Malaysian Lawyer On MH370: One False Flag Too Many.

THE ONENESS of HUMANITY

Posted April 29, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

virginislands 444-1After reaching a place of admiration and respect for former Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, it became an intent to find anything he has said recently, especially on Ukraine, Syria, and his overall views. While trying to hear his latest opinions, an interview of Matthias Chang on Malaysia Flight MH370 became available. Although the original intent was to hear from Dr. Mohamad, something pulled me to listen to this man Matthias Chang, who was unknown to me until now.

Perhaps it was a combination of delving into the missing flight for the first time and that the interview (not the one here, but another) was posted on Jeff Rense site, but at any rate I listened to the interview.

Perhaps sharing some of Mr. Chang’s biography would be in order before talking about his findings on MH370 (as a prelude, he will not be…

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THE MYTH OF HUMAN PROGRESS- CHRIS HEDGES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAo7ky1kq-Q

DIRTY WARS-AMERICA’S #1 EXPORT

Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare

 
 

 
 
 
 
 

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Guests

Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer of the documentary film Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, which just premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival. He is national security correspondent for The Nation, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Richard Rowley, director of the documentary film Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, which just premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival. He is an independent journalist with Big Noise Films.

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Premiering this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the new documentary “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield” follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truths behind America’s expanding covert wars. We’re joined by Scahill and the film’s director, Rick Rowley, an independent journalist with Big Noise Films. “We’re looking right now at a reality that President Obama has essentially extended the very policies that many of his supporters once opposed under President Bush,” says Scahill, author of the bestseller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and a forthcoming book named after his film. “One of the things that humbles both of us is that when you arrive in a village in Afghanistan and knock on someone’s door, you’re the first American they’ve seen since the Americans that kicked that door in and killed half their family,” Rowley says. “We promised them that we would do everything we could to make their stories be heard in the U.S. … Finally we’re able to keep those promises.” [includes rush transcript]

 

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We have flown from Washington, D.C., from the inauguration, to Park City, Utah, to cover the Sundance Film Festival. It’s the 10th anniversary of the documentary track. And we’re going to start off by getting response to President Obama’s inaugural address. On Monday, President Obama declared a decade of war is now ending and that lasting peace does not require perpetual war. But he never mentioned the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan by name.

There was also no mention about the secret drone war that’s vastly expanded under President Obama. On the same day he gave his inaugural address, a U.S. drone strike killed three people in Yemen east of the capital, Sana’a. Also Monday, President Obama officially nominated John Brennan to be director of the CIA, succeeding retired Army General David Petraeus, who resigned. Nicknamed the “assassination czar” by some, Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly confirm drone attacks overseas and to defend their legality. Four years ago, John Brennan was a rumored pick for the CIA job when Obama was first elected but was forced to withdraw from consideration amidst protests over his role at the CIA under the Bush administration. Obama also officially nominated Chuck Hagel to head defense and John Kerry to become secretary of state on Monday.

Well, joining us here in Park City, Utah, is Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation magazine. He is featured in and co-wrote the new documentary Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Jeremy’s latest book, with the same title, is due out in April.

We’re also joined by Dirty Wars director Richard Rowley, independent journalist with Big Noise Films. The film premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. documentary competition section. And when we flew into Salt Lake City last night, we went directly to the Salt Lake City Library, where there was a packed, sold-out crowd to see the—a showing of Dirty Wars. We want to congratulate you, Jeremy and Rick, on this absolutely remarkable film.

RICK ROWLEY: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: And I think it’s very appropriate to begin our four days of broadcasting here at Park City, on this day after the inauguration of President Obama, to begin with Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield.

Jeremy, talk about President Obama’s first four years and where we’re going now. You got a chance to hear his inaugural address; what you thought of it?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, you know, I think if we look back at the—at the first term of the Obama administration, what we saw was you had this very popular Democratic president that had—who had campaigned, in terms of his broader rhetoric during the presidential campaign against John McCain, on the notion that he was going to transform the way that the U.S. conducted its foreign policy around the world. And, you know, he then proceeded to double down on some of the greatest excesses of the Bush administration. 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.

And, you know, yesterday, as the—as President Obama’s talking about how we don’t need a state of perpetual war, multiple U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, a country that we’re not at war with, where the U.S. has killed a tremendous number of civilians. Rick and I have spent a lot of time on the ground in Yemen. And, you know, to me, most disturbing about this is John Brennan, who really was the architect of this drone program and the expansion of the drone program—these guys are sitting around on Tuesdays at the White House in “Terror Tuesday” meetings, discussing who’s going to live and who’s going to die across the world. These guys have decided—

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, “Terror Tuesday” meetings?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, that’s what they’re referred to. You know, senior—when this first came out, senior White House officials said that they internally refer to them as “Terror Tuesdays,” where they meet and they go over the list of potential targets. And they have them, you know, on baseball cards in some cases. And they’re identifying people that they want to take out and that are on the U.S. kill list. And we have an ever-expanding kill list. You know, after 9/11, there were seven people on the U.S. kill list, and then we had the deck of cards in Iraq and Saddam and his top people. I mean, now there are thousands; it’s unknown how many people are on this kill list. And U.S. citizens—three U.S. citizens were killed in operations ordered by the president in late 2011, including, you know, as we reported on Democracy Now! before, the 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

And, you know, so the appointment of Brennan to CIA, to me, is the greatest symbol of how deeply invested in covert war and an expansion of wars around the world and the notion that was popularized under the neocons of “the world is a battlefield,” that notion that the United States can strike in any country across the world, wherever it determines that terrorists or suspected militants may reside. The most disturbing part of this policy, to me—and I think also to people within the intelligence community who are looking at this—is that there are regions of Yemen or Pakistan where President Obama has authorized the U.S. to strike, even if they don’t know the identities of the people that they’re striking, the so-called “signature strike” policy. The idea that being a military-aged male in a certain region of a particular country around the world, that those people become legitimate targets based on their gender and their age and their geographic presence, that those are going to be legitimate targets is—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain that.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, this was something that started under the Bush administration, and when President Obama first took office, he was briefed on this by the then-director—the outgoing director of the CIA, Michael Hayden. And he described to him this policy that they had developed called “signature strikes,” where they were looking at patterns of life. If an individual had contact with certain other individuals, if they were traveling in a certain area at certain times, if they were gathering with a certain number of people, that there was a presumption that they must be up to no good, that they are suspected militants or suspected terrorists and that the U.S. could take preemptive action against those people—and by “preemptive action,” I mean killing them with a missile—that there was authorization to do that. In some cases, the president has actually pre-cleared the CIA to authorize these strikes without being directly notified.

But President Obama, my understanding from sources, you know, within the intelligence and military world, has really sort of micromanaged this process. And, you know, Brennan has been—Brennan is basically the hit man of this administration, except he never has to go out and do the hitting himself. He orders, you know, planes and missile strikes and AC-130 strikes to, you know, hit in Somalia, in Yemen, in Pakistan. You know, we’re looking right now at a reality that President Obama has essentially extended the very policies that many of his supporters once opposed under President Bush. And I think it says something about the bankrupt nature of partisan politics in this country that the way we feel about life-or-death policies around the world is determined by who happens to be in office. I mean, that’s—that, to me, is a very sobering reality.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a first clip of your film, Jeremy and Rick. The story of Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki features prominently in Dirty Wars. His 16-year-old son became the third U.S. citizen to be killed in a drone strike in Yemen in October 2011. President Obama called the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki a, quote, “milestone.”

JEREMY SCAHILL: Aden—Yemen’s ancient port city was nothing like Kabul. In Afghanistan, life was defined by the war. Everything revolved around it. But in Yemen, there was no war, at least not officially. The strikes seem to have come out of the blue, and most Yemenis were going about life as usual. It was difficult to know where to start. The Yemeni government claimed responsibility for the strikes, saying they had killed dozens of al-Qaeda operatives. But it was unclear who the targets really were or who was even responsible.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Jeremy Scahill in Yemen in the film that has just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival called Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Jeremy?

JEREMY SCAHILL: So what we were seeing there was a scene where we’re first getting into what’s happening on the ground in Yemen, and we learn about these—this series of missile strikes, cruise missile strikes, that had happened in December of 2009, the first time that Yemen had been bombed by the United States in seven years. And in the process of looking at who the targets were, we understood that Anwar al-Awlaki, that there had been an attempt to kill him, and in fact that the—that it had been announced that Awlaki had been killed. And that’s how we discovered that Anwar Awlaki was in fact on the kill list. And, of course, Anwar Awlaki is a U.S. citizen.

The first bombing that happened, on December 17th, 2009, where President Obama directly authorized the strike, was on this village of al-Majalah in southern Yemen, and 46 people were killed, including two dozen women and children, in that strike. And so, what Rick and I did is we went down to the heart of where these strikes were happening, and we met with people on the ground, and we interviewed survivors of these—of these missile strikes. And we gathered evidence, and we actually filmed the cruise missile parts. And the U.S. had—did not claim responsibility for those strikes; in fact, the Yemeni government claimed responsibility for the strikes. And we know from the WikiLeaks cables that were released that General David Petraeus essentially conspired with senior Yemeni officials, including the former president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to cover up the U.S. role in what would become a rapidly expanding U.S. bombing campaign inside of Yemen. And, you know, this administration has continued to pummel Yemen.

Today or—I think today, they claimed for probably the dozenth time in the past couple of years to have killed Said al-Shihri, one of the leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And, you know, maybe he has been killed this time; maybe he hasn’t. But what we saw on the ground is that the United States and Yemen claim to be killing al-Qaeda leadership—and they’ve killed a handful of them in Yemen—but for the most part, it seems that the drone strikes are hitting in areas where they’re killing civilians. And what it’s doing is it’s turning people in Yemen that might not be disposed, have anything against the United States, into potential enemies that have a legitimate grudge against America. And that’s—we saw that repeatedly.

AMY GOODMAN: Rick Rowley, your filmmaking is truly remarkable, and you’ve shown that in your previous films, for example, Fourth World War. But in Dirty Wars, that you take this one camera, and you and Jeremy travel the world, as you’ve been covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, going to places that the entire U.S. press corps—I mean, with their armed guards—has rarely been, if ever at all, to track what has been secret until now. Talk about that journey through Yemen.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, I—the global war on terror is the most important story of our generation, you know, and it’s a story that’s been completely not covered. It remains invisible and hidden from most Americans. I mean, this is a war—this is the longest war in American history. It’s a war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. But it’s happening in the shadows. And so, Dirty Wars — in Dirty Wars, Jeremy and I are trying to make this invisible war that’s being fought in our name, but without our knowledge, visible to the American people. And in order to do that, we had to leave the safety of the Green Zone and go out to where—where the war takes place, talk to the civilians on the ground in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen about how this war is affecting their lives.

So, in Yemen, as a result of the—all these drone strikes, as the backlash against these drone strikes in the south was huge, when we arrived in Yemen, an entire province in the south had been taken over by an al-Qaeda-affiliated organization because of the massive popular anger over the drone strikes and the government’s complicity in the strikes, which, you know, turned the south of Yemen into a terrifying place. I mean, these missile strikes, these night raids destabilize the countries that they happen in, and they turn them into places where it becomes very dangerous to move and to operate. So, in Yemen—I mean, in Afghanistan, as well, Jeremy and I had to travel—it was only possible for us to work as a crew of two, because we had to keep a low profile and try to travel under the radar. We couldn’t roll—I mean, rolling around with security would only make it more dangerous for us.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Rick had to actually—he had to train one of the—our Afghan colleagues in how to use a second camera, so that we could have someone filming me while Rick was filming, you know, the people that we were interviewing, because we wouldn’t have been safe to bring more people than that. So Rick actually was training people on the fly in multiple countries on how to do other things, because of some of the limitations, for security purposes, of having to travel very lightly.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that humbles both of us is that, you know, when you arrive in a village in Afghanistan and knock on someone’s door, you’re the first American they’ve seen since the Americans that kicked that door in and killed half their family. And yet, time and time again, those families invited us in, welcomed us and shared their stories with us, based on—you know, we promised them that we would do everything we could to make their stories be heard in the U.S. And so, it’s actually really—it’s amazing to be here at Sundance, because finally we’re able to keep those promises.

AMY GOODMAN: Afghanistan, Gardez, Jeremy, talk about one of the central focuses of Dirty Wars.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, you know, we—when we began working on this film, it was a very different film. And, you know, I mean, Amy, we—both Rick and I have been on Democracy Now! I mean, I feel like I grew up at Democracy Now! On my Facebook page, I list Democracy Now! as my university, and really, really view it that way. And you know, because we were talking to you at the time, that we had started on a very different journey. And we had read about this raid that happened in Gardez, in Paktia province, because a very, very brave reporter named Jerome Starkey, who’s a correspondent for The Times of London, who now is in Africa covering the latest sort of expansion of the not-so-covert war in Mali—

AMY GOODMAN: And we’ll talk about that in a minute.

JEREMY SCAHILL: And we’ll talk about that, yeah. So we had read about this night raid that took place, and it was a horrible massacre. And what happened in Gardez was that U.S. special operations forces had intelligence that there were—you know, a Taliban cell was in a—was having some sort of a meeting to prepare a suicide bomber. And they raid this house in the middle of the night, and they end up killing five people, including three women, two of whom were pregnant, and another person that they killed in the house, Mohammed Daoud, turned out to be a senior Afghan police commander who had been trained by the U.S., including by the mercenary—or the private security company MPRI, Military Professional Resources Incorporated. They weren’t even Pashtun, the dominant—the almost exclusive ethnicity of the Taliban. They spoke Dari. And they’re—and what was happening that night was not preparing a suicide bomber; they were celebrating the birth of a child. And they were dancing and had music, and they had women without head covers on.

And they—and so the soldiers raid this house, and they kill these people. And instead of realizing that they had made a horrible mistake and that the intelligence was wrong and it resulted in these people being killed, they actually covered up the killings. And we interview the survivors of this raid, including a man who watched, while he was zip-cuffed, soldiers, American soldiers, digging bullets out of his wife’s dead body. And they then tried to—

AMY GOODMAN: And they did that because?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, so just to finish this part of it, they kill the people, they dig the bullets our of the bodies, then they take into custody all of the men of the house, including a man who has just watched his sister and his wife and his niece killed, and they fly them to a different province, and they’re interrogating them, trying to get them to give up some information that would indicate that the Taliban had a connection to that family. I mean, it shows you how horrid the intelligence is. I mean, these people weren’t even Pashtun. You have a senior police commander. They’re dancing, playing loud music, and they have women without head cover in the house. And what happened is that NATO then issues a press release and made statements anonymously in the media where they said that the U.S. forces had stumbled upon the aftermath of a Taliban honor killing, and they implied that the family—that the women were killed by their own murderous families.

And so, in the course of the film, we investigate that night raid, and we learn that the individuals who did that raid were members of the Joint Special Operations Command. And we know that because the then-head of the Joint Special Operations Command, Vice Admiral William McRaven, showed up in this village with scores of Afghan soldiers and U.S. forces. And they—there’s a scene, and we show this in the film, where they offload a sheep, and they offer to sacrifice the sheep to say—you know, ask for forgiveness. It’s an Afghan cultural tradition, and it was meant to be a gesture of reconciliation. And they offload the sheep, and they’re offering to sacrifice it in the very place where the raid had taken place. And then Admiral McRaven goes into the home and says his men were responsible for killing the women and the police commander, and he asks for forgiveness from the head of the family, Haji Sharabuddin. Had a brave photographer named Jeremy Kelly not been there to snap the photographs that you see in our film of Admiral McRaven in Gardez, we may never have known who the actual killers were that day.

And both Jerome Starkey and I have filed Freedom of Information Act requests. We’ve tried to get information out of the U.S. military. My requests have been bounced all around the military. And the most current update I have is months old from them. They said that it’s in an unnamed agency awaiting review. We don’t know if anyone was disciplined for the action. We don’t know if anyone was ever held accountable for the action. All we know is that Admiral McRaven and a bunch of soldiers showed up with a sheep and said, “We did this, and we’re sorry.”

AMY GOODMAN: And tried to destroy Jerome Starkey’s reputation, meanwhile, back in Kabul in a news conference.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, I mean, Jerome Starkey—there’s a couple of journalists in our film who really emerge as the heroes of the story that we’re telling. Another one is currently in jail in Yemen right now, and we can maybe talk about him, named Abdulelah Haider Shaye—and we’ve talked about him on the show before—in jail because President Obama intervened, when he was about to be pardoned, to keep him in jail after he exposed the role, U.S. role, in certain missile strikes.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean he intervened, if you could just say for a moment?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, there was—the journalist who first exposed the missile strike I was talking about earlier in al-Majalah, Yemen, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, had taken photographs of the U.S. missile parts, and that’s how we first learned that it was in fact U.S. cruise missiles. And Yemen doesn’t have cruise missiles. And so, after he did his reporting and continued to report on the expanding U.S. air war in Yemen, he was snatched from his home by the U.S.-backed Yemeni counterterrorism units and then was put on trial for allegedly being an al-Qaeda facilitator or propagandist and was sentenced to five years in prison. There was huge protests as his trial was denounced as a sham by international human rights and media organizations. And he was about to be pardoned by the Yemeni president, because there was tremendous pressure in the country, and then President Obama called President Ali Abdullah Saleh and expressed his concern over the release of Abdulelah Haider Shaye.

AMY GOODMAN: The reporter.

JEREMY SCAHILL: The reporter. And then the pardon was ripped up after that. And his lawyers say, clearly, that he’s in jail because of Obama’s intervention, that he would have been released. And lest you think this is some kind of a conspiracy theory, you can hop onto the White House website and see the readout of the phone call from that day. The White House put it openly. When I called the State Department to ask them about the case, they said, “We stand by President Obama’s position on—initial position on this,” regarding this journalist. They don’t even refer to him as a journalist, “regarding this individual.” He had worked with ABC News, The Washington Post — you know, very small, unknown media outlets. And I heard from a very—someone inside of a very prominent news organization in the U.S. told me that they had been called by the administration when they were working with Abdulelah Haider Shaye and told that “You should stop working with him, because he takes his paychecks and gives them to al-Qaeda.” I mean, they tried to slander this journalist behind the scenes and in front.

But you asked about Jerome Starkey. When Jerome Starkey first exposed the cover-up of Gardez, NATO publicly attacked him by name and accused him of lying. And then, when more information started to come out about who did it, then they changed their story, but they never apologized to Jerome Starkey.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Rick Rowley, you have this remarkable footage. Aside from you both going to Gardez and interviewing survivors, talk about the video footage you retrieve there and the hands of the U.S. soldiers that you see.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, one of incredible things in Gardez, the family gave us cellphone videos that they had taken the night of the raid. And there was one clip in particular. It was early in the morning. It’s a shaky video. And we just thought it was just another sort of shaky video of the bodies. But then you can hear voices come over it, and they’re American-accented voices speaking about piecing together their version of the night’s killings, getting their story straight. And, I mean, you hear them trying to concoct a story about how this was something other than a massacre.

AMY GOODMAN: And you see their hands.

RICK ROWLEY: And you see their hands moving the corpses around and photographing the bullet holes. But we never get to see their faces. All we have are their voices. We spent a long time actually trying to analyze the audio to figure out, because a name is mentioned in one part of it, but it’s too thin and distorted on the cellphone to find out. I mean, these are the—these are the scraps and pieces that we have to use to reconstruct the story of these wars, because everything is systematically hidden from us. I mean, all we had to go on were these pictures that Jeremy Kelly took, this cellphone video, and that—

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Kelly is the photographer, videographer for Jerome Starkey.

RICK ROWLEY: For Jerome, yes, who is now the Kabul bureau chief—

JEREMY SCAHILL: Afghan correspondent.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah. All we had were these tiny little scraps of clues that weren’t even supposed to exist, and pictures of a person who was unknown at the time. I mean, Admiral William McRaven, you know, no one knew who he was. I mean, that was the first sort of shock here—looked at him, see his rank, read his name. But he’s not—he wasn’t from the NATO command. He wasn’t from the Eastern Regional Command that owns that battle space. He was not even—I mean, why was this elite force operating, kicking in the doors on farmers? I mean, that is the sort of the—the mystery that begins the investigation.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you take this forward, Jeremy, back to the United States and show McRaven a photograph.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. And so, you know, after—after we learn that this figure, William McRaven, was the leader of this raid, it sort of—our film was sort of in the—this journey was sort of like pulling on the tail of an elephant that’s behind a hidden wall. And you’re pulling on it, and you’re pulling on it, and the cracks start to show this behemoth that’s behind a wall, and you realize that this is part of a much bigger story. And really, that kicked off a journey that took us to Yemen and Somalia and elsewhere.

And, you know, for us, I mean, the sort of—just this incredible looking-glass moment happened when Osama bin Laden was killed. And all of a sudden, everyone is talking about JSOC. It’s everywhere. I mean, we had spent so much time embedded in this story, where there was very little being written about it, except for a small circle of journalists. And all of a sudden, the people that—whose journey we’d been tracking had become national heroes. And Disney tried to trademark SEAL Team 6, and, you know, the Hollywood producers got in bed with the CIA to make their version of the—you know, the events, the sort of official history.

AMY GOODMAN: And you’re saying that’s the film…?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Oh, Zero Dark Thirty. I mean, it’s—and we can talk about that film later. But, I mean, the relationship between the CIA and Hollywood over this issue is one that I think needs to be very, very thoroughly debated. And I’m thankful that we are debating it. And, you know, one great thing that has happened as a result of Zero Dark Thirty is that people are actually talking about torture and what has happened in the past. But for us to see, you know, McRaven sitting in front of Congress and JSOC being talked about publicly was really an incredible experience, because we had seen this other side. Our film is about all these things that these same units did that almost never get talked about. What Americans know about JSOC is overwhelmingly limited to what happened in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. And, you know, Rick often points out sort of the irony of the way that that’s covered versus the role these forces play around the world.

RICK ROWLEY: Yeah, I mean, we’re flooded with details about one raid, the—on May 2nd, 2011. We know everything about it. We know how many SEALs were in the helicopters. We know what kind of helicopters they were. We know what kind of rifles they were carrying. We know that they had a dog with them that was a Belgian Malinois named Cairo. We know everything about this raid. But that same year, there were 30,000 other night raids in Afghanistan. So, we know everything about this, but those—those are all hidden from us.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to a pair of remarkable investigative journalists, whose investigations are now a film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, that has just premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival in its 10th year. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: The great Somali Canadian, K’naan, singing “Somalia,” his home country. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, and we’re with two great journalists: Rick Rowley and Jeremy Scahill. Jeremy, a longtime Democracy Now! correspondent and national security correspondent for The Nation. Rick Rowley, videographer, filmmaker, who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan for many years. They have now put together this film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. And it has premiered here. In fact, K’naan was here celebrating the first night. And I want to talk about Somalia and Mali, but let’s start with a clip of this film in Somalia. Jeremy, can you introduce it?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, we—what we discovered in Somalia was that the U.S. had been for years outsourcing its kill list in Somalia to local warlords. And in our film, you meet two of those warlords: Mohamed Qanyare and Indha Adde. And Indha Adde at one time was protecting people who were on the U.S. kill list, and he was an ally of the al-Qaeda and al-Shabab figures within Somalia. And he has been flipped and is now working with the U.S. So, here we meet Indha Adde, this notorious warlord who’s working on the side of the U.S.

JEREMY SCAHILL: In an earlier life, Indha Adde had been America’s enemy, offering protection to people on the U.S. kill list. But the warlord had since changed sides. He was now on the U.S. payroll and assumed the title of general.

So he’s saying that the fiercest fighting that they’re doing right now is happening right here.

The men fired across the rooftops, but it didn’t make sense to me what we were doing here—or what the Americans were doing here in Somalia, arming this warlord-turned-general for what seemed like a senseless war.

UNIDENTIFIED: We’ve got to move.

JEREMY SCAHILL: So these were Shabab fighters you buried here.

GEN. INDHA ADDE: [translated] If we capture fighters alive, we give them medical care, unless they are foreigners. The foreigners, we execute.

JEREMY SCAHILL: If you capture a foreigner alive, you execute them on the battlefield?

GEN. INDHA ADDE: [translated] Yes. The others should feel no mercy.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.S.-backed Somali warlord Indha Adde. Journalist Jeremy Scahill there in Somalia, Rick Rowley filming. Jeremy, talk about Somalia and Mali, as we—the world learns about Mali now, with the French attacks on Mali and what’s happened in Algeria, and how that ties into the central theme of your film about JSOC.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Right. I mean, one thing that’s interesting, you know, we have some people from within the JSOC community whose identities we protect in the film, and we’re talking to them. And we actually, you know, two years ago, were considering going to Mali, because we were hearing from our sources that there were covert operations that were happening inside of Mali tracking these—the spread of these al-Qaeda affiliates. And, you know, this is something that we’re seeing throughout the Horn of Africa and in places throughout the Sahel and North Africa, where these groups are getting stronger and stronger. And so, you know, the U.S. is increasingly getting itself involved in these dirty wars in Africa. And, you know, we could have easily gone to Uganda or Somalia or Mali and reported on this, but there’s—you know, since AFRICOM was created as a full free-standing command, like Southern Command and Central Command, AFRICOM has been expanding these wars.

AMY GOODMAN: And McRaven, where he is now?

JEREMY SCAHILL: McRaven is the commander of the Special Operations Command. He is—William McRaven is the most powerful figure in the United States military. He is an incredibly brilliant man. He is very shrewd. He understands media. And he is in charge of the most elite force the U.S. has ever produced, and he has been given carte blanche to do what he believes is right around the world, empowered much more under President Obama than they were under President Bush. In fact, you see someone who has worked within JSOC saying that to us in our film. And out of Camp Lemonnier, which is in Djibouti, the U.S. has been expanding these covert wars in Africa. And most of what—most Americans, what they know about Somalia is Black Hawk Down. And I think in our film you’re going to see a very different reality, and you’re going to see the hellscape that has been built by a decade of covert war.

AMY GOODMAN: Is it too cynical to say—I mean, this is the fourth anniversary of President Obama promising to close Guantánamo. It hasn’t happened. There’s still scores of men there, 166 men. Something—more than 80 of them have been cleared, yet they’re still there. Is it too cynical to say that this “dirty war,” as you call it, the targeted killings, are a way to end all of these prisons? Because you don’t detain prisoners, you simply kill them.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, that’s what people like Jack Goldsmith and other, you know, former Bush legal advisers and national security team—I mean, the irony of these guys, who have no moral standing to talk about these issues, are saying, “Well, Obama is just killing these people. At least we stuck them in some sort of a prison.” I mean, it’s devastating that this is what these Bush people are saying about Obama. That’s what they’re alleging.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, devastating is your film, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. It has premiered here at the Sundance Film Festival, has just been picked up IFC, Sundance Selects, which means it will go out to scores of movie theaters around the country. This is just the beginning. And I congratulate you both, Jeremy Scahill, Rick Rowley, of Big Noise Films and The Nation magazine and Democracy Now! What an amazing film. This is our first day at the Sundance Film Festival. I thank all for all the work they’ve done.

Worlds Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth | WBUR & NPR

Puppet Master's Slave Market

Worlds Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth | WBUR & NPR.

World’s Richest People Meet, Muse On How To Spread The Wealth

Prince Charles talks to Lynn Forester de Rothschild (left), organizer of the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism, and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, before Tuesday’s conference. The 250 corporate and financial leaders who attended control some $30 trillion, about a third of the world’s investable assets. (Getty Images)

Talk of economic mobility and the wealth gap is hardly new. From the Occupy movement to President Obama’s re-election campaign, income inequality has been in the spotlight for years.

Even so, the “inclusive capitalism” conference in London on Tuesday broke new ground. Not because of the conversation, but because of the people having it.

The 250 people from around the world invited to attend this one-day conference do…

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Pwr 2 the DOWNTRODDEN Peons!

Wolfessblog -- Guillotine mediocrity in all its forms!

Let us not waste time ‘honoring’ our war-dead with parades and hotdogs; rather, let us REBEL against this country that insists on starting wars that don’t need to be fought!  Let us break these chains that bind us to an empire that has already outlasted its usefulness.  Let us give the narcissistic hoarding dregs what they KNOW they deserve!
Pwr 2 the DOWNTRODDEN peons!
GUILLOTINE COMPLACENCY!

Thomas Paine, Our Contemporary

Portrait of Thomas Paine by Auguste Millière (1880).

Cornel West, Richard D. Wolff and I, along with moderator Laura Flanders, next Sunday will inaugurate “The Anatomy of Revolution,” a series of panel discussions focusing on modern revolutionary theorists. This first event will be part of a two-day conference in New York City sponsored by the Left Forum, and nine other discussions by West, Wolff and me…

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Revisiting history: Did Jack Ruby predict the America of today?

 by Dustin Pardue<img class=”alignright

 

 ”I tell you that a whole new form of government is going to take over the country and I know I won’t live to see you another time.”–Jack Ruby

Jack Ruby, the man who shot accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy Lee Harvey Oswald, said in his interview with the Warren Commission (the investigative team appointed by the federal government to probe the Kennedy assassination) on June 7th, 1964:“Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred or my motives. The people that had so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in will never let the true facts come above board to the world. Gentlemen, I want to tell you the truth, but I cannot tell it here. If you want a fair shake out of me you have to take me to Washington. I tell you that a whole new form of government is going to take over the country and I know I won’t live to see you another time.”

Nearly half a century later, these words continue to haunt the United States and continue to raise questions. Were they simply the musings of a grief-stricken raving lunatic, or were they the words of a man ready to blow the whistle that was following orders and not there by happenstance? The words themselves, especially his quote regarding ‘a new form of government’ still to this day sounds a little far out there. But when really thinking about it and analyzing other similar quotes from the time and looking at U.S. politics and policy, both foreign and domestic, since that time, one can see that Jack Ruby’s testimony to the Warren Commission may not have been ‘out there’ at all. A strong case can be made that he actually knew a great deal more than history has led us to believe and that he was trying to genuinely warn this country about the events that had just transpired and what they were going to mean to the future of this nation.

Were there any other notable contemporaries in the late 1950s and early 1960s in America saying similar things to what Jack Ruby said in his interview with the Warren Commission? Surprisingly there actually were.

In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower gave an eloquent address to the nation which included the following statement: “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. 

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

In April of 1961, President John Kennedy said in a speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association: “For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War; in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match. The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”

On December 21st, 1963, former president Harry Truman said in The Washington Post: “For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at time a policy-making arm of the government. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations.”

Something is wrong in Washington

These are all very alarming statements uttered from a few guys who are more ‘in the know’ than your average John Q. Citizen. Their statements aren’t as black and white as that of Jack Ruby, but reading them, hearing them, and objectively interpreting them can lead one to believe there was something very wrong in Washington, DC during this time. So the questions remain. Were all of these people trying to warn us and tell us something? Or, is it also possible that these are just four misinterpreted statements from four different people about four different things? Depending on whom one asks, there is a wide range of answers from people. Some have even gone as far as making up speeches by John Kennedy such as the hoaxed Columbia University speech in 1963, as well as the ‘enslaving’ quote uttered supposedly seven days before his assassination in Dallas, TX, all to support their answers to these questions. (Sorry to disappoint all of you Illuminati believers out there, but John Kennedy simply never said those things) The essential reality is this:1) There were some groundbreaking things happening in the political structure of the United States after World War II; 2) The economic, foreign policy decisions, and attitude toward the Soviet Union of John Kennedy were incomprehensible to some people; 3) The United States dramatically changed its policies after the assassination of John Kennedy. All of these are still evident today in 2013.

President Franklin Roosevelt, or as modern day conservatives like to call him, Satan himself, did some pretty good things other than guiding our country through World War II. The New Deal was a series of government-sponsored programs to not only ensure that the Great Depression didn’t repeat itself, but also establish social programs in the United States, such as the Social Security Act and the Works Progress Administration Act, to help build a middle class. As part of the New Deal, The Glass-Steagall Act, a term often applied to the entire Banking Act of 1933, prohibited deposit banks from merging or behaving as a securities bank (separating the gamblers from the rest of the world). Combine the New Deal with the virtual obliteration of America’s manufacturing competition worldwide (Germany and Japan in ruins) after World War II, and the United States created the greatest economy the world had ever seen that would sustain itself for the next six decades. President Kennedy even began to print money that wasn’t debt-based, cutting the Federal Reserve out of the loop. When was the last time we saw money that said “United States Note” at the top and not “Federal Reserve Note?” The answer: 1963.

By backpedaling on agreements and relations between Roosevelt and Stalin toward the end of World War II, President Truman unnecessarily escalated what would become the Cold War. President Eisenhower at times followed the same precedent after the death of Stalin in 1953 when Nikita Khrushchev came to power in the Soviet Union. It was the peace-minded relationship and empathy between Kennedy and Khrushchev in the early 1960s that began to correct the course after the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962. Both of these men understood the similarities of each country’s place in the world and began dialog that was geared toward cooperation in space exploration and scaling down production and placement of nuclear weapons. Both men understood what it was going to take for both countries to exist under their own separate ideals and flourish on their own with a sense of their own respective security. John Kennedy recognized the enormous sacrifice made by the Soviet Union to defeat the Nazi regime in Germany. The Soviet Union truly did bear the greatest burden and suffered exponentially the greatest loss of life during the Second World War. John Kennedy said that “war will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

Did the United States change?

So did the United States change after 1963 like Jack Ruby said it would? Was anything different? A case could be made for a ‘yes’ answer to those questions. Post World War II, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated due to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). NATO was formed in 1949 as an inter-governmental military alliance that began a system of collective defense where its members agreed to mutual defense in response to a military attack by a non-member government. The Soviet Union was primarily concerned with protecting its western borders with the rest of Europe. The United States, time and time again in the 1950s, attempted to expand NATO participating countries in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe, by adding Greece, Turkey, and West Germany. The Soviet Union saw this as a threat to their western borders and feared for their security. American nuclear weapons in Turkey led to Soviet retaliation by placing nuclear weapons in Cuba, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which was the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war. (The Cuban Missile Crisis transpired in October of 1962 when American spy planes over Cuba photographed Soviet offensive nuclear weapons 90 miles from U.S. soil; with more on the way by ship.) Kennedy and Krushchev, although not completely trusting each other 100%, began communicating and trying to work together after that time.

Conservative America saw this as John Kennedy being a communist appeaser and showing signs of surrender and weakness. Furthermore, by the early 1960s, the U.S. had deployed increasing numbers of troops to South Vietnam (also known at the time as French Indochina) to assist the French, because there was a fear of communism spreading to that area. Kennedy further exacerbated populace fears of his communist sympathies by putting a plan in place to progressively and completely withdraw American troops from Vietnam In October of 1963 (a month before his death) known as National Security Act Memorandum 263 (NSAM 263), an executive order intended to extract 1,000 U.S. troops by the end of 1963 and all of them by 1965. In complete contradiction to Kennedy’s executive order, on November 26th, 1963 (the day after the burial of John F. Kennedy), President Lyndon Johnson reversed NSAM 263. Instead of pulling out of Vietnam, American involvement escalated. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, a false flag terror attack that never actually happened, gave President Johnson the push he needed to launch an all-out Congress-sponsored American declaration of war on North Vietnam. (In all fairness to President Johnson, great accomplishments such as the Civil Rights Act and Medicare came from his Presidency.)

False-flag terror attacks have been used throughout history to push political agendas and gain power from ancient Rome (when Emperor Nero burned down the city so he could roast Christians), to Nazi Germany (the burning down of the Reichstag which catapulted Hitler to power), to the United States of America (the Gulf of Tonkin incident which led to an official declaration of war in Vietnam).

The dissent amongst the population of the American people toward the war in Vietnam was unprecedented. Public figures that rocked the boat and/or disturbed the ‘political machine’ were coincidentally found murdered. 1968 Presidential candidate Robert Francis Kennedy, who was critical of the Vietnam War, was assassinated under peculiar circumstances in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, CA during his campaign. Civil Rights leader and peace activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, TN under an even stranger set of circumstances. (The inner workings of those events are a different story for a different time.) If there were any rock-solid proof rather than circumstantial evidence and coincidences regarding those two cases, they could go a long way to back up Jack Ruby’s story. However, without hard data and physical evidence regarding these two assassinations as well as the named assassins (Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray) it would be unfair to categorize these two events as anything other than examples of the level of humanity at some of its most extreme, the social and political turmoil of the late 1960s, and the great loss to the world without these two men in it.

Nixon and his “dirty tricks”

Contrary to popular belief, the Presidency of Richard M. Nixon wasn’t the disaster of the millennium. Along with Vietnam, which Nixon escalated almost to ‘madman’ lengths, healthcare was a major issue. A universal health care plan was proposed and shot down. A lesser mandate was passed which included a private health insurance mandate for employers and the federalization of Medicaid for the poor with dependent children. (Sound familiar?) Nixon also broke through the barrier for a relationship with China. This one event also put a lot of pressure on the Soviet Union to continue a road to peace with the United States. The pressure came from the fear of an alliance between the United States and China and culminated in the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between the United States and Soviet Union in 1972 which limited the use of anti-ballistic missile systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons. (The United States pulled out of this treaty in 2002 concerned by its own security after 9/11).

Nixon played dirty politics, yet accomplished a great deal. With the radicalization of the modern Republican Party over the past 15 years, Richard Nixon would be seen as a left-wing radical from today’s conservative standards. His resignation, which was his only choice if we wanted to protect his White House recordings (including the 18-minute gap after the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 under President Kennedy was being discussed), left the American people’s confidence in the federal government in shambles.

The Nixon, Ford, and Carter Presidencies don’t seem much like what Jack Ruby had said. It didn’t seem like a new form of government had taken over the United States with a coup d’etat. It appeared to be more like a young country struggling with its position as the newly elected superpower of the world after World War II.

The New Style of the 1980s

It is not until the 1980s and after, with the massive stockpiling of arms, dismantling of the New Deal, and manipulation of foreign governments through assassination, insurgency support, and cold hard cash that one can begin to clearly see the direction of the supposed ‘new form of government’ that Jack Ruby spoke of in 1964. It was always there before the 1980s, but just harder to see. 2002’s Bowling for Columbine summarized U.S. involvement in government throughout the world after WW II very succinctly:

1953: The U.S. overthrows Prime Minister Mossadeq of Iran and installs the Shah as Dictator
1954: The U.S. overthrows democratically-elected President Arbenz of Guatamala while killing over 200,000 civilians.
1963: The U.S. backs the assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem paving the way for the killing of 4 million civilians in Southeast Asia from 1963 to 1975
1973: The U.S. stages a coup in Chile. Democratically-elected President Salvador Allende was assassinated. Augusto Pinochet was installed as Dictator. 5,000 Chileans were murdered.
1977: The U.S. backs military rulers of El Salvador. 70,000 Salvadorans were killed along with 4 American nuns.
1980: The U.S. trains Osama Bin Laden and his men to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan bankrolled by 3 billion dollars from the CIA.
1981: The Reagan Administration trains and funds contras (Nicaraguan rebels) 30,000 Nicaraguans die.
1982: The U.S. provides billions of dollars in aid to Saddam Hussein for weapons to fight the Iranians.
1983: The White House secretly gives Iranians the weapons to fight the Iraqis they are also funding.
1989: CIA agent Manuel Noriega (also serving as President of Panama) disobeys orders from Washington leading to an American invasion to remove him. There were 3,000 Panamanian civilian casualties.
1990: Iraq invades Kuwait with weapons provided from the United States.
1991: The U.S. enters Iraq and President Bush reinstates the dictator of Kuwait.
1998: President Clinton orders the bombing of a supposed weapons factory in the Sudan. The factory, as it turns out, was making aspirin.
2000: The U.S. gives Taliban-ruled Afghanistan 245 million dollars in aid.
2001: Osama Bin Laden purportedly uses his expert CIA training to murder 3,000 U.S. citizens on American soil.

Try coupling this with unraveling the regulations on the financial industry put in place by President Roosevelt and the New Deal: it’s devastatingly scary. What exactly happened in the financial industry from the 1980s and up? Here’s a condensed summary in layman’s terms rather than language Wall Street doesn’t want us to understand:

The Reagan administration loosened the chains on financial regulations set forth after the Great Depression. It was an unprecedented ‘credit revolution’ and predatory lending for (and to) the middle class soared. Can’t pay for it? Don’t worry; just put it on this credit card. Own a house and need some money? Take out a second mortgage. It’s quick and easy.

The argument can be made that the 1980s saw a massive economic up-swing for Wall Street and the banking industry, not because of Reaganomics and supply-side economics, but simply because there was a tremendous influx of middle-class Americans buying things they could never afford to pay back. Debt equals money.

The de-regulation of the 1990s

De-regulation of the financial industry continued in the 1990s during the Clinton administration. Mentioned earlier, the Glass-Steagall Act in 1933 separated securities firms from commercial banks in order to protect the deposits from consumers. It wasn’t foolproof. The Federal Reserve offered an alternate interpretation of Glass-Steagall in 1998, which allowed securities banks and deposit banks to operate as one entity, thereby allowing Citibank and Salomon Smith Barney to merge. We now had one of America’s largest securities firms and largest banks in the same basket. It is like giving a compulsive gambler a truckload of extra cash and turning him loose at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Because of this loophole that the Federal Reserve created, Clinton in turn declared that Glass-Steagall was no longer relevant. 1999’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, and the rash of corporate banking mergers began. If financial regulations were pants, this act just invited bankers to a nudist colony.

As the 1990s turned into the 2000s and the George W. Bush presidency, the same pattern continued. In 2003, ‘regulations’ were issued that simply exempted banks from state laws against predatory lending. All state laws in that regard were then nullified and the banks were free to engage. In 2004, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) eliminated the net capital rule, which required that brokers limit their debt-to-net capital ratio to 12 to 1, which means that for every dollar that they earned, they could invest $12. This repeal meant little to smaller banks who not only did not merge with investment banks but also did not participate in gambling with their customers’ money. However, there were five investment banks that qualified for the newly loosened restrictions of 40 to 1; these were Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. Later, in 2007, the SEC eliminated the uptick rule, which essentially made it hard for speculators (or gamblers) to push down the price of a stock after betting it would fall. Eliminating the uptick rule gave a green light to stock manipulation. Gordon Gekko would have been proud.

The economic disaster that occurred in 2008 has been so over-complicated that most Americans still can’t understand what transpired. It, in fact, was very simple high stakes gambling that went horribly wrong. Aaron Sorkin’s script for Too Big to Fail explained it perfectly:

“Wall Street started bundling home loans together, mortgaged backed securities, and selling slices of these bundles to investors. They were making big money, so they started pushing the lenders and saying; come on, we need more loans. The lenders were already giving loans to those with good credit, but they needed more. So, they started going bottom-feeding. Before, you needed a credit score of 620 and a down payment of 20 percent to buy a home. Now they will settle for a 500 score and no money down. The regular home buyer on the street assumes the experts know what they are doing. If the bank is willing to loan me the money, then I must be able to afford it. So he reaches for that American dream and he buys that house. At the same time, banks knew that securities based on shit mortgages were risky. So to control that risk, the banks started buying insurance. So if a mortgage defaults, the insurance company pays (which is called a default swap, i.e. credit default swap). The banks insure their potential losses so they can move the risk off of their books so they can invest more and in turn make more money. One insurance firm was willing to take on an incredible amount of risk – AIG. Why? Fees. Hundreds of millions in fees alone. AIG figures the housing market would keep going up and up, but then the unexpected happens. Housing prices suddenly go down. Johnny Homebuyer’s teaser rate on his mortgage runs out, payments go up, and he defaults. Mortgage backed securities tank and AIG has to pay off the swaps. All of them. Worldwide. At the same time. AIG can’t pay, they go under. Every bank they insure books massive losses – on the same day. Then they all go under. It all comes down.”

Fourteen Signs of Fascism

What does all this mean? Yes, the United States has made some bad financial decisions and some bad foreign policy decisions since the late 1950s and early 1960s. Still feels like the same government, doesn’t it? We have a Congress, a Senate, a President, and a Supreme Court. You know, the same system of checks and balances that those guys like Washington, Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson had a part in putting together. We are still a democracy aren’t we? We still have a free market that drives capitalism, don’t we? If so, then what changed? What was Jack Ruby talking about? Look closer. Look at the characteristics of our government and its policies from 1960 to the present day. Look at those characteristics beside Dr. Lawrence Britt’s Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism (after he studied Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Franco’s Spain) and re-answer that question. They are as follows:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Looking at those 14 characteristics of Fascism, can we look at ourselves in America and see any of these things happening? Just to name a few examples, the Patriot Act (losing the 4th Amendment), freedom fries, ‘Either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists,’ military spending to astronomical amounts to the point where half of which could still create the most amazing military the world has ever seen, Guantanamo Bay, corporations as people, the disdain for science and facts, breaking up worker’s unions, ‘liberal’ Hollywood, the 2000 election recount, having the world’s largest inmate population per capita, controlling women’s bodies, a corporate and special interest controlled press, cronyism (only supported friends or party ideas just because they are the party’s ideas), foreign policy based on God’s will and speaking to God rather than rational thought, etc. The list of examples could go on for days.

What has become of America?

Have we in America become what the Greatest Generation gave their lives to stop in the Second World War? Or is our nation’s behavior, both in terms of policy and economics, merely coincidence? There is no way to know 100% if our nation’s path was done inadvertently to ensure our nation’s security or whether our course as a nation changed to a ‘new form of government taking over’ as Jack Ruby said way back almost a half a century ago.

Some questions may never be answered. Was Jack Ruby a man who knew of a plot to quietly overthrow the United States government and disguise it as an assassination by a lone Marxist Texan who is such a good shot because he was a Marine? Or was Jack Ruby in 1964 sitting in jail trying to say something to cover his ass because he murdered a man on national television? Only Jack Ruby could have answered that question for us. Whether coincidence or not, what he said holds a lot of weight still in the present day. If what he said is true, then who is pulling the strings? The banks, the corporations, the Bilderburg Group, Mickey Mouse? One thing is quite clear if what Ruby said is true. The President of the United States is never the one in charge. He only looks like he is.

In current times, posing the Jack Ruby scenario against every political or social argument in America makes things very interesting. Social media has given everyone in America to voice their opinions no matter how uneducated, under-informed, or ignorant they may be. If what Jack Ruby said is true, all of the arguments we hear every single day, whether it be about guns, drugs, sexual orientation, war, political ideology, gender equality, government budgets, economic issues, or the media itself is absolutely irrelevant. All of those arguments have to use the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as a cornerstone of the fundamental rights and privileges of being an American citizen. However, if the United States as we know it (and the Constitution knows it) was overthrown via a coup d’état in 1963, then everything that everyone wastes their time arguing over and debating to the point of suicide and revolutionary thoughts every single day is a moot point. They are all protesting the wrong government and wrong set of rules. If one can approach the happenings of every day’s news with the understanding that a ‘new form of government’ took over years ago, then one can slowly begin to make sense of why the U.S. government does the things it does and shows no regard to the documents and values on which this country was built. Political parties could just be distraction and disguise that this shadow government needs to keep the people entertained and not thinking about what is actually happening behind the curtain. We have no way of knowing if it’s true, but it’s a perfect plan if it is. Just look at how worked up Americans get over an election, which in the long run is essentially meaningless in regards to modern U.S. policy. The election’s (and candidate’s) only impact is the perception and statement it sends to the rest of the world’s citizens and their nations.

Despite the fact that the United States most certainly displays every characteristic of a Fascist state, it has something else that other Fascists nations in the past didn’t have. Americans. There is a case to be made that American Exceptionalism is genuinely a psychological disorder (just look at that guy with the ‘Romney” face tattoo in 2012). American Exceptionalism is also something else. Our nation was built on backbreaking work by those that could and by the creativity and innovation of those who were told they can’t. It’s that spirit within everyone that makes the United States an experiment in freedom, hope, and opportunity that will be studied by scholars thousands of years ahead of all of us. It’s that spark of knowing that we can do better and be better than the past that sustains our nation’s people. The United States hasn’t always done everything right the first time, but it has always found its way when it has become lost. That’s what makes this country special. That’s what makes us special as Americans: the ability to do just that. As John Kennedy said, “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”


Dustin M Pardue is a freelance writer and novelist residing in Baltimore, MD. He has lived all over the United States and has a unique and well-rounded set of experiences that have shaped his perception of life in general. Contact Dustin at dustinpardue@hotmail.com.

9-11 MUSEUM : MISSION ACCOMPLISHED ?

On this bi-polar day of commemoration and mourning as the New World Empire christens the 9-11 Museum at  ground zero in New York City, I reflect on the true nature of this repository of fabricated theory, manufactured concepts and evidence, and the motives behind it’s creation.

Let us consider the global corporate aristocracy’s  private army of surveillance , intelligence, mercenary militarized law enforcement and prison industry relationships to the White House , Congress, and the Supreme Court. The conflation of these elements meshed with  DHS fusion centers , the Patriot Act, NDAA, FISA courts and FEMA since 9-11 exceeds in scope and scale anything imagined by George Orwell in his prophetic work, 1984. Who does this mega matrix of taxpayer funded  ‘Anti-Terror’ infrastructure serve ? Enter ‘Citizens United’ , and  corporate personhood.

Are there any checks and balances on the too big to fail banks and corporations and their minions in the media and Congress, by our Federal Government ? Is there even a two party system ?  So what other loyalties do the three branches of government bodies hold sacred, other that the power, prestige,  and graft received in exchange for legislating on behalf of the 1% ? Doing  obeisance to the multi-national cabal of ruling elite that they serve, and to their own self interests are the only priorities of the puppets.

If you believe that 9-11 was an inside job, as many do, then what must you also believe about the 9-11 museum ? Historically America  holds a deep seated resentment against  tyranny and authoritarian invasion of privacy. The unprecedented rebirth of this oppressive totalitarianism, unwelcome in our culture, has become a pressing burden on the conscience of our people.

9-11-MONTAGEbush copy copy

All  across America, citizens are finding  common ground among  diverse ethnicities, religions and classes, but one perhaps. The necessity to reform and restore our government’s domestic and foreign policies has evolved over decades of deterioration of the honesty, integrity and moral judgment of our leadership.

The culture of entrenched systemic political corruption has poisoned our nation, most notably since November 23, 1963. To serve and protect the noble ideals and the will of the people consistent with our founding father’s desires for a democratic republic, free from monarchical exploitation, radical surgery is required to excise the parasitic two legged tumors that have metastasized in recent years. Failure to operate will be terminal.

This pinched nerve on the spine of  America, inflicted by the many truncheon blows of despotism, has been exacerbated by the bogus promotion of this bogus 9-11 museum. This masquerade of compassion is analogous to the Nazi’s, had they won the war, building a museum to the Jews who  died in the death camps, falsely memorializing them as  victims of senseless Allied bombing.  To paraphrase Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a post-wartime German émigré participant in Operation Paperclip ,  once stated…’It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.’

I would speculate that many Americans despise the corporate  tyranny of  investor class capitalists and their puppet master engineers that speciously conceived a  memorial  to the 9-11 victims, that they themselves murdered by design for power and profit, in the shadows of government.

The  loyalty, allegiance and obedience  of citizens to any nation’s leaders MUST BE CALLED INTO QUESTION, when those leaders engage in overt  predatory domestic and foreign policies of colonial imperialism, and  parasitic capitalism, and covert black WAR CRIMES, including mass murder, genocide, and scorched earth gunboat diplomacy for the sake of universal war profiteering.

This is the globalist modus operandi of business as usual, adopted by the  war pig Neo-Cons, killers of the Kennedys, executed in the name of the citizens whose honor and image it compromises. State sponsored terror is the modern brain child of post-Kennedy America and Great Britain. Biological warfare in it’s many forms including  petro-chemical pollution of air, land and sea, famine creation, GMO poisoning of land and crops, vaccine poisoning of a percentage of every generation, etc are not unlike the small pox blankets of the wild west native genocide, the black plague flea bombs of  imperial Japan,   CIA MK-Ultra LSD experiments on CIA agents and unwitting civilians or the syphilis tests done on the Tuskegee airmen.

Secret black op geo-political coups, domestic and foreign,  regime changes and  treasonous assassinations of elected representatives and journalists, planned disenfranchisement of entire populations by creating false capitalist booms and bubble bursts in housing, stocks and commodities to  solely benefit the inside traders  and investor class are just a sampling of the dirty tricks sanctioned by the New World Empire’s insatiable thirst for blood dominion.

The impunity with which our deranged plutocracy executes their agendas will become an unrelenting source of discontent , and this wellspring of poison fracking fluid will ignite the people in a flaming fountain of  insurrection to the ruling elite paradigm of nihilism.

One may grow to despise the secrecy and entrenched systemic political corruption that has destroyed our once noble nation of freedom and justice. One may become appalled at the raging cancer of greed and injustice  that rules the criminally insane bureaucratic clown posse  of American government. When  patriotic whistle blowing Americans seek asylum in Russian, in mortal fear of torture, imprisonment and slow death, it is a sign of  tyranny, and an emerging trend of dissent leading, God willing to mass rebellion.

Some Americans  find it incredulous that the  propaganda charade of Al Qaeda Terrorists attacking the World Trade Center continues unchallenged in the mainstream media and thus in the minds of our stringed leaders that believe in science  when it serves their self interests, yet ignore the reality of the scientific method, when it does not.

The official versions of the Kennedy assassinations and the  9-11 job  are both 100% scientifically  impossible.  Some Americans really are critical thinkers , despite  the systematic dumbing down of America,   and a huge percentage have a strong belief in the validity of scientific methods. Even corporate propaganda media polls show a large proportion of Americans just don’t buy the official bipartisan bullshit, now or ever.

I wonder if I am alone in shaking my head and mumbling  numbly at the audaciousness of the terror state’s sanctioned  media  propagandizing this  faux memorial to the greatest feat in murderous  mass  deception and false flag  domestic terror since the Third Reich’s  final solution.

It is as if  blood stained wolves have led our nation of sheep to the slaughterhouse, back  to the scene of the crime,  as perps often do, and they parade them in front of the world in front of this museum as if it validates that 9-11 was a real terror attack from enemies of America, and that in the memory of those that perished this will serve to adequately compensate history…  or is this an apology ?

Remember the  deliberate, but mistaken massacre of the wedding party in Afghanistan by  US special forces, and the  American General who showed up the next day and sacrificed a goat at the scene and asked for forgiveness ?    Where in anyone’s mind ,  but Nero’s or Caligula’s,  George Bush’s,  or Dick Cheney’s can the opening of this museum be conceived of and construed as a solemn and sincere  memorial event  ?

To many this is a museum of American Imperialism’s Black War Crimes and secret false flag  psyOps, and to inside jobs involving mass murder of civilians in the name of corporate war profiteering and insurance fraud, and further a memorial to  the death of democracy and the US Constitution.

The greatest question on my mind is not how the CIA-NSA-MOSSAD did 9-11, because James Fetzer seems to have solved the mystery, or why it was done. We know it was done to serve as a pretext for the institution of the surveillance police state, and for a mandate to launch  universal dirty wars in perpetuity, to serve the solid  upside profiteering  of the investor class imperial  globalist agenda, not unlike those promoted by the prophetic, if  fictional Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

The greatest question I would like to have answered is what if any revelations concerning 9-11 may be gleaned from the NSA documents heroically pilfered by Edward Snowden, and what might Mr. Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have to say about everything from JFK’s assassination to 9-11.  There may be no smoking gun, or shell casings, or selfies of Larry Silverstein and Rudy Giuliani with their fingers on the detonator button, but perhaps there is a metaphor, a reflection, comment, a window, a hint in a reference,  or a chink in the armor of secrecy that  would offer additional evidence .

I assert there is a growing sentiment in collective American  opinion toward the belief that there  is but one large decades long conspiracy that started with the CIA coup in 1963.  Everything else from LBJ, to Nixon, Reagan, the Bush Dynasty stems from that defeat of the proponents of peace. Disarmament, progressive prosperity and abundance for all, extending FDR’s  and Henry Wallace’s vision for America, an end to the power of the  GLOBAL PRIVATE BANKING SYSTEM, the  war hawks in the military, congress, FBI and  CIA.

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery in the algorithmic game makers’ portfolios. All the progressive trends and reforms made since the Great Depression have been vaporized in the name of corporate profits and dividends to the investor class.

According to Thom Hartman, the Crash of 2016 is coming. History will be repeating itself. The maxim of ‘The rich get richer and the poor get poorer’, has  sadly never been more appropriate.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his 1961 farewell speech about the dangers to democracy posed by the unlimited power of the military-industrial-congressional complex. Who would know the absolute power – absolute corruption diadem better than the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WWII, and President of the United States.  I am certain he would add specifically the CIA, NSA, The FED and globalist trade groups, the oil and gas  energy cartels, the too big to fail banks and insurers, Big Agri, Big Pharma and Wal Mart to the threat list, were Mr. Eisenhower pressured for details, if he was alive today.

http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc_large_image.php?flash=true&doc=90

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

  • President Dwight David Eisenhower 1953

Bernay’s Engineering of Consent applied to infiltrating, subverting and overthrowing a representative democracy  by the intelligentsia on behest of multi-national financial empires has proved to be a successful paradigm for global plutocracy.

Yes, the birth of the authoritarian surveillance police state in America, and thus the world burst it’s screaming head from the crotch of hell on 9-11, and we are remembering not the truth of who did 9-11 or why, we have a museum not like a holocaust museum, to warn future generations of the failures of tyranny and genocide,  or of American imperial capitalism and totalitarian dictatorship by the Global banks, bundled in  poison sausage derivatives , but one that glorifies and perpetuates the greatest lie accepted by a  large percentage of the mass media’s target population since the Vatican declared the Earth was flat, and that the Earth was also the center of the universe.

If there is a God, be it Thor, Yahweh, Allah  or Alan Greenspan, and this supreme being dispenses justice upon nations for their transgressions against humanity and laws of nature, then America is due a severe bitch slapping, perhaps a catastrophic natural disaster of Biblical proportions, that may in effect destroy her predominant role in global civilization.

Those that deny the Holocaust and the death camps replete with gas chambers disguised as showers are clearly  misinformed and on the wrong side of history.  Similarly, those that believe that 9-11 was really a Terror Attack by Al Qaeda, must also believe that jet fuel, ofiice supplies and human flesh can not only melt steel , but  it can vaporize an entire twin towered 103 story two  square block skyscraper complex and also take building 7 two blocks away,  and that this destruction only coincidently looked just like a trio of professionally controlled demolitions.

These fellow citizens, neighbors, co-workers, friends and family who choose to behave as obedient, trusting,  naïve muppets  are easily enabled to be  held captive by false beliefs, via their own reluctance to challenge authority, fear of controversy, disinterest, apathy and blind normalcy bias . These disinformed  9-11 believers need to watch James Fetzer’s well researched and documented videos on the subject.

Noam Chomsky’s Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind

So a night at this museum of rewritten history serves to validate and reinforce the official big lie, and to perpetuate the false screen memories of a  bamboozled generation, still  having trouble coming to grips with the possibility that America the beautiful has died, strangled with the tentacles of bankster’s greed and corporate crime, and that a false flag flies.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty—power is ever stealing from the many to the few…. The hand entrusted with power becomes … the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.” – Wendell Phillips, speech in Boston, January 28, 1852

What does the current administration’s  specious acceptance of the too big to fail 9-11 lie tell us about the difference between the red and the blue  ?  What does leader , Barockefeller’s continuing promotion of the false war on terror and the full embracing of the totalitarian surveillance police state tell us about the current and future state of American democracy ? Who is really in control ?

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED or is it time to OCCUPY AMERICA ?

Keith Alexander Unplugged: on Bush/Obama, 1.7 million stolen documents and other matters

By 8 May 2014, 6:52 AM EDT 235

Featured photo - Keith Alexander Unplugged: on Bush/Obama, 1.7 million stolen documents and other matters Photo credit: Evan Vucci/AP

The just-retired long-time NSA chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, recently traveled to Australia to give a remarkably long and wide-ranging interview with an extremely sycophantic “interviewer” with The Australian Financial Review. The resulting 17,000-word transcript and accompanying article form a model of uncritical stenography journalism, but Alexander clearly chose to do this because he is angry, resentful, and feeling unfairly treated, and the result is a pile of quotes that are worth examining, only a few of which are noted below:

AFR: What were the key differences for you as director of NSA serving under presidents Bush and Obama? Did you have a preferred commander in chief?

Gen. Alexander: Obviously they come from different parties, they view things differently, but when it comes to the security of the nation and making those decisions about how to protect our nation, what we need to do to defend it, they are, ironically, very close to the same point. You would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions about how to defend our nation from terrorists and other threats.

The almost-complete continuity between George W. Bush and Barack Obama on such matters has been explained by far too many senior officials in both parties, and has been amply documented in far too many venues, to make it newsworthy when it happens again. Still, the fact that one of the nation’s most powerful generals in history, who has no incentive to say it unless it were true, just comes right out and states that Bush and The Candidate of Change are “very close to the same point” and “you would get almost the same decision from both of them on key questions” is a fine commentary on a number of things, including how adept the 2008 Obama team was at the art of branding.

The fact that Obama, in 2008, specifically vowed to his followers angered over his campaign-season NSA reversal that he possessed “the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future” only makes that point a bit more vivid.

AFR: Can you now quantify the number of documents [Snowden] stole?

Gen. Alexander: Well, I don’t think anybody really knows what he actually took with him, because the way he did it, we don’t have an accurate way of counting. What we do have an accurate way of counting is what he touched, what he may have downloaded, and that was more than a million documents.

It’s hard to recall a better and clearer example of how mindless and uncritical the American media is when it comes to the unproven pronouncements of the U.S. Government. Back in December, 60 Minutes broadcast a now-notorious segment of pure access journalism in which they gullibly disseminated one false NSA claim after the next in exchange for being given exclusive(!) access to a few Secret and Exciting Rooms inside the agency’s headquarters. The program claimed that Snowden “is believed to still have access to 1.5 million classified documents he has not leaked”. On its Twitter account, 60 Minutes made this claim to promote its show:

Mike McConnell, the vice chairman of Booz Allen and former Director of National Intelligence in the Bush administration, then claimed that ”Snowden absconded with 1.7 million to 1.8 million documents.”

Ever since then, that Snowden “stole” 1.7 or 1.8 million documents from the NSA has been repeated over and over again by US media outlets as verified fact. The Washington Post‘s Walter Pincus, citing an anonymous official source, purported to tell readers that “among the roughly 1.7 million documents he walked away with — the vast majority of which have not been made public — are highly sensitive, specific intelligence reports”. Reuters frequently includes in its reports the unchallenged assertion that “Snowden was believed to have taken 1.7 million computerized documents.” Just this week, the global news agency told its readers that “Snowden was believed to have taken 1.7 million computerized documents.”

In fact, that number is and always has been a pure fabrication, as even Keith Alexander admits. The claimed number has changed more times than one can count: always magically morphing into randomly chosen higher and scarier numbers. The reality, in the words of the General, is that the US Government ”really [doesn’t] know[] what he actually took with him” and they ”don’t have an accurate way of counting”. All they know is how many documents he accessed in his entire career at NSA, which is a radically different question from how many documents he took. But that hasn’t stopped American media outlets from repeatedly affirming the inflammatory evidence-free claim that Snowden took 1.7 million documents. As usual, even the most blatantly unreliable claims from National Security State officials are treated as infallible papal pronouncements by our Adversarial Watchdog Press.

There’s an equally vital point made by Alexander’s admission. The primary defense of the NSA and its defenders is that one need not worry about the staggering sums of data they collect because they have implemented very rigorous oversight mechanisms and controls that prevent abuse. Yet Edward Snowden spent months downloading a large amount of highly sensitive documents right under their noses. And not only did they have no idea that he was doing it, but now – even after spending large sums of money to find out – they are still completely incapable of learning which documents he took or even how many he took. Does that at all sound like a well-managed, tightly controlled system that you can trust to safeguard your most personal data and to detect and prevent abuse of this system by the tens of thousands of people who have access to it?

AFR: What is your personal opinion on the decision to award a Pulitzer Prize to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers for their “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy”?

Gen. Alexander: I’m greatly disappointed that we have rewarded those who have put so many lives at risk. I think that’s the best way to say that. . . . At the end of the day, I believe peoples’ lives will be lost because of the Snowden leaks because we will not be able to protect them with capabilities that were once effective but are now being rendered ineffective because of these revelations.

There are few things in life more ironic than being accused by U.S. Generals, including those who participated in the war in Iraq, of being responsible for the loss of lives. For that sort of irony, nothing will beat that episode where the US Pentagon chief and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that WikiLeaks – not themselves, but WikiLeaks – has “blood on its hands” by virtue of publishing documents about the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In the world of the U.S. National Security State and its loyal media, those who go around the world killing innocent people over and over are noble and heroic, while those who report on what they do are the ones with “blood on their hands”.

But what makes this claim so remarkable is how often it is made and how false it always turns out to be. The accusation about WikiLeaks was ultimately demonstrated to be false. The same was true of the identical claim made about NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, and the leaker who exposed the Bush-era warrantless eavesdropping program, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, and virtually every other person who has brought unwanted transparency to what the U.S. Government is doing in the dark. But accusing whistleblowers and journalists of causing the deaths of innocent people is a tactic people like Gen. Alexander continue to embrace because it’s virtually never pointed out by our stalwart media how many times that claim has been proven to be an utter fabrication.

* * * * *

The release date for my book on the NSA, privacy, and our reporting of the surveillance story, No Place to Hide, is next Tuesday, May 13, at which time all of the previously unpublished NSA documents that are reported on in the book will be placed online, with free access, at the book’s website.