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Senate report on illegal torture by CIA being suppressed

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© Reuters
Senate staffers say the agency tortured prisoners in ways that went beyond what the Bush-era DOJ approved, according to an Al-Jazeera America report.

The Senate report on CIA torture is still being suppressed. But details are leaking out, according to a report by Jason Leopold. Citing Intelligence Committee staffers, he writes that "at least one high-value detainee was subjected to torture techniques that went beyond those authorized by George W. Bush's Justice Department." In addition, "harsh measures authorized by the Department of Justice had been applied to at least one detainee before such legal authorization was received."

The notion that Bush-era interrogations were lawful has always been highly dubious. This latest news plucks away even the fig leaf afforded by Bush Administration attorneys. Some say it would be unfair to prosecute anyone told that a tactic was permitted.

Will they call for a criminal investigation of these incidents?

Dollars

Fortune 100 companies have received a whopping $1.2 trillion in corporate welfare recently

© Shutterstock/TijanaM
Most of us are aware that the government gives mountains of cash to powerful corporations in the form of tax breaks, grants, loans and subsidies--what some have called "corporate welfare."

However, little has been revealed about exactly how much money Washington is forking over to mega businesses.

Until now.

A new venture called Open the Books, based in Illinois, was founded with a mission to bring transparency to how the federal budget is spent. And what they found is shocking: between 2000 and 2012, the top Fortune 100 companies received $1.2 trillion from the government.

That doesn't include all the billions of dollars doled out to housing, auto and banking enterprises in 2008-2009, nor does it include ethanol subsidies to agribusiness or tax breaks for wind turbine makers.

What Open the Book's forthcoming report does reveal is that the most valuable contracts between the government and private firms were for military procrument deals, including Lockheed Martin ($392 billion), General Dynamics ($170 billion), and United Technologies ($73 billion).

Light Saber

Michael Parenti: U.S. Empire successful in stopping the betterment of the world's people

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© Youtube
In destroying country after country, the US Empire is doing well. One devastated country after the other has made it clear that any country which pursues independent sovereign policies and attempts to better its own position and the state of its people becomes a target for the US Empire.

According to Dr. Michael Parenti, in an interview with the Voice of Russia; "... any leader who uses the resources, and labor, and substance of his country for the well-being and self-development in that country is seen as someone who is evil, has a hidden agenda, hostile toward America and is hostile toward the West." A term which he says really means the western plutocracy. Ukraine is a perfect example after having chosen a path of economic betterment which does not include US/EU/NATO, US backed "color-revolution" assets which have been left in place are being activated to cause another color revolution and more upheaval in that country. According to Dr. Parenti these people are: "... still so rabidly anti-communist, that even the residue of a shadow of a former Communist country is a little too much."

Black Magic

America's Evil Legacy: The orphans of Agent Orange

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In pain: The attack's devastating effects continue to this day - with many children deformed and suffering.
  • Photos show orphans suffering from the effects of chemical, Agent Orange
  • Can be seen battling range of physical deformities and mental disorders
  • Some have missing or deformed limbs, while others have curved spines
  • Several are deaf, blind and mute and have been bed-ridden most of lives
  • Images taken by photographer Matt Lief Anderson at orphanage in Vietnam
  • U.S. forces sprayed Agent Orange over large areas of jungle during 1960s
  • One million people were reportedly affected, including 150,000 children
These photos show orphans suffering from the horrific effects of America's use of chemical weapons during the Vietnam War.

The children were born decades after U.S. forces sprayed the herbicide dioxin, Agent Orange, over large areas of jungle in the 1960s.

But they are still battling the effects of the chemical today - including physical deformities and mental disorders.

The shocking images were taken by American photographer Matt Lief Anderson, 30, at an orphanage outside of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Question

Malaysia Airlines and the case of the missing legs

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© Azhar Rahim/EPA
Or maybe it's the case of the extra legs?

The photos circulated Tuesday of the two Iranians who got on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight showed two men with different bags, different T-shirts and the same pair of legs.

The New Straits Times reports that Malaysian police said there was no purposeful doctoring of the photographs -- the photo of one man was simply placed on top of the photo of the other when they were photocopied.

"It was not done with malice or to mislead," police spokeswoman Asmawati Ahmad said.

Comment: Was it Photoshopped?


Shoe

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee thinks the Constitution is 400 years old

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© AP/Luis Alvarez
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
It isn't

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) declared the U.S. Constitution to be 400 years old Wednesday on the House floor, which would mean it was signed in 1614.

"Maybe I should offer a good thanks to the distinguished members of the majority, the Republicans, my chairman and others, for giving us an opportunity to have a deliberative constitutional discussion that reinforces the sanctity of this nation and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not," she said.

Airplane Paper

Obama and EU try bluffs: Extend sanctions against Russia to include wealthy Putin allies

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© Unknown
  • US suggests order might not be the end of measures
  • EU leaders add 12 unnamed Russians to blacklist
President Obama has extended financial sanctions against Russia to include wealthy supporters of Vladimir Putin and a bank close to the Kremlin, in a bid to deter Russian military incursions into eastern and southern Ukraine.

Amid growing pressure for a tougher US response to the crisis, the White House also issued a new executive order authorising a co-ordinated economic blockade with the European Union against key Russian industries if the situation escalates.

EU leaders agreed to add 12 unnamed Russians to a blacklist of 21 individuals and ordered the European commission to examine the impact of broader trade and economic warfare action against Russia and also said they would implement a trade agreement with Kiev.

Top Secret

Public feud follows years of tension - CIA, Senate and the interrogation report

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© Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images
For years, a small group of Senate staffers made regular commutes to a Virginia office used by the CIA, took the elevators down to the basement and tapped the keypad combination to an unmarked door.

Inside, a collection of eight or so computers were loaded with millions of CIA cables, memos and other records that documented what many regard as one of the darker chapters of the agency's history - its use of harsh interrogation measures to get terrorism suspects to talk.

The bulk of the research was completed more than a year ago, yielding a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee that amounts to a damning chronicle of that CIA program. But the struggle to shape whether and how that history is presented to the public has triggered a fight between the CIA and the committee over what happened behind that locked door.

The dispute, which spilled into public view this week, centers on whether the committee broke laws in obtaining a set of documents the agency never intended to share, or whether the CIA broke laws in its searches of committee computers to see how those files ended up in the panel's possession.

Question

Unelected Ukrainian Government Creates 'Facts on the Ground' - No One Protests

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The USA’s unelected man in Ukraine signs a deal with the EU
I don't understand the Ukrainian 'revolution'.

Before the Ukrainian protests kicked off last October, a general election was scheduled for 2015. As the protests grew and intensified, the elected Ukrainian president, Victor Yanukovych, agreed to bring elections forward to this year and to implement a host of measures, including reverting to the 2004 constitution, which drastically reduced Presidential power.

On paper, these changes met the vast majority of protestors' demands, and promised a new government this year, via elections. Yet just as this agreement was being signed, the violence in Kiev flared and 100 people, including policemen, were shot dead...by someone.

Newspaper

Protocol 12: How 'American neocons' stage attacks against alternative media - report

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© RT
The recent on-air resignation by former RT news anchor Liz Wahl was just the latest stunt orchestrated by a neo-conservative think tank, according to a new investigative report shedding light on the group's role in an ongoing Cold War revival campaign.

An extensive account of the days and minutes leading up to Wahl's remarks and public denunciation of "propaganda" tactics during her news segment on March 5 by authors Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek via truthdig has revealed connections with the little known neoconservative think-tank Foreign Policy Initiative.

FPI was founded in 2009 by a group of high-profile neo-conservative figures, including Robert Kagan and William Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard, who themselves were cofounders of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) -- an organization that played a key role in advocating for the US invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda.

According to the authors, as well as evidence readily available online via the group's Twitter feed, FPI was privy to what would take place at RT on-air that day.


Comment: Protocol 12 - Control of the Press:

"9. In the front rank will stand organs of an official character. They will always stand guard over our interests, and therefore their influence will be comparatively insignificant.

10. In the second rank will be the semi-official organs, whose part it will be to attack the tepid and indifferent.

11. In the third rank we shall set up our own, to all appearance, opposition, which, in at least one of its organs, will present what looks like the very antipodes to us. Our real opponents at heart will accept this simulated opposition as their own and will show us their cards.

12. All our newspapers will be of all possible complexions -- aristocratic, republican, revolutionary, even anarchical - for so long, of course, as the constitution exists .... Like the Indian idol "Vishnu" they will have a hundred hands, and every one of them will have a finger on any one of the public opinions as required. When a pulse quickens these hands will lead opinion in the direction of our aims, for an excited patient loses all power of judgment and easily yields to suggestion. Those fools who will think they are repeating the opinion of a newspaper of their own camp will be repeating our opinion or any opinion that seems desirable for us. In the vain belief that they are following the organ of their party they will, in fact, follow the flag which we hang out for them."

The Protocols of the Pathocrats