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Ponerization: The U.S. power structure has normalized a culture of deviance

The U.S. foreign policy establishment and its mainstream media operate with a pervasive set of hypocritical standards that justify war crimes — or what might be called a "normalization of deviance," writes Nicolas J S Davies.

Sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the term "normalization of deviance" as she was investigating the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. She used it to describe how the social culture at NASA fostered a disregard for rigorous, physics-based safety standards, effectively creating new, lower de facto standards that came to govern actual NASA operations and led to catastrophic and deadly failures.

Vaughan published her findings in her prize-winning book, The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA, which, in her words, "shows how mistake, mishap, and disaster are socially organized and systematically produced by social structures" and "shifts our attention from individual causal explanations to the structure of power and the power of structure and culture - factors that are difficult to identify and untangle yet have great impact on decision making in organizations."

When the same pattern of organizational culture and behavior at NASA persisted until the loss of a second shuttle in 2003, Diane Vaughan was appointed to NASA's accident investigation board, which belatedly embraced her conclusion that the "normalization of deviance" was a critical factor in these catastrophic failures.

The normalization of deviance has since been cited in a wide range of corporate crimes and institutional failures, from Volkswagen's rigging of emissions tests to deadly medical mistakes in hospitals. In fact, the normalization of deviance is an ever-present danger in most of the complex institutions that govern the world we live in today, not least in the bureaucracy that formulates and conducts U.S. foreign policy.

Comment: Andrew Lobaczewski, in his book Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, has described this same process; one which has occurred throughout history when pathological personalities take over a society causing unimaginable devastation by guiding it to war, destruction, and eventual collapse.


Here we go again: Pentagon sez Putin placing 40,000 troops and armored vehicles along Ukrainian border

© Getty images
Russian armoured personnel carriers travel through Crimea in 2014.
The maneuvers are part of what the Russian strongman sees as the fortification of a new front line with NATO.

As many as 40,000 Russian troops are massing on the country's border with Ukraine - prompting fears of a new military invasion.

The Pentagon has identified eight staging areas dotted along the border, suggesting Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is preparing for new incursions.

Comment: Strongman? How dare Putin for defending his country from NATO provocations!

Among the units deployed to the area are armored vehicles, tanks and fighter jets.

Comment: Note this same number, 40,000, appeared in March last year reported by Reuters that Putin has put 40,000 troops on full alert for military exercises


Iraqi military kills 700 Daesh militants in 2 weeks since liberation of Khalidiya Island near Ramadi

The Iraqi forces have killed 700 Daesh militants since the beginning of an anti-terrorist offensive on Khalidiya Island located 14 miles east of Ramadi in the western Anbar province, the commander of Anbar Operations said.

"Security forces so far has killed 700 ISIS [Daesh] members since the beginning of Khalidiya Island liberation battles. Khalidiya Island has been liberated two weeks ago," Maj. Gen. Ismail Mahalawi said, as quoted by the Iraqi News outlet.

The final anti-terrorist offensive on Khalidiya Island started in late July. In early August, Iraqi media reported that Khalidiya Island had been fully liberated from terrorists.

Comment: Remember Ramadi, where American murderer Chris Kyle was stationed back in 2006.

Snakes in Suits

Centrist party stripped of registration for Georgian parliamentary elections for 'pro-Russia' stance

One of the party's leaders, Lado Bedukadze,
The Centrist party, one of three dozen registered so far to participate in the Georgian parliamentary elections on October 8, has been stripped of that registration following widespread protests over an election campaign clip broadcast on August 13 by Georgia's Public Broadcaster that was widely perceived as pro-Russian.

In the 10-second clip, the party's leaders, Lado Bedukadze and Temur Khachishvili, promised to raise pensions to 400 laris ($172, the equivalent of the Russian state pension, and more than double the current 180 laris), to introduce dual Russian-Georgian citizenship, and to legalize the presence of Russian military bases on Georgian soil.

Those campaign promises -- aired just days after the anniversary of the start of the August 2008 war that paved the way for Russia's formal recognition of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent, sovereign states, and the deployment there on a permanent basis of some 4,000 Russian troops -- triggered a storm of outrage across the political spectrum.


Merkel: Refugees did not bring Islamist terrorism to Germany, it has always been here

© Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters
Refugees did not bring terrorism to Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said stressing that Islamist extremism was already there before the migrant influx worsened. The comment comes a month after she admitted terrorists used the migrant flow to enter Europe.

"The phenomenon of Islamist terrorism, of IS, is not a phenomenon that came to us with the refugees, we rather have and had it," Merkel said as she spoke at an election campaign event ahead of the regional vote due to take place in the eastern region of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on September 4, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Terrorism is something Germany already had suffered in the past, Merkel noted.

The German leader added that Islam had a full right to exist in the country along with any other religion and could be practiced as long as it did not breach the constitution.

"We have said clearly that an Islam that works and lives on the basis of the constitution ... belongs to Germany," Merkel said, maintaining that terrorism and refugee influx are totally separate matters.

No Entry

Terrorists not welcome: Russia bans American NGO headed by ISIS co-creator Senator McCain

© Marko Djurica / Reuters
Paranoid looneybin U.S. Senator John McCain
Russian prosecutors have recognized the International Republican Institute NGO headed by US Senator John McCain as an undesirable organization, banning the group's operations in the country and forbidding Russian organizations and citizens from cooperating with it.

"After studying the received files [describing the activities of the International Republican Institute], the Prosecutor General's Office has made the decision to recognize it as an undesirable group on the territory of the Russian Federation," reads an official statement from prosecutors, released on Thursday.

Another US organization, the Media Development Investment Fund, was also recognized as undesirable.

Prosecutors added that they had established that the work of the two groups posed a threat to the foundations of Russia's constitutional order and state security, but gave no further details.

Comment: NGOs of this type are agents of foreign espionage and subversion, plain and simple. As for McCain, Putin has his measure:


Jill Stein on CNN: Wipe out student debt, stop support for Israel and Saudi Arabia, set up truth and reconciliation commission for killer cops

© Dominick Reuter / Reuters
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
The Green Party's presidential nominee, Jill Stein, went on CNN to directly address voters and their questions. Along with her running mate Amaju Baraka, Stein attempted to pitch her platform to those still undecided.

Stein stated at the beginning of the town hall that the Green Party was "the one national party that is not corrupted by corporate money, by lobbyist money or by Super PACS."

Using that introduction, she segued into addressing the concerns encompassed by the Green Party, such as jobs, climate change, student debt and foreign policy.

The third party candidate also went on to address a growing concern in the current political climate. When one audience member asked her if she would feel guilty if she potentially split the Democratic vote and helped secure a Trump presidency, she responded, "I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected. I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected."

Comment: Take a look at Stein and Baraka. Notice a few things: they are articulate, their policies are reasonable and relevant, and they behave like normal human beings. Now compare that to Trump and Killary: a narcissistic buffoon and a psychopathic war harpy. Chances are, one of these two non-entities will be elected. What does that say about American society?

Cell Phone

Civil rights group files FCC complaint: Baltimore police use of Stingray technology illegal and discriminatory

© Reuters
The Baltimore Police Department's use of cell site simulators, also known as "Stingrays," not only violates FCC laws, but is racially discriminatory as well, according to a complaint filed by a law professor, civil rights groups and a technology think tank.

The groups argue that the Baltimore PD's use of Stingrays violates citizens' free speech rights, describing the use of Stingrays as "an electronic form of the intrusive police practices described in the Justice Departments report on the BPD's pattern of civil rights violations."

In the new 38-page complaint, visiting law professor Laura Moy of Georgetown University writes: "BPD has no license whatsoever to operate its CS simulator equipment on frequency bands that are exclusively licensed to cellular phone carriers in Baltimore."


Lavrov: Russian use of Iran airbase is totally legal - West should stop complaining that Russia is fighting terrorism

© Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation /
A Tupolev Tu-22 M3 strategic bomber of the Russian Aerospace Force
Moscow did not violate UN resolutions by deploying Tu-22M3 strategic bombers to an Iranian airbase, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, urging the West not to try and find fault but instead focus on anti-terrorism efforts.

"There is no reason to suspect Russia of violating UN Security Council resolution 2231 [on the sale and transfer of arms to Iran]," Lavrov told a news conference on Wednesday.

He said that "under the resolution, the UN Security Council sanctions deliveries, sales and transfers of specific types of arms to Iran, including combat aircraft," while the Russian deployment involves no such moves.

Comment: Iran has clarified matters, pointing out that Russia is only using the base for refueling. There are no Russian troops stationed at the base, according to Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. Moreover, the Iranian constitution bans any foreign nations from having a military base in Iran.

"These military aircraft are used by air forces after Iran's authorization for taking part in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria after a legitimate request from its government," he said.

Comment: More petty meddling from the US... Gosh, you'd think they actually don't want anyone to defeat Daesh and al-Qaeda!

Eye 1

London now has special 'thought police' unit to track down online trolls

Thought police now patrol social media platforms and online forums to quash putatively 'abusive' vitriol with the help of feckless civilians urged to end freedom of speech under the guise of rooting out hate.

Expected to run for two years at a cost of $2.2 million (£1.7 million) — of which the Home Office will contribute $581,000 (£450,000) — the London Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) believes severely curtailing free speech is necessary due to "the increasing role that online hate played in targeting individuals and communities."

Online abusers, the Mayor's Office said, operate behind a "veil of anonymity," making conventional policing of hate difficult due to lack of skills and equipment — so authorities have allotted the budget for the creation of a police-civilian alliance to report spewers of venom to police.

"By establishing this unit," explained a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police cited by the Business Standard of the Online Hate Crime Hub, "we are sending a strong message to those who use online forums to spread hate that their actions will not be tolerated. The Metropolitan Police Service continues to have a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of hate crime.

"The Met encourages all victims of hate crime to report any incident to police and will make every effort to hold offenders to account and bring them to justice."