Froomkin Blogs Again: Obama Makes Bushism the New Normal

By Dan Froomkin

In a lot of ways, we’re worse off today than we were under George W. Bush.

Back then, Bush’s extremist assault on civil liberties, human rights and other core American values in the name of fighting terror felt like an aberration.

The expectation was that those policies would be quickly reversed, discredited — and explicitly outlawed — once he was no longer in power.

Instead, under President Barack Obama, they’ve become institutionalized.

There will be no snapping back to a pre-Bush-era respect for basic human dignity and civil rights. Thanks to Obama, it’s going to be a hard, long fight.

In some cases, Obama has set even darker precedents than his predecessor. Massively invasive bulk surveillance of Americans and others has been expanded, not constrained. This president secretly condemns people to death without any checks or balances, and shrugs as his errant drones massacre innocent civilians. Whistleblowers and journalists who expose national security wrongdoing face unprecedented criminal prosecution.

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Manhattan’s New Most Hideous Building Will Have 3 Floors Just for ‘Maid’s Rooms’

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There’s a new front-runner for Manhattan’s biggest eyesore, and it’s the condo tower located at 125 Greenwich Street that will top 1,356 feet, making it just 12 feet shorter than the new World Trade Center.

The glassy monstrosity’s most irritating feature? Three of the building’s 77 floors will reportedly be just for “maid’s rooms.” Gosh, what a fine city we live in.

Link here


While I don’t buy the claim that Foley seems to have two different sets of parents (both couples look the same to me), I do agree that the “James Foley”(seemingly) beheaded in the video is simply not James Foley; and that neither of these two beheadings is convincing.


The Hannibal Directive: How Israel Killed Its Own Troops and Massacred Palestinians to Prevent Its Soldiers’ Capture

by Max Blumenthal

In the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Aug. 1, 2014 is known as Black Friday. This was the day the Israeli military bombarded the city with almost every mode of destruction available to it, from F-16 missiles to Apache rockets to naval shelling to drone strikes and mortars.

Bulldozers ripped down homes at random while tanks barreled through neighborhoods, shelling anything in sight. In a matter of hours, at least 500 artillery shells and hundreds of missiles were dumped on the city, almost entirely in civilian areas. By the end, at least 190 people had been killed, so many that unequipped local hospitals were forced to store their corpses and body parts in ice cream coolers.

The target of the operation was not necessarily Rafah’s civilian population, though attacking it was part of the Israeli military’s underlying logic. Instead, the army apparently aimed to kill one of its own. Indeed, Israeli forces had invoked the Hannibal Directive, opening up an indiscriminate assault on the entire circumference of the area where one of its soldiers, Lt. Col. Hadar Goldin, was allegedly taken captive by an ambush team from the Hamas military wing known as the Qassam Brigades.

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Exclusive: Official Washington draws the Ukraine crisis in black-and-white colors with Russian President Putin the bad guy and the U.S.-backed leaders in Kiev the good guys. But the reality is much more nuanced, with the American people consistently misled on key facts, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III – much as it did into World War I a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.

The original lie behind Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S. intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of Washington just “knew” it to be true.

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Talk about projection…

Putin’s propoganda keeps Russians in the dark about Ukraine and more

By Editorial Board

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, his bitter resentment at the Soviet empire’s collapse metastasized into seething Russian nationalism, has marginalized the political opposition, muzzled dissidents and intimidated independent voices in civil society. In prosecuting his widening war in Ukraine, he has also resurrected the tyranny of the Big Lie, using state-controlled media to twist the truth so grotesquely that most Russians are in the dark — or profoundly misinformed — about events in their neighbor to the west.

Most Russians get their news from state-
controlled broadcast outlets, which have moved beyond mere propaganda into outlandish conspiracy theories and unhinged jingoism. The shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner in July, over territory controlled by Russian-sponsored militias in Ukraine, was spun by Kremlin’s media mouthpieces into aprovocation orchestrated by the West. With few countervailing views in the mainstream media, many Russians believed the spin or had no idea what to believe.

In support of those Russian-sponsored militias in eastern Ukraine, now backed by growing ranks of Russian troops and weapons, Moscow has created a fantasy that plays on Russian victimization. By this rendering, the forces backing Ukraine’s government in Kiev are fascists and neo-Nazis, a portrayal that Mr. Putin personally advanced on Friday, when he likened the Ukrainian army’s attempts to regain its own territory to the Nazi siege of Leningrad in World War II, an appeal meant to inflame Russians’ already overheated nationalist emotions.

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Pennsylvania Makes Public 243 Cases of Fracking Contaminated Water

by FishOutofWaterFollow

The state of Pennsylvania has released redacted details of 243 cases of water contamination caused by fracking and related activities by the natural gas industry. Claims made by the fracking industry that they have not contaminated water are utter rubbish. These 243 cases which took place in Pennsylvania between 2008 and 2014 involve a wide range of contamination problems including the contamination of multiple water supply wells by one fracking operation.  State officials did not indicate how many more cases of contamination may have occurred since 2008 that are not included in this list.

The 243 cases, from 2008 to 2014, include some where a single drilling operation impacted multiple water wells. The problems listed in the documents include methane gas contamination, spills of wastewater and other pollutants, and wells that went dry or were otherwise undrinkable. Some of the problems were temporary, but the names of landowners were redacted, so it wasn’t clear if the problems were resolved to their satisfaction. Other complaints are still being investigated

Here is an example case I went to semi-randomly.

The 243 cases can be found here.

It is clear that fracking has been causing wide ranging water problems but the industry has pressed hard to keep them from being made public. Pennsylvania’s inspector general has admitted the problems with fracking have overwhelmed state regulators.

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Memorandum For: Angela Merkel: Beware of Fixed Intelligence on Ukraine– Think WMDs

By Coleen Rowley

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Guantanamo Defense Lawyer Resigns, Says U.S. Case Is ‘Stacked’

by NPR Staff

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, is facing a military commission at Guantanamo Bay and potentially the death penalty. He was captured in 2003 but his case still hasn’t gone to trial.

Last week, Maj. Jason Wright — one of the lawyers defending Mohammed — resigned from the Army. He has accused the U.S. government of “abhorrent leadership” on human rights and due process guarantees and says it is crafting a “show trial.”

Wright joined the military in 2005. He served 15 months in Iraq during the surge and has worked as a Judge Advocate. For nearly three years, he served on Mohammed’s defense team.

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Watershed press conference by top Novorussian officials (MUST SEE!)

Dear friends,

There is no overstating the importance of this press conference by by Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic.  As as soon as I saw it myself, I asked two of our Teams (Russian and Oceania) to work together on a translation as fast as possible.  They did as stellar job and I can now share this video with you.   I want to especially mention and thank the following people:

  • Transcription/Translation and Timecoding by Marina – Without Marina this would simply not be possible. Heavily indebted to her help!
  • English proofreading and editing by Erebus,Michael and Vaughan
  • French Translation and release by Jean-Jacques (in progress as we speak) @ The French Saker
  • English editing and video publishing: Augmented Ether

To all of you we all – and I personally – owe a huge THANK YOU for your fantastic work, professional skills and heroic dedication to bring the voice of Novorussia to the rest of the world.  In this “information war” the speed at which you made this crucial press conference available is a major victory against the Empire’s propaganda machine!

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