Eye 2

America's prison system looks more and more like its torture sites

© AFP 2015/ CHANTAL VALERY

In the years following the beginning of the Bush administration's "war on terror," a series of revelations have exposed the horrific torture practices used against prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, CIA "black sites" and other prisons abroad, as a matter of state policy.


These barbaric practices, which were documented in stomach-churning detail in the CIA torture report released last year, are rooted in the aims of US imperialism to plunder and dominate the world, and to suppress by force all opposition to its predatory aims. But the same ruling class that is waging imperialist war abroad is waging a class war at home, presiding over the enormous enrichment of the financial oligarchy at the expense of the working class.

There is no hard line between the foreign and domestic policy, a fact that was given concreteness this week in the revelation, published in the Guardian newspaper, that one of the top interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had pioneered the methods he used at the torture camp working as a detective in Chicago.

Comment: America's police state will continue to take off its mask, and there's no escaping what's underneath. Also see:


Bad Guys

James Petras: The assassination of Greece


Yánis Varoufákis and Aléxis Tsípras
The Greek government is currently locked in a life and death struggle with the elite which dominate the banks and political decision-making centers of the European Union. What are at stake are the livelihoods of 11 million Greek workers, employees and small business people and the viability of the European Union. If the ruling Syriza government capitulates to the demands of the EU bankers and agrees to continue the austerity programs, Greece will be condemned to decades of regression, destitution and colonial rule. If Greece decides to resist, and is forced to exit the EU, it will need to repudiate its 270 billion Euro foreign debts, sending the international financial markets crashing and causing the EU to collapse.

The leadership of the EU is counting on Syriza leaders abandoning their commitments to the Greek electorate, which as of early February 2015, is overwhelmingly (over 70%) in favor of ending austerity and debt payments and moving forward toward state investment in national economic and social development [1]. The choices are stark; the consequences have world-historical significance. The issues go far beyond local or even regional, time-bound, impacts. The entire global financial system will be affected [2].

Comment: If Petras's analysis is correct, it makes sense that Varoufákis would take the path he has taken so far: an attempt to compromise without totally betraying the ideals of Syriza. The real test is probably still yet to come. When it becomes crystal clear that the EU wants nothing but blood, that will be the time for radical choices. Only time will tell if Syriza capitulates or makes the right decision.


Comet

Skyfall: Does the Russian meteor explosion portend more disasters?

In mid-February 2013, a meteor fireball streaked across the sky and slammed into the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The shock-wave resulting from the overhead explosion equaled the energy released from about 20 nuclear bombs. It damaged nearly every building in the city and injured thousands of people. RT went to central Russia to talk with witnesses and scientists, and to find out whether the Russia should get ready for more such phenomena.


Comment: Etymology of 'disaster':
1590s, from M.Fr. désastre (1560s), from It. disastro "ill-starred," from dis-, here merely pejorative (see dis-) + astro "star, planet," from L. astrum, from Gk. astron (see star). The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed on an unfavorable position of a planet.
...and before astronomy was 'adjusted' to become the science of the study of planets, it was concerned with the study of comets and when they would return...


Gold Seal

Defending Ukraine from Russian imperialism?

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How the Russian Bear Emerged From Hibernation.

In Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, the philosopher delivered his summarization of the writings of Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas thusly, "Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading."

American foreign policy is determined in much the same fashion. Valuable objects are desired. Noble justifications are manufactured. Trusting populations are deceived. War is made. Empires do their special pleading on a global scale. For instance, the U.S. and its allies know precisely how they want to portray the Ukrainian conflict to their deluded Western populations. They need only apply the false flags and fashion the nefarious motives - like so many brush strokes - to the canvas of geopolitics.

Both the government and their corporate media vassals know their conclusions in advance. They are simple: Russia is the aggressor; America is the defender of freedom; and NATO is gallant security force that must counter Moscow's bellicosity. As the chief pleader in the construction of this fable, the Obama administration has compiled a litany of lies about the conflict that it disseminates almost daily to its press flacks.

Comment: This article is very sobering on where this world is headed and it doesn't look good. Washington is hell bent on war.


Gift 3

IMF carve-up of Ukraine: Putin may have 'taken' Crimea, but Western corporations took everything else

© Presidential Press and Information Office
Putin at the press conference following the Russian-Hungarian talks.
As the conflict in Ukraine persists and as peace talks between Putin and western European leaders (Merkel and Hollande) continue, it is important to look at the economic actors/interests that benefit from conflict and regime change in the Ukraine and how this compares to situations like Syria, Libya and Iraq. There are under-reported angles and interests to these conflicts that we hear little about in western mainstream media and that many do not look for because they are too caught up in political or human dramas. For instance, mainstream media spend so much time demonizing a single enemy, be it Putin in the Ukraine situation, Assad in Syria, Gaddafi in Libya or Saddam Hussein in Iraq, etc., that they do not also critically explore how external actors may exploit or bolster such conflicts and situations in order to secure politic-economic motives such as access to oil, making way for destructively conditional IMF loans, or quashing domestic policies that undermine foreign imperial and economic interests.

In western media, a dangerously false binary exists; wherein opposition to western imperial and corporate agendas for a particular region equals support for "evil men" like Putin or Gaddafi, for instance. This is part of what I call distraction politics or conflation politics, where opposition to neoliberal and imperial policies—such as IMF loans with austerity conditions that devastate and impoverish a nation, its people and its agriculture—is conflated with support for certain tyrants (as defined by the west).

Comment: Western propaganda is so backwards that it's brain damaging. For accurate information about what happened in Ukraine - and why - check out:


Megaphone

General Wesley Clark: Our friends and allies created ISIS

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Not that it was really a conspiracy 'theory' but with General Wesley Clark (ret.) now openly admitting "ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies... to fight to the death against Hezbollah" it appears the 'angel investors' cat is out of the bag. Adding that "they recruited the zealots and religious fundamentalists" Clark says 'we' create "Frankenstein." He is careful not to name names, but we ask (rhetorically of course), which of our (oil-bearing) allies has the biggest bone to pick with Hezbollah (apart from Israel of course)?

Clark on creating Frankenstein...


Snakes in Suits

The U.S plans for destabilization of Russia and how Russia can counteract

Source
Translated by DzhMM, Mikhael, Gideon (thanks guys!!!!)

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In the course of life today, we've grown accustomed to using terms whose meaning we might not fully understand. We throw them around casually, not realizing that they lose their meaning and sometimes even come around to stand for their exact opposite. This is precisely why the sense has arisen today in society that there is a need to determine in a clear and understandable manner exactly what is happening on the global chessboard in front of all of our eyes - the Big Story, written online.

Even those people the very furthest from politics are feeling the need for understanding and explaining to themselves the reasons for the things they encounter even just moving through their own lives. Why have prices in stores started to go up? What's the reason for the fact that, quietly and nearly unnoticed, belief in a brighter tomorrow is slipping? When and why did talk about a possible war stop being speculative and distant? These and dozens of other questions have driven millions of yesterday-apolitical citizens to seek answers. They feel the need to find those answers and to construct a new worldview in which what-comes-tomorrow is not simply a lottery ticket, but a predictable and logical continuation of today. Predictable and, hopefully, not frightening.

This atmosphere, unfortunately, is a breeding grounds for attempts to brainwash our citizens and to stuff their heads with ideas which will be devastating to them personally. But this devastation will come hidden within banal attempts stubbornly do good. So let's try to dissect the methods and means of manipulating the people's conscience which we have already started to encounter. And, which will grow in direct proportion to the problems being encountered by our geopolitical opponents.

Magic Hat

Minsk, Merkel and the American Way: Der Spiegel says Putin has won

A mammoth Der Spiegel article points to Russian-German understanding for a broad settlement of the Ukrainian conflict
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Merkel is now billing herself a 'realist'
Yesterday Russia Insider published a lengthy account from the German magazine Der Spiegel of the Minsk negotiations.

This article is a good example of the sort of press Merkel gets in Germany. It portrays her as the heroine of the hour, battling to save peace from the sinister designs of others. The article lavishes praise on her in a way that readers outside Germany might find unsettling. Contrary to what many in the West think, the Russian media never writes about Putin in this way.

The very favourable publicity Merkel gets in Germany is coordinated by her own office. Articles like the one in Der Spiegel are written in close communication with her office. This means that though the article gives a rather one-sided account of the Minsk negotiations, it is nonetheless packed with information if one knows how to read it properly. In the case of this particular piece, we can be certain that Merkel's office was involved since the article actually names it as a source.

The first thing we learn from the text is that what triggered the Minsk process is the disintegration of the Ukrainian economy and especially of the Ukrainian military.

USA

Fifty shades of filth: The glorification and acceptance of pornography reveals society's moral bankruptcy

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© YouTube
[Editor's note: All redactions are sott.net redactions for offensive language]

Fifty Shades of Grey, the book and the movie, is a celebration of the sadism that dominates nearly every aspect of American culture and lies at the core of pornography and global capitalism. It glorifies our dehumanization of women. It champions a world devoid of compassion, empathy and love. It eroticizes hypermasculine power that carries out the abuse, degradation, humiliation and torture of women whose personalities have been removed, whose only desire is to debase themselves in the service of male lust. The film, like American Sniper, unquestioningly accepts a predatory world where the weak and the vulnerable are objects to exploit while the powerful are narcissistic and violent demigods. It blesses this capitalist hell as natural and good.

"Pornography," Robert Jensen writes, "is what the end of the world looks like."

We are blinded by self-destructive fantasy. An array of amusements and spectacles, including TV "reality" shows, huge sporting events, social media, porn (which earns at least twice what Hollywood movies generate), alluring luxury products, drugs, alcohol and magic Jesus, offers enticing exit doors from reality. We yearn to be rich, powerful and celebrities. And those we must trample to build our pathetic little empires are seen as deserving their fate. That nearly all of us will never attain these ambitions is emblematic of our collective self-delusion and the effectiveness of a culture awash in manipulation and lies.

Comment: If looked at from a broader view, the glorification and widespread availability of pornography is intentional. It's been made that way in order to create the culture that we currently have. It is done to strip away our humanity and turn us into unthinking, unfeeling robots who have lost all connection to what makes us inherently human. The same people who tout the USA as "the greatest country in the world" also have created the conditions which allowed pornography to flourish, which in turn has created a society where, more than any other time, women are victims of domestic abuse, rape, and sodomy. Even by viewing pornography, one is contributing to that world. Make a stand, refuse to participate and help end the social decline into barbarism.


USA

Leader of Islamic State is fictional character whose voice is played by an actor, says U.S. military

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Comment: Although this article appeared in 2007, it is quite apt today as the Islamic State is being touted as the next big terrorist organization that requires U.S. intervention all around the world to combat.


For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi.

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima.

Comment: Fascinating, isn't it?

It's as if they had a plot line involving an 'Islamic State led by al-Baghdadi' waiting in the wings, but decided against using it at the time.

7 years later, an 'Islamic State led by al-Baghdadi' is justifying US intervention from Morocco to Pakistan.

Is this one equally fictional?

There are real people doing really horrible things in Muslim countries - most of them from Europe and Saudi Arabia - but the idea that they're part of some 'cohesive enemy threatening Western civilization' is clearly fictional.

Remember what former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said before his untimely death: 'al Qaeda' was a database of Western intelligence informants...