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Mon, 20 Mar 2023
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'No friends but the mountains': Washington seeks to ensnare Kurds

Syrian Kurds in Syria
© (AFP Photo / Dimitar Dilkoff)
A Syrian Kurdish refugee woman from the Sheikh Maqsud district of Aleppo
The targeting of Kurdish civilians in Syria by US-supported armed thugs is part of a deliberate attempt to galvanize the Kurds and pit them in a resurgent struggle against the non-Kurd regions.

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party and other sources are now reporting that Kurdish men, women, and children are systematically being tortured, raped, and executed. Fighting has broken out between Syrian Kurds and the insurgent forces supported by the US, UK, France, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Iranian Parliament have condemned the targeting of Syrian Kurds while the Obama Administration and its cohorts have remained mostly silent. Lavrov's insistence that the United Nations Security Council condemns the violence has also been to no avail.

One of the reasons that the Obama Administration has been silent is because they are supporting the butchers behind the massacre and are trying to avoid more embarrassment. The US and its allies, however, will make supportive noise for the Kurds once they get the result they are seeking.


5 companies that make massive profits keeping Americans terrified of terror attacks


Michael Hayden gives *this* much of a damn about the little people
A massive industry profits off the government-induced fear of terrorism.

Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, has invaded America's television sets in recent weeks to warn about Edward Snowden's leaks and the continuing terrorist threat to America.

But what often goes unmentioned, as the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is that Hayden has a financial stake in keeping Americans scared and on a permanent war footing against Islamist militants. And the private firm he works for, called the Chertoff Group, is not the only one making money by scaring Americans.

Post-9/11 America has witnessed a boom in private firms dedicated to the hyped-up threat of terrorism. The drive to privatize America's national security apparatus accelerated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and it's gotten to the point where 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on private contractors, as author Tim Shorrock reported. The private intelligence contractors have profited to the tune of at least $6 billion a year. In 2010, the Washington Post revealed that there are 1,931 private firms across the country dedicated to fighting terrorism.

What it all adds up to is a massive industry profiting off government-induced fear of terrorism, even though Americans are more likely to be killed by a car crash or their own furniture than a terror attack.

Here are five private companies cashing in on keeping you afraid.


UK detains partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, abusing terrorism law

David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald
© N/A
David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald
British authorities detained David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, for nine hours on Sunday under a counterterrorism law. They held Miranda, 28, a citizen of Brazil, incommunicado and interrogated him without giving him the opportunity to secure legal counsel.

Miranda was stopped by British officers as he passed through London's Heathrow Airport on his way from Berlin to his Rio de Janeiro home, which he shares with Greenwald. The officials released Miranda without charge after nine hours, the maximum detention time allowed under the law. They confiscated Miranda's electronic equipment, including his mobile phone, laptop computer, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and game consoles.

Greenwald has written a series of stories, mainly for the British Guardian, exposing the mass surveillance programs carried out by the US National Security Agency (NSA), based on documents given to him by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Along with Snowden, Greenwald has become a target for attacks by US politicians and media figures. Two months ago, David Gregory, the moderator of NBC News' "Meet the Press" program, asked Greenwald in the course of an interview why he should not be prosecuted, along with Snowden, under US espionage laws.


The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy but our 'free press' will never report it

Noam Chomsky
© chrismsaunders.com
Noam Chomsky
In a powerful speech, Chomsky lays out how the majority of US policies are practically opposite of what wide swathes of the public wants.

The following is transcript of a recent speech delivered Noam Chomsky in Bonn, Germany, at DW Global Media Forum

I'd like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not - and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they're framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.


Has President Obama been deliberately lying about the NSA?

OBAMA horn
© unknown
many of President Obama's statements about NSA have been wrong. But he's too smart not to understand the truth

With the latest major revelation about National Security Agency surveillance, there's a huge taboo question that needs to be put out on the table: Has President Obama been deliberately lying about the NSA, or have his statements just been repeatedly "wrong"?

After Barton Gellman's blockbuster story today about the NSA breaking "privacy rules or overstepp(ing) its legal authority thousands of times each year," the Washington Post published an attendant commentary with a headline declaring the president was merely "wrong" in last week suggesting that the NSA wasn't "actually abusing" its legal authority. The implication is that when Obama made that comment - and then further insisted the surveillance programs "are not abused" - he may have been inaccurate, but he didn't necessarily deliberately lie because he may not have known he was not telling the truth.

Eye 1

NSA broke the law and privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

NSA audit
© The Washington Post
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

Arrow Down

Apple patents kill switch for mobile devices because: "Covert police or government operations may require complete 'Blackout' Conditions."

© Cryptogon
As wireless devices such as cellular telephones, pagers, personal media devices and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more people are carrying these devices in various social and professional settings. The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues.

Source: United States Patent 8,254,902

Star of David

BBC to censor violinist Nigel Kennedy's statement about Israeli apartheid from TV broadcast

© Chris Christodoulou/BBC
Nigel Kennedy
The BBC has confirmed that it will censor a statement made by violinist Nigel Kennedy from its television broadcast of his performance with the Palestine Strings at a prestigious music festival last week. In his statement at the Proms, Mr. Kennedy used the word "apartheid" to describe the world in which his Palestinian colleagues live.

Click here for a recording of the actual statement the BBC is excising from its broadcast[1]. The following is a transcript:
"It's a bit facile to say it, but we all know from the experience of this night of music, that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen."
According to The Jewish Chronicle[2], BBC governor Baroness Deech called for an apology from Mr. Kennedy and said that "the remark was offensive and untrue. There is no apartheid in Israel." Not only is there no apartheid in Israel, she claimed, but nor is there any in Gaza or the West Bank. (She made no mention of East Jerusalem.)


The police keep firing; the bodies pile up. In Cairo, bloodbaths are now a daily occurrence

It was a disgrace, a most shameful chapter in Egyptian history. The police - some wearing black hoods - shot down into the crowds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters from the roof of Cairo's Ramses Street police station and surrounding streets.

They even fired at traffic on the airport highway. And to see their terrible work, you had only to climb the pink marble steps of the Al-Fath Mosque - sticky with fresh blood yesterday evening - and see the acre of wounded lying on deep-woven carpets and, in a remote corner, 25 shrouded corpses. Dr Ibrahim Yamani gently lifted the bandages from their bodies: shot in the face, shot in the head, shot in the chest.


Obama gives support to Osprey: The military boondoggle that just won't die

© United States Navy
Few military projects are more notorious than the V-22 Osprey. The name has become synonymous with flawed government contracting and planning. Originally conceived in 1980 in the wake of the botched Iranian Hostage Crisis rescue mission, the Osprey was supposed to represent a new type of aircraft that could land and takeoff vertically but also carry plane sized equipment and personnel. So ends the theory.

What followed was an amazing waste of money. The Osprey was first budgeted at $2.5 billion in 1986, by 2008 $27 billion had been spent, with another $27.2 billion needed to complete production. Yes $2.5 billion to an estimated $54.2 billion. And yes, in that time period other aircraft were developed to successfully fulfill US combat needs. And yes, no other country is even within striking distance of America's air capacity. Of course, other countries aren't interested in competing with America for developing anything like the Osprey, because the damn thing doesn't work.

In 2001 numerous officers were relieved of duty due to their falsifying records to try to make the Osprey seem like it worked. In 2007 the Pentagon deployed the aircraft leading to condemnation from many that the Osprey was too unsafe for combat use.