Obama’s Failure to Rein in CIA and NSA

July 16, 2014

Despite Barack Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign to reform the U.S. intelligence community, he has continued to tolerate its abuses, enable its excessive secrecy and indulge its bone-headedness, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman explains.

By Melvin A. Goodman

The political embarrassments for President Barack Obama coming from the intelligence community, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, continue to mount, but there is no sign whatsoever that the President is interested in reversing the pattern.

The German government’s unprecedented expulsion of the CIA station chief in Berlin because of the unnecessary recruitment of two German national security officials should have been the kind of shot across the bow that would lead to a response from the Obama administration.  The fact that the President had no early warning of these awkward recruitments from CIA Director John Brennan and that Brennan’s initial forays with the Germans were so clumsy only added to the embarrassment.

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And for ObamaCo’s withholding over 50,000 pages of CIA documents pertaining to JFK’s murder—despite an act of Congress ordering their release—see http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/05/30/is-the-government-holding-back-crucial-documents/.

A Nation on the Brink: How US Policies Sealed Iraq’s Fate

Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout/TomDispatch | News Analysis

In a Truthout and TomDispatch collaboration, Truthout staff reporter Dahr Jamail has written a searing analysis covering the ongoing disaster in Iraq. Jamail has covered the story extensively for both Truthout and TomDispatch since 2005, and now provides this current perspective on how the legacy of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq continues to destroy lives.

For Americans, it was like the news from nowhere. Years had passed since reporters bothered to head for the country we invaded and blew a hole through back in 2003, the country once known as Iraq that our occupation drove into a never-ending sectarian nightmare. In 2011, the last US combat troops slipped out of the country, their heads “held high,” as President Obama proclaimed at the time, and Iraq ceased to be news for Americans.

So the headlines of recent weeks – Iraq army collapses! Iraq’s second largest city falls to insurgents! Terrorist caliphate established in Middle East! – couldn’t have seemed more shockingly out of the blue. Suddenly, reporters flooded back in, the Bush-era neocons who had planned and supported the invasion and occupation were writing op-eds as if it were yesterday, and Iraq was again the story of the moment as the post-post-mortems began to appear and commentators began asking: How in the world could this be happening?

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Meme with Wings: Are Western Anti-Fracking Activists Funded by Putin’s Russia?

At a June 19 speaking event at London’s Chatham House, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed the Russian government is covertly working to discredit hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the west from afar.

“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” said Rasmussen, the former Prime Minister of Denmark.

Rasmussen’s comments were relayed to the press by someone in attendance who apparently broke the “Chatham House Rule” by telling outsiders about the content of a Chatham House meeting.

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Norway internet voting experiment fails

Summary: The government has decided that it’s not worth the risks, especially since test programs didn’t improve turnout. Yet enthusiasm remains in other countries.

By Larry Seltzer for Between the Lines | June 30, 2014 — 12:00 GMT (05:00 PDT)

The Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation has put an end to a pilot project allowing voting on the internet. The main reasons cited are a lack of increase in turnout amid concern that the program could damage confidence in the electoral process.

A study performed by the Ministry of the test programs run in their 2011 and 2013 elections shows many conflicting results but, at bottom, the benefits were too slight and the problems too great. Only a summary of the Ministry’s study is available in English. The full study is in Norwegian (PDF).

One interesting result was evidence that a small number of voters, 0.75% of all voters, voted twice in 2013. They voted once online and once by conventional paper ballot at a polling station.

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Shorewood man charged with voter fraud

By Jeff Rumage

June 25, 2014

Shorewood — A Shorewood man has been charged with 13 counts of voter fraud, allegedly using other peoples’ names and addresses — even driving to Indiana — to cast multiple ballots in multiple elections.

According to a criminal complaint, 50-year-old health insurance executive Robert Monroe cast two ballots in the April 2011 Supreme Court election between David Prosser and Joann Kloppenburg, two ballots in the August 2011 recall election between Alberta Darling and Sandy Pasch, five ballots in the Gov. Scott Walker recall election in June 2012, one illegal ballot in the August 2012 partisan primary election and two ballots in the 2012 presidential election.

Each of the 13 charges carries a maximum prison sentence of three years and six months, as well as a $10,000 fine. The investigation into Monroe’s voting history was conducted in part under the auspices of a John Doe proceeding into Walker’s campaign activity, according to the complaint.

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The neoliberal assault on academia
Tarak Barkawi
Last updated: 25 April 2013

The neoliberal sacking of the universities runs much deeper than tuition hikes and budget cuts, notes Barkawi.


The New York Times, Slate and Al Jazeera have recently drawn attention to the adjunctification of the professoriate in the US. Only 24 per cent of the academic workforce are now tenured or tenure-track.

Much of the coverage has focused on the sub-poverty wages of adjunct faculty, their lack of job security and the growing legions of unemployed and under-employed PhDs. Elsewhere, the focus has been on web-based learning and the massive open online courses (MOOCs), with some commentators celebrating and others lamenting their arrival.

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Detroit Free Press Investigation: Michigan Charters Get Poor Results, Have No Accountability

By dianeravitch

June 23, 2014

After a year-long investigation, the Detroit Free Press published a scathing report on the state’s thriving charter sector.

Charter schools receive $1 billion in taxpayer funding with virtually no accountability.

They get worse results than traditional public schools.

140,000 children attend charter schools in Michigan.

Michigan has more for-profit charters than any other state. The for-profit organizations are secretive about their finances because they are private.

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Wikileaks Cables Confirm New Ukrainian President Has Been Working For US Gov’t Since 2006
By SCG News
19 June 14
here’s not much point in staging a coup if you don’t influence who is placed in power in the aftermath. Of course in order for a puppet government to be effective, they can’t be perceived as such. You wouldn’t want the natives to get restless would you?
The evidence that the U.S. was behind the toppling of the Ukrainian government early this year is so overwhelming at this point that the subject really isn’t up for debate, however initially it was unclear how the election of Petro Poroshenko fit in. The ecstatic response by Washington when he was declared the winner, and their unbending support in spite of his ongoing military assault against civilians in the east, made it clear that he was the chosen one, but the paper trail wasn’t immediately obvious.

Election Rigging, Dark Money in Cantor’s “Upset” Loss to Koch Stealth Candidate

Sunday, 22 June 2014 00:00By Ben-Zion Ptashnik and Victoria CollierTruthout | News Analysis

November’s political races will feature an all-out battle for control of the US Senate. Eric Cantor’s “upset” Virginia primary defeat raises two integrity issues barely covered in the media that are red flags for those concerned about vote manipulations.

Political races this November will feature an all-out battle for control of the US Senate. The “upset” Virginia primary defeat of Eric Cantor raised two critical election integrity issues that few in the mainstream media have covered, but which should set up serious red flags for those concerned about manipulations of the 2014 and 2016 elections.

The first alarm is the hidden connection that Professor David Brat’s victory had to the Koch Brothers dark money network: hundreds of millions of dollars in “charitable contributions” to inoculate American academic institutions and media with extremist libertarian philosophy, promoting the Ayn Randian culture of greed while boosting radical Tea Party candidates. The net effect has been to undermine the civility of American politics, divide the Republican Party, stalemate Congress and hobble government institutions.

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via CLG:

Moscow outraged at Ukraine’s National Guard for detaining 2 more Russian journalists
 15 Jun 2014 Russia’s Foreign Ministry is demanding the immediate release of two Russian journalists detained in eastern Ukraine by the National Guard on their way to Dnepropetrovsk Airport. “Unidentified men” detained correspondent Evgeny Davydov and sound engineer Nikita Konashenkov at around 5 p.m. local time in the Donetsk region on Saturday, Zvezda TV channel reported. The two were on their way to Dnepropetrovsk Airport for a flight back to Moscow.

Protesters throw stones, firecrackers, Molotov cocktail at Russian embassy in Kiev 15 Jun 2014 A few hundred Ukrainian protesters rallying at the Russian embassy in Kiev have overturned several diplomatic cars and piled up tires to block entry into the building. They have also and thrown stones, smoke grenades, eggs, and paint at the premises. Police stood idly by as the anti-Moscow crowd blockaded the site, expressing its anger over the Russian government’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. The protesters have thrown a Molotov cocktail at the embassy, causing a minor fire which has been extinguished.

Ukrainian army shells Slavyansk hospitals, one nurse killed 15 Jun 2014 A nurse died in the city of Slavyansk after a Ukrainian military shell hit a local hospital on Saturday. Meanwhile, a Ruptly journalist came under fire while visiting a shelled maternity hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city. The Ukrainian army resumed the shelling of Slavyansk on Saturday afternoon, causing more damage to the city and igniting fires, the local administration told RIA Novosti.

The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination

The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination

“While We Were Sleeping”

While We Were Sleeping is an urgent call to save Greenwich Village from New York University's uncontrolled expansion.

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Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD

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