FBI entrapped suspects in almost all high-profile terrorism cases in US

(We’ve obviously written about this before, but at least HRW is finally admitting what we already know. The FBI is also keen on framing mentally challenged individuals. Lot’s of their patsies have been handicapped in that way. I guess because anyone with half a brain can see right through their less-than-crafty undercover assets and don’t get suckered in with promises of shiny beads, free beer and pizza)

from RT

A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses the FBI of using sting operations to entrap informants, creating terrorists out of law-abiding individuals and targeting American Muslims in the agency’s counterterrorism investigations.

The Justice Department and the FBI have targeted American Muslims in “abusive” counterterrorism sting operations based on religious and ethnic identity, according to the new report from HRW and Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Institute. The study found that many of the over 500 terrorism-related cases since the War on Terror began in 2001 have alienated the communities that the government should rely on to prevent terrorism.

“This is a number that sounds really big, and it makes it sound like Americans are being kept safe from terrorism attacks,” Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director for HRW, said in a video released with the report. “But we found that in a lot of these cases, people were prosecuted who never would have committed a terrorist attack in the first place, if it weren’t for the involvement of the FBI.”

The 214-page report, Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions’, focuses on 27 of those cases, including the Rezwan Ferdaus and the Newburgh Four cases, which RT has covered. HRW used some of RT’s footage in its video.

“The theory behind some of these cases is that these people are terrorists-in-waiting: If the FBI hadn’t shown up and taken them down the path of committing this terrorist act, Al-Qaeda would instead,” Prasow said. “But we don’t have evidence of that actually happening.”

[read more here]

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison (HBO)

Flight MH17 UPDATES

by Scott Creighton

Some new developments out of Ukraine regarding the supposed downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. My car is down for the count again today so I have to spend the rest of the day assessing the damage (blown seals leaking water into engine possibly… :(  oh well, it was a noble effort)

Departure of Train With MH17 Crash Bodies to Kharkiv Delayed – OSCE    (someone blew up the tracks so the bodies can’t be taken to study) “The departure of a Kharkiv-bound train carrying bodies of victims of last week’s Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine was delayed Monday because of a damaged railway, an OSCE official in Ukraine said.”

Holland, Russia Agree Investigation Into Boeing Crash Should Be Led by ICAO – Reports

Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash – Moscow

 

New San Francisco billboard warns workers they’ll be replaced by iPads if they demand a fair wage

(You’ll take the pittance we offer you and be glad to have it or else!)

by Paul Carr from Pando

Walking home from Pando’s office a few nights ago, I noticed this giant new billboard…

IMAG0016

Its message — that minimum wage increases will lead to service workers being replaced by apps — is continued on an accompanying website — BadIdeaCA — which claims to be “holding activists accountable for minimum wage consequences.”

So who the hell pays for billboards threatening waitstaff with redundancy if they demand a living wage? A bit of digging and clicking reveals that the campaign is backed by Employment Policies Institute, the conservative lobbying group which regularly campaigns on behalf of the restaurant industry.

[read more here]

 

Trying to Read Michael Ledeen’s Seriously Diseased and Dangerously Desperate Mind

by Scott Creighton

Why so “serious”?

When shills advocate their positions on anything, especially when they don’t have a leg to stand on or they are really advocating for something else they can’t mention in public, they often refer to their opinion as the “serious” one.

History is replete with examples.

  • Back in 2002 and 2003 during the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq, the “serious” analysts were those who claimed there were WMDs and Yellow Cake from Niger in Saddam’s secretive underground fortresses.
  • During the Clinton years, the “serious” economists were the ones saying NAFTA was going to create a boom for our economy and a utopia for the American working man.
  • In 2008 it was the “serious” advisers who told us our entire way of life would crumble and fall if we didn’t get behind the banker bailouts.
  • Since WWII every nation we have overthrown has been infected with “serious” neoliberal technocrats who install crippling IMF/World Bank structural adjustments which seriously destroy economies and the quality of life for the vast majority of the targeted population.
  • The “serious” members of Obama’s austerity commission were the ones who understood that the poor and the working classes were going to have to pay the price for the corrupt politicians and banksters who wrecked the economy.
  • The “serious” journalists understand they aren’t really journalists.
  • All “serious” analysts know there are no conspiracies… just terrorists and folks who hate Israel. “Serious” and responsible citizens believe whatever their government tells them and knows in their hearts that the government is looking out for their best interests at all times.
  • The “serious” politicians know that globalization is inevitable and act accordingly.

Today, a “serious” John Kerry is engaged in nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna. These are “serious” talks according to him.

Kerry entered what the US described as a “serious and potentially lengthy conversation” with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, in a Vienna hotel late on Monday morning…

… “There are a lot of issues to discuss as part of these nuclear talks, especially because July 20th is coming up so soon,” said a senior state department official. “One of the goals of Secretary Kerry coming to Vienna was to have in-depth discussions with Foreign Minister Zarif to gauge Iran’s willingness to make the critical choices it needs to make. That’s a pretty serious and potentially lengthy conversation. The Secretary will take the time necessary to have that discussion, and that’s why they’ll be meeting again today, to see if progress can be made.” Guardian

One has to ask, since it’s well known that Iran has no intention of creating or much less using a nuclear weapon, why is the administration so serious about these talks asking them to agree not to? Seems like the discussion would take all of 5 minutes if this was seriously the question at the heart of all of this.

I wonder what those “critical choices” Mr. Kerry is forcing on Iran might be. Do you think they might be someone akin to the “critical choices” Kerry tried to force on Morsi in Egypt before he unleashed the regime change on behalf of the IMF/World Bank?

Of course to ask that question one has to read his mind… or simply look at his history.

Providing a little insight into the “serious” workings of the “serious” mind, we have a “serious” neoliberal neocon warmonger extraordinaire, Micheal Leeden, writing a recent op-ed for The Hill.

His topic is this pending deal with Iran and his message is “serious” (if not worn out): Iran is “evil”… radical Islam… invisible bombs… so, regime change anyway.

Continue reading

While the world watches Gaza, protests rage across the West Bank

from Mondoweiss

.

Palestinian youth gathered again for the ninth consecutive night near Rachel’s Tomb on Bethlehem’s Jerusalem-Hebron Road on Friday, June 11th.  Clashes began on July 3rd in response to the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and have continued with the Israeli government’s current operation in Gaza.  At least 8 young people have been treated for wounds sustained from Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition and dozens more for injuries from rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation.

[read more here]

July 11th U.N. Report: 77% of Palestinian Casualties are Civilians

Yesterday’s U.N. report- “Since the start of the military operation on 7 July, the Israeli military has carried out over 700 air raids, fired more than 1 ,100 missiles and 100 tank shells, and conducted some 330 naval shellings

report

Heavy Bombing Resumes in Gaza

by Scott Creighton

My Twitter feed is lighting up. Israel, feeling pressure from the international community over their indiscriminate and brutal shelling of civilian targets in Gaza, has launched yet another round of bombings.

Israel will resist foreign pressure to halt its operations in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

He said Israel had attacked more than 1,000 targets there since Tuesday, and was using twice the force it used during a similar operation in 2012. BBC

Continue reading

NYT: Blackwater Mercs Threatened to Kill U.S. Investigators in Iraq in 2007

by James Risen, NYT

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

[read more here]

Why I Left 60 Minutes by Charles Lewis

by Charles Lewis, Politico

The big networks say they care about uncovering the truth. That’s not what I saw.

Ernest Hemingway famously said that “the most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.” He was talking about the novelist, I suppose. But his dictum applies to the investigative journalist, in spades. It is the born reporter who insistently, even masochistically, clings to the notion that things are not what they outwardly seem and pursues the hidden truth in any situation even when other people prefer to ignore it. For most people this simply is not normal human activity.

[read more here]

A New Cybersecurity Bill Could Give the NSA Even More Data

from Next Gov

“Privacy groups are sounding the alarm that a new Senate cybersecurity bill could give the National Security Agency access to even more personal information of Americans.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act would create a “gaping loophole in existing privacy law,” the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and dozens of other privacy groups wrote in a letter to senators late Thursday.

“Instead of reining in NSA surveillance, the bill would facilitate a vast flow of private communications data to the NSA,” many of the same privacy groups warned in a second letter to lawmakers.

The goal of the bill, authored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and ranking member Saxby Chambliss, is to allow the government and private sector to share more information about attacks on computer networks.

Business groups have been complaining for several years that they could better protect their systems from hackers if Congress removed legal barriers to information-sharing. The companies want to make it easier to share information about attacks with each other and the government.

The Senate bill includes provisions aimed at protecting privacy, such as requiring that companies that share information first strip out personally identifiable data (such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers) of known Americans.”

[read more here]

Why Do We Hate the Poor?

by Kim Redigan, Common Dreams

Today, families in Detroit, living under an emergency manager imposed by a governor committed to privatizing every inch of the state, are having their water shut off.  A few days ago, the United Nations, at the behest of local activists, issued a statement on the shutoffs.

This is what it’s come to  –  appealing to an international body to uphold the basic human right to water.

The situation in Detroit is, of course, a result of systemic injustices deeply rooted in racism, injustices that have been analyzed by minds far better than mine.

No, the question I ask is not academic.

I am honestly trying to understand the hatred that is reserved for the poor in this country, hatred as deep and noxious as a tar sands trail.

Continue reading

After Losing Vote, US-EU Threaten to Undermine Treaty

by Thalif Deen, from Common Dreams

The United States and the 28-member European Union (EU) have assiduously promoted – and vigourously preached – one of the basic tenets of Western multi-party democracy: majority rules.

But at the United Nations, the 29 member states have frequently abandoned that principle when it insists on “consensus” on crucial decisions relating to the U.N. budget – or when it is clearly outvoted in the 193-member General Assembly or its committee rooms.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva which adopted, by majority vote, a proposal to negotiate a legally-binding treaty to prevent human rights abuses by transnational corporations (TNCs) and the world’s business conglomerates.

But following the vote, the United States and the EU, have warned they would not cooperate with an intergovernmental working group (IGWG) which is to be established to lay down ground rules for negotiating the proposed treaty.

Stephen Townley, the U.S. representative in the HRC, told delegates: “The United States will not participate in this IGWG, and we encourage others to do the same.”

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Why Sean Penn is Wrong About Haiti

(We know why he’s wrong: because he’s a millionaire celebrity dependent on Hollywood for his lavish lifestyle and access to the power elites. Because if he uses his visiblity against the neoliberal program taking place in Haiti, same program many of those Hollywood elites are invested in, then he will be tarnished and banished forever. He will be Sean Penn, unperson. That’s “why” he’s wrong. This article better explains “how” he’s wrong.)

by Kevin Pina, CounterPunch

There are regular demonstrations in Haiti demanding the resignation of President Martelly, protests against the leveling of homes in downtown Port au Prince, protests against the confiscation of lands for tourism projects on the island of Île à Vache , protests demanding new national elections, protests against the high cost of living and yet more protests on the horizon.

Despite this rising tide of discontent, the messages most Americans hear about Haiti are filtered through the voices of celebrity experts like Sean Penn who recently denied anything is wrong and pronounced the small Caribbean nation has finally “turned a corner.”  In a recent tome published June 18 in Newsweek magazine Sean Penn wrote, “Haiti’s economy is among the fastest-growing in the Caribbean, as the government continues to make economic development a priority.”

Continue reading

Cameron Says ‘Got Message’ as Eurosceptic UKIP Wins EU Election

from May 26, 2014

RIA Novosti

The anti-EU UK Independence Party has swept to victory in recent European parliamentary elections and British Prime Minister David Cameron said the victory has been “received and understood” in a BBC interview.

“I take a very clear message from this election: people are deeply disillusioned … they want change. That message is received and understood,” Cameron said.

[read more here]

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