Jonathan Turley, a top US expert on constitutional law and legal theory, writes with great concern about how easily the UK authorities have slipped into categorising David Miranda's carrying of documents from Edward Snowden as "fall[ing] within the definition of terrorism." The West is on a "slippery slope", he writes; "[U]nder this definition, the Pentagon Papers could be treated as the same act as the 9-11 bombings."
At a moment like this, let's pause to recall the often-quoted words of Pastor Martin Niemöller; but let's have them in the German this time...
A US 'War on Terror' drone targets and kills a 67-year-old midwife and grandmother of nine while she tends her garden in Waziristan. Her daughter, whose three children were also injured in the October 2012 attack, would really rather like to know why. Did she pose a threat to the US?
BBC Newsnight: "Edward Snowden debate and Kirsty Wark interviews Glenn Greenwald", "BBC Newsnight" YouTube Channel, 5 October 2013.
Glenn Greenwald responds with impeccable logic and clarity to the biased, pro-Big-Brother-establishment questionings of BBC Newsnight "journalist" Kirsty Wark. In fact, he wipes the floor with her. As a UK citizen, I have to say it's pretty depressing to see such a display as hers. But then, as Noam Chomsky points out, people like this get to where they are precisely because they think the 'right' thoughts; those who think for themselves stay pushing the tea trolleys around the BBC studios. And, if we ever wanted an example of how the BBC is most definitely not the impartial and independent organisation it claims - and is widely celebrated - to be, this is it.
Seymour Hersh doesn't believe it either. In his opinion the claimed raid on Osama bin Laden's supposed "compound" by Navy SEALS in 2011 is "one big lie, not one word of it is true." And as for the "independent" report by a Pakstani commission on Osama's life in Abottabad: "it was done with considerable American input. It's a ******** report."
What's new about Zero Hours Contracts here in the UK? Nothing, writes this contributor to the WideShut website. Weavers in the early 19th Century were the victims of a 'beggar-your-neighbour' economic system in which unbridled competition to drive down wage costs led to irregular, underpaid and grotesquely subservient employment. But, warns the writer, in case we should think that only the Few shall be affected by the Zero Hour culture...
Dr. Roberts reposts a translation that he made available of a Pakistani National TV interview with an eyewitness to the alleged SEAL Team Six attack that allegedly killed Osama bin Laden. The interview with Muhammad Bashir, who lives next door to OBL's alleged "compound", differs substantially from the Obama administration's story. An update follows, in which Dr. Roberts lists the many reasons why he finds the whole OBL Raid story utterly unbelievable.
Following the interview with Mark Musser on his book Nazi Oaks, I came across this op-ed in The New York Times by Erle C. Ellis, associate professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and visiting associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
Although he once believed that we humans are undermining our own planetary life-support systems by engineering our environments, he has since changed his mind. While he still hears some of his scientific colleagues make these kinds of claims - as he says, "often unchallenged" - he now believes that such views "demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the ecology of human systems."
Regarding Vladimir Putin's recent op-ed in The New York Times, Paul Craig Roberts comments: "Most of Putin’s critics are too intellectually challenged to comprehend that Putin’s brilliant and humane article has left Putin the leader of the free world and defender of the rule of law and exposed obama for what he is – the leader of a rogue, lawless, unaccountable government committed to lies and war crimes."
YouGov poll indicates that a significant proportion of the US population is not satisfied with its government's account of 9/11, and when faced with footage of Building 7's "collapse", 46% suspect controlled demolition.
Alan Grayson, a Democratic representative from Florida and member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, gives his opinion on the quality of evidence being presented by the Obama administration in favour of an attack on Syria. His conclusion? "My position is simple: if the administration wants me to vote for war, on this occasion or on any other, then I need to know all the facts."
Regarding the Syrian Government's alleged use of chemical weapons, we are asked to trust the "high confidence" assessment of the White House. (And here in the UK, we are asked to trust the Joint Intelligence Committee.) But are we rationally justified in placing such trust in the pronouncements of intelligence establishments which, as ex-CIA Ray McGovern reminds us, have lied to us in the past? Let's not forgot the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, and those non-existent Iraqi WMDs.
Cass Sunstein! Possibly to be appointed to the panel reviewing the surveillance practices of the NSA? David Ray Griffin wrote a whole book about this man's co-authored paper, "Conspiracy Theories". So, the same man who thought it a good idea for the government to engage in "cognitive inflitration" of "conspiracy theory" groups, might now be involved in overseeing the NSA? It's hard to believe; well, perhaps not these days. See also The Washington Post piece.
According to Al Arabiya, a majority-owned Saudi newspaper, "[a]t least 1,300 people have been killed in a nerve gas attack on Syria’s Ghouta region" for which the government of President Bashar al Assad was likely responsible. F. William Engdahl analyses the report and finds it distinctly fishy; "several things jump out as suspicious" he says.
The nine-hour detention of David Miranda (partner of Glenn Greenwald) at Heathrow airport reinforces the widely-held perception that the UK and US governments are trying to scare reporters away from covering stories on intelligence leaks. "That perception," writes Alan Rusbridger, "is right." Over the past few months, says Rusbridger, UK government officials have been demanding the return or destruction of leaked materials, culminating in the bizarre spectacle of "two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement" so as to ensure, according to them, that the Chinese (!) would never get hold of the sensitive information.
This, insists Rusbridger, is journalism under attack. How long will it be until the State's growing infrastructure of surveillance makes true journalism virtually impossible?
Chris Floyd makes two points about Bradley Manning's mitigation plea. Noting The Guardian's comment that Manning's plea "will disappoint [his] thousands of supporters around the world, who believe he undertook a courageous act of whistleblowing because his conscience demanded it", Floyd remarks: (1) it's not what these whistleblowers are like as people that matters, it's what they've done that matters, and (2) just like all of us, Bradley Manning is a human being; he simply "tried to mitigate his own further torture -- but he didn't betray anyone. A plea for mercy, an apology -- however sincere or feigned -- is an entirely different thing from betrayal." *
RT's Abby Martin criticises (and critiques) MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for implying that there is a link between questioning the official account of 9/11 and violence. Just for the record: I question the official story of 9/11, but I am opposed to violence, and see no connection whatsoever between asking questions and acts of violence.
In this disturbing article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argue that it is morally acceptable to kill a newly-born baby if the reasons for doing so would have justified an abortion at an earlier stage. One might have thought that this would be limited to cases of severe handicap, which in my view would be bad enough; but no, their conclusion is that "after-birth abortion" (or "killing a newborn" as they themselves put it in their abstract) "should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled." *