• twomp

    by Published on 08-17-2016 06:00 AM

    U.S. senators are attempting to block the State Department’s deal to sell Saudi Arabia nearly $1.5 billion in weapons, just days after the move was announced by the Obama administration.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Foreign Policy that he would “work with a bipartisan coalition to explore forcing a vote on blocking this sale. Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East.”

    Congressional opposition to the arms sale came as the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed military coalition broke an unsteady five-month ceasefire in Yemen last week and resumed bombing in the capital city of Sana’a—prompting immediate reports of civilian deaths. On Saturday, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins
    ...
    by Published on 08-16-2016 09:31 PM

    For all the hand-wringing about the threat to liberty and constitutional government posed by the major party presidential candidates, there is little discussion of how this threat is due to the political class’s long history of supporting expanded presidential power. There is also little talk of how the imperial presidency is just as much a creation of Congress as it is of power-hungry presidents.

    Since war is the health of the state, it is not surprising that presidential power expanded in tandem with the expansion of the warfare state. Perhaps the best, and most terrifying, example of how “national security” has been used to justify giving the president dictatorial powers is the Defense Production Act.

    This law, which is regularly renewed with large bipartisan
    ...
    by Published on 07-28-2016 09:46 AM

    Another shoe has been dropped by Wikileaks.

    On the night President Obama and Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine were scheduled to speak to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the anti-secrecy whistle-blower group released hacked voicemails of top Democratic officials.

    Wikileaks put up a page containing 29 mp3 files of calls, identified by phone number, running approximately 14 minutes combined.

    None of the messages listened to by The Washington Times contained anything immediately obvious as embarrassing or incriminating.

    However, the very fact the DNC voicemail system has been hacked is embarrassing and could augur the release of far more damaging material later.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...nc-voicemails/
    by Published on 07-01-2016 10:03 AM

    Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, until recently the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, plotted in private to overcome President Barack Obama’s reluctance to escalate military tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine in 2014, according to apparently hacked emails from Breedlove’s Gmail account that were posted on a new website called DC Leaks.

    Obama defied political pressure from hawks in Congress and the military to provide lethal assistance to the Ukrainian government, fearing that doing so would increase the bloodshed and provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with the justification for deeper incursions into the country.

    Breedlove, during briefings to Congress, notably contradicted the Obama administration regarding the situation
    ...
    by Published on 04-07-2016 12:47 AM

    BABY DOE WAS 7 months old when his troubles with the U.S. government began. His mother was taking him on a flight when security officials stopped them at an airport. He was patted down and subjected to “chemical testing.” His mother’s bag was searched. His diapers were examined. Unbeknownst to the family from California, four letters on the infant’s boarding pass — “SSSS” — had singled him out as a particularly dangerous class of individual: a “known or suspected terrorist.”

    Four years later, Baby Doe, as he’s identified in court documents, is part of a class-action lawsuit taking aim at the federal government’s sweeping terrorist watchlisting system. His ordeal is one of 18 included in the suit, filed Tuesday in Alexandria, Virginia, by the Michigan branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The rights group claims its plaintiffs’ collective experiences are the consequence of “an injustice of historic proportions.”

    “Through extra-judicial and secret means,” the suit alleges, “the federal government is ensnaring individuals into an invisible web of consequences that are imposed indefinitely and without recourse as a result of the shockingly large federal watchlists that now include hundreds of thousands of individuals.”
    read the rest here:
    https://theintercept.com/2016/04/06/...ist-watchlist/
    by Published on 11-23-2015 01:30 PM
    Article Preview

    At least they have proper manners by saying thank you.

    In New Video, A Grateful Al-Qaeda Thanks US For Supplying Anti-Tank Missiles


    On September 30, just hours after a three star Russian general strolled into the US embassy in Baghdad and told the staff to inform Washington that Moscow would begin airstrikes in Syria “in one hour”, the Western media was alive with accusations that The Kremlin wasn’t targeting ISIS, but rather other, US and Saudi-backed rebel groups fighting Assad’s depleted SAA. Here’s what WSJ said at the time:

    “Among seven areas that Syrian state media listed as targets of Russian strikes, only one—an area east of the town of Salamiyah in Hama province—has a known presence of Islamic State fighters. The other areas listed are ...
    by Published on 10-15-2015 11:41 PM

    The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars.

    The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides. The Intercept granted the source’s request for anonymity because the materials are classified and because the U.S. government has engaged in aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. The stories in this series will refer to the source as “the source.”

    The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said.
    It's a long read. See the whole thing here:

    https://theintercept.com/drone-papers
    by Published on 08-03-2015 06:00 PM

    According to officials familiar with the situation, US intelligence agencies have offered a new assessment of ISIS, cautioning that a solid year of US airstrikes against them in Iraq and Syria hasn’t left ISIS any weaker than they were when the strikes began.

    Surprisingly, even though the military has been bragging about how great the war is going throughout the year, military commanders aren’t disputing the assessment, and are simply saying that they believe progress will come at some point in the future, when Iraq retakes Ramadi.

    Of course, ISIS didn’t have Ramadi a year ago, and only captured it two months ago. At the time, Pentagon officials dismissed the major city as of no strategic importance, so it is surprising they are now presenting its future recapture as a metric for success.

    Either way, the assessment is damning to Pentagon claims that the strategy is sound, but at the same time, there is no indication that anyone in the administration is even going to consider revising the war strategy, as officials continue to insist it is a winning recipe.
    http://news.antiwar.com/2015/07/31/u...f-us-bombings/
    by Published on 07-20-2015 11:15 AM

    The latest in a long line of Israeli officials railing about the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon talked up the idea that it posed a major threat to Israel, and meant the nation has to prepare a military option against Iran, as though Israel hasn’t been doing that for decades.

    More importantly, Ya’alon become the first Israeli official to publicly talk about the actual end-game in all of this for Israel, a massive “compensation” package by the US government to Israel to placate them after the Iran deal.

    It’s been widely reported in Israeli media since mid-May that this was going to happen, and the day of the deal’s announcement, President Obama is said to have tried to engage Netanyahu on the phone about coming to a specific price on
    ...
    by Published on 07-08-2015 12:00 PM

    As the old saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

    Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has only attended two multi-candidate events in Iowa this year – the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in April and the Republican Party of Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner in May.

    With a field of 16 Republican presidential candidates, it’s easy to forget about candidates when they are not campaigning in your state, and skipping out on a number of high-profile evens can make it seem like the candidates who are not attending are not all that active in Iowa. Yet, just because a candidate isn’t taking the time to share a stage with their many competitors doesn’t mean they are not laying the groundwork for a formidable Iowa caucus campaign.

    Senator Rand Paul isn’t your typical Republican.
    ...
    by Published on 06-14-2015 12:30 PM

    At first I thought this was just more propaganda starting up again.

    London (AFP) - Britain has been forced to remove some of its spies after Russia and China accessed the top-secret raft of documents taken by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, British media reported.

    The BBC and the Sunday Times cited senior government and intelligence officials as saying agents had been pulled, with the newspaper saying the move came after Russia was able to decrypt more than one million files.

    "It is the case that Russians and Chinese have information. It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowledge of how we operate has stopped us getting vital information," a Downing Street source said, according to the newspaper.
    ...
    by Published on 06-14-2015 10:20 AM

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received nearly a quarter of a million dollars last year for a speaking engagement on behalf of Academic Partnerships, a for-profit education company in which Jeb Bush held an ownership stake and on whose board he served.

    Clinton’s newly filed personal financial disclosure shows that she was paid $225,500 on March 24, 2014 by Academic Partnerships. At the invitation-only event in Dallas, Texas, Clinton reportedly said, “today a student doesn’t need to travel to Cambridge, Mass., or Cambridge, England, to get a world-class education.”

    Academic Partnerships assists universities in converting their academic degree programs into online versions that can be taken by students around the world.

    In 2011,
    ...
    by Published on 05-27-2015 01:20 PM

    Rand Paul rejected criticism that his 10-hour filibuster against the government’s bulk data collection programs was a fundraising ploy on Tuesday, casting it as “an unfair characterization” while calling on Barack Obama and Paul’s fellow Republicans to push for further clampdowns on the legal justification for the NSA’s dragnet surveillance.

    Last week, Paul conducted a marathon speech in an attempt to halt the US government’s mass surveillance of Americans’ phone records and to derail an extension of the Patriot Act. His talkathon led to a legislative impasse on the USA Freedom Act, as the Obama administration effectively ended its bulk dragnet.

    Embarking on a week-long book tour in between Senate sessions, the Republican presidential contender said on Tuesday he still thinks the Senate can “win that vote” on bulk collection.
    read the rest here:

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...rm-republicans
    by Published on 05-27-2015 10:05 AM

    WASHINGTON — – President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged the Senate to renew National Security Agency surveillance powers before they expire at midnight Sunday, as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul vowed to keep working to block the Patriot Act and the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

    “This needs to get done,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, asked what Obama was doing to round up votes, suggested, without naming him, that Paul needs to put the country first as he runs for the Republican nomination for president.

    "Right now, I think what we're seeing is a difference of opinion on the Republican side of the aisle," Earnest said. "At some point, the political ambitions of individual members of the United States Senate are going to have to come second to the national security of the United States."

    Obama called on the Senate to approve a House-passed bill that would change the phone record collection program while renewing less controversial Patriot Act provisions that also expire at the end of the month. The Senate rejected the House bill by three votes last weekend and is on a break until Sunday, just hours before the spying powers are scheduled to expire.

    Obama said reauthorizing the surveillance efforts is “necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.”

    “I strongly urge the Senate to work through this recess and make sure that they identify a way to get this done,” Obama said.
    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/05/2...#storylink=cpy
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