Regarding the Syrian Government's alleged use of chemical weapons, we are asked to trust the "high confidence" assessment of the White House. (And here in the UK, we are asked to trust the Joint Intelligence Committee.) But are we rationally justified in placing such trust in the pronouncements of intelligence establishments which, as ex-CIA Ray McGovern reminds us, have lied to us in the past? Let's not forgot the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, and those non-existent Iraqi WMDs.
Cass Sunstein! Possibly to be appointed to the panel reviewing the surveillance practices of the NSA? David Ray Griffin wrote a whole book about this man's co-authored paper, "Conspiracy Theories". So, the same man who thought it a good idea for the government to engage in "cognitive inflitration" of "conspiracy theory" groups, might now be involved in overseeing the NSA? It's hard to believe; well, perhaps not these days. See also The Washington Post piece.
According to Al Arabiya, a majority-owned Saudi newspaper, "[a]t least 1,300 people have been killed in a nerve gas attack on Syria’s Ghouta region" for which the government of President Bashar al Assad was likely responsible. F. William Engdahl analyses the report and finds it distinctly fishy; "several things jump out as suspicious" he says.
The nine-hour detention of David Miranda (partner of Glenn Greenwald) at Heathrow airport reinforces the widely-held perception that the UK and US governments are trying to scare reporters away from covering stories on intelligence leaks. "That perception," writes Alan Rusbridger, "is right." Over the past few months, says Rusbridger, UK government officials have been demanding the return or destruction of leaked materials, culminating in the bizarre spectacle of "two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement" so as to ensure, according to them, that the Chinese (!) would never get hold of the sensitive information.
This, insists Rusbridger, is journalism under attack. How long will it be until the State's growing infrastructure of surveillance makes true journalism virtually impossible?
Chris Floyd makes two points about Bradley Manning's mitigation plea. Noting The Guardian's comment that Manning's plea "will disappoint [his] thousands of supporters around the world, who believe he undertook a courageous act of whistleblowing because his conscience demanded it", Floyd remarks: (1) it's not what these whistleblowers are like as people that matters, it's what they've done that matters, and (2) just like all of us, Bradley Manning is a human being; he simply "tried to mitigate his own further torture -- but he didn't betray anyone. A plea for mercy, an apology -- however sincere or feigned -- is an entirely different thing from betrayal." *
According to Washington's Blog, Time Magazine’s senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald recently tweeted "I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." A screen capture of the tweet accompanies the piece. Grunwald has since deleted the tweet, concerned that it might give "Assange supporters a nice safe persecution complex to hide in", but, as Washington's Blog points out, the problem is less with Grunwald himself, than with "the commitment of the entire elite political class to silence voices of dissent."
RT's Abby Martin criticises (and critiques) MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for implying that there is a link between questioning the official account of 9/11 and violence. Just for the record: I question the official story of 9/11, but I am opposed to violence, and see no connection whatsoever between asking questions and acts of violence.
In this disturbing article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva argue that it is morally acceptable to kill a newly-born baby if the reasons for doing so would have justified an abortion at an earlier stage. One might have thought that this would be limited to cases of severe handicap, which in my view would be bad enough; but no, their conclusion is that "after-birth abortion" (or "killing a newborn" as they themselves put it in their abstract) "should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled." *
"Major telecom companies have been assisting the UK intelligence agency GCHQ by granting access to all the traffic passing through their fiber-optic cables – and by developing Trojan software, leaked papers obtained by German media reveal."
Madison Ruppert: "FBI employs hackers, has software that can remotely activate cell phone, laptop microphones and more", EndTheLie.com, 02 August 2013.
"A new report reveals that the FBI directly employs multiple hackers who create custom surveillance software for the bureau, some of which is capable of remotely activating the microphones on cell phones and laptops, among other features." *
"Judy Woodruff sits down with two former NSA officials [Russell Tice and William Binney] who blew the whistle on what they said were abuses at the NSA, along with that agency’s former inspector general, to talk about whether that secretive agency is recording all domestic calls in the U.S."
"Imagine there’s a list somewhere that contains every single webpage you have visited in the last five years. It also has everything you have ever searched for, every address you looked up on Google Maps, every email you sent, every chat message, every YouTube video you watched."
"The Global Power Project, an investigative series produced by Occupy.com, aims to identify and connect the worldwide institutions and individuals who comprise today’s global power oligarchy. By studying the relationships and varying levels of leadership that govern our planet’s most influential institutions — from banks, corporations and financial institutions to think tanks, foundations and universities — this project seeks to expose the complex, highly integrated network of influence wielded by relatively few individuals on a national and transnational basis. This is not a study of wealth, but a study of power."
Chris White: "Continuing with the FAQ series, I answer one of the most common questions from new "truthers." There are many ways to answer this question so I took my time and tried to do so in a biblical way. I hope it helps anyone experiencing "Short Term New World Order Freak Out Syndrome." "
"If our leaders could have recognized the signs ahead of time, do you think that they could have prevented the financial crisis of 2008? That is a very timely question, because so many of the warning signs that we saw just before and during the last financial crisis are popping up again."