detainees for 12 Hours

By Bill Conroy

Honduran national Lelis Rodriguez, 50, died on July 31 of a cerebral hemorrhage at a hospital in Harlingen, a small town on the Texas border.

At the time, he was in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to an ICE press release. He was apprehended crossing the border in Hidalgo, Texas, on July 16 and transferred to ICE custody on July 22, the press release notes. Rodriguez suffered a massive stroke a week later, on July 29, and was rushed to the Valley Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead two days later. [Read more...]

The EyeOpener Report- Constitution-Free Border Zones

BFP VideoAs new revelations of NSA abuses continue to emerge on a daily basis, even the most politically oblivious Americans are now aware that the 4th Amendment has for all intents and purposes been consigned to the dustbin of history. This will be no surprise at all, however, for those who have been following the escalating chain of abuses that have been taking place in America’s border areas for decades now. Although these violations are becoming increasingly violent and increasingly flagrant, they are sadly only the latest examples of a phenomenon that has been occurring for upwards of half a century.

Find out more about violations and abuses that have been taking place in America’s border areas, and what you can do in this week's EyeOpener Report with James Corbett.

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De-Manufacturing Consent with Guillermo Jimenez: Episode 2- Militarized Borders & Xenophobic Police States

“The Walls Designed to Keep Others Out Will Eventually Be Used to Keep You in!” with Fergus Hodgson

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent, Guillermo is joined by the host of The Stateless Man radio program, Fergus Hodgson. Fergus and Guillermo discuss the latest attempt to further centralize authority and militarize the country under the guise of so called "comprehensive immigration reform." We breakdown the immigration bill proposed by the Senate and the high-tech police state gadgets the $46 Billion budget aims to provide. We also discuss the rapid increase in "urban warfare drills," the nature of borders and the importance of freedom of movement as a fundamental human right.

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