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Thu, 28 Jul 2016
The World for People who Think

USA

The Boston bombing produces familiar and revealing reactions

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© Stringer/REUTERS
Runners continue to run towards the finish line of the Boston marathon as an explosion erupts near the finish line of the race
As usual, the limits of selective empathy, the rush to blame Muslims, and the exploitation of fear all instantly emerge

There's not much to say about Monday's Boston Marathon attack because there is virtually no known evidence regarding who did it or why. There are, however, several points to be made about some of the widespread reactions to this incident. Much of that reaction is all-too-familiar and quite revealing in important ways:

(1) The widespread compassion for yesterday's victims and the intense anger over the attacks was obviously authentic and thus good to witness. But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade, with very little attention paid. My Guardian colleague Gary Younge put this best on Twitter this morning:

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Juan Cole this morning makes a similar point about violence elsewhere. Indeed, just yesterday in Iraq, at least 42 people were killed and more than 250 injured by a series of car bombs, the enduring result of the US invasion and destruction of that country. Somehow the deep compassion and anger felt in the US when it is attacked never translates to understanding the effects of our own aggression against others.

One particularly illustrative example I happened to see yesterday was a re-tweet from Washington Examiner columnist David Freddoso, proclaiming:
Idea of secondary bombs designed to kill the first responders is just sick. How does anyone become that evil?"

Bad Guys

FBI Organizes Almost All Terror Plots in the U.S.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975.

If you think that's a few spies too many - spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment - one doesn't have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil.

Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes.

The FBI has in recent years used trained informants not just to snitch on suspected terrorists, but to set them up from the get-go. A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking statistics about the role of FBI informants in terrorism cases that the Bureau has targeted in the decade since the September 11 attacks.

Bomb

Update: 3 dead, 144 wounded as two explosions rock finish line of Boston Marathon

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Spectators and runners flee from what was described as twin explosions that shook the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon
  • Bloodbath in Boston as two explosions rock finish line of famous Boston Marathon as race was winding down
  • Officials urging people at the scene to leave as secondary explosive devices have been found
  • Fox News is reporting three people killed; injuries still unknown
  • New York City stepping up anti-terror efforts in wake of attack
Up to a dozen people have been killed in a deadly explosion and up to 60 people have been injured after two large explosions went off near the finish line of the famous Boston Marathon today, leaving behind a scene of unimaginable carnage.

Law enforcement sources told the New York Post of the body count, and said that the first explosion happened at the Fairmont Hotel.

Eyewitnesses at the scene said there were two loud explosions about five seconds apart, and emergency vehicles crowded the scene.

Witness Dave Weigel said via Twitter minutes after the explosion: 'I saw people's legs blown off. Horrific. Two explosions. Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror.'

Police told the Boston Globe that are they still finding 'secondary devices,' and pleading with anyone still in the area to leave at once.

A controlled explosion was set for outside the city library.


USA

Obama, Guantánamo, and the enduring national shame

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© Brennan Linsley/AP
An image of President Barack Obama is put up in the lobby of the headquarters of the US naval station at Guantánamo Bay.
One of the most powerful Op-eds ever published in the NYT, by a Yemeni detainee, underscores the president's role in this travesty

The New York Times this morning deserves credit for publishing one of the most powerful Op-Eds you will ever read. I urge you to read it in its entirety: it's by Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a Yemeni national who has been imprisoned at Guantánamo without charges of any kind for more than 11 years. He's one of the detainees participating in the escalating hunger strike to protest both horrible conditions and, particularly, the supreme injustice of being locked in a cage indefinitely without any evidence of wrongdoing presented or any opportunity to contest the accusations that have been made. The hunger strike escalated over the weekend when guards shot rubber bullets at some of the detainees and forced them into single cells. Moqbel "wrote" the Op-ed through an interpreter and a telephone conversation with his lawyers at the human rights group Repreive:
"I've been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

"I've been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

"I could have been home years ago - no one seriously thinks I am a threat - but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a 'guard' for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don't even seem to believe it anymore. But they don't seem to care how long I sit here, either. . . .

"The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.

"I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen's president do something, that is what I risk every day.

"Where is my government? I will submit to any 'security measures' they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.

"I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.

"The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.

"And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.

"I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late."

Fireball 5

White out! Comet fragment explodes 70 kms above Toledo, Spain - Event seen across whole country


A brilliant ball of flame streaked across the sky above the Spanish capital Madrid, dazzling stargazers and astronomers alike. The celestial display was so bright it could be seen across the entire country.

The eye-popping moment was caught on camera by the Hita Observatory at the University of Huelva at around 11:45pm local time (2145 GMT). The object struck the atmosphere above the Villamuelas district in the province of Toledo, southwest of Madrid.

"The impact was so abrupt that the object immediately caught fire, creating a ball of flame around 100 kilometers above the Earth," Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva told the Huffington Post. The meteor then shot towards Madrid at over 75,000 kilometers an hour before disintegrating completely at an altitude of 70 kilometers.

The Spanish Institution for the Study of Meteors and Meteorites, which tracked the fireball, classified the meteorite as a piece of a comet that was flying by Earth.


Comment: Flying by Earth? It obviously entered the planet's atmosphere. There have been other occasions in recent years where comet fragments have skimmed the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere and either exploded so far up that few below noticed, or have continued to fly on by. But notice that with each new event, they appear to be reaching closer and closer to the ground...


Comment: "Sparked comparisons"? These celestial events do more than 'spark comparisons'. Each new event fires the curiosity, imagination and alarm bells of millions of people; punches wide gaping holes in the 'reality' of lies built by the psychopathic elites; and hastens the end of their global reign of terror...


Bad Guys

The Orwellian Paradigm: Killing you, for your own safety

© BBC
Almost thirty years ago, cultural critic Neil Postman argued in Amusing Ourselves to Death that television's gradual replacement of the printing press has created a dumbed-down culture driven by mindless entertainment. In this context, Postman claimed that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World correctly foresaw our dystopian future, as opposed to George Orwell's 1984.

Contrary to Postman's critique, however, the principles of Newspeak and doublethink dominate modern political discourse. Their widespread use is a testament to Orwell's profound insight into how language can be manipulated to restrict human thought.

War is peace

Formulating the Language of Perpetual War - From AUMF to "Associates of Associates."

The semantic deception began shortly after September 11, 2001. "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda," Bush said in his State of the Union address, "but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated (emphasis added)."

Propaganda

North Korea Psyop deception to deflect attention away from failing U.S. administration

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So far the conflict between the USG and North Korean is a virtual false-flag only. A major Psyops designed to deflect attention away from a seriously failing US Administration which is pulling out all the stops to pass gun-control laws which are designed to eventually lead to complete confiscation.

This current conflict with North Korea has been engineered and portrayed as a real state of conflict when it is virtual only. In practical terms, North Korea and America are now only involved in a state of virtual war which is unlikely to be followed with an actual real shooting war.

Virtual war is an imaginary war fought only in the major mass media and the enemy is the news consumer or the public which is psychologically managed. Virtual war is a newer type of warfare which is a major Psychological operation, (aka a Psyop), that is, an act of Mindwar against the people.

Che Guevara

A Practical Utopian's guide to the coming collapse

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© Randall Enos
Whenever there is a choice between one option that makes capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and another that would actually make capitalism a more viable economic system, neoliberalism means always choosing the former. The combined result is a relentless campaign against the human imagination. Or, to be more precise: imagination, desire, individual creativity, all those things that were to be liberated in the last great world revolution, were to be contained strictly in the domain of consumerism, or perhaps in the virtual realities of the Internet. In all other realms they were to be strictly banished. We are talking about the murdering of dreams, the imposition of an apparatus of hopelessness, designed to squelch any sense of an alternative future. Yet as a result of putting virtually all their efforts in one political basket, we are left in the bizarre situation of watching the capitalist system crumbling before our very eyes, at just the moment everyone had finally concluded no other system would be possible.

What is a revolution? We used to think we knew. Revolutions were seizures of power by popular forces aiming to transform the very nature of the political, social, and economic system in the country in which the revolution took place, usually according to some visionary dream of a just society. Nowadays, we live in an age when, if rebel armies do come sweeping into a city, or mass uprisings overthrow a dictator, it's unlikely to have any such implications; when profound social transformation does occur - as with, say, the rise of feminism - it's likely to take an entirely different form. It's not that revolutionary dreams aren't out there. But contemporary revolutionaries rarely think they can bring them into being by some modern-day equivalent of storming the Bastille.

At moments like this, it generally pays to go back to the history one already knows and ask: Were revolutions ever really what we thought them to be? For me, the person who has asked this most effectively is the great world historian Immanuel Wallerstein. He argues that for the last quarter millennium or so, revolutions have consisted above all of planetwide transformations of political common sense.

Smiley

British public pays its respects to passing of Margaret Thatcher by propelling 1930s Wizard of Oz song - "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" - to number one spot!

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Chart show will treat anti-Thatcher song as a news item


The BBC was accused of caving in to pressure and censoring the will of record-buyers after ruling that it would broadcast just five seconds of "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" during Sunday's chart run-down.

Tony Hall, the new BBC Director-General, approved a "compromise" which will prevent the song, which is heading towards the number one slot after being adopted as a posthumous protest by opponents of Lady Thatcher, being aired in full by Radio 1.

Instead a five-second clip will be played during a special news report, broadcast during Sunday's Top 40 Chart Show, presented by Jameela Jamil, explaining why a song from 1930s film The Wizard Of Oz had made the charts. The song itself is only 51 seconds long.


Comment: Good old BBC, government mouthpiece since, well... forever!


Ben Cooper, Radio 1 Controller who made the announcement, said the decision was "a compromise and it is a difficult compromise to come to."

The executive said he has yet to decide whether the words "Ding dong the witch is dead" will actually appear within the report, which will explain to listeners why Lady Thatcher was so divisive and the subject of a "hate campaign".

Comment: The BBC hides behind concern that teenagers won't understand that Thatcher was a ruthless leader who plunged their country into the state it's in, when in truth they were looking for any excuse to minimise further publicity this extraordinary protest will generate.

All together now....

Ding dong the witch is dead!...




Colosseum

Iraq: Ten Years On...

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April 9, 2013 marks ten years since the fall of Baghdad. Ten years since the invasion. Since the lives of millions of Iraqis changed forever. It's difficult to believe. It feels like only yesterday I was sharing day to day activities with the world. I feel obliged today to put my thoughts down on the blog once again, probably for the last time.

In 2003, we were counting our lives in days and weeks. Would we make it to next month? Would we make it through the summer? Some of us did and many of us didn't.

Back in 2003, one year seemed like a lifetime ahead. The idiots said, "Things will improve immediately." The optimists were giving our occupiers a year, or two... The realists said, "Things won't improve for at least five years." And the pessimists? The pessimists said, "It will take ten years. It will take a decade."

Looking back at the last ten years, what have our occupiers and their Iraqi governments given us in ten years? What have our puppets achieved in this last decade? What have we learned?

We learned a lot.