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7171

   

      

kissinger_war_crimesBy Melissa Dykes


It’s a sick sad joke coming from the Nobel Peace Prize (for nothing) president who is bombing … wait, how many countries is Obama currently bombing again? Seven? Is anybody even keeping track anymore?


Here’s everyone’s favorite humanitarian Henry Kissinger shaking hands with defense secretary Ash Carter at a special ceremony at the Pentagon two days ago where the good bridge troll doctor got the highest award the Department of Defense can possibly bestow upon a civilian: a Distinguished Public Service Award.



Screenshot-2016-05-11-at-8.37.51-AMVia The Nation:


Carter himself deserves an award for understatement, calling the man who is responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of millions of people in Southeast Asia, East Timor, Bangladesh, and southern Africa, among other places—”unique in the annals of American diplomacy.” Kissinger, Carter said, “demonstrated how serious thinking and perspective can deliver solutions to seemingly intractable problems.” As to allegations of war crimes, “the fact is,” said Kissinger, he and Richard Nixon “were engaged in good causes.”


“Good causes”…? In what nightmare is what Kissinger did “good”?


He’s been implicated in some 4 million deaths for genocides in three different countries (at least).


Of course the White House should be honoring Kissinger, since it runs its endless war by Kissinger’s rules. The right to bomb neutral countries the United States isn’t at war with in the name of national security is now unquestionably accepted across the foreign policy spectrum, as is the right of the White House to engage in extrajudicial assassination at will (Kissinger’s illegal Cambodia bombing set a precedent, but he also lent critical legitimacy by supporting Reagan’s bombing of Libya, George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Panama and Gulf War I, and George W. Bush’s Gulf War II).


And apparently that, in the Pentagon’s eyes, is what constitutes a “pubic service”… murder.


Guess that’s what DoD awards are for, ultimately. So is it the more people murdered, the bigger the award?


In that context, it makes sense Kissinger got the highest, most “distinguished” award they could possibly give him.


Related Reads



KISSINGER: ‘TERRORISTS ARE REALLY PEOPLE THAT REJECT THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM’
HENRY KISSINGER, SHIRLEY TEMPLE AND MK ULTRA?
SENATOR TED CRUZ “HONORED” TO HANG OUT WITH WAR CRIMINAL HENRY KISSINGER
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HENRY KISSINGER


7172

   

      

tech ping pongBy Mac Slavo


If you’re trying to figure out what the economy is doing and where financial markets are headed in the near future you can focus your efforts on a never-ending flow of charts, earnings reports and scores of daily analyses from professionals around the world.


But as it relates to the technology industry, namely those multi-billion dollar conglomerates and unicorn startups in Silicon Valley, a new report from Silicon Beat says that the answer may lie in ping pong:



The table tennis game — as ubiquitous among Silicon Valley tech startups as free food and T-shirt attire — can be used to measure the market’s health, according to The Journal’s report.


Sales are down among local ping-pong table vendors, and many are blaming a downturn in the tech economy. Billiard Wholesale in San Jose reports sales to companies fell 50 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the quarter before. David Vannatta, sales team leader at Sports Authority in San Francisco, told The Journal that his ping-pong table sales have fallen since Christmas.



And big tech companies that have struggled with layoffs, shrinking revenue and lackluster quarterly reports, such as Yahoo, Intel and Twitter, have stopped buying tables, vendors told The Journal.



The Wall Street Journal explains that the phenomenon is real and tech companies all over Silicon Valley are pulling the plug on reckless spending, noting that startup funding has dropped 25% during the same period as ping pong table sales dropped:



In the first quarter of 2016, his table sales to companies fell 50% from the prior quarter. In that period, U.S. startup funding dropped 25%, says Dow Jones VentureSource, which tracks venture financing.


The table-tennis indicator is a peek into Silicon Valley culture, in which the right to play ping pong on the job is sacrosanct.


If you don’t have a ping-pong table, you’re not a tech company,” saysSunil Rajasekar, chief technology officer at Lithium Technologies, a San Francisco software startup.



Table buying “tracks most closely with startups that hit that threshold where they’re taking out office space,” says Russell Hancock, chief executive of think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley, which follows economic trends. “That’s when you’re going to get your first ping-pong table.”


Table sellers seeing a decline include David Vannatta, sales team leader at Sports Authority in San Francisco. The store was getting a “good flow of tech companies” buying tables, he says, but sales have fallen since Christmas.



A visual, via the WSJ:



ping-pong-salesBut if that’s not enough to convince you there are serious cracks in not just the tech bubble, but the system as a whole, consider that renowned investor Carl Icahn recently unloaded his entire stake in Apple, Inc., totaling some 45 million shares and now holds a massive short position potentially amounting to billions of dollars in expectation of a major market correction or crash:



When asked about this unprecedented bearish position, Icahn Enterprises CEO Keith Cozza said during the May 5 earnings call that “Carl has been very vocal in recent weeks in the media about his negative views.” He certainly has been, although many though he was merely exaggerating. He was not.


We’re much more concerned about the market going down 20% than we are it going up 20%. And so the significant weighting to the short side reflects that,” Cozza added. 



And he’s not the only one who’s keeping his eye on the ping pong ball.


         

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As reported by Zero Hedge, hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, who delivered average gains in excess of 30% for his clients over 25 years, has shifted assets into a defensive position in anticipation of what is an apocalyptic mood in financial markets:



If it wasn’t clear already, Drucknemiller is very bearish stocks: “volatility in global equity markets over the past year, which often precedes a major trend change, suggests that their risk/reward is negative without substantially lower prices and/or structural reform. Don’t hold your breath for the latter.


The former Duquesne hedge fund manager, who averaged annual returns of 30 percent from 1986 through 2010, also agreed that negative rates are “absurd”, said that he is bearish stocks, and concluded by revealing what his biggest currency allocation is. “Some regard it as a metal, we regard it as a currency and it remains our largest currency allocation” he said, without naming the metal.


We know what he was talking about. Gold.



The smart money investors aren’t the only ones preparing.


The elite around the world are downright terrified, as highlighted by their feverish pace to build emergency bunkers in an effort to insulate themselves from the revolution, rebellion and anarchy that would follow a widespread economic collapse.


You’d think they might be crazy for going to such extremes, but they aren’t alone. The US government has been simulating economic collapse and civil unrest scenarios since just after the Crash of 2008, which suggests they, too, are expecting nothing short of a national apocalypse when this thing blows.


As for the rest of us, if you haven’t already taken steps to prepare for the disaster to follow, now is the time. Major global investors are re-allocating their financial positions, the elite are already getting out of Dodge, and the U.S. government itself is stockpiling emergency supplies and, quite literally, billions of rounds of ammunition.


But don’t worry because President Obama saved the world from depression, so these people must be overreacting to all of that peddled fiction about the world being in crisis.


Also Read:



Prepare For Collapse: A Step-By-Step Guide
Mark Levin: Government Is “Simulating the Collapse of Our Financial System, the Collapse of Our Society and the Potential for Widespread Violence”
Analyst: “Millions Upon Millions of People Are Going to Die on a World-Wide Scale When the Debt Bubble Bursts”
How Horrific Will It Be For The Non-Prepper?

Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary.


You can read more from Mac Slavo at his site SHTFplan.com



   

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humanfreedomBy Jon Rappoport


James Tracy, a tenured professor at Florida Atlantic University, was fired because he dared to express his contrarian views and lay out his research about the Sandy Hook shooting.


Tracy did so as a private citizen on his blog. He made that clear.


But the University didn’t care. They ripped away his tenure and job.


Now Tracy is suing. As he should. Because the issue is a little thing called the 1st Amendment.



I’ve read his court filing. It appears to me that Tracy’s own union took his side and then betrayed him. It appears to me that the University cooked up a fake reason for firing him: he didn’t send in a vaguely worded form they wanted him to sign.


But the real reason had to do with Tracy’s view about Sandy Hook: that it was a hoax. It doesn’t matter whether you or I or anyone else agrees with his assessment. What matters is his inherent right to express his view.


The University doesn’t want to grant Tracy that right. The University is worried about press blowback and “reputation.” Apparently, shutting down free speech doesn’t affect the University’s standing in this day and age. It’s an easy sell.


Well, it shouldn’t be.



There is a lot riding on the outcome of this court case.


Where are the thousands of college professors all over the country who should be flocking to Tracy’s side with uncompromising support? Where are their voices?


These professors are already sold out or they’re afraid, and that tells you a great deal about the current academic climate in America. The professors are captives of the system in which they work and live. They’re know which way to jump on any given issue. They know when to shut their mouths. They know when to launch an attack against an officially un-favored person. They know the boundaries and the game, and they play it.


Here is a full press release about the case posted at Professor Tracy’s blog. Read it, share it, and support this man who dares to speak and write what he finds to be true without checking, first, with some authority who wants to exercise control over the 1st Amendment.


This is the latest trend, you know, especially on college campuses. Let some group decide what everyone should believe—and then repress any contrary opinion.


This trend needs to die, and soon.


(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)


The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.


   

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cbs_cannabis_propagandaBy Claire Bernish


In what could only be described as a desperate smear campaign evidencing the last vestiges of propaganda from the failed war on drugs, corporate media warped the findings of a study about cannabis-related car crashes to the point of being unrecognizable.


On Tuesday, AAA’s safety foundation released a report concerning cannabis impairment and driving, which proved blood testing drivers for THC holds no scientific validity and should be abandoned. But a second part of the report found that — strictly statistically speaking — car crashes involving drivers who had consumed cannabis were on the rise.


In fact, the number of people involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis did rise — a statistical doubling — but several caveats that should have also been reported by the mainstream press were flatly ignored.



First, and of no small importance, cannabis isn’t even close to the leading cause of fatal crashes. In fact, when it comes to deadly accidents where the driver tested positive for cannabis, “most” had also consumed alcohol or other drugs.


According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, of 592 drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 38 tested positive for cannabis. In the following year, of 619 deadly crashes, the number testing positive for cannabis jumped to 75. However, as Staci Hoff, Research Director for WTSC, explained:


“Most of these drivers, these 75 drivers, also had alcohol or other drugs” in their systems. Over a five-year period, just 1.8 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers who tested positive only for cannabis.



“So, in our study, we looked at all five years of date, 2010 to 2014,” Hoff continued, “and there were never 3,000 drivers involved in these fatal crashes during that time period. Only 56 of them had THC and only THC, nothing else.”


WTSC is indeed concerned about drivers who consume cannabis — when they also consume alcohol. So though the number of fatal cannabis-involved deadly accidents did, indeed, double, the number represents a tiny proportion of the total and most of those drivers had consumed other substances.


“There’s still a lot of work to do to figure out the impact of marijuana as a substance alone,” Hoff added, “but what I can say is that the combo of alcohol and marijuana is a scary concept we are seeing; it’s where our largest concern lays right now.”


But if you rely on corporate media for information about the same report, your perception of cannabis-related traffic fatalities would be entirely different.


CBS News’ national report on this same information proves how the misrepresentation of data can irresponsibly warp facts to bordering on outright misinformation — Report: Fatal marijuana-related crashes up where drug is legal. Though the headline could easily be redeemed through accurate information, the CBS article immediately capitalizes on people’s worst fears by beginning with an anecdotal account of a fatal accident involving a cannabis-impaired driver.


At a time when policy-makers and the American public consider ending cannabis prohibition — a massively-failed policy whose biggest benefactor has arguably been the for-profit prison industry — such feckless reporting reduces the opportunity for worthy debate on the subject.


CBS not only failed to mention how statistically minuscule the doubling of cannabis-related fatal crashes actually was, it also inexplicably — and inexcusably — left out that most of those drivers had consumed other substances. Worst of all, the CBS News article ends with the factual statement, “More than a dozen states are considering legalizing marijuana” — implying to readers, ‘look out, if you don’t stop this legislation, wantonly reckless weed-smoking drivers will be coming to your city.’


Of course, this simply isn’t the case, and the study the article was supposedly reporting about proves that — but CBS News’ audience would never know that if they were relying on the single source. And that is what makes propaganda so effective — its ability to distort facts to stoke baseless fear for other ends. Fortunately, such capricious and questionable media tactics are being exposed as more people turn to independent sources for good information otherwise obscured from public discussion.




View More: U.S. News|Live News|More News Videos

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.


   

7175

   

      

By Reason


“Everyone tries to label me in Congress and they have a hard time doing it,” Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said in his recent speech at Reason Weekend 2016.


An electric-car-driving Republican, this “crunchy con” even lives off the grid with the help of solar panels. “Some people say ‘libertarian,’ I like ‘constitutional conservative’…some say ‘Tea Party’—the names just keep getting worse from there.”



Visit Reason.com
Follow Thomas Massie on Twitter


   

7176

   

      

global market collapseBy Michael Snyder


We have seen this story before, and it never ends well.  From mid-March until early May 2008, a vigorous stock market rally convinced many investors that the market turmoil of late 2007 and early 2008 was over and that happy days were ahead for the U.S. economy.  But of course we all know what happened.  It turned out that the market downturns of late 2007 and early 2008 were just “foreshocks” of a much greater crash in late 2008.  The market surge in the spring of 2008 was just a mirage, and it masked rapidly declining economic fundamentals.  Well, the exact same thing is happening right now.  The Dow rose another 222 points on Tuesday, but meanwhile virtually every number that we are getting is just screaming that the overall U.S. economy is steadily falling apart.  So don’t be fooled by a rising stock market.  Just like in the spring of 2008, all of the signs are pointing to an avalanche of bad economic news in the months ahead.  The following are 11 signs that the U.S. economy is rapidly deteriorating…


#1 Total business sales have been declining for nearly two years, and they are now about 15 percent lower than they were in late 2014.


#2 The inventory to sales ratio is now back to near where it was during the depths of the last recession.  This means that there is lots and lots of unsold stuff just sitting around out there, and that is a sign of a very unhealthy economy.



#3 Corporate earnings have declined for four consecutive quarters.  This never happens outside of a recession.


#4 Profits for companies listed on the S&P 500 were down 7.1 percent during the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same time period a year ago.


#5 In April, commercial bankruptcies were up 32 percent on a year over year basis, and Chapter 11 filings were up 67 percent on a year over year basis.  This is exactly the kind of spike that we witnessed during the initial stages of the last major financial crisis as well.


#6 U.S. rail traffic was 11 percent lower last month than it was during the same month in 2015.  Right now there are 292 Union Pacific engines sitting idle in the middle of the Arizona desert because there is literally nothing for them to do.



#7 The U.S. economy has lost an astounding 191,000 mining jobs since September 2014.  For areas of the country that are heavily dependent on mining, this has been absolutely devastating.


#8 According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. firms announced 35 percent more job cuts during April than they did in March.  This indicates that our employment problems are accelerating.


#9 So far this year, job cut announcements are running 24 percent above the exact same period in 2015.


#10 U.S. GDP grew at just a 0.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2016.  This was the third time in a row that the GDP number has declined compared to the previous quarter, and let us not forget that the formula for calculating GDP was changed last year specifically to make the first quarter of each year look better.  Without that “adjustment”, it is quite possible that we would have had a negative number for the first quarter.


#11 Barack Obama is poised to become the first president in U.S. history to never have a single year during his time in office when the economy grew by more than 3 percent.


But you never hear Obama talk about that statistic, do you?


         

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And the mainstream media loves to point the blame at just about anyone else.  In fact, the Washington Post just came out with an article that is claiming that the big problem with the economy is the fact that U.S. consumers are saving too much money…


The surge in saving is the real drag on the economy. It has many causes. “People got a cruel lesson about [the dangers] of debt,” says economist Matthew Shapiro of the University of Michigan. Households also save more to replace the losses suffered on homes and stocks. But much saving is precautionary: Having once assumed that a financial crisis of the 2008-2009 variety could never happen, people now save to protect themselves against the unknown. Research by economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics finds higher saving at all income levels.


So even though half the country is flat broke, I guess we are all supposed to do our patriotic duty by going out and running up huge balances on our credit cards.


What a joke.


Of course the U.S. economy is actually doing significantly better at the moment than almost everywhere else on the planet.  Many areas of South America have already plunged into an economic depression, major banks all over Europe are in the process of completely melting down, Japanese GDP has gone negative again despite all of their emergency measures, and Chinese stocks are down more than 40 percent since the peak of the market.


This is a global economic slowdown, and just like in 2008 it is only a matter of time before the financial markets catch up with reality.  I really like how Andrew Lapthorne put it recently…



On the more bearish slant is Andrew Lapthorne, head of quantitative strategy at Societe Generale. To him this profit downturn is a sign that stocks are far too overvalued and the economy is weaker than you think.


“MSCI World EPS is now declining at the fastest pace since 2009, losing 4% in the last couple of months alone (this despite stronger oil prices),” wrote Lapthorne in a note. For the S&P 500 specifically, the year on year drop in profit drop was the most since third quarter of 2009.


“Global earnings are now 14% off the peak set in August 2014 and back to where they stood five years ago. Equity prices on the other hand are 25% higher. Gravity beckons!”



I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Look, this is not a game.


So far in 2016, three members of my own extended family have lost their jobs.  Businesses are going under at a pace that we haven’t seen since 2008, and this means that more mass layoffs are on the way.


We can certainly be happy that U.S. stocks are doing okay for the moment.  May it stay that way for as long as possible.  But anyone that believes that this state of affairs can last indefinitely is just being delusional.


Gravity beckons, and the crash that is to come is going to be a great sight to behold.


Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


   

7177

   

      

photoBy Brett Redmayne-Titley


Author’s Note: This is Part Four of a previous report direct from the 2012 San Diego TPP negotiations re-published by Activist Post to bring urgent awareness of the threat of TPP to its American and international readers. Like the European, TTIP, TPP is treason. TPP must be stopped. Now! B.R-T.


In the land of the “exceptional” a new, unjustifiable definition of journalism has over-ridden the previously time-honored tenets regarding the obligatory role of the press: that of presenting the whole truth of  any story via documented facts. These days, the role of the press is reduced to complicity in pervasive, blatant propaganda. Hence, it is not what the reader is told that truly matters; it is what is deliberately left-out.


So, as Chief US Negotiator at the San Diego Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations fled the scene of her crime – having moments before accused four US senators and one-fourth of the US House of Representatives of being liars – she strangely, it seemed, sought refuge from this reporter at the first of only three Press Conferences to be held during the eight day event. Chief  US Negotiator, Barbara Weisel, had been ducking this reporter’s questions throughout the public Stakeholder’s Meeting that was  open to just twenty members of the San Diego public. As she disappeared out the double doors of the Hilton’s Conference Hall and across the hall to the room designated for the press it seemed that my quarry was finally trapped, now having to answer real questions from dozens of dedicated journalists who would be salivating to confront Ms. Weisel with the missing questions she had just spent three hours evading. Surely, we had her now.


Au Contraire.



Access to the Delegates at TPP/San Diego, especially to Ms. Weisel, was limited to the single, three-hour “Official Stakeholder Engagement Event;” three unofficial, “background only” press conferences and a cocktail party at a nearby bar. Inside the Conference Room a sparse-by design- crowd circled a rectangle of white  table-clothed tables set end to end. Inside, representatives of about forty-five special interest/ pro-TPP groups stood, engaging the public outside. Only five booths, such as the San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club and 350.org/ San Diego  were provided shelf space here to show an opposing view point. This meeting was featured as an official “Engagement Event” for the public to attend and question the delegates. This, too, was misleading. The public was restricted to only these twenty “Stakeholders” who were now plying these reps with questions.


“Delegates” however, the actual trade negotiators – conspirators really – were sparse in attendance, since few ventured down from the secured fourth floor extravaganza to mill about in any possible spotlight. They need not have worried.


Observing the various clusters of public interaction in different concentrations about the room, one evasive and often-used refrain was routine, almost amusing and seemingly scripted. “There is more than adequate representation here,” echoed one plump, but nicely attired member of the US Chamber of Commerce.” Americans don’t understand how transparent we have been,” he protested.  Myopically of course, he failed to notice any lapse in his ethics as a US Chamber representative, since his support of TPP will put his paid American US Chamber members in a subordinate position to a foreign corporate power not of American soil. Similar to a Union rep lying, twenty-plus years ago, about the great necessity of ratifying NAFTA, this US delegate’s treason will not come to roost for some time to come. Like NAFTA, then … it will be too late.



When taken to task on their seemingly rhetorical answers, these Delegates then ducked for cover. “I’m not qualified to answer that. You’ll have to speak with the US trade representative,” said a US delegate regarding a question on TPP usurping US sovereignty. “You’ll have to find someone qualified on this. It’s not my department,” said an equally ranking US delegate. That “someone,” Chief US negotiator, Ms. Weisel, had been working the room at the “Stakeholder Event” for the past three hours deliberately going from one friendly cluster of conspirators to the next, a tactic designed to keep her conveniently busy, and away from prying reporters and their quest for “clarity.” If that did not work, she, like the other trained delegates, merely just began talking to someone else, leaving the offending question hanging limply in the air.


Having again hunted down Ms. Weisel at the Press Conference across the hall and now observing from the last row of the Press Conference, a packed house totaling – by all conservative estimates – six “journalists” were in attendance. Six. One from Associated Press, a seemingly nice couple who publish the Washington Trade Daily, a quiet Asian woman from a D.C. legal journal, and one other guy who was unidentified, but hogged all the questions like a pro. A TV crew from a Japanese station set-up in the back. They did not ask questions. Where was the media? This being one of the most insidious political stories of the post 9/11 era, one would expect a strong rabid media presence ready and waiting. Alas, the American media including, so sadly, the supposedly progressive-activist press were performing their modern duties as vigilant stewards of the First Amendment: they were missing.


weiselAbove: At a Packed Press Conference Throngs of  Concerned Journalists Ask Chief U.S. Negotiator, Barbara Weisel , (Center) Likeable Questions.


The five other reporters  present were all pro-TPP, although the TV crew was not. The questions  presented were limited in scope, highlighting their own lack of information, apparently due the their unwillingness to find any. None asked any of the important questions pertaining to issues of TPP’s treason over American and national sovereignty, lack of transparency in the negotiations or access to draft copies of the Treaty being denied to elected US officials. No reporter, despite each cutting-in during any millisecond pause, asked Ms. Weisel  about, “The Tribunal.” Yet.


The Tribunal is the corporate TPP trial court that is charged with ruling on disputes between the TPP multi-national corporations and the sovereign rights of the American/National local, state, and federal Government interests and domestic corporations. Made up of three corporate lawyers, US TPP reps such as Ms. Weisel would have us believe that any ruling by this Tribunal would be impartial. Any ruling would, in reality, be binding and supersede the authority of all U.S. state, federal and Supreme Court authority.


Now again prepared for further evasive maneuvers by Ms. Weisel on issues of sovereignty, the reporter who had, minutes before, caught her willfully defaming a significant portion of the US congress, finally slipped in a question.


“Could you explain the authority and make-up of the Tribunal and why it should have the power to circumvent American sovereignty and its courts?” came the first challenging question. Fair and accurate,  this question had been routinely avoided by all Delegates at the Stakeholder event…  at least until Ms. Weisel succumbed to a nervous bout of foot-in-mouth disease, just minutes before.


“Well, we’ve got to get upstairs!” said Ms. Harmon, her handler, standing-up abruptly and encouraging her charge to do the same, which Ms. Weisel, of course, did in unison. Out the Press Room door they marched toward the escalator and the presumed safety of the exclusive Third floor.


Not to be denied, after a terminally long minute to deliberate in the dust of Ms. Weisel’s most recent escape, the seemingly nice couple from the Trade Daily and the one nosy reporter shuffled-out in pursuit, thus boldly setting foot on the escalator to the promised land above. Well, there, coming into view on the upper landing stood our plucky Chief US Negotiator deep in conversation with our rival from AP. Having now again entered the fray an effort at further questions was attempted. This was again rebuffed.  Ms. Weisel and her handler, quickly shaking hands with the AP guy, disappeared through the nearest set of dark-wood, double doors in the charge of two specially hired security guards, who dutifully closed them shut. Tight.


Defeated once again, the three intrepid usurpers went down one station to the next level below.


Chief US Negotiator, Barbara Weisel, barely ever again muttered a public comment at the San Diego negotiations. At the subsequent two press opportunities she instead deferred entirely to the unique oratory skills of a new, not-scene-before, spokeswoman. So introduced was Ms. Carol Guthrie, who – it became immediately obvious – was subbed-in because of her having completely mastered the skill of speaking non-stop, for minutes on end, without ever coming up for air. Thanks to this unique skill, a targeted journalist could not get a follow-up question in between her blather. Ms. Guthrie reminded the throngs of reporters – five today – that everything being said “was for background only.” Leaving nothing to chance she exactly outlined the rules for a “background only” press conference. “Nothing said here is for attribution,” she demanded without pause. “Nothing is for quotation and any comment, or answer, is only to be attributed as coming from the office of the US Trade negotiator,” continued the warning. A further implied sideways warning was of course here directed at one particular attendee, for, during this admonition, Ms. Weisel, from her corner seat next to Ms. Guthrie avoided all eye contact, looking at the floor, doe-eyed, saying nothing. Dunce hat on.


With so few reporters, none having issues of “clarity” in mind, it was time for one interested reporter to again attempt to call BS on this theater of the absurd.


“That’s completely untrue,” hacked-in this exasperated reporter. Ms. Guthrie, who had not inhaled recently had been smoothly assuring one of the Trade reporters that the US Trade Representative’s office was going beyond reason in providing “clarity” in the negotiations. Tossing a letter written just three days before and baring one hundred thirty-two signatures, the reporter demanded, “Why is one quarter of the Congress demanding to see the treaty, yet you say there is adequate transparency?”


Having, now, finally aspirated Ms. Guthrie was prepared to blather on, uninterrupted, using the same scripted answers that had avoided this same question at yesterday’s Stakeholder’s Meeting. On she went, repeating TPP’s evasive mantra: that there is plenty of public representation; that those members of congress don’t understand; TPP is a great benefit to the US economy, etc., etc.


“Then why not just release the draft copies… the same ones every delegate in this building has in their briefcase. What are you hiding and… why?


“You can’t ask that!” snapped a loud retort to my left including the noise of his chair accidentally hitting the wall as he abruptly stood up. “She’s answered your question. Leave it alone!”


Staring angrily at me, hands flat on the conference table, was the cherubic male half of the couple from the Washington Trade Daily. He was not happy. He had already had his turn, asking softball, pro-business questions so this seemed out of character and certainly out of line. This was after all a Press Conference. And … we had been getting along so well.


“My question. My follow-up,” I replied, eyes growing narrow.”Besides, Ms. Guthrie’s statements are distortions at best. Which you should know.”


What had pricked this guys craw had obviously come down before this Q&A. He had been gathering his papers, but hearing this challenge he snatched them up, looked sideways at his wife and ordered, “We’re leaving.”


Walking behind the offensive reporter to exit the room, he stopped. Composing himself and lowering his voice to a civil tone, he stated clearly in metered words, exactly spaced…


“It’s reporters like you…why do you think you can ask…anything?!  We asked good questions.” And here he pointed to all three of his fellow journalists.”You… Mr. Activist… Mr. Journalist. Why do you waste our time? Why?”


With that, and wife in tow, he headed towards the double doors. The publisher of the Washington Trade Daily did not know that in so doing, his abrupt exit had already answered his own most truthful of questions.


At that same exact moment, I knew more than ever what that answer was, too.


Epitaph: What Media?!


A lack of media coverage at the TPP negotiations is just one example of the modern role of – or lack thereof – today’s press. Lack of dedication and lowering of standards by media whores shows Mainstream Media as complicit in many other modern parables of corrupt journalism.


From the excuses for the second Iraq war to the midnight signing of the treasonous NDAA earmarks, from the Patriot Act to NSA constitutional violations, or the lies about Iran’s nuclear program and the American domestic drone surveillance/killing program. From NAFTA before, to TPP today, it is what the media deliberately leaves out that is the big lie. The lie that matters. The New York Times has been discredited many times in recent years for fraudulent reporting and has made a mockery of its once vaunted moniker as the nation’s, “newspaper of record.” Rival journalists of a higher standard proved that. Routinely, the breadth of any story of geo-political importance is missing from MSM coverage; or the story is not covered at all. Such is the case here at the TPP negotiations.


To paraphrase (slightly) W.R. Hurst, “it is not the duty of the journalist to speak truth to power… it is their obligation.” Any political reporter who proffers to journal the ongoing globalist chess game that is this modern world, must more than ever mind this obligation. The “journalist” must no longer be part of the problem and, therefore, retake the mantle of adversary and the required role of, “rival.”  Here and now, the passion of the activist must intersect with the craft of the writer to re-create the needed rival to scoundrel media. Wielding the simplest of military metaphors, the mindful journalist confronts his quarry at every chance – every story – with the facts deliberately left out by his rivals.


The journalistic interest in TPP, via the three press conferences, fell into three categories: uninformed, disaffected, or missing. Of the paltry attendance, all the other reporters were disinterested due to their affiliation with publications specific to pro-TPP trade and they’re having only interest in specific trade questions. In speaking with them privately, none – except the Japanese TV crew – had any detailed knowledge of TPP regarding American sovereign rights issues, or the Tribunal. All had traveled to San Diego yet none had done any further research outside their narrow routine agendas. When offered, none expressed any interest in hearing about the Orwellian authoritarian democracy that they were currently complicit in seeing come to passage.


The press corps for the last group numbered in the thousands. The missing. The journalist that did not, despite expense accounts, first-class airfare, fat per-diems and comfy hotels, could not be enticed to cover his last terminal descent into corporate, Obama-sponsored, madness. A total of eight journalists covered the TPP negotiations. They did little to affect the winds of change much less expose the whole truth of TPP. They did nothing to help the America of their First Amendment. What they, as journalists, left out is a crime. Like NAFTA, history will look back twenty years hence and wonder; what became, then, of those stewards of democracy.


Cronkite, Murrow, Reasoner, Ellsberg, Greene, Winchell, Thompson and so many more before them thrived on the rivalry of getting the better story, the first story, and the inside scoop; thereby being first to give the middle finger to their news rivals and to the power they challenged. They said loudly that which was not, yet, comfortably uttered. They challenged the concept of established authority at every chance. They risked their press credentials daily. They would not back down. The result was change … based on truth. That change was a revolution and part of that revolution was a return to a high standard for news reporting. These journalists set these standards. Do you hear them howl?


For, here at TPP/San Diego: where the hell is the press?!


The End-


Note: This has been Part Four of a multi-part expose on the 2012 San Diego TPP negotiations. Please see Part One, Part Two or Part Three for much essential information not included in the chapter.


About The Author:


Brett Redmayne-Titley began reporting on-scene in an effort to provide better quality reporting from current events of geo-political, environmental and moral importance. A life-long activist, political commentator and world citizen, he has published over one hundred in-depth articles, many of which have been re-published and translated internationally. He can be reached at: live-on-scene [at] gmx.com


   

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maxresdefaultBy Brandon Smith


A very common phrase used over the past couple years by the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde as well as other globalist mouthpieces is the “global reset.” Very rarely do these elites ever actually mention any details as to what this “reset” means. But if you take a look at some of my past analysis on the economic endgame, you will find that they do, on occasion, let information slip which gives us a general picture of where they prefer the world be within the next few years or even the next decade.


A few goals are certain and openly admitted. The globalists ultimately want to diminish or erase the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. They most definitely are seeking to establish the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights basket system as a replacement for the dollar system; this plan was even outlined in the Rothschild run magazine The Economist in 1988. They want to consolidate economic governance, moving away from a franchise system of national central banks into a single global monetary authority, most likely under the IMF or the Bank for International Settlements. And, they consistently argue for the centralization of political power in the name of removing legislative and sovereign barriers to safer financial regulation.


These are not “theories” of fiscal change, these are facts behind the globalist methodology. When the IMF mentions the “great global reset,” the above changes are a part of what they are referring to.



That said, much of my examinations focus on these macro-elements; but what about the deeper mechanics of the whole scheme? What kind of economic system would we wake up to on a daily basis IF the globalists get exactly what they want? This is an area in which the elites rarely ever comment, and I can only offer hypothetical scenarios. I am basing these scenarios on the measures that the establishment most obsessively chases. If they want a particular social or economic change badly enough, the signs become obvious.


Here is what the world would probably look like after a global economic reset…


Initial Crisis


Who knows what the trigger will be? There are so many potential catalysts for economic instability that there is no way to make a prediction. The only thing that is certain is that one or more of these catalysts will be triggered. A Saudi depeg from the U.S. dollar, a large scale terrorist attack, a general rout in stock markets due to a loss of faith in central bank policy, a confrontation between Eastern and Western powers. It doesn’t really matter much. All of it is designed to produce one outcome chaos. To which the globalists will offer “order,” their particular order using their particular solutions as “objective mediators.”


In our highly interdependent system in the West in which more than 80 percent of the population has been domesticated and is psychologically incapable of self-reliance, it is very likely that a disruption of normal supply chains and services would result in considerable poverty and death. Such a threat would invariably lead frightened and unprepared people to demand increased government controls so that they can return to the level of comfort they have grown accustomed to within the grid.



One important factor to note is the rationale globalists will offer for increased centralization and control in the hands of a few. In my article, The Linchpin Lie: How Global Collapse Will Be Sold To The Masses, I study the clever narrative of Rand Corporation member John Casti and his “Linchpin Theory.” In Casti’s theory (more propaganda than theory), collapse is inevitable in what he calls “overly complex systems.” The more independent elements within any system, the more chance there is for unpredictable events that lead to supposed disaster. Ostensibly, the solution would be to streamline all systems and remove the free-radicals. That is to say, complete centralization is the answer. What a surprise.


In a post-reset world, the elites will argue that the banks and bankers are not necessarily to blame. Rather, they will accuse the “system” of being too complex and chaotic, leaving itself open to greed, stupidity and overall unconscious sabotage. The fact that the crisis was engineered from the very beginning will never be mentioned. Centralization will be championed as the cure-all to the barbaric relic of complexity.  Almost all other changes to our economic environment will stem from this single lie.


Thinning Of The Financial Herd


You are going to see long standing financial institutions sacrificed in the name of rehabilitating the global system. Do not assume that certain major banks (Deutsche Bank?) will not be brought down, or that certain central banks will not be toppled (Federal Reserve) as the reset progresses. Also do not assume even that certain geopolitical structures will not be brought into disarray (European Union). In the push towards total globalization and one world economic governance, the elites have no loyalty to any single corporation, nation or even central bank. They will chop off almost any appendage if they can achieve a one world system in the trade.


What this means on a micro-level is the activation of bail-ins; that is to say, the legalized confiscation of bank accounts, pension funds, stock holdings, etc. as a method for prolonging a collapse event. We have seen this already to some extent in Europe, and it will happen in the U.S. eventually. Some people (socialists/communists) may even cheer the action as the end of “capitalism” and a step toward economic “harmonization”; which is easy for them to cheer for since most of them have never worked hard enough to earn property or assets worth confiscating.


Currency Devaluation


Everyone who is aware expects this, but it is important to realize that currency devaluation will probably occur across the board in every region of the world. Some currencies will simply be hit harder than others. The dollar is a primary target of the globalists and WILL be brought down. It won’t disappear, but it will become progressively irrelevant on the global stage.  If the projections of ‘The Economist’ are the correct timetable, then the end of the dollar will be well underway before 2018.


While the initial scenario we face in America will be one of stagflation, many necessities and the means to produce those necessities will skyrocket in cost.  There may not be inflation in every sector of the economy because imploding demand could offset some of the effects of falling currency value, but there will be extreme inflation in the areas that hurt common people most.


The Digitization Of All Trade


Despite all the failings and control mechanisms involved in fiat money, there are still worse systems to be had. Last month more than 100 executives from the world’s largest financial institutions met privately at the Times Square office of Nasdaq Inc. to discuss the future of money; more specifically a software apparatus called “Blockchain.” The goal is to implement Blockchain as a medium to fully digitize monetary transactions around the world and in a way that is traceable and foolproof. In other words, the goal is put an end to all transactions involving physical cash.


The establishment of a cashless society would mark the end of all privacy in trade. Even supposedly anti-centralization digital currencies like Bitcoin are hindered by the blockchain feature, which requires the tracking of ALL transactions in order for the currency to function. While methods for anonymity could be argued, the fact of the matter is, digital currency by its very nature is a destroyer of the truly private trade offered by cash and barter. When all trade is tracked, and all savings digitized, whoever owns the keys to the core of the blockchain will have the power to wreak havoc on the life of any participant at will.


To be sure, the “blockchain” that the elites have in mind will never allow for anonymous transactions, because digital currency is not about anonymity or “convenience,” it is about control.


Consolidation Of Government Power


Corrupt government is the tool by which globalists can extort goods and labor from a population as well as exert force to subdue rebellion.  It is highly unlikely that the global reset will result in a collapse of government.  On the contrary, it is usually during economic collapse that governments grow in power to the point of totalitarianism.  There will always be a new currency mechanism or financial structure to replace the old, and the globalists will always have a way to pay off armies and useful idiots to do their bidding.  No one should be counting on the idea that the elites face collapse as we face collapse.  This is naive.  The elites created the collapse; they plan to be ready to use it to their advantage.


         

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The End Of Private Production And Business


After the reset and the opening crisis it is probable that resource allocation will become a major issue. Production of goods on the massive scale seen today will not ever be allowed to return if the elites have their way. This will create a perpetual lack of supply (by design). The only methods for dealing with lost production on an industrial level would be to either encourage localized production in every community, or to force people to reduce their standard of living and demand in the extreme. The elites will certainly press for the latter.


Localized production in every community would kill any means of financial control the globalists might have on a population. In fact, I believe they will attempt to make any local production impossible, first through taxation so high that only the largest still-surviving corporations can afford to operate, and second, by confiscation of raw resources needed to manufacture goods on a scale that would grow wealth for a community. The government will claim that such resources must be managed by the authorities for the good of everyone rather than “wasted” by independent businesses in the “pursuit of personal wealth.”  You won’t even see children running lemonade stands, let alone common people operating small factories, farms and store fronts.


Eventually, they will also have to limit or outlaw barter and alternative currencies in order for the digitized economy to work.


Carbon Output And Environmental Extortion


No matter how much information is released which completely contradicts the fraud of man-made global warming, the establishment continues to charge full steam ahead with the creation of a carbon-based economic model. Why? Because the idea of the “carbon footprint” is the ultimate weapon for domination. A “carbon tax” is a tax on life itself. There is no way around it.


In my article “Ecological Panic: The New Rationale For Globalist Cultism” I dissect the elitist think-tank propaganda of Council on Foreign Relations member Timothy Snyder.  Snyder argues in his writings that nearly all man-made disasters are a product of high or extravagant living standards.  Though his definition of “high living standards” is rather vague, I expect that he sees the vast majority of Western society as people that need to be taken down several pegs.  He also argues that tyrants and mass murderers often ignore scientific authority in the pursuit of greater productive wealth, and that people who ignore “climate science” are contributing to future holocausts.  So, to summarize, we all must stop producing, stop pursuing personal wealth and achievement and sacrifice our own individual progress in the name of progress for the collective and the safety of the planet.


Like Casti, Snyder’s narrative requires the populace to bow down to a central authority in the name of the greater good.  And surely it is mere coincidence that the globalists these men work for will be at the helm of that central authority.


Remember, in order to fully centralize, the elites must streamline. This does not only mean streamlining economic governance, but also streamlining the size of the system they seek to dictate. The larger and more diverse the system, the harder it is to wrap your tentacles around it. This means greatly diminished production, but also by extension greatly diminishing the population. Population controls then become vital.


If the production of carbon can be taxed and administrated, then the production of life can be taxed and administrated. The establishment becomes godlike; the purveyor of all means of sustainment. The carbon boogeyman can be used to frighten the now crisis weary public into complete sublimation, for if mere carbon can cause the end of the world as we know it, then people, by their very existence, become a threat to the future that must be regulated.


Anthropogenic climate change is THE model the elites must assert if they hope to convince the citizenry that a concrete ceiling on production and population is acceptable. If we ever get to the point where human society becomes so self-loathing as to seek its own enslavement and destruction through carbon controls, it may be a thousand years before we ever see freedom again.


We’re Not There Yet


All of the dangers described above are NOT set in stone. Some may claim that the “end is nigh” these people are idiots. The end is never nigh. Humanity has faced calamity after calamity for generations; our calamity just happens to be historically epic by comparison. It is not the last calamity. Centuries from now, there will be new disasters and new idiots telling everyone “the end is nigh.”


Through it all, courageous people have risen to the occasion. Some are successful and some are not, but we do not live in a New World Order, yet, and that is saying something. Today is nowhere near as terrible as tomorrow could be if we do not act accordingly.


The globalist reset needs a trigger, a crisis which admittedly we do not have the ability to avoid. But, the reset also depends on the right people in place to rebuild the system after the crisis unfolds. Here is where the future can be determined. Whoever is left standing after the opening salvo will have a choice: to hide and hope for the best, or to fight for the position to choose who builds tomorrow. Will it be the psychotic globalist cabal, or will it be free people of conscience? It may not seem like it now, but the end result is up to us.


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You can read more from Brandon Smith at his site Alt-Market.com. If you would like to support the publishing of articles like the one you have just read, visit our donations page here.  We greatly appreciate your patronage.


You can contact Brandon Smith at: brandon@alt-market.com


   

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Huffington Post General Discussion / Six Issues That Are Agenda 21
« on: May 11, 2016, 03:00:49 AM »

   

      

Agenda21By Tom Deweese


Every day, in meetings at all levels of government, representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), planning groups, and federal agents surround elected representatives and insist that their policies have nothing to do with international agendas. They regularly publish reports and rail against anyone even mentioning the names Agenda 21 or the new Agenda 2030. “No, no, no,” they insist. “Those people are just crazy conspiracy theorists. Ours is just a local plan for our community.”


Elected representatives are often confused. Issues and policies suddenly appear in front of them with sample, ready-made legislation. And then the unending pressure begins for them to pass it. There is confusion, uncertainty and there is the herd mentality to pass legislation. And it’s passed without knowledge of its origins, its purpose, and especially a lack of understanding of its consequences. “Just do it,” goes the mantra.


What most of these legislators fail to understand is the direct relationship much of this legislation has with a much larger agenda. Most legislation interconnects with other pieces and parts contained in other legislation. Like the children’s song goes… “the toe bone’s connected to the ankle bone…”  And it’s done so well, wrapped in innocent-sounding, positive wrapping, so that most elected representatives will argue vigorously that they passed no such thing.  And most of all, they will answer, Agenda 21, never heard of it. Just local. Just local. Just local.



Well, let me show you how it works and how the toe bone gets connected to the ankle bone ending up with the Frankenstein monster.  Here are six issues that are rarely connected to Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development (especially when we are assured that Agenda 21 has nothing to do with local, state or federal government policy). However, these seemingly unrelated policies, once implemented, help enforce the stated Agenda 21 goal of “reorganizing human society.”


Issue 1: Global Warming/Climate Change.


It has been so discredited in the true scientific community that proponents have become almost hysterical in their continued attempts to enforce Climate Change policy. Most recently the Justice Department is considering legal action against “deniers.”  Why don’t they stop, even to question if their science is sound? They instead use great energy to attack any scientist who does dare ask questions or finds data contrary to the “official” line. Why is it so vitally important that they continue to promote something that clearly is, to say the least, questionable?


It’s because all of Agenda 21 policy is built on the premise that man is destroying the Earth. Climate Change is their “proof.” To eliminate that premise is to remove all credibility and purpose for their entire agenda. They are willing to go to any length, even lies, to keep the climate change foot on our throats.


On the local level this translates into planning policy that controls energy use and the efforts to cut down on the use of cars, enforcement of the building of expensive light rail train systems and bike paths and installation of smart meters, etc.


But don’t take my word for it. I’ll let them speak for themselves:


“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” Christine Stewart (Former Canadian Minister of the Environment) 


“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” Timothy Wirth (President, UN Foundation)


“It doesn’t matter what is true. It only matters what people believe is true.” Paul Watson (Co-Founder of Green Peace.)


Issue 2: Fear of overpopulation.


This is the central driving force behind nearly every Sustainable policy initiative. It’s the real force behind Stack and Pack Smart Growth cities.



The fact is, in developed nations populations are actually going down. The only real growth in the US population in recent years has been from immigration, legal or otherwise. Open border immigration policy is actually implementation of Agenda 21 as part of the drive to destroy national sovereignty and “nation states.”


Environmentalists insist that the borders must be open to allow as many to immigrate here as possible. They argue that the U.S. has a greater ability to control them and protect the environment than if we left them in third world countries. That’s because the Greens already have a stranglehold over our nation’s industry through massive environmental regulations.


In the face of their fear of overpopulation, however, studies have shown that there is no worldwide overpopulation crisis. In fact one study insists that we could put the entire population of the world in an area the size of Texas with a population density of Paris, France. Overpopulation, and its accompanying environmental degradation, is a problem primarily in countries where the poor are deprived by government to improve their conditions. Nations that refuse to legalize private property ownership for the masses, for example, are a primary reason for growing poverty.


Meanwhile, Sustainablists work to keep these nations from developing or increasing energy use, thereby keeping them poor. Green regulations stop the building of infrastructure. They panic at the idea of increased energy use in developing nations. Instead of working to solve the real problems – the root of poverty- they exploit the excuse of over population and advocate enforcing polices to drastically reduce populations. China’s brutal one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilization has become their model.


Do you think I’m joking? Then consider these quotes from the Sustainablists:


“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” David Brower (Sierra Club)


“A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion. At a more frugal European standard of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible.” United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment.


Issue 3: The destruction of the free market system.


We have heard statement after statement from the UN; from members of Congress; the news media; and from Hollywood, all deriding the free market system as evil, corrupt and a tool of the rich to hold down the poor. So now, after deciding that the poor are expendable for the sake of stopping overpopulation, suddenly the planners are worried about them – if it leads to their ability to raid our bank accounts. So are they really worried about protecting the environment – or are they actually honoring the tactics of Jesse James?


Redistribution of wealth is behind every policy that comes out of the UN, and now the Obama Administration as well. The EPA is the attack dog to shut down entire industries like coal. It has become very difficult to operate a manufacturing business in the US, and nearly impossible to start a new one. Environmental protection is always the excuse, even when Obama’s own State Department said the Keystone Pipeline was not an environmental threat. A couple of years ago, radical greens, wielding torches, demonstrated outside the home of the head of the Keystone pipeline company. Visions of the terror of the Dark Agenda?


At the UN’s Rio + 20 Summit held in 2012, the idea of “Zero Economic Growth” was advocated – just to keep things fair. It was stated that even the building of new roads upsets the status quo and disrupts a well ordered society. Such idiotic ideas are the driving force behind Sustainable Development. Again, images of the Dark Ages come to mind.


Yet, consider “local” planning programs that cut off access roads, and again, discourage cars. What about the EPA’s war on industry. Pretty hard to have economic growth without industry. The timber industry is killed and communities die. Dams are torn down and farmers disappear. Zero Economic Growth in the making. Just local?


Again, not my words, let them tell you themselves:


“We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed lands, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.” Dave Foreman, (Earth First).


“Global sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control” Professor Maurice King (Population Control Advocate)


“We believe planning should be a tool for allocating resources…and eliminating the great inequalities of wealth and power in our society… because the free market has proven itself incapable of doing this.” Plannersnetwork.org Statement of Principles. the American Planning Association is a member and supporter of these principles.  


Issue 4: Cheap Energy is the enemy of the Earth.


To the average person the drive to stop any ability to obtain cheap energy makes no sense. People are hurting economically. Jobs are lost. Energy costs are skyrocketing. Any attempt to drill oil, fracking of shale gas, and mining coal are all vigorously blocked by government and green policy. Yet the government spends billions of dollars on “alternative energy” such as wind and solar, which provides less than 3% of our energy needs. Why? What is the motivation to put such shackles on the US economic engine? The excuse is that energy use drives up CO2 emissions and accelerates global warming – the excuse necessary to “harmonize” the US into the socialist, Sustainable global noose.


Many current state and local policies now are moving to increase taxes at the gas pump to keep energy costs high. In addition, Obama just issued an Executive Order to ban any off shore drilling of oil. So, just as the consumer started to get a break at the pump, higher taxes and Obama’s action will force prices back up.  As the prices rise the “planners” will insist that the only solution is to enforce the building of expensive public transportation.


But, according to some anti-energy advocates, the fear of cheap energy goes beyond environmental protection – energy availability helps build wealth for individuals and removes them from the rolls of the dependent – the opposite goal of sustainable policy.


“Giving society cheap, abundant energy is the worst thing that could ever happen to the planet.” Prof. Paul Ehrlich  (Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University).


“Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.” Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute).  


“The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.” Jeremy Rifkin (Greenhouse Crisis Foundation).   


Issue 5: Common Core.


Many people see the reorganization of the public school issue as separate from Agenda 21. It’s not. Those who are promoting what they call the Agenda for the 21st Century understand that it is going to be a long drawn out process. To “reform” a nation created on the ideals of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty into one that unquestioningly accepts government top down control will take time and a determined effort. There’s no room in a Sustainablist society for those who believe that we were born with our rights and that government’s job is to protect those rights. The sustainable system says government will grant us our rights.


To enforce such a radical turn around of our society requires that the children be indoctrinated to accept it. The effort started in earnest in the 1990s under the Clinton Administration through the massive growth of the Department of Education in such programs as Goals 2000, School To Work and Workforce Development Boards.


The original American education system effectively provided an overall academic education from which students could choose their own futures. No longer. Today, the new curriculum has morphed into what is called Common Core. It’s a State run central curriculum that revamps schools into little more than job training and indoctrination centers.


Because, you see, today’s public education system is also designed to strip the children of their attitudes, values and beliefs that parents may have instilled, and indoctrinate them into accepting global values – global citizenship and a global economy based on the sustainable agenda. Little of American civics and history are taught in today’s classroom. But text books contain whole chapters on the Five Pillars of Islam, while ignoring the 10 Commandments of Christianity. The children are fed an unending diet of the evils of capitalism; the selfishness of individualism, and the social justice of redistribution of wealth. It punishes students for possessing individuality and is designed to eliminate such natural human tendencies. That is the “common” in Common Core. Common values, common goals, common future. Don’t rock the boat of a well-ordered society.


Common Core is the nationally dictated curriculum necessary for the acceptance and implementation of Agenda 21.  Of course, we still elect local school boards pretending they have some say over the curriculum. It makes us all feel safer for our children. How, then do we explain the surge of Bernie Sanders and the Tsunami of Socialism? Well, today nearly every adult up to the age of 40 has gone thought this indoctrination, trained to accept a future chosen for them by someone else.


The education system was fully outlined in a very detailed letter to Hillary Clinton from Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy in November, 1992, immediately after Bill. Clinton was elected President.


Said Tucker: “First, a vision of the kind of national – not federal – human resources development system the nation could have. This is interwoven with a new approach to governing that should inform that vision. What is essential is that we create a seamless web of opportunities to develop one’s skills that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone…” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state, and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.”       


Issue 6: Healthcare.


How is healthcare connected to Agenda 21? Simply Google “Sustainable Medicine” and you will find more than 5,850,000 English language references to the subject. Read through the ideas expressed there and you will find nearly every provision of Obamacare.


An expert on Sustainable Medicine, the late Dr. Madeleine Cosman, put it this way: “Sustainable Medicine + Sustainable Development = Duty to Die.” Sustainable medicine makes decisions through visioning councils that determine what shall be done or not done to each body in its group in its native habitat. Sustainable medicine experts do not refer to citizens in sovereign nations, but to “humans” in their “settlements.” Sustainable medicine is the pivot around which all other Sustainable Development revolves. Principle #1 of the Rio Declaration that introduced Agenda 21 is that all humans must live in harmony with nature. The translation means rationing healthcare, low technology for health care treatment and emphasis on medical care not cure. And that, of course, will lead to population reduction, as called for in Agenda 21.


These are the issues that are not usually discussed or connected to Agenda 21. Yet they are being implemented, step by step, by local planners in policies that are approved by befuddled elected representatives.  It’s all driven through pressure from private NGO groups and funded by federal grants. That’s how it’s done, constantly driven a little bit with each innocent sounding idea. Then, without warning, Frankenstein rises from behind the smokescreen, toe bones and anklebones fully operational.


Americans must understand and connect these dots to everyday issues so they can clearly see the root and long-term goals of these policies that are affecting our personal lives. Elected representatives at every level of government must come to understand that legislative actions have consequences far beyond their understanding. Agenda 21 is the “common core” and it has already invaded every level of our society. Our battle cry must be to stop this monster or watch freedom perish.


Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, is one of the nation’s leading experts on Agenda 21 and its assault on property rights and personal freedom. He is author of the book “Now Tell Me I was Wrong” and editor of the monthly newsletter The DeWeese Report.  For more information visit www.americanpolicy.org.


   

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propagandaBy Eric Draitser


With the war in Syria raging in its fifth year, and the Islamic State wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it’s clear that the entire region has been made into one large theater of conflict. But the battlefield must not be understood solely as a physical place located on a map; it is equally a social and cultural space where the forces of the US-UK-NATO Empire employ a variety of tactics to influence the course of events and create an outcome amenable to their agenda. And none to greater effect than propaganda.


Indeed, if the ongoing war in Syria, and the conflicts of the post-Arab Spring period generally, have taught us anything, it is the power of propaganda and public relations to shape narratives which in turn impact political events. Given the awesome power of information in the postmodern political landscape, it should come as no surprise that both the US and UK have become world leaders in government-sponsored propaganda masquerading as legitimate, grassroots political and social expression.



London, Washington, and the Power of Manipulation


The Guardian recently revealed how the UK Government’s Research, Information, and Communications Unit (RICU) is involved in surveillance, information dissemination, and promotion of individuals and groups as part of what it describes as an attempt at “attitudinal and behavioral change” among its Muslim youth population. This sort of counter-messaging is nothing new, and has been much discussed for years. However, the Guardian piece actually exposed the much deeper connections between RICU and various grassroots organizations, online campaigns, and social media penetration.


The article outlined the relationship between the UK Government’s RICU and a London-based communications company called Breakthrough Media Network which “has produced dozens of websites, leaflets, videos, films, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and online radio content, with titles such as The Truth about Isis and Help for Syria.” Considering the nature of social media, and the manner in which information (or disinformation) is spread online, it should come as no surprise that a number of the viral videos, popular Twitter feeds, and other materials that seemingly align with the anti-Assad line of London and Washington are, in fact, the direct products of a government-sponsored propaganda campaign.


In fact, as the authors of the story noted:


One Ricu initiative, which advertises itself as a campaign providing advice on how to raise funds for Syrian refugees, has had face-to-face conversations with thousands of students at university freshers’ fairs without any students realising they were engaging with a government programme. That campaign, called Help for Syria, has distributed leaflets to 760,000 homes without the recipients realising they were government communications.


It’s not hard to see what the British Government is trying to do with such efforts; they are an attempt to control the messaging of the war on Syria, and to redirect grassroots anti-war activism to channels deemed acceptable to the political establishment. Imagine for a moment the impact on an 18-year-old college freshman just stepping into the political arena, and immediately encountering seasoned veteran activists who influence his/her thinking on the nature of the war, who the good guys and bad guys are, and what should be done. Now multiply that by thousands and thousands of students. The impact of such efforts is profound.


But it is much more than simply interactions with prospective activists and the creation of propaganda materials; it is also about surveillance and social media penetration. According to the article, “One of Ricu’s primary tasks is to monitor online conversations among what it describes as vulnerable communities. After products are released, Ricu staff monitor ‘key forums’ for online conversations to ‘track shifting narratives,’ one of the documents [obtained by The Guardian] shows.” It is clear that such efforts are really about online penetration, especially via social media.


By monitoring and manipulating in this way, the British Government is able to influence, in a precise and highly targeted way, the narrative about the war on Syria, ISIS, and a host of issues relevant to both its domestic politics and the geopolitical and strategic interests of the British state. Herein lies the nexus between surveillance, propaganda, and politics.


But of course the UK is not alone in this effort, as the US has a similar program with its Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) which describes its mission as being:


…[to] coordinate, orient, and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism and violent extremism… CSCC is comprised of three interactive components. The integrated analysis component leverages the Intelligence Community and other substantive experts to ensure CSCC communicators benefit from the best information and analysis available. The plans and operations component draws on this input to devise effective ways to counter the terrorist narrative. The Digital Outreach Team actively and openly engages in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Somali.


Notice that the CSCC is, in effect, an intelligence hub acting to coordinate propaganda for CIA, DIA, DHS, and NSA, among others. This mission, of course, is shrouded in terminology like “integrated analysis” and “plans and operations” – terms used to designate the various components of the overall CSCC mission. Like RICU, the CSCC is focused on shaping narratives online under the pretext of counter-radicalization.


It should be noted, too, that CSCC becomes a propaganda clearinghouse of sorts not just for the US Government, but also for its key foreign allies (think Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain), as well as perhaps favored NGOs like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or Doctors Without Borders (MSF). As the New York Times noted:


[The CSCC will] harness all the existing attempts at countermessaging by much larger federal departments, including the Pentagon, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies. The center would also coordinate and amplify similar messaging by foreign allies and nongovernment agencies, as well as by prominent Muslim academics, community leaders and religious scholars who oppose the Islamic State.


But taking this information one step further, it calls into question yet again the veracity of much of the dominant narrative about Syria, Libya, ISIS, and related topics. With social media and “citizen journalism” having become so influential in how ordinary people think about these issues, one is yet again forced to consider the degree of manipulation of these phenomena.


Manufacturing Social Media Narratives


It is by now well documented the myriad ways in which Western governments have been investing heavily in tools for manipulating social media in order to shape narratives. In fact, the US CIA alone has invested millions in literally dozens of social media-related startups via its investment arm known as In-Q-Tel. The CIA is spending the tens of millions of dollars providing seed money to these companies in order to have the ability to do everything from data mining to real-time surveillance.


The truth is that we’ve known about the government’s desire to manipulate social media for years. Back in February 2011, just as the wars on Libya and Syria were beginning, an interesting story was published by PC World under the title Army of Fake Social Media Friends to Promote Propaganda which explained in very mundane language that:


…the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn’t like. It could then potentially have their “fake” people run smear campaigns against those “real” people.


Close observers of the US-NATO war on Libya will recall just how many Twitter accounts miraculously surfaced, with tens of thousands of followers each, to “report” on the “atrocities” carried out by Muammar Gaddafi’s armed forces, and call for a No Fly Zone and regime change. Certainly one is left to wonder now, as many of us did at the time, whether those accounts weren’t simply fakes created by either a Pentagon computer program, or by paid trolls.


A recent example of the sort of social media disinformation that has been (and will continue to be) employed in the war on Syria/ISIS came in December 2014 when a prominent “ISIS Twitter propagandist” known as Shami Witness (@ShamiWitness) was exposed as a man named “Mehdi,” (later confirmed as Mehdi Biswas) described as “an advertising executive” based in Bangalore, India. @ShamiWitness had been cited as an authoritative source – a veritable “wealth of information” – about ISIS and Syria by corporate media outfits, as well as ostensibly “reliable and independent” bloggers such as the ubiquitous Eliot Higgins (aka Brown Moses) who cited Shami repeatedly. This former “expert” on ISIS has now been charged in India with crimes including “supporting a terrorist organisation, waging war against the State, unlawful activities, conspiracy, sedition and promoting enmity.”


In another example of online media manipulation, in early 2011, as the war on Syria was just beginning, a blogger then known only as the “Gay Girl in Damascus” rose to prominence as a key source of information and analysis about the situation in Syria. The Guardian, among other media outlets, lauded her as “an unlikely hero of revolt” who “is capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition with a blog that has shot to prominence as the protest movement struggles in the face of a brutal government crackdown.” However, by June of 2011, the “brutally honest Gay Girl” was exposed as a hoax, a complete fabrication concocted by one Tom MacMaster. Naturally, the same outlets that had been touting the “Gay Girl” as a legitimate source of information on Syria immediately backtracked and disavowed the blog. However, the one-sided narrative of brutal and criminal repression of peace-loving activists in Syria stuck. While the source was discredited, the narrative remained entrenched.


And this last point is perhaps the key: online manipulation is designed to control narratives. While the war may be fought on the battlefield, it is equally fought for the hearts and minds of activists, news consumers, and ordinary citizens in the West. The UK and US both have extensive information war capabilities, and they’re not afraid to use them. And so, we should not be afraid to expose them.


Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


   

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hackersstoleBy Claire Bernish


A hacker in Florida exposed security vulnerabilities in one county’s elections web domains so officials could fix the problem — but, instead, he ended up behind bars.


Hacker, David Michael Levin, owner of Vanguard Cybersecurity, was arrested on Wednesday after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received a referral from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after his apparently misguided attempt to help prevent election fraud by pointing out online vulnerabilities.


After spending six hours in jail, where he was held on $15,000 bond, Levin now faces three counts of gaining unauthorized access to a computer, network, or electronic instrument — despite the fact he had not only been doing his job, but also alerted the county to a potentially serious security concern.



To hack the Lee County Elections Office and the Division of Elections in Tallahassee, Levin performed Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attacks — which he documented on video and later uploaded to YouTube. According to the somewhat redacted police report, Levin’s associate, Daniel Sinclair, sent a security report about the SQL vulnerability — including details of the security flaw and a screenshot — to “an employee within the Department of State, Division of Elections.”


That employee then forwarded all the information to Special Agent Christopher Tissot, and the investigation began.


Though, superficially, the case appears to be one of an unwelcome security breach despite that it was attempted for otherwise laudable purposes. But some aspects of what led to Levin’s arrest deserve further consideration.



Levin’s associate, Sinclair, is currently running against incumbent Sharon Harrington, Lee County Supervisor of Elections — whose name and password were used in the SQL hack. In the YouTube video about the attack, Levin and Sinclair explain how they obtained data from the elections website, which wasn’t even encrypted.


The possibility Levin chose Harrington’s account to perform the SQL injection as a publicity stunt to make Harrington’s job performance appear untenable must be taken into consideration. That being said, Levin’s foray into the elections data had not been undertaken with the appropriate permission — and because he didn’t alert the authorities as soon as he discovered vulnerabilities, law enforcement is required to be blind to his good intent.


However, in Levin’s defense, the privacy concerns of millions of voters — and any other potential issues with unencrypted and unsecured information — on the official Elections website should perhaps trump the strictures of law. Levin cooperated fully during a raid of his property — during which electronics were confiscated — and has in no way been deceitful regarding the hack.


Considering the sheer volume of complaints so far during the 2016 election cycle, it would seem counterproductive for law enforcement to go after a credentialed individual who obviously has the voting public’s best interests in mind.


With rather overt fraud disenfranchising voters across the country, arresting the one hacker who attempted to help secure elections seems oddly ironic.


This article (Hacker Arrested and Jailed After Exposing Flaws in Election Website) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.


   

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cia_scapegoatsBy Jay Syrmopoulos


A radical Egyptian cleric who was kidnapped off the streets of Milan, Italy by the CIA in 2003 is speaking out in defense of one of the CIA officers convicted for her alleged participation in his illegal abduction known as extraordinary rendition.


In a phone interview with The Guardian, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, know as Abu Omar, said that he believed former CIA officer Sabrina De Sousa, 60, due to be extradited to Italy to serve a four-year prison sentence, was simply a scapegoat for the political elite in the U.S.


“Sabrina and the others who were convicted are scapegoats. The US administration sacrificed them. All of those higher up in the hierarchy are enjoying their immunity,” he said. “These people higher up, without doubt they should be convicted in this case. They should face trial.”



Under the Bush-era program, the CIA conspired with at least 54 foreign governments to build a highly classified extraordinary rendition and detention program that spanned the globe. Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation.


The failed program stripped people of their most basic human rights, facilitated gruesome forms of torture, captured many of the wrong people, and damaged the United States’ reputation even further.


“Black sites” – secret prisons run by the CIA on foreign soil – were a staple of the program. Suspects would simply vanish into these sites leaving no trace, no legal process and no conviction for any criminal or terrorist activity.


According to a report in The Guardian:



Abu Omar’s story began on 18 February 2003 when he was stopped on a street in Milan, grabbed from behind and pulled inside a car by CIA officers, allegedly working with the help of Italian officials. The radical cleric, who had been granted political asylum in Italy in 2001 and was already the subject of a terrorism investigation by other Italian officials, leading to his eventual conviction in absentia, was then transported to Cairo via Germany, where he was allegedly imprisoned, interrogated and tortured.


The case was investigated by an independent prosecutor in Italy, leading to the conviction in 2009 of 22 CIA operatives and other US officials for orchestrating the kidnapping. The US officials, including De Sousa, who was publicly a state department official in Milan but actually an undercover CIA officer, were convicted in absentia as they had left Italy before the trial began. Some officials, including Italians, were later pardoned.



In 2005, the kidnapping of Abu Omar became public knowledge, exposing in great detail the top-secret counterterrorism program that snatched at least 136 individuals off the street and transferred them to participating countries – without legal process — that would then often use torture methods under the auspices of “enhanced interrogation” techniques in an effort to elicit intelligence.


De Sousa was never extended diplomatic immunity by the U.S. government, and after traveling to Portugal to visit family last year, she was detained on a European arrest warrant at the Lisbon airport when she attempted to travel to India to visit her 90-year-old mother.


In an interview with Loud & Clear, former CIA analyst John Kiriakou, the first American official to expose the use of torture as official U.S. policy, and who was ultimately persecuted and prosecuted by the U.S. government for that act of patriotism, detailed the De Sousa case.



“Unfortunately, Abu Omar was the wrong guy, which happened a lot in CIA operations in the last decade,” said Kiriakou. “There were a lot of kidnappings of innocent people who happened to be the wrong person, people who may have, like Abu Omar, made fiery sermons after Friday prayers, but had nothing to do with terrorism.”


“The Italian government investigated the case and identified two dozen CIA officers who made a major mistake,” explained the former CIA analyst. “They traveled to Italy in alias but then used their hotel phones to call their spouses back in the US. The Italians were able to track the calls and identify everyone involved in the operations.”


“Miss De Sousa appears to be the fall guy in this entire episode,” remarked Kiriakou. “The CIA, for whatever reason, elected to not invoke diplomatic immunity for the agents. Some were convicted but successfully appealed to the Italian government for a pardon, but for some reason De Sousa did not get immunity or a pardon.”



De Sousa maintains that she played an extremely minor role in the very early stages of the operation, prior to Abu Omar even being named as a potential target, serving as an interpreter for a discussion between Italian and U.S. intelligence.


“But at that point, rendition was just a concept,” she told The Washington Post, stressing that Abu Omar was never even discussed.


As for the man kidnapped by the CIA, he says he has never seen De Sousa and that he doesn’t know whether she played a role in his kidnapping.



Now she’s 60 years old. If media reports are right, she and the people who kidnapped me were the reason why I left my job in Italy, and a lot of trouble to me and my family happened because of that. They are the reason behind my physical disabilities now. The Italian prosecution actually accused her of this.


She’s threatened to be sentenced between four and six years, and I don’t wish that for her. I’ve been in prison before, and I don’t wish for the same to happen to her, either as a friend or a foe. Especially because she’s a woman.



Abu Omar noted that De Sousa was traveling to visit her 90-year-old mother in India and that he had not been allowed to pay final respects to his mother after her passing due to his kidnapping and the Egypt interior minister’s refusal to release him.


“[He] refused for me to attend my own mother’s funeral, and Sabrina could be subjected to the same problem,” he said. “As a Muslim, I should wish for her to be pardoned.”


Speaking to the corrupt nature of the regime which De Sousa once served, an anonymous U.S. official told The Guardian that that De Sousa had made a decision to break ties with the government when she moved to sue the U.S. for not invoking diplomatic immunity to help her. Ironically, the move to sue was done solely out of necessity after being left out to dry by the U.S. government and having virtually no other recourse after the Italian Supreme Court upheld her conviction in 2012.


According to a report in The Washington Post:



Though she lost her lawsuit against the government for not granting her immunity, she sued the CIA and the Defense and State departments in November 2014. In the suit, she argues that the agencies violated the Freedom of Information Act after they refused to confirm or deny the existence of documents she had requested showing that the rendition was approved by the CIA and senior government officials.


As part of her FOIA request, De Sousa has sought documents showing why her name was not on a U.S. government list put forward in 2014 to the Italians asking for a pardon. (Some of the Americans convicted by the Italians did receive full pardons.) Also, she is seeking a National Clandestine Service investigation into the rendition.



“When I asked for the CIA review, I was told I couldn’t see it because I wasn’t involved in the rendition, and therefore, I was not investigated,” she said.


Laura Pitter, a senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, while not wanting to comment on specifics in the case, noted that De Sousa shouldn’t the be first and only person held responsible for the CIA program.


“It should be the senior officials and contractors involved in authorizing and implementing the program and those who actually inflicted the torture on individuals in U.S. custody,” Pitter said.


Abu Omar believes that De Sousa’s is a humanitarian case, due to the fact that she “exposed injustices and revealed the injustices through the media.” De Sousa has been a vocal critic of the U.S. government, and in 2013 made allegations that the threat posed by Abu Omar was greatly overblown by the former CIA station chief Jefferey Castelli in order to get approval for the abduction from then-CIA director George Tenet.


When the man De Sousa is accused of helping kidnap says that she is simply a “scapegoat” being sacrificed by the political elite in the U.S., and states that he hopes for her to be pardoned, perhaps Americans should listen.


Jay Syrmopoulos writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.


   

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artificial intelligence fearBy Jake Anderson


Last week, the White House released a report chronicling the Obama administration’s concerns over Big Data and artificial intelligence. Many prominent thinkers and scientists have come out recently with warnings about the dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence. However, the A.I. the White House report refers to is not of the Terminator ilk — rather, Obama has concerns over algorithmic artificial intelligence operating without human oversight.


The report, “Big Data: A Report on Algorithmic Systems, Opportunity, and Civil Rights,” catalogs the growing sphere of influence represented by Big Data in society, including employment, higher education, and criminal justice.


With regard to the growth of automation and algorithmic artificial intelligence, the report states:



As data-driven services become increasingly ubiquitous, and as we come to depend on them more and more, we must address concerns about intentional or implicit biases that may emerge from both the data and the algorithms used as well as the impact they may have on the user and society. Questions of transparency arise when companies, institutions, and organizations use algorithmic systems and automated processes to inform decisions that affect our lives, such as whether or not we qualify for credit or employment opportunities, or which financial, employment and housing advertisements we see.


The report also notes how algorithmic technology could both bolster and endanger the relationship between law enforcement with local communities:


If feedback loops are not thoughtfully constructed, a predictive algorithmic system built in this manner could perpetuate policing practices that are not sufficiently attuned to community needs and potentially impede efforts to improve community trust and safety. For example, machine learning systems that take into account past arrests could indicate that certain communities require more policing and oversight, when in fact the communities may be changing for the better over time.



The White House says it wants to develop a framework for addressing these concerns so that flawed algorithms do not become a socioeconomic problem. The examples cited include the potentiality of people being denied credit and housing due to inaccurate information. The fear is that automated technologies and algorithmic A.I. deployed without human oversight could lead to unfair treatment.


There is an undeniable irony in this position, given that the Obama administration has proudly outsourced many of its military strikes to unmanned drones and autonomous robots. Just in the last couple years, weaponized drones have made strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.


In its seminal Drone Papers, the Intercept reported nearly 90% of the people killed in these strikes were not the intended targets. Thousands of innocent civilians have died because of Obama’s autonomous drones, and his notorious kill list has come under heavy scrutiny for accidents and mistaken targets.


The connection between algorithmic artificial intelligence and drone strikes may appear loose upon first glance. But the principle behind the recent Big Data paper is protecting citizens from out-of-control technology. It’s hard to reconcile this concern with the glib lip service the administration pays to the collateral damage stemming from flawed targeting systems.


This article (Obama Administration Fears Artificial Intelligence and the Reason Is Morbidly Ironic) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Global Panorama. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.


   

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opium-afghanistanBy Michaela Whitton


One of the many catastrophic legacies left behind by the longest war in U.S. history is that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. As with most parts of the world, the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price of war, and the country has faced a harrowing escalation in the number of child heroin addicts.


“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history,” Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now back in 2014.


Adding that all levels of Afghan society are involved in the flourishing trade — which became undeniably worse after the U.S.-led invasion — Aikins accused both the Taliban and government-linked officials of profiting from the crisis. He claimed the U.S., in its quest for vengeance against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, not only cooperated with warlords but ignored corruption by criminals whose human rights abuses created the conditions that led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place.



As a result, Afghanistan now produces twice as much opium as it did in the year 2000, and the booming trade now accounts for 50% of the country’s GDP. Since the cartels began refining their poppy harvests into addictive and profitable heroin, the street price for “powder,” as it is known, is the cheapest in the world — and it costs less than food in the war-torn country.


Lost childhoods


The psychological damage of war, together with the flood of cheap heroin, has led to a doubling in addiction rates over the last five years. In the Channel 4 documentary, Unreported World, Ramita Naval explores a harrowing escalation in child addiction. In the ravaged country, where access to drug treatment is severely limited, she visits a rehabilitation centre where children as young four or five — haunted by horrors they have witnessed — attempt to regain lost childhoods.



The only treatment centre in Kabul to help children, it was originally set up to treat women. The 20-bed unit, which forces kids off the drugs by making them go cold turkey is, ironically, funded by the U.S. State Department. Naval is introduced to a number of very small children who are at varying stages of the 45-day treatment programme.


At one point, the reporter finds it hard to contain her dismay at being in a room full of drug-addicted children. One describes becoming addicted after taking the drug for toothache, while another became hooked after inhaling his father’s smoke. Doctor Latifa Hamidi said in the past two years she has seen a 60% increase in the number of child addicts at the centre. Claiming the future of the country is at stake, she added, “There is going to be a future generation of drug addicts that need help and aren’t going to be able to work.”


The problem is so severe among the child population that many are taking desperate measures to fund their habits. Naval spoke to a 13-year-old boy at a safe house who began using when his parents were killed by shelling. From the age of eight, he was paid by drug addicts to guard them while they smoked. Unsurprisingly, he then developed his own habit, which he funds with child prostitution. Many addicted children sell their bodies, as there are no jobs or work.


Fifteen-year-old Ali has been using heroin for the past two years. His mother is dead and his father fled to Iran. He smoked a gram of heroin, which cost £1, on camera as he explained how he became addicted.


The young boy’s trauma began when, after witnessing a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, he went to stay with relatives in the countryside. While he was there, U.S. forces bombed his village, killing dozens of people; he described seeing bodies scattered everywhere. The young boy and other villagers had to pick up the body parts and put them in plastic bags. Claiming the war breaks his heart — and making his descent into drug use more understandable — he said, “I’d rather not live, than live through this war.”


Behind closed doors


With drug use haram, or forbidden, in Islam, addiction is seen as shameful. Consequently, many of society’s most vulnerable are often too ashamed to ask for help. As a result, a hidden epidemic has arisen, affecting thousands of parents and children behind closed doors. Naval accompanies a medical team of doctors and social workers who are frequently attacked and beaten during their work:


“More and more children are becoming addicted because the country is awash with opium,” the doctor said. “If the government doesn’t do anything about this situation, Afghanistan is going to face another disaster,” she added.


Claiming that of 130,000 families in the area, 60% are addicted to drugs, the doctor explained many men pick up their addictions while working in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan. After using drugs as a stimulant to help them work longer hours, they return, bringing their addictions with them — often passing their new habits on to entire families.


Opium is also part of daily life in Afghanistan’s refugee camps, where the internally displaced are left to fend for themselves. Government doctors rarely visit, and agencies are ill-equipped to deal with child addicts — many whom have fled fighting in other provinces and are left with devastating injuries as a result of the war. Locals claim that even if painkillers were available, opium is much cheaper and more effective.


Three-year-old Zarima lost her arm when her village was attacked during fighting between the government and insurgents. With no doctors or medicine, her father had no option but to give her opium. He had tried to stop the treatment a number of times, but she suffered severe withdrawal symptoms. Other locals described being forced to perform amputations due to lack of medical help.


Cheaper than food


Entire villages of people are addicted to opium, and Naval visits one family where three out of six of children are addicted. One little boy, who began smoking at the age of three, was sprawled out next to his father, completely out of it. He explained that he needs to smoke three times a day or he suffers painful withdrawals. When asked if he ever goes out and plays with other kids, he shook his head.


The boy’s mother originally gave him opium to cure a stomach ache. Now the family uses the drug for a very different reason. “There is not enough food to feed the whole family,” his mother said.“When you smoke you lose your appetite,” she added, explaining that while food for the family of nine costs £3 a day, a day’s worth of opium costs £2.


Summing up the hidden side of the devastation in the war-ravaged country, Naval was frank and said that while the world is focused on the fight against the Taliban, the country is being consumed from within — by an equally serious and long-term threat.


This article (The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.


   

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money-where-does-it-goBy Joshua Krause


It’s widely known by now that America has a serious wealth inequality crisis, and there is an abundance of evidence to support that assertion. While the wages of the top 1% of wage earners has risen by over 150% since 1979, the wages of the bottom 90% have only risen by 17.1% in that same time period.


Another key figure is the relationship between productivity and wages. While the average worker is nearly 2.5 times more productive now than he or she was in 1948, the wages of our workers have been stagnant. Hourly wages grew at nearly the same exact rate as productivity until the early 1970s, at which point they suddenly stopped growing, even as our workers grew more productive than they had ever been before.


Both of those statistics are frequently cited, but they don’t really paint a full picture of how bad this situation is. They make it sound like the middle class has merely stagnated. But when you adjust these statistics for inflation, and consider where the benefits GDP growth has flowed towards, it’s obvious that the middle class has been gutted over the years.



The wages of the bottom half of income earners has actually fallen by 4.6% since 1973, while the top 5% of income earners received a 51.4% pay raise. Meanwhile, American wages as a percentage of GDP have been falling for 46 years. While GDP per capita hasn’t really stopped growing in the big scheme of things, the average household income peaked in 1999 and never recovered. If the earnings of the average worker hadn’t so wildly diverged from productivity and GDP growth, the average household income would be $13,500 higher right now.


Instead this money has been siphoned off to the owners and shareholders of major corporations, as well as the government through taxes. These two forces, the corporations and the government, have been working together to bleed the middle class dry, and they’ve been succeeding for decades.


Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.


   

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