Category Archives: Democracy

CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

“Brandon Bryant, a former US Predator operator, told the film he decided to speak out after senior officials in the Obama administration gave a briefing last year in which they said they wanted to “transfer” control of the CIA’s secret drones programme to the military.

Bryant said this was disingenuous because it was widely known in military circles that the US air force was already involved.

‘There is a lie hidden within that truth. And the lie is that it’s always been the air force that has flown those missions. The CIA might be the customer but the air force has always flown it. A CIA label is just an excuse to not have to give up any information. That is all it has ever been.'”

 

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Hobby Lobby retirement plan invests heavily in contraception manufacturers

Hobby Lobby retirement plan invests heavily in contraception manufacturers

Redden examined documents filed with the Department of Labor three months after the company’s owners filed the lawsuit challenging the contraception provision of the Affordable Care Act and found that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) ‘held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.'”

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The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

The Supreme Court’s Ideology: More Money, Less Voting

“Now we have McCutcheon v. FEC, where the Court, in yet another controversial 5-4 opinionwritten by Roberts, struck down the limits on how much an individual can contribute to candidates, parties and political action committees. So instead of an individual donor being allowed to give $117,000 to campaigns, parties and PACs in an election cycle (the aggregate limit in 2012), they can now give up to $3.5 million, Andy Kroll of Mother Jones reports. 

The Court’s conservative majority believes that the First Amendment gives wealthy donors and powerful corporations the carte blanche right to buy an election but that the Fifteenth Amendment does not give Americans the right to vote free of racial discrimination.”

 

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Obama will never end the War on Terror

Obama will never end the War on Terror

“What began as one horrific attack 13 years ago and a simple, 60-word Authorization for the Use of Military Force three days later has morphed all but unnoticed into a war with no name or parameters—against an enemy that the government will no longer even officially identify, on battlefields that didn’t exist when the measure hurriedly passed Congress.

And as the Yemen strike suggests, the war hardly appears to be winding down. Nor do U.S. forces seem to be getting much better at avoiding “collateral damage.” The grave but very real danger is that this strangest of wars will never end, certainly not before the expiration of Obama’s second term. And his successors may be left with nearly the entire unresolved mess: an open-ended war authorization and inchoate rules for drone and special operations, the promised-but-never-carried-through closing of Guantánamo Bay, and a National Security Agency that’s still not sure whom or what it can spy on.”

 
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As Ukraine violence escalates, leaked tape suggests the US was plotting coup

As Ukraine violence escalates, leaked tape suggests the US was plotting coup

“Where do you want me to begin? I mean, we are watching history being made, but history of the worst kind. That’s what I’m telling my grandchildren: Watch this. What’s happening there, let’s take the big picture, then we can go to the small picture. The big picture is, people are dying in the streets every day. The number 50 is certainly too few. They’re still finding bodies. Ukraine is splitting apart down the middle, because Ukraine is not one country, contrary to what the American media, which speaks about  the Ukraine and  the Ukrainian people. Historically, ethnically, religiously, culturally, politically, economically, it’s two countries. One half wants to stay close to Russia; the other wants to go West. We now have reliable reports that the anti-government forces in the streets—and there are some very nasty people among them—are seizing weapons in western Ukrainian military bases. So we have clearly the possibility of a civil war.”

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To salvage what we can from Afghanistan, our leaders must admit that the war has failed

To salvage what we can from Afghanistan, our leaders must admit that the war has failed

“As America ploughs through its 13th year of war in Afghanistan and negotiates with Kabul to keeps troops there for another ten years, we must take a sober look at the military and diplomatic actions that have thus far characterized our involvement. We must ask what we have accomplished after more than a decade of fighting, whether our goals have been met and our mission has been a success. It is time to remove the taboo against telling the hard truth and concede what a dispassionate analysis demands: the war in Afghanistan has been lost.”

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The NSA is Even Spying on Computers That Aren’t Online

Swampland

A computer doesn’t need to be online for the National Security Agency to take a peek.

The spy agency has managed to sneak surveillance software onto almost 100,000 computers worldwide, and is even able to use computers that aren’t connected to the Internet for spying and cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The NSA relies on secret channels of radio waves that are transmitted from tiny circuits and USB cards implanted by NSA-friendly spies or manufacturers to snoop on offline computers.

The NSA targets include units of the Chinese army, Russian military networks, systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, European Union trade institutions, as well as U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the Times reports, in the latest details to emerge from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks.

The spying agency said it does not use implantation software or its radio frequency technology inside…

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Big money behind war: the military industrial complex

Big money behind war: the military industrial complex

“The new military-industrial complex is fuelled by a conveniently ambiguous and unseen enemy: the terrorist. Former President George W Bush and his aides insisted on calling counter-terrorism efforts a ‘war’. This concerted effort by leaders like former Vice President Dick Cheney (himself the former CEO of defence-contractor Halliburton) was not some empty rhetorical exercise. Not only would a war maximise the inherent powers of the president, but it would maximise the budgets for military and homeland agencies.”

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Calif. Senate Urges Congress To Revisit Vote On NSA Surveillance

CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new piece of legislation is seeking to protect Californians from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports the California State Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve Senate Bill 828. [cbs-audio url=”http://cbsla.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/ca-spying-bill-1-mca.mp3″ size=”” download=”” name=”State Senate Introduces Bill That Would Prevent Calif. From Aiding NSA ” artist=”Margaret Carrero”]

Passed in a bipartisan 31-1 vote on Monday, Senate Bill 828 bans state agencies, officials and corporations from giving any material support, participation or assistance to any federal agency to collect electronic or metadata — including emails and text messages — of any person unless a warrant is issued that specifically describes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.

Sen. Ted Lieu, who joint-authored SB 828 with Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), said the legislation comes in response to recent revelations of the NSA’s “massive phone and internet records collection program on Americans.”

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Dirty wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s new film exposes hidden truths of covert U.S. warfare

Dirty wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s new film exposes hidden truths of covert U.S. warfare

“If you look at the use of the state secrets privilege; if you look at the way the Obama administration has expanded the drone wars; has empowered special operations forces, including from JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, to operate in countries where the United States is not at war; if you look at the way in which the Obama administration has essentially boxed Congress out of any effective oversight role of the covert aspects of U.S. foreign policy, what we really have is a president who has normalized, for many, many liberals in the United States, the policies that they once opposed under the Bush administration. And, you know, this really has been a war presidency.”

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