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Snakes in Suits

US VP Biden sent to Kiev for client regime 'attaboy'


How touching, kissing with their noses.
US Vice-President Joe Biden has warned Russia faces "rising costs and greater isolation" if it fails to respect the September peace deal in Ukraine.


Comment: Putin clearly sees Washington's game plan. As far as isolation goes, good luck with that.


Mr Biden, on a visit to Ukraine where he met President Petro Poroshenko, called on Russia to withdraw its military forces from Ukraine.


Comment: What military forces? Show us the proof.


Ukrainians are marking a year since the start of the uprising which ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Amid celebrations, they paid tribute to those killed over the winter in Kiev.


Comment: Poroshenko was booed at the celebrations.


Comment: Washington plays Russian roulette.
attaboy

noun: Military in origin, an official recognition or commendation for good work that is recorded in one's personnel file, specifically one that is a positive influence in a subsequent pay raise or promotion.


Eye 1

Bill that would limit NSA spying on phone calls blocked by Senate

The US Senate blocked action Tuesday on a bill that would have imposed only minor limitations on a National Security Agency program that collects records of the phone calls of every American. The vote was 58 to 42 to take up the measure for consideration, with supporters falling two votes short of the 60 required to force action.

The vote was nearly by party lines in the outgoing lame duck Senate, with 52 Democrats, two independents who generally vote with the Democrats and four Republicans supporting consideration of the bill. The 41 Republican opponents were joined by one Democrat, Bill Nelson of Florida.

The effect of the vote is to delay consideration of any legislation on NSA spying until the next session of Congress, when Republicans will be in the majority and will control key committees like Intelligence and Judiciary, which originate and write legislation.

The defeated measure, drafted by the outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have placed very slight restrictions on the NSA program that collects metadata on virtually ever phone call placed in or through US telecommunications companies or the Internet.

The bill had the support of the Obama administration, demonstrating that the military-intelligence apparatus, which dictates policy on such issues, was quite content with the toothless legislation from Leahy. The main purpose of the bill was to give the impression that Obama and the Democrats are responding to the widespread public outrage over government spying sparked by last year's revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, while actually doing nothing to restrict snooping by the intelligence agency.
Eye 1

CIA wants to erase thousands of its own incriminating emails - not yours, of course

© J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Proposal draws bipartisan fire from Congress, but agency officials say the criticism is overblown

A CIA plan to erase tens of thousands of its internal emails - including those sent by virtually all covert and counterterrorism officers after they leave the agency - is drawing fire from Senate Intelligence Committee members concerned that it would wipe out key records of some of the agency's most controversial operations.

The agency proposal, which has been tentatively approved by the National Archives, "could allow for the destruction of crucial documentary evidence regarding the CIA's activities," Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and ranking minority member Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., wrote in a letter to Margaret Hawkins, the director of records and management services at the archives.

But agency officials quickly shot back, calling the committee's concerns grossly overblown and ill informed. They insist their proposal is completely in keeping with - and in some cases goes beyond - the email retention policies of other government agencies. "What we've proposed is a totally normal process," one agency official told Yahoo News.

The source of the controversy may be that the CIA, given its secret mission and rich history of clandestine operations, is not a normal agency. And its proposal to destroy internal emails comes amid mounting tensions between the CIA and its Senate oversight panel, stoked by continued bickering over an upcoming committee report - relying heavily on years-old internal CIA emails - that is sharply critical of the agency's use of waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against al-Qaida suspects in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.

In this case, however, Chambliss - a conservative Republican who has sided with the CIA on the interrogation issue - joined with Feinstein in questioning the agency's proposed new email policy, which would allow for the destruction of email messages sent by all but a relatively small number of senior agency officials.
Star of David

Sexual abuse against Palestinian child detainees reported

At least 600 Palestinian children were arrested in Jerusalem since last June. Of these children, nearly 40% were reportedly exposed to sexual abuse during arrest or investigation by the Israeli authorities, according to a report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC).

Ma'an archive image.
The PCC says that the daily arrest campaigns constitute a collective punishment against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

Attorney with the PCC, Mufeed al-Haj, said that other violations were reported during the apprehension of children, including but not limited to night and predawn raids on family homes, physical and sexual abuse.

According to WAFA, Al-Haj added that, under the applicable laws, minors undergoing investigation should be accompanied by their parents, yet Israeli authorities pay no respect to these laws in many cases.

Forces often ignore laws and arrest Palestinians without even having warrants.

Since last June, Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, most during predawn and night raids on their family houses.
Attention

Russia invades Ukraine, again, and again, and yet again ... using Saddam's WMDs

psaki
Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine's military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.
None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles. The story continued:
The Obama administration ... has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. 'These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway', Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department's daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government's 'unwillingness to tell the truth' that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.
Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. "Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government." The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

Comment: How many times has Russia invaded Ukraine, according to Kiev and the U.S.? Here's just a selection of 'actual', possible, and imminent invasions:

Megaphone

Pepe Escobar: Washington plays Russian roulette

Mutually assured destruction
© Unknown
These are bleak times. I've been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors - those who know but don't need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me:
The propaganda attack against Putin equating him with Hitler is so extreme that you have to think that the Russians cannot believe their ears and cannot trust the United States anymore under any circumstances.

I cannot believe how we could have gotten ourselves into this situation to protect the looters in the Ukraine that Putin would have rid the Ukraine of, and even had the gall to place in a leadership role one of the worst of the thieves. But that is history. What is certain is that MAD [mutually assured destruction] is not a deterrent today when both sides believe the other will use nuclear weapons once they have the advantage and that the side that gains a decisive advantage will use them. MAD is now over.
That may sound somewhat extreme - but it's a perfectly logical extension, further on down the road, of what the Russian president intimated in his already legendary interview with Germany's ARD in Vladivostok last week: the West is provoking Russia into a new Cold War. [1]

Comment: To have a look at NATO's global military bases, watch this video from 2011:



Magic Hat

SOTT Exclusive: Send in the troops? Only if ISIS gets hold of a nuclear weapon

© Unknown
What would it take for the U.S. government and its caliphate of psychopaths to deploy ground troops to "fight" ISIS? Recent statements by Obama give us a clue:
President Obama has been unwavering and definitive in declaring he will not deploy U.S. ground troops into combat to fight ISIS militants. Period.

But for the first time since the start of then anti-ISIS offensive dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, the president volunteered a scenario which he said would change his mind.

"If we discovered that [ISIS] had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon, and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then, yes," the president told reporters at a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday. "I would order it."
It seems, however, that Obama doesn't need the threat of a jihadi with a nuke to justify sending more troops to Iraq and Syria, because he recently authorized the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby recently said:
USA

Obama issues executive order on immigration reform

U.S. President Barack Obama
© Reuters/Jason Reed
President Barack Obama announced an executive order on immigration reform Thursday, which he will sign on Friday. The actions will affect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants in the US, many of whom are the parents or spouses of legal residents.


Comment: This isn't the first time he has attempted this.


Obama announced his plan for unilateral action on immigration via a prime-time address from the White House. He will sign the executive order during a rally in Las Vegas on Friday. Because the plan will not be passed by Congress, it could also be easily reversed by a new president after Obama's term runs out in just over two years.

The president called his actions "a commonsense middle ground approach," as he continued to push Congress to pass a comprehensive bill reforming the country's immigration system. Under the terms of his order, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for five years or more, and are parents of American citizens or lawful residents, will be subjected to criminal and national security background checks. Once these are completed, they can pay taxes and defer deportation for three years at a time.

The US will also increase security at the borders and focus deportation efforts on criminals and potential security threats rather than families.

"Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character," Obama said in his remarks. "If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported. If you plan to enter the US illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up."


Comment: "A common purpose - a higher purpose" for whom? American exceptionalism to create wars and chaos in other countries? Certainly not a common purpose to improve the life for the average Joe.

See this article for more on the immigration issue: Xenophobia in action: U.S. Center for Immigration Studies wants people to think immigration is a problem based on the number of non-English speaking residents.

CIS, and other racist groups of their likes, can blame "foreigners" all they want for the troubles that face America today, but they are looking in the wrong direction. As Charlie Reese wrote recently:
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.


Clock

Psychopathic Israel: Relentlessly brutalizing millions of Palestinians for decades

© RINF
Israeli policy is longstanding. Reflecting anti-Palestinian state terror. Institutionalized racism writ large. Vicious repression.

Brutalizing Muslims for not being Jews. Enforcing militarized occupation harshness. Denying Palestinians rights everyone deserves.

According to Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) director Jeff Halper:
"...(T)he 'Zionist answer' to the downward cycle of senseless violence in which Jerusalem finds itself" includes:

"house demolitions, mass arrests, revoking the 'residency' of native-born Jerusalemites, closing Palestinian neighborhoods with concrete blocks, arming Israeli Jewish vigilantes and cheap shots at the last person who believes in a two-state solution, Abu Mazen (Abbas)."

"Everything, that is, except an end to occupation and a just political solution."

"This is what happens when a powerful country forgoes any effort to address the grievances of a people under its control and descends into raw oppression."
Netanyahu lied. He's a serial liar. Everything he says lacks credibility. Big Lies substitute. Claiming Israel locked in "the grip of a terrorist onslaught."

Palestinians face brutalizing Israeli state terror. Police state barbarism writ large. Provoking justifiable Palestinian anger.

Inciting violence. Able to boil over uncontrollably any time. Perhaps into a third intifada. Or pretext for Israeli all-out war on millions of Palestinians.

Comment: The pro-Israel propaganda is unrelenting in the face of abhorrent suffering in Gaza and no one is doing anything about it. There is a connection between our cosmic environment and the actions of human beings. If humanity doesn't take a stand against such evil, the Universe will.

Bad Guys

Meet the Pathocrats, the richest .01%

The richest Americans hold more of the nation's wealth than they have in almost a century. What do they spend it on? As you might expect, personal jets, giant yachts, works of art, and luxury penthouses. And also on politics. In fact, their political spending has been growing faster than their spending on anything else. It's been growing even faster than their wealth.

According to new research by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, the richest one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now hold over 11 percent of the nation's total wealth. That's a higher share than the top .01 percent held in 1929, before the Great Crash.

We're talking about 16,000 people, each worth at least $110 million.

One way to get your mind around this is to compare their wealth to that of the average family. In 1978, the typical wealth holder in the top .01 percent was 220 times richer than the average American. By 2012, he or she was 1,120 times richer.

It's hard to spend this kind of money.

Comment: If you want to know more, check out Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski.
The original manuscript of this book went into the furnace minutes before a secret police raid in Communist Poland. The second copy, painfully reassembled by scientists working under impossible conditions of violence and repression, was sent via courier to the Vatican. Its receipt was never acknowledged - the manuscript and all valuable data lost. In 1984, the third and final copy was written from memory by the last survivor of the original researchers: Andrew Lobaczewski. Zbigniew Brzezinski blocked its publication. After half a century of suppression, this book is finally available. Political Ponerology is shocking in its clinically spare descriptions of the true nature of evil. It is poignant in its more literary passages revealing the immense suffering experienced by the researchers contaminated or destroyed by the disease they were studying. Political Ponerology is a study of the founders and supporters of oppressive political regimes. Lobaczewski s approach analyzes the common factors that lead to the propagation of man's inhumanity to man. Morality and humanism cannot long withstand the predations of this evil. Knowledge of its nature and its insidious effect on both individuals and groups - is the only antidote.


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