Thursday, October 23, 2014

Less Than 4% of Pakistanis Killed by CIA Drone Strikes Named as al-Qaeda Members

http://www.nationofchange.org/2014/10/23/less-4-pakistanis-killed-cia-drone-strikes-named-al-qaeda-members/

Less Than 4% of Pakistanis Killed by CIA Drone Strikes Named as al-Qaeda Members

Drone strikes have executed civilians, including women and children. At least four U.S. citizens have been killed by drones as well.

Published: October 23, 2014 | Authors: Andrew Emett | NationofChange | News Report

Although the U.S. government claims only confirmed terrorists at the highest level are being targeted in drone strikes, the CIA does not know the names or identities of the majority of people the agency has killed in Pakistan since June 2004. After a decade of drone strikes in Pakistan, less than 4% of the victims have been identified as named members of al-Qaeda. Since the inception of the drone program, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have unconstitutionally murdered at least four American citizens.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has launched 400 drone strikes in Pakistan killing at least 2,379 people. Only 704 of these drone strike victims have been identified. 295 have been classified as militants belonging to either the Afghan Taliban or the Pakistani Taliban, while only 84 have been positively identified as members of al-Qaeda.

At least 168 Pakistani children have died in drone strikes, but only 99 have been identified by name. Sixty-seven of these children were executed in a drone strike on a madrassa in October 2006 that left 81 civilians dead.

Drone strikes have killed at least 55 women in Pakistan, but only two have been identified by name. Bibi Mamana, a grandmother in her 60s, was slaughtered while tending a field near her home. Her grandchildren were injured in the attack. Raquel Burgos Garcia, the Spanish wife of an al Qaeda member, died in the same UAV attack that killed her husband. The Bureau believes the number of women killed in drone strikes is significantly lower because many women’s deaths in Pakistan traditionally remain unreported.

Last year, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed only “confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level” were fired upon during drone strikes. If the CIA does not have a “near certainty” that a strike would result in zero civilian deaths, President Barack Obama personally decides whether or not to attack. But Obama has also changed the criteria determining whether a person is a civilian or not. According to the president, all military-age males within a strike zone are classified as enemy combatants unless explicit intelligence posthumously proves their innocence.

“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” admitted a senior intelligence official. “They count the corpses, and they’re not really sure who they are.”
Although Pakistan’s government maintains the drone strikes violate its national sovereignty, former President Pervez Musharraf admitted to approving the strikes during his term. Under pressure from the courts and the public to end the strikes, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif publicly condemned the attacks while allowing them to continue. The Pakistani army is suspected of actually deciding the country’s policy toward drone strikes.

On December 1, 2005, a drone strike killed a senior Al-Qaeda member in the village of Miran Shah. The Pakistani government claimed the terrorist had blown himself up while building a bomb inside a house, but PBS Frontline journalist Hayatullah Khan investigated the scene and discovered remnants of a Hellfire missilefired from a UAV. After publishing photographs of the missile, Khan was abducted by five gunmen who ran his vehicle off the road on December 5, 2005. Six months later, Khan’s bullet-ridden body was found wearing state-issued handcuffs.

Responsible for launching drone strikes against a Yemeni weddingand a Pakistani tribal council meeting, the Obama administration has also used drones to take the lives of four American citizens. The U.S. government murdered Anwar al-Aulaqi, commonly misspelled as “al-Awlaki,” his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Jude Kenan Mohammad without regard for their constitutional rights.

On September 30, 2011, two Predator drones launched from a secret CIA base, crossed the border into northern Yemen, and fired Hellfire missiles at Anwar’s vehicle. The government would later learn one of the passengers in Anwar’s vehicle had been another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan. On the evening of October 14, 2011, Abdulrahman attended a barbeque with his friends and cousins when a UAV butchered everyone in the vicinity. A month later, a CIA drone strike killed Florida native Jude Kenan Mohammad in Pakistan.

Attorney General Eric Holder claims Anwar had been targeted after ceasing to cooperate with the FBI and uploading a series of videos advocating violence against the U.S. government. But last year, Holder admitted Abdulrahman, Samir Khan, and Jude Kenan Mohammad had not been specifically targeted in the attacks that killed them. The Justice Department has argued that their civil rights were never violated because they had not been specifically targeted for assassination. Due process isn’t taken into account when the U.S. government claims to accidentally murder its own citizens.

“It’s important for the American people to know when the president can kill an American citizen, and when [he] can’t,” asserted Senator Ron Wyden.

The architect of the drone program, John Brennan, is now the CIA Director and orchestrator of UAV strikes in Pakistan. Brennan has been caught lying about hacking into computers belonging to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and falsely accusing U.S. senators of hacking into the CIA’s computers. State Department officials have criticized the CIA’s use of signature strikes designed to attack unidentified people based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other signatures including weddings, barbeques, and tribal council meetings. As the U.S. government’s drone program continues violating national sovereignty and killing innocents, it is only a matter of time before China or Russia engages in this lethal competition.

Copyright © 2014 by NationofChange

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - October 23 -24, 2014


32] Foreign policy talks – Oct. 23
33] Nuclear Negotiations with Iran – Oct. 23
34] Cut the nuclear arsenal? – Oct. 23
35] Islam, Gender and Democracy - Since the Arab Awakening – Oct. 23
36] Bill Barry on the 1877 Railroad Strike – Oct. 23
37] Reforming the Church Today – Oct. 23
38] GW’s radical history – Oct. 23
39] A tour of queer readings – Oct. 23
40] Risk, Recruitment & Retention: Engaging Foreign Publics in High Threat Environments – Oct. 24
41] Food Day – Oct. 24
--
32] – On Oct. 23 from 1:15 to 4:45 PM, Scott Busby, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, will address "North Korea's Human Rights." Ken Gause, Center for Naval Analyses, will discuss "North Korea's Leadership." And Ely Ratner, Center for a New American Security, reflects on "U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities." The talks are sponsored by ICAS Liberty Foundation, and will be held in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, WDC. Register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1eVBbpNP4pEXp33b2MJQUtXPMHgYMGup9KjSafg8C5n8/viewform?c=0&w=1.

33] – On Oct. 23 at 5 PM, Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, will explain EU-Coordinated P5+1 Nuclear Negotiations with Iran at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, WDC. The talk will be sponsored by Syracuse University and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. RSVP at https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/moynihan/moynihan_Challenge_Iran_Keynote/.

34] – On Oct. 23 from 6 to 8 PM, Adam Mount, Council on Foreign Relations, Tom Collina, Ploughshares Fund, Matthew Kroenig, Georgetown University, and Thomas Moore, Wilson Center, will opine on the question "Debate: Should the United States Cut its Nuclear Arsenal?" The debate will be at the George Washington University, Room B17, 1957 E St. NW, WDC. RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/debate-should-the-united-states-cut-its-nuclear-arsenal-tickets-13531692657?invite=&err=29&referrer=&discount=&affiliate=&eventpassword=.

35] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 from 5 to 6:45 PM a panel of scholars will examine Islam, Gender and Democracy - Since the Arab Awakening. The question of women's rights has become, in the view of Western commentators, a litmus test for Muslim societies in the age of democracy and liberalism. The issue is often framed as the opposition between liberal advocates of secular democracy and religious opponents of women's full equality. Participants will provide a broader comparison across religious traditions and cultures through a discussion of religion, secularism, democracy, and gender equality in France, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and the United States.

This event will be held at Riggs Library, Healey Hall, Georgetown University, and is cosponsored by the Berkley Center and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. A reception will follow. RSVP at http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/events/rsvp?id=islam-gender-and-democracy&utm_source=Berkley+Center+Master+List&utm_campaign=7afd007e6d-Event_announcement_10_23_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_66160ba037-7afd007e6d-354093.

36] – Bill Barry will be talking about the 1877 railroad strike (or was it a riot by the rabble?) and his book “The 1877 Railroad Strike in Baltimore” at the Hamilton Branch Library, 5901 Harford Road, on Thurs., Oct. 23 from 6 to 7 PM. You can contact Bill at [mailto:wbarrymd@hotmail.com].

37] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 PM, Call to Action will host Catholic Tipping Point Tour: People of Conscience—Reforming the Church Today, a conversation with Fr. Tony Flannery. The program will be held at Faith Presbyterian Church, 5400 Loch Raven Boulevard, Baltimore. Enjoy refreshments following the Q & A. Register by contacting New Ways Ministry—matthew@NewWaysMinistry.org. Go to www.catholictippingpoint.org.

38] – Did you know that in 1969 forty members of Students for a Democratic Society seized George Washington University's Maury Hall, home of the Sino-Soviet Institute, to protest University complicity with the Vietnam War? Or that more than 2,000 students attended a rally in the University Yard opposing the House Un-American Activities Committee with speakers including Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman? Find out more about the tradition of social activism at GW. Come to a discussion sponsored by Lessons of the 60s, a project to document and archive local social justice organizing in Washington, D.C. 1960-1975. This event on Thurs., Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 PM, is a part of the “Traveling Hopefully” series, and will be held at 2121 I St. NW, Gelman Library, Room 702, WDC 20052. It is co-sponsored by Institute for Policy Studies. Email DCPROJECT60@gmail.com.

39] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 at 7:30 PM @ Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, hear about “Crushes and Mountains: A tour of queer readings, films and the prayers of Elisha Lim and Vivek Shraya.” Shraya will read from his new novel “She of the Mountains,” which weaves a passionate, contemporary love story between a man and his body, with a re-imagining of Hindu mythology. Both narratives explore the complexities of embodiment and the damaging effects that policing gender and sexuality can have on the human heart. The illustrations are by Raymond Biesinger, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Lim will read from their new graphic novel “100 Crushes” - an infatuated journey through four continents of queer communities. Lim will also screen a selection of their short animations, including “Queers Who Pray,” and an excerpt from their book "100 Crushes Chapter 6," which won Best New Director at the 2014 Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. Call 443-602-7585. Go to http://www.redemmas.org.

40] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from 8:30 AM to 1:45 PM, be at Risk, Recruitment & Retention: Engaging Foreign Publics in High Threat Environments held at U.S. Institute of Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave. NW. In an era where "zero-risk" environments abroad no longer exist, how does the United States address the question of risk for American civilians who want to pursue productive careers in diplomacy and development? With non-state actors increasingly shaping the international system, how can American diplomats and development workers engage effectively in environments critical to the defense of U.S. national interests in the 21st century? And how do we recruit, retain and support a new generation of men and women to do so? RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/risk-recruitment-retention-engaging-foreign-publics-in-high-threat-environments-tickets-13201928323. All guests are required to enter via 23rd street entrance for building access. Please arrive at least 30 minutes in advance.

41] – On Fri., Oct. 24 from 9 to 11:30 AM, join Food Day, Food Chain Workers Alliance, and dozens of other organizations and individuals to celebrate Food Day at the National Press Club, First Amendment Room, Ste. 1300, 529 14th St. NW, WDC. The Food Justice Panel Discussion includes Barry Estabrook, writer and author of “Tomatoland,” co-producer, Food Chains; Rosalinda Guillen, executive director of Community to Community, domestic winner of the 2014 World Food Sovereignty Prize; Jose Oliva, associate director, Food Chain Workers Alliance; and Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists. The moderator is Michael F. Jacobson, Food Day Founder and Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/. "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles.

The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

"Kucinichs: Redefine agriculture in Iowa"

"Kucinichs: Redefine agriculture in Iowa" & a series of events to protect our food

On Behalf Of Frank Cordaro

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 8:16 AM

"Kucinichs: Redefine agriculture in Iowa" by Matthew Patane DM Reg Oct 14, 2014

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2014/10/15/kucinich-redefine-agriculture-iowa/17283625/

Iowans are in the perfect place to start a new conversation about
moving U.S. agriculture away from the influence of large businesses,
Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich said Tuesday.

"Iowa is the place to show that it works, to start the new discussion
and to change the world," said Dennis Kucinich, a former congressman
from Ohio.

The married couple helped start off a three-day Occupy the World Food
Prize event that is meant to rival the World Food Prize symposium.

Elizabeth Kucinich is the policy director for the Center for Food
Safety, a Washington nonprofit.

"You are in the most extraordinary position as Iowans to really turn
this debate, that when those candidates come through you really stand
up and let them know how you feel as Iowans and you vote for exactly
what you want," she said to a crowd of about 100 at First Unitarian
Church.

She added that that United States has a mentality "that domination and
force and some kind of chemical and aggression will stop something."

"The same is true of our fields. We have a chemical warfare with
nature, and guess what, nature is out-evolving us," Kucinich said.

Both speakers advocated for trying to find different farming
techniques and for reconnecting with nature in a way that would not
cause it harm."Think about the power that we have, the power that goes
beyond politics," Dennis Kucinich said. "It is a spiritual mission to
reconnect with clean water, to reconnect with clean air, to reconnect
with land that is not defiled."

The three-day Occupy event is organized by a coalition of groups who
oppose the World Food Prize for the heavy influence they say companies
and the agribusiness industry have over its proceedings.

Every year, the World Food Prize recognizes an individual for
advancements in food security. Sanjaya Rajaram, a close colleague of
plant geneticist Norman Borlaug will receive this year's prize while
the symposium is in Des Moines this week.

The Occupy event includes its own prize this year as well.

Organizing under the banner of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, the
coalition will present its first "Food Sovereignty Prize"

Wednesday to the Union of Agricultural Work Committees of Palestine,
based in Gaza, and to Community to Community Development, based in
Bellingham, Wash.

The Des Moines stop is a part of a "Terror to Peace" tour, which the
Kuciniches started on Sept. 11. The tour is meant to focus on a number
of issues, such as food and economic security and goes until Nov. 11.
Asked whether the Iowa stop could reflect another potential run at the
White House for Dennis Kucinich -- he ran for president in 2004 and
2008 -- he said has no such plans.

The Kuciniches were joined by Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Des
Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe.

Stowe said industrial agriculture that involves chemical fertilizer
and hog farms with contaminated water runoff makes his job of
delivering clean water "extraordinarily difficult."

"Let's forget about the glow of feeding the world and remember that
hypoxia isn't just something in the Gulf of Mexico," Stowe said. "Our
waters here are dead — go look at them — and separate the truth from
the falsity."
----


Don't miss the last two events in Des Moines IA for our 3rd annual
Occupy the World Food
Prize(OWFP) 3 days campaign Oct 15 - 16, 2014


Wednesday, Oct 15
US Food Sovereignty Alliance’s 2014 “Food Sovereignty Prize” Award Ceremony
https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/g8EXZTuk7n8

Thursday, Oct. 16
OWFP Rally and Direct Action 6 p.m. State Capitol building, World Food
Prize Awards Ceremony
(9 min) Video 2013 OWFP Rally and Direct Action State Capitol
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ER03ZTGJQU
Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry to speak at Oct 16 Occupy the
World Food Prize Rally in DM
https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/CtUiO8BpBmQ

All 3 events are part of our OWFP efforts to redirect the public
discourse about our Global World Food System through the use of public
programs, an alternative food prize and direct action & nonviolent
civil disobedience.

OWFP contacts for more info:
Sharon Donovan
515-987-5443
Frank Cordaro-
515 282 4781 / c 515 4902490
Occupy the World Food Prize campaign
http://occupytheworldfoodprize.com

About the World Food Prize in their own words
http://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/about_the_prize/

About the World Food Prize by Food and Water Watch
http://occupytheworldfoodprize.com/about13

3 min video of Frank Cordaro’s on Occupy World Food Prize 2013 Oct. Program
http://vimeo.com/78375280

2013 Occupy the World Food Prize Summary Report
http://occupytheworldfoodprize.com/post/64694610695/2013-occupy-the-world-food-prize-summary-report

2012 Occupy the World Food Prize Summary Report
http://occupytheworldfoodprize.com/post/37122299064/2012-occupy-the-world-food-prize-summary-report

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Veteran Reporter Quits Chicago Sun-Times, Alleges Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Influenced Paper

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/317-65/26546-veteran-reporter-quits-chicago-sun-times-alleges-republican-gubernatorial-candidate-influenced-paper

Republican candidate for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner celebrates after winning the nomination in the Illinois Primary in Chicago, March 18, 2014. (photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

Veteran Reporter Quits Chicago Sun-Times, Alleges Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Influenced Paper

By Fiona Ortiz, Reuters
23 October 14

A veteran Illinois political reporter quit his job at the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday and accused the newspaper of bowing to pressure from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner by removing him from the campaign beat.

Dave McKinney, a 19-year veteran of the paper who covered the state capital, said in his resignation letter that the paper reassigned him after the Rauner campaign accused him of a conflict of interest, which he denies.
The Rauner campaign had asked the Sun-Times to disclose McKinney's marriage to a Democratic party consultant when it ran the reporter's story on allegations Rauner, a wealthy businessman, threatened a former executive at one of his companies.

McKinney said in his resignation letter, posted on his personal blog, that his wife is contractually barred from consulting on the gubernatorial race. A disclosure of conflict of interest would have been untrue, he added.

Rauner is running a close race against Democratic incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, saying he can do a better job pulling Illinois out of deep financial troubles.

McKinney said the Sun-Times stopped assigning him to cover the gubernatorial campaign after publishing an article by him and two other reporters that alleged Rauner made bullying statements to the former executive, who had threatened to sue one of his companies.

Sun-Times Editor Jim Kirk said McKinney's reassignment was temporary and not orchestrated by the Rauner campaign.

The newspaper last week reversed a three-year policy of not endorsing political candidates. Its lone endorsement of the 2014 campaign was of Rauner for governor.

Rauner Campaign Manager Chip Englander last weekend issued a statement claiming McKinney's story was misleading and inaccurate and that the paper should have disclosed "the reporter's deep connections to an attack group that has spent millions attacking Bruce Rauner."

In a statement Wednesday after McKinney resigned, Englander said the campaign is "saddened to see Dave leave the Sun-Times."

McKinney's resignation comes amid controversy and business changes at the Sun-Times, Chicago's second-largest newspaper. Its parent company has been reported to be negotiating sale of suburban papers.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

There Are Only 6 White Rhinos Left in the World, and Only 1 Breeding Male

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/26502-there-are-only-6-white-rhinos-left-in-the-world-and-only-1-breeding-male

The 34-year-old animal was one of the last two male breeding white rhinos in the world. (photo: independent.co.uk)

There Are Only 6 White Rhinos Left in the World, and Only 1 Breeding Male

By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, Independent UK
20 October 14

The northern white rhino has become a step closer to extinction after one of its last breeding males died in Kenya, leaving only six of the species now left in the world.

Suni, a 34-year-old northern white rhino, was found dead on Friday by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

“Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race,” the Conservancy said in a statement.
The animal, which was one of the last two breeding males of the endangered species, was not poached, according to the Conversancy, but his cause of death remains unclear.
A post mortem on the rhino is expected to be carried out later this week by vets at the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Suni was the first northern white rhino to be born in captivity. He was born at a Czech zoo in Dvur Kralove in 1980, but was moved to Kenya in December 2009 in an attempt to save the species from extinction.

He was one of four northern white rhinos to be moved from the zoo into the wild, where it was hoped it would be easier for the animals to breed.

“We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf,” the Conservancy added.

While there are thousands of southern white rhinos still roaming the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, decades of rampant poaching have drastically cut northern white rhino numbers.

Gangs of poachers ship their stolen ivory to Asia, where rhino horn was valued higher than gold or platinum last year.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Obama Has Until December to Explain Withholding of 2100 Graphic Photos of Detainee Torture

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/26526-obama-has-until-december-to-explain-withholding-of-2100-graphic-photos-of-detainee-torture

(illustration: uruknet)

Obama Has Until December to Explain Withholding of 2100 Graphic Photos of Detainee Torture

By Spencer Ackerman, Guardian UK
22 October 14

Obama administration must justify suppression of never-before-seen photographs depicting US military torture of detainees

The Obama administration has until early December to detail its reasons for withholding as many as 2,100 graphic photographs depicting US military torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge ordered on Tuesday.

By 12 December, Justice Department attorneys will have to list, photograph by photograph, the government’s rationale for keeping redacted versions of the photos unseen by the public, Judge Alvin Hellerstein instructed lawyers. But any actual release of the photographs will come after Hellerstein reviews the government’s reasoning and issues another ruling in the protracted transparency case.

While Hellerstein left unclear how much of the Justice Department’s declaration will itself be public, the government’s submission is likely to be its most detailed argument for secrecy over the imagery in a case that has lasted a decade.

“The only thing that bothers me is that we’re taking a lot of time,” Hellerstein told a nearly empty courtroom.

At issue is the publication of as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse, although the government continues not to confirm the precise number. Said to be even more disturbing than the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs that sparked a global furor in 2004, the imagery is the subject of a transparency lawsuit that both the Bush and Obama administrations, backed by the US Congress, have strenuously resisted.

In 2009, US president Barack Obama reversed his position on the photographs’ release and contended they would “further inflame anti-American opinion and … put our troops in greater danger”. That year, Congress passed a law, the Protected National Security Documents Act, intended to aid the government in keeping the images from the public. Two secretaries of defense, Robert Gates in 2009 and Leon Panetta in 2012, have issued assertions that US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would be placed at risk by the disclosure.

But in August, Hellerstein said the government’s declaration was overbroad. Some of the photographs, which he said on Tuesday he had seen behind closed doors, “are relatively innocuous while others need more serious consideration”, Hellerstein said in August.

Disclosure, sought by the American Civil Liberties Union since 2004, will not come this year. Hellerstein scheduled a hearing to discuss the upcoming government declaration for 23 January.

The return of the US to war in Iraq raises the stakes for the case. Unlike in 2012, when Panetta certified that the release of the photographs would endanger the US military in Afghanistan, some 1,600 US troops are also now in Iraq again, this time to confront the Islamic State (Isis).

But while Hellerstein indicated he was interested in an “update” about current exposure to danger, he only ordered the government to specify its reasons for keeping each individual photograph withheld as of Panetta’s November 2012 declaration.
Potential release of the photographs dovetails with another imminent torture disclosure. The Senate intelligence committee is expected to soon unveil sections of its long-awaited investigation into CIA torture. The government’s most recent filing in a different transparency suit indicated the report’s release will come on 29 October, though the government has asked for extensions in the past and may do so again.

Marcellene Hearn, an attorney for the ACLU, portrayed the release of the torture photographs as an accountability measure.

“It’s disappointing that the government continues to fight to keep these photographs from the public,” Hearn said after the half-hour hearing. “The American people deserve to know the truth about what happened in our detention centers abroad. Yet the government is suppressing as many as 2,100 photographs of detainee abuse in Iraq and elsewhere. We will continue to press for the release of the photos in the courts.”

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Freeport-McMoRan Destroys Famous "Salt of the Earth" Labor Union

Published on Portside (https://portside.org)

Freeport-McMoRan Destroys Famous "Salt of the Earth" Labor Union

https://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/copper-giant-freeport-mcmoran-destroys-famous-salt-of-the-earth-labor-union-in-southern-new-mexico/

David Correria

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
La Jicarita

Members of Steelworkers Local 9424-3 in Bayard, NM are employed at one of the world’s largest open-pit copper mines owned by one of the world’s most profitable companies, Freeport-McMoRan. They voted last week 236 to 83 in favor of decertifying the union.

The vote was the culmination of six months of union busting work by Freeport employee Irvin Shane Shores, a Deming-resident and recent Freeport-McMoRan employee. According to the National Labor Relations Board, any employee who no longer wants a union to represent him or her is entitled to seek an election to determine if a majority of their coworkers agree.

In mid-August Shores circulated a petition asking members of the Steelworkers to decertify the union. He collected signatures from more than 30 percent of members of the bargaining unit, thus triggering the decertification vote. The National Labor Relations Board scheduled the election for September 17 and 18.

The local Steelworkers union Shores decertified is the inheritor of Mine-Mill Local 890, a union made famous by the 1954 film “Salt of the Earth”, which dramatized Local 890’s 1951 Empire Zinc strike. A number of members of the creative team behind the film had been blacklisted by Hollywood. The director, Herbert Biberman, went to jail for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee, which investigated communist “infiltration” in politics, entertainment and education, among other industries.

The film was financed by the national office of Local 890, the International Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers Union, which was expelled from the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1950 for presumed communist influence.

The aggressive, pro-labor message made the film an instant favorite among leftists and labor unions. It found an enthusiastic audience in union hall screenings all over the US. It was banned or boycotted everywhere else. The film and its creators were condemned by the House of Representatives, investigated by the FBI; theaters refused to play it and it was widely denounced by newspapers and chambers of commerce throughout New Mexico.

It was rediscovered by Chicano Movement activists in the late 1960s and remains today a neo-realist classic for its focus on Chicano activism and feminist politics.
The strikers found success in the film but the real union found little more than struggle. Mine-Mill Local 890 organizer Clinton Jencks was arrested by federal agents in 1953 and jailed for alleged communist connections. The Kennecott Copper Company refused to negotiate with Mine-Mill Local 890 in the mid 1950s, telling the union’s members “we have refused to bargain with unions whose officers have failed to file the non-Communist affidavits required by the Labor-Management Act, 1947 [Taft-Hartley]. We believe, with Congress, that the spread of Communism in the United States is fast becoming a menace that presents a serious threat to our free way of life.”

Apparently, Kennecott defined “freedom” as its ability to reap windfall profits while its workers, on whose backs it made those profits, labored in miserable working conditions for immiseration wages. Kennecott Copper Company was the world’s largest copper producer with mines in the US and Chile. Its domestic production at four mines in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico accounted for nearly half of all copper produced in the US and 20 percent of the world’s copper supply. The mine in Bayard was the largest industrial operation in New Mexico and accounted for 12 percent of Kennecott’s total copper output. In the years prior to the “Salt of the Earth Strike”, and despite a series of strikes that shut down mines in Utah, Kennecott reported more than $23 million in profit. It had $17 million dollars on hand in reserve and reported to its board of directors an earned surplus of nearly $165 million of accumulated profit.

While the mine recorded record profits throughout the 1940s and 50s, most Anglo workers at the mine made less than $5 per day. Kennecott paid lower wages to Spanish-speaking and Navajo workers.

Mine-Mill merged with the United Steelworkers of America in 1967, the same year that Local 890 staged a six-month strike at the mine in Bayard. Kennecott sold the mine to Phelps-Dodge in 1987. In the dramatic history of violent struggle between mining companies and miners’ unions, Phelps-Dodge stands out as among the most aggressive union busting firms in US history. After thousands of workers lost their copper mining jobs in the early 1980s, and Phelps-Dodge refused to negotiate with the Steelworkers, thousands of union miners walked out of four of Phelps-Dodge’s Arizona mines. Phelps-Dodge responded by firing workers and evicting others from company housing. Local police arrested workers for walking legal picket lines and Phelps-Dodge hired goons who violently attacked the strikers who remained.

Phelps-Dodge broke the union in 1984 when the Arizona National Guard, with tanks and helicopters, attacked strikers and helped thousands of scabs cross picket lines throughout Arizona. The year after breaking the union, Phelps-Dodge, which had refused a small cost-of-living increase for union workers during negotiations in 1984, reported more than $200 million in profits in 1985, an increase of more than 600 percent over 1984 levels.

In the late 1990s, Phelps-Dodge built a private security army in Arizona and used it to attack union workers. It fired or suspended dozens of workers in New Mexico for once holding a peaceful protest at a company banquet.

Phelps-Dodge sold the New Mexico mine in Bayard to Freeport-McMoRan in 2007. It is unsurprising that after generations of union busting, it would be Freeport-McMoRan that would finally break the union at the Bayard mine. Freeport-McMoRan is one of the world’s wealthiest corporations with a documented history of ultra violent and often successful union busting campaigns.

It employs 23,000 workers at its massive Grasberg mine in Indonesian Papua, where workers are paid U.S. $1.50 an hour. In 2012, rebels linked to the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM) began targeting Freeport managers and facilities as part of a decades-long struggle for an independent Papua. The attacks came on the heels of particularly contentious labor struggles at Grasberg where workers demanded modest wage hikes. When labor negotiations stalled, thousands of miners went out on strike. The peaceful strike quickly turned violent when Freeport brought in bus loads of scabs. Strikers defended themselves against an army of more than 500 Freeport security thugs who swept through the protest firing shotguns, killing one union striker and wounding six others.

Despite Freeport’s violent suppression of local labor, and its decades-long complicity propping up Indonesia’s brutal Suharto regime, it is the separatist OPM that the US Department of Homeland Security considers a terrorist threat.

Occupy Phoenix activists marched on Freeport’s Phoenix headquarters in October of 2012 to protest the killing of striking miners at the Grasberg mine. The same month President Obama reaffirmed US support for the Indonesian police state in Papua during a visit to Jakarta in which he committed US marines to the region, a move that the Thai newspaper The Nation concluded had everything to do with heightened concerns over security at the increasingly volatile Grasberg mine.

While Papuan miners defended a picket line against Freeport’s private police force, 1,200 miners at Freeport’s Cerro Verde Mine in Peru walked off the job. Freeport bought Cerro Verde in 2007 and along with gold, silver, uranium and molybdenum, it produces 2% of the world’s annual copper production, more than 200 million pounds of copper each year from a massive open pit mine and huge leaching facility. Freeport-McMoRan reported 2011 revenues of nearly $21 billion with profits in excess of $5 billion; meanwhile miners not only in Peru and Indonesia but more recently in Chile, Bolivia, Mauritania, South Africa and Zambia ask for modest pay increases and get instead guns and goons.

Freeport-McMoRan took a different approach to union busting in New Mexico than it has in Indonesia. It began by paying higher non-union wages to employees of its three mines in southern New Mexico, a fact Irvin Shane Shores noted when asked why he began the decertifying campaign. What Shores didn’t say was that the Company was also paying non-union workers bonuses.

There has been some speculation that Freeport-McMoRan recruited Shores expressly for the purpose of busting the union. This is a familiar union-busting tactic. Shores of course denies this. Any connection between Shores and Freeport-McMoRan would invalidate the decertification vote. Prior to coming to Freeport-McMoRan, Shores had never worked in a mine. He managed a Pizza Hut in Deming and, more recently, owned a doughnut shop that he quickly ran into the ground. In 2009 Shores unsuccessfully pursued a seat on the Luna County Board of Commissioners as an ultra conservative Republican.

He makes up for his lack of mining skills with a crusading anti-union enthusiasm that surely appealed to Freeport-McMoRan.

Guadalupe Cano, the granddaughter of a former Mine-Mill union leader expressed outrage at Shores and the decertification vote, telling the Silver City Daily Press, “I am absolutely horrified. I cannot believe that after all of these generations of people fighting for this union that it is all gone after one man, who hasn’t even worked there long, decided it should go away. I’m glad my grandpa didn’t live to see this day.”

Source URL: https://portside.org/2014-10-21/freeport-mcmoran-destroys-famous-salt-earth-labor-union

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

My Father Was Killed by a Computer, Says 7-Year-Old Afghan Child

commondreams.org/views/2014/10/21/my-father-was-killed-computer-says-7-year-old-afghan-child
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Common Dreams

My Father Was Killed by a Computer, Says 7-Year-Old Afghan Child

Dr. Hakim

Though his father was killed in a U.S. drone attack when Imal was just a baby, the seven-year-old still puts out hope for a more peaceful world. (Photo: Courtesy of Voices for Creative Non-Violence)

Imal, a 7 year old Afghan student in the 2nd grade, came to visit us in Kabul.
As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.
If you could see Imal in this video, you would want to hug Imal immediately.

If Imal were a white American kid, this tragedy would not have befallen his father. Which American would allow any U.S. citizen to be killed by a foreign drone?
Suppose the UK wanted to hunt ‘terrorists’ in the U.S., with their drones, and every Tuesday, David Cameron signed a ‘secret kill list’ like Obama does. Drones operated from Waddington Base in the UK fly over U.S. skies to drop bombs on their targets, and the bombs leave a 7 year old American kid, say, John, fatherless.

John’s father is killed, shattered to charred pieces by a bomb, dropped by a drone, operated by a human, under orders from the Prime Minister /Commander-in-Chief.
“John, we’re sorry that your father happened to be near our ‘terrorist’ target.’ He was collateral damage. It was ‘worth it’ for the sake of UK national security.”
Unfortunately, no U.S. official or military personnel had met with Imal’s widowed mother to apologize.

Raz, Imal’s uncle who brought him to visit us, asked his young nephew,
“Will you bring me some marbles to play with?”

Imal was friendly, like any other 7 year old kid. “Yes!” His voice was a trusting one, eager to be a good friend and playmate.

“Do you also play with walnuts? Tell us how you play with walnuts,” Raz requests.
“We put them in a line, and flick a walnut to hit other walnuts, like playing with marbles,” Imal explains diligently, like he was telling a story we should all be interested in.

“Besides beans, what other food do you like?”

“I also like… potatoes… and meat… …and… rice!” All of us were smiling with the familiar love of Afghan oiled ‘palao’ or ‘Qabuli’ rice.”
Imal knew what my laptop was. He said, “We can look at photos & watch films…”
But, then, it seemed that he took on the understanding of an older person when his voice became serious.

”My father was killed by a computer.”

I wanted to tell Imal that nowadays, it takes children and young people like Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai to tell us adults the plain facts.

When Malala was 16 years old and met with the Obamas at the White House, Malala had told Obama that drones were fueling terrorism.

Do we get it? Drones are employed in the ‘war against terrorism’, but instead, drones fuel terrorism.

How many drone attacks are there in Afghanistan every month, and how many women, children and young men like Imal’s father are killed?

We don’t know. It’s not a transparent strategy.

We would all want to know everything about the possible effects of a drone strategy on our children, especially if our country was the most drone-bombed country in the world, like Afghanistan is.

A Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s ‘Naming the Dead’ report says that fewer than 4% of the people killed by drone attacks in Pakistan have been identified by available records as named members of Al Qaeda. If this is true for drone attack victims in Afghanistan too, then 96% of drone victims in Afghanistan have been innocent civilians like Imal’s father.

In another Bureau of Investigative Journalism report, ‘Tracking drone strikes in Afghanistan’, (July, 2014),the Bureau states that “nobody systematically publishes insurgent and civilian deaths from drones on a strike-by-strike basis. Neither the US nor UK authorities publishes data on the casualties of their drone operations.”
So, we are unable to find out for Imal’s mother if it was a U.S./UK drone that killed her husband, and who the drone operator was.

If Imal were John, could he or his mother sue David Cameron? Stop the drone? Stop the human drone operator? Disable the computer?

We gave Imal a Borderfree blue scarf, and thanked him for coming.

His eyes were bright and cheerful, taking in the photos on the wall, including a poster of Gandhi and Badshah Khan. Badshah Khan was a Pashtun like Imal, and has been called the Frontier Gandhi for his lifelong struggle for nonviolence.

I have been thinking hard about Imal, about whether anyone would hear him, when few among the elites who declare wars and order drone strikes seem to have heard the now famous Malala, not even President Obama.

“I wish to tell the world, ‘We don’t want war. Don’t fight!’”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Dr Hakim, ( Dr. Teck Young, Wee ) is a medical doctor from Singapore who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 9 years, including being a friend and mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Solartopia Transcends King C.O.N.G.

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/26513-ukraine-used-cluster-bombs-evidence-indicates

(photo: solartopia.org)

When Solartopia Transcends King C.O.N.G.

By Harvey Wasserman, EcoWatch
20 October 14

A green-powered future is our only hope.

A planet run by King CONG—Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas—cannot be sustained.
But to get beyond it, our Solartopian vision must embrace more than just a technological transformation. It also demands social, political and spiritual transcendence.

From Fukushima to global warming, from fracking to the Gulf disaster(s), it’s clear the fossil/nuclear industry is hard-wired to kill us all. Its only motivating force is profit; our biological survival has no part in the equation.

Thankfully, renewable energy has achieved technological critical mass. Green power is cheaper, cleaner, safer, more reliable, more job-producing and more secure. Despite a furious fossil/nuke push-back, the multi-trillion-dollar transition to a green-powered economy is well underway. Photovoltaic cells alone will be the biggest industry in human history.

Likewise, our food supply cannot be sustained with chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, monoculture, industrial meat and genetic modification. The switch to organic, sustainable agriculture is essential to our survival.

But this vital transformation in food and energy will not happen in a vacuum. We can prove the economic, ecological and public health rationale for a Solartopian transition.

But we can’t win without a cultural and political transformation.

That starts with the empowerment of women. Nature-based societies are matriarchal. And only when women are guaranteed equal education, pay and control of their reproductive rights will the human population come into balance with the planet’s ability to support us.

We must also cure the corporate virus that’s killing us all. Our economic and political system is being devoured by a Frankenstein monster whose only imperative is to make money. It claims human rights but has no human or ecological responsibilities. Until the engines of our economy are made accountable to us and the planet, we have no chance of survival.

The corporate monster’s primary assault mechanism is war, the continual slaughter of humans and the Earth. War’s only predictable long-term outcome is massive corporate profit and a destroyed planet. It is the ultimate divide-and-conquer strategy of a terminal cancer.

Sustaining our life also means all humans must be fed (which can be done globally at a fraction the cost of war), housed, clothed, educated and healthy. Without social justice, Solartopia is a meaningless dream.

And there’s only one way to get there—with true democracy, which cannot be had while corporations own and operate our government. Big money must be banned from our elections, which can only happen with universal voter registration and hand-counted paper ballots.

We also need a neutral internet, free of corporate control, a global nervous system by which our evolving consciousness can freely communicate.

As a species we can count great strides in cultural awareness and social ecology. But in the material world we run a dead heat with mutant fossil/nuke technologies and the vampire corporations now draining the life out of us and our planet.
In the long run, our human survival instinct must transcend the corporate profit motive.

There are those who say it’s hopeless, and that the battle is already lost.
But for the rest of us, for our kids and grandkids, not to mention our own good times, let’s just say we’ll see you in Solartopia …

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Giants on the Earth: A Review of Waging Peace by David Hartsough

Giants on the Earth: A Review of Waging Peace by David Hartsough
By Winslow Myers

http://www.worldbeyondwar.org/giants-earth-review-waging-peace-david-hartsough/

There were giants on the earth in those days . . . (Genesis 6:4)

The fear that we citizens of the United States have been seduced into since 9/11 spreads across our benighted nation like a fog, inhibiting all policy alternatives not based in blind vengefulness. Special are those who have the spiritual clear-sightedness and persistence to make people-oriented global connections that pierce the fog of fear with the light of visionary possibility.

One such giant is David Hartsough, whose vivid, even hair-raising, memoir of a lifetime of peace activism, Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, has just been published by PM press. It ought to be required reading for every U.S. citizen befogged by the crude polarization between Islamic extremism and the equally violent, ineffective, but seemingly endless Western military reaction it has elicited.

It hardly seems possible that Hartsough has been able to crowd into one lifetime all his deeds of creative nonviolence. He was there with Martin Luther King in the late fifties in the South. He was there when a train loaded with bullets and bombs on their way to arm right-wing death squads in Central America severed the leg of his friend Brian Willson in California. His initiatives of support for nonviolent resistance movements span both decades and continents, from efforts to get medical supplies to the North Vietnamese, to reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians, to support for Russian dissidents as the Soviet Union was breaking up, to the resistance to Marcos in the Philippines, and on and on. Hartsough’s book thus becomes a remarkably comprehensive alternative history to set against “the official story” of America’s—and many other nations’—often brutal and misguided reliance upon military intervention.

David Hartsough gave himself a head start by getting born into the right family. As a boy he heard his minister father preach the gospel of loving your enemies and almost immediately got a chance to try it out when bullies pelted him with icy snowballs. It worked, and Hartsough never looked back. Having determined to do integration in reverse by attending the predominantly black Howard University, he soon found himself sitting in with courageous African-American students at segregated restaurants in Virginia. A white man crazed with hate threatened him with a knife. Hartsough spoke to him so gently that the man was “disarmed” by the unexpected shock of a loving response and retreated open-mouthed and speechless.

Sixty years of innumerable protests, witnesses, and organizing efforts later, Hartsough is still at it as he helps to begin a new global movement to end war on the planet, called “World Beyond War.” While his book is a genuinely personal memoir that records moments of doubt, despair, fear of getting shot, and occasional triumph, even more it is a testament to the worldwide nonviolent movement that still flies completely under the radar of American media. Living in a bubble of propaganda, we do not realize how intrusive the bases of our far-flung empire are felt to be. We do not feel how many millions worldwide regard the U.S. as an occupying force with negative overall effects upon their own security. Even more importantly, we remain insufficiently aware how often nonviolence has been used around the world to bring about positive change where it appeared unlikely to occur without major bloodshed. The U.S. turns to military force reflexively to ”solve” problems, and so it has been difficult indeed, as we are seeing in our ham-handed response to ISIS and the chaos in Syria, for us to learn lessons that go all the way back to the moral disaster of Vietnam. We have not registered how sick of the madness of war the world really is. Now academic studies are starting to back up with hard statistical evidence the proposition that nonviolent tactics are more effective than militarism for overthrowing dictators and reconciling opposing ethnic or religious groups.

Coincidentally, the book I read just before Waging Peace was its perfect complement: a biography of Allen Dulles, first director of the CIA, and his brother John Foster Dulles, longtime Secretary of State. The Dulles book goes a long way toward explaining the hidden motives of the military-industrial-corporate behemoth which Hartsough has spent his life lovingly but persistently confronting—truly a moral giant named David against a Goliath of clandestine militarism that props up narrow business interests at the expense of the human rights of millions. Always this David has kept in his heart one overarching principle, that we are one human family and no one nation’s children are worth more than any other’s.

Hartsough’s tales of persistence in the face of hopeless odds remind us not to yield to despair, cynicism, fear mongering or enemy posing, all temptations when political blame is the currency of the day. Hartsough is a living exemplar of the one force that is more powerful than extremist hate, reactive fear, and weapons, including nuclear bombs—the human capacity to be harmless, helpful and kind even to supposed adversaries.

If—let us say optimistically when—peace goes mainstream and deluded pretentions to empire are no longer seen as the royal road to security, when we wake up to the hollowness of our selfishness and exceptionalism, when we begin to relate to other nations as opportunities to share good will and resources rather than to bomb, it will be largely because of the tireless efforts of insufficiently heralded giants like David Hartsough.

Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” serves on the Advisory Board of the War Prevention Initiative and writes for Peacevoice.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - October 21 - 23, 2014

19] Philadelphia Peace Vigil – Oct. 21
20] No JHU Drone Research – Oct. 21
21] Campaign Against Police Abuse – Oct. 21
22] Protest Sabra – Oct. 21
23] Central American children – Oct. 22
24] No to Silencing Prisoners' Speech – Oct. 22
25] Catholic Ecology – Oct. 22
26] Report back from Ferguson – Oct. 22
27] Teaching the Second Vatican Council – Oct. 22
28] Pray for Peace – Oct. 22
29] Immigrant Film Fest – Oct. 23
30] Richard Falk book talk & signing – Oct. 23
31] Explore "Israel and the Region" – Oct. 23
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19] – Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine. The next vigil is Oct. 21. Call 215-426-0364.

20] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. Join this ongoing vigil on Oct. 14, but note today demonstrators will be there from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Call Max at 410-366-1637.

21] – On Tues., Oct. 21 from 6 to 8 PM, come get your questions answered by joining the Campaign Against Police Abuse for their first public meeting at the Lamont Street Collective, 1822 Lamont St. NW, WDC 20009. Recent events in Ferguson have again exposed the injustice and discrimination of the police system, and its inability to protect all members of our communities. Do you want to find out how you can empower yourself and your community against racist police abuse through grassroots organizing? Would you like to know more about what a Copwatch program can do to ensure police accountability? Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1488964978034676/ or email CAPAfordc@gmail.com.

22] – On Tues., Oct. 21 from 6:30 to 8 PM, gather outside Sabra (Hummus), 1254 Wisconsin Ave. NW, WDC, a new pop-up store in Georgetown to consider opening a permanent storefront. Sabra (The Sabra Dipping Company) is half-owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, a company that proudly boasted on its website of supporting the Israeli army's Golani brigade. In addition to being at the forefront of the Israeli army's military occupation and its invasions into the Gaza Strip, the Golani brigade may have become most notorious for their racist t-shirts (http://mondoweiss.net/2009/03/racist-and-sexist-military-shirts-show-the-fruits-of-israeli-militarism) including one featuring a pregnant Muslim (presumably Palestinian) woman in crosshairs with the caption "1 shot, 2 kills."

Before Strauss removed the English-language page (remains in Hebrew) on their site declaring their sponsorship of the brigade, the page stated the following: “Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments. We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years and provide them with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path.” Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/774995299224782/?ref=6&ref_notif_type=plan_user_invited.

23] – On Wed., Oct. 22 at 10 AM at the Institute for Policy Studies' conference room, 1112 16th St. NW, Ste. 600, WDC 20036, hear about Newly arrived Central American children: The role of U.S. policy in the current situation from √Črika Patricia Guerra Escalante, formerly with the Honduran office of Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (Jesuit Migrant Service, or SJM, by its Spanish acronym). She will discuss how U. S. policy has contributed to insecurity in Honduras and in other Central American countries, which forces children out of their home countries to embark on the treacherous journey north. The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns is a cosponsor of this event, along with Witness for Peace and the Institute for Policy Studies. RSVP to ogc@maryknoll.org.

24] – Tell Philadelphia: No to Silencing Prisoners' Speech. Wednesday, October 22 is national day of action against police brutality and mass incarceration. In Philadelphia a protest is set for 4 to 5 PM at City Hall. Then there will be a town hall meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at 11th St. and Berks Ave., Gladfelter Hall, Temple University, Room 24. The Pennsylvanian governor is expected to sign the "Revictimization Relief Act," which affords virtually unlimited discretion to district attorneys and the state attorney general to silence prisoner speech, by claiming that such speech causes victims' families "mental anguish." Politicians are claiming a power that if granted to them will be difficult if not impossible for citizens to check.

Victim relief is not served by denying fundamental rights to those convicted, especially because prisoner freedom of speech is crucial for redressing wrongful convictions and the current crisis of harsh sentencing that is often disproportionate to alleged crimes. Our society is currently engaged in a full-scale debate on the problems of mass incarceration that could not have developed without prisoners' voices. Contact the RootsAction.org Team at www.RootsAction.org.

25] – On Wed., Oct. 22 at 7 PM in the Reinsch Library Auditorium, Marymount College, 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207, hear about Catholic Ecology – Faith, Security, Health and Advocacy – from Drew Christensen, SJ, Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Laura Anderko, PHD, RN and Lonnie Ellis, OFS. The discussion will include Catholic Theology, Climate Security, Environmental Health and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Call 703-522-5600.

26] – REPORT BACK FROM FERGUSON NATIONAL PROTESTS & NEXT STEPS BALTIMORE is happening on Wed., Oct. 22 at 7 PM at 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218. Call 443-221-3775. Join the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, FIST youth group and others for a report back on Baltimore activists involvement in the protests in Ferguson and St Louis. Participants ranged from 5 years old to 65; they'll tell you about their experiences. Also see photo slide show. Come prepared to ask questions and to discuss what's on your mind. Following this discussion, two questions will be explored--How does one deal with police violence in Baltimore and what else can be done to support the people of Ferguson and St. Louis. Visit www.RiseUpBaltimore.org. You can Google a picture album at https://plus.google.com/photos/113106493719751062238/albums/6069808811180014753.

27] – On Wed., Oct. 22 at 7 PM, Catholic Tipping Point welcomes Fr. Tony Flannery, Founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland. Fr. Tony Flannery is a founder of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), a grassroots group which acts to provide priests with an opportunity and a voice to engage in the debates taking place in Irish society and which advocates for a “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council.” Father Flannery made international news, when in 2012, he was ordered to silence by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, on account of some of his writings. After a period of failed negotiations with the CDF, Fr. Flannery felt he had to speak out. He wrote of his experience in “A Question of Conscience.”

Father Flannery will speak about the role or conscience in faith life and the path for reform in the Catholic church at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2100 New Hampshire Ave. NW, WDC 20009. Contact Katie Breslin at 202.203.0931 or kbreslin@catholicsforchoice.org.

28] – Pray for Peace at 7:30 PM on Wed., Oct. 22 at the Church of the Nativity, 419 Cedarcroft Road, Baltimore--corner of Cedarcroft and York Road. Direct correspondence to Charles Cloughen, Jr., Interfaith Peace Partners coordinator, at ccloughen@episcopalmaryland.org or call 410-321-4545. The preacher will be the Rt. Rev. Heather Cook Bishop, suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

29] – The new Greater Washington Immigration FilmFest will be staged over four days from Thurs., Oct. 23 through Sun., Oct. 26. Thirteen feature films that entertain, educate, and inspire will be shown at 12 locations in Washington and around the Beltway. Reserve your free tickets now at http://imfilmfest.eventbrite.com (corrected). Contact John Campbell at 202.713.5457 or jcampbell AT geofinity. Com.

30] – On Thurs., Oct. 23, Richard Falk will be launching his new book, Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope, at the Jerusalem Fund, Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC 20037. Call 202.338.1290. Use the Foggy Bottom Metro stop. Sandwiches will be served at 12:30 PM, and the lecture begins promptly at 1 PM. The event is free to attend and will be livestreamed. The book will be available for purchase, and Falk will sign it. Register at http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/EventDetails/i/47227.

31] – On Thurs., Oct. 23 from 1 to 2 PM, Yossi Alpher, former Mossad official, will explore "Israel and the Region" at the Wilson Center, Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC. RSVP at http://pages.wilsoncenter.org/102314YossiAlpher_MexicoEventInvitation.html.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Meet the Man Who Lied to Send the Rosenbergs to Their Deaths

Published on Alternet (http://www.alternet.org)

The Huffington Post / By Sam Roberts [1]

Meet the Man Who Lied to Send the Rosenbergs to Their Deaths

October 16, 2014 |

"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs," Sylvia Plath began The Bell Jar. My sixth birthday was sandwiched between their execution at Sing Sing on Friday night, June 19, 1953, and their funeral that Sunday morning. The somber procession passed by our block in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and while I was too young to be told details, I was old enough even then to feel the palpable betrayal and shame.

That was the closest I would come to the Rosenberg case for the next 30 years. In 1983, reviews described Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton's "The Rosenberg File" as newsworthy, and Arthur Gelb, the Times managing editor who had covered the execution in 1953, made a startling suggestion to his colleagues: "Why don't we do a news story?" I made the mistake of not looking preoccupied when Arthur headed toward me, arms flailing.

I contacted Peter Kihss, who had covered the case. He challenged me to find David Greenglass, the army machinist who had been assigned to Los Alamos, stolen secrets to the atomic bomb, and delivered them to his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg, to convey to the Soviets. Greenglass' testimony had sent Julius and Ethel, David's sister, to the electric chair. I called Roy Cohn, too, one of the former prosecutors, seeking the one compelling piece of evidence that would finally solve the case. "The smoking gun," he said, "is the testimony of David Greenglass."

Since he was released from prison in 1960 after serving nearly 10 years, Greenglass had surfaced only once, in the 1970s, when Radosh and Sol Stern interviewed him and his wife, Ruth. With the help of Radosh and others, I finally found Greenglass, but he refused to talk. I would periodically write him, requesting an interview, but never received a reply—until 1996, when a lawyer who had represented Greenglass for 15 years suggested we meet. The lawyer said that just a few days before, Greenglass had told him, "I have a confession to make; I want to tell you who I really am."

"Who are you, Hitler, Stalin?" the lawyer asked, incredulously.

"You remember the Rosenberg case?" Greenglass replied. "I'm Ethel Rosenberg's brother. I'm David Greenglass." The lawyer was dumbfounded. "Do you hate me?" Greenglass said.

He agreed to speak to me, unconditionally, for my book, The Brother, because he needed money, which I grudgingly consented to pay. He was unrepentant, narcissistic and smug. After reading transcripts of my interviews, my friend David Halberstam pronounced Greenglass aschmendrick. (I consulted Leo Rosten's Joys of Yiddish to be certain of the definition: "An apprentice schlemiel.")

While I worried that he would wallow in self-justification, Greenglass did just the opposite. Over and over, he patiently revisited his Sophie's choice, how he chose to sacrifice the sister who helped raise him over the mother of his two children. "My wife is my wife," he said. "I mean, I don't sleep with my sister, you know."

First, in confessing to the FBI, he inadvertently implicated Ruth (who was at least as complicit in the espionage conspiracy as Ethel). Then, to protect his wife from prosecution, he began cooperating with investigators. He fingered Julius, whom prosecutors hoped would confess if they threatened Ethel with execution. Finally, only a week before the trial was to begin, with the government desperate for evidence against Ethel and with Greenglass still hoping for a suspended sentence, he averred that maybe Ruth was right in her own recollection a few days earlier, that his sister had typed his handwritten notes for delivery to the Soviets. He testified to that effect. Ruth corroborated his sworn account, and the prosecutor declared in his summation to the jury that Ethel had "struck the keys, blow by blow, against her own country in the interests of the Soviets."

Except that Greenglass admitted to me that he had lied, that he couldn't recall then or now who typed his notes, that he confirmed Ruth's account only because he didn't want to label her a liar. He added a stunning coda: "I frankly think my wife did the typing, but I don't remember." Without that testimony, the single most incriminating evidence against Ethel Rosenberg, she might well have been acquitted.
Just as I was completing my book, I interviewed Herbert Brownell, who served as assistant attorney general while the Rosenbergs were appealing their conviction. What happened to the government's strategy of leveraging the charges against Ethel to get Julius to confess? I was stunned by Brownell's candor and his cynicism. "She called our bluff," he said.

After my book was published, I kept tabs on Greenglass periodically. This week, when the nursing home where he was living told me that he was no longer a patient there, I guessed that he had died at the age of 92, having outlived the Rosenbergs by six decades.

Michael and Robert Meeropol, the Rosenbergs' sons and the Cold War's most famous orphans, extended their condolences to their uncle's family, though they hadn't seen Greenglass since 1950. But while they had acknowledged to me earlier that their father, at least, had been guilty of the legal charge against him—conspiracy to commit espionage—they still insisted that "without any involvement on our parents' part, David and Ruth were the ones who actually provided atomic information to the Soviet Union, although it was of little value." The information, even from a lowly machinist, was briefly valuable, if superseded by subsequent elaboration from rogue scientists like Klaus Fuchs. And while the Rosenbergs arguably did not receive a fair trial, the judge and prosecution managed to frame a guilty man.

Rebecca West described the unnatural relationship between David and his sister Ethel as "the hostile twin of incest." And E.L. Doctorow predicted that "the treachery of that man will haunt him for as long as he lives." How would Greenglass be remembered? He told me he was certain he would be remembered as a man who sent his sister and brother-in-law to their deaths. But he asked people to recall that the Rosenbergs had recruited him as a spy and that nobody expected the death penalty to be imposed. He claimed that most men faced with the same choice, sister or wife, would have done what he did.

What would he want his obituary to say, I asked. "I was a good father," he replied. "A good husband. A good son. A good brother. Born in a time which tore people's souls."
[2]

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/books/meet-man-who-lied-send-rosenbergs-their-deaths

Links:
[1] http://www.alternet.org/authors/sam-roberts
[2] mailto:corrections@alternet.org?Subject=Typo on Meet the Man Who Lied to Send the Rosenbergs to Their Deaths

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/26500-focus-edward-snowden-and-the-golden-age-of-spying

Edward Snowden, left, with Greenwald, second from right, David Miranda and Laura Poitras. (photo: David Miranda)

Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

By Laura Poitras and Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch
20 October 14

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars). We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.
For our own safety, of course. That goes without saying.

All of this offers a new definition of democracy in which we, the people, are to know only what the national security state cares to tell us. Under this system, ignorance is the necessary, legally enforced prerequisite for feeling protected. In this sense, it is telling that the only crime for which those inside the national security state can be held accountable in post-9/11 Washington is not potential perjurybefore Congress, or the destruction of evidence of a crime, or torture, or kidnapping, orassassination, or the deaths of prisoners in an extralegal prison system, but whistleblowing; that is, telling the American people something about what their government is actually doing. And that crime, and only that crime, has been prosecuted to the full extent of the law (and beyond) with a vigorunmatched in American history. To offer a single example, the only American to go to jail for the CIA’s Bush-era torture program was John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower who revealed the name of an agent involved in the program to a reporter.

In these years, as power drained from Congress, an increasingly imperial White House has launched various wars (redefined by its lawyers as anything but), as well as a global assassination campaign in which the White House has its own “kill list” and the president himself decides on global hits. Then, without regard for national sovereignty or the fact that someone is an American citizen (and upon the secret invocation of legal mumbo-jumbo), the drones are sent off to do the necessary killing.
And yet that doesn’t mean that we, the people, know nothing. Against increasing odds, there has been some fine reporting in the mainstream media by the likes of James Risen and Barton Gellman on the security state’s post-legal activities and above all, despite the Obama administration’s regular useof the World War I era Espionage Act, whistleblowers have stepped forward from within the government to offer us sometimes staggering amounts of information about the system that has been set up in our name but without our knowledge.

Among them, one young man, whose name is now known worldwide, stands out. In June of last year, thanks to journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras, Edward Snowden, acontractor for the NSA and previously the CIA, stepped into our lives from a hotel room in Hong Kong. With a treasure trove of documents that are still being released, he changed the way just about all of us view our world. He has been charged under the Espionage Act. If indeed he was a “spy,” then the spying he did was for us, for the American people and for the world. What he revealed to a stunned planet was a global surveillance state whose reach and ambitions were unique, a system based on a single premise: that privacy was no more and that no one was, in theory (and to a remarkable extent in practice), unsurveillable.

Its builders imagined only one exemption: themselves. This was undoubtedly at least part of the reason why, when Snowden let us peek in on them, they reacted with such over-the-top venom. Whatever they felt at a policy level, it’s clear that they also felt violated, something that, as far as we can tell, left them with no empathy whatsoever for the rest of us. One thing that Snowden proved, however, was that the system they built was ready-made for blowback.

Sixteen months after his NSA documents began to be released by the Guardian and the Washington Post, I think it may be possible to speak of the Snowden Era. And now, a remarkable new film, Citizenfour, which had its premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 10th and will open in select theaters nationwide on October 24th, offers us a window into just how it all happened. It is already being mentioned as a possible Oscar winner.

Director Laura Poitras, like reporter Glenn Greenwald, is now known almost as widely as Snowden himself, for helping facilitate his entry into the world. Her new film, the last in a trilogy she’s completed (the previous two being My Country, My Country on the Iraq War and The Oath on Guantanamo), takes you back to June 2013 and locks you in that Hong Kong hotel room with Snowden, Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian, and Poitras herself for eight days that changed the world. It’s a riveting, surprisingly unclaustrophic, and unforgettable experience.

Before that moment, we were quite literally in the dark. After it, we have a better sense, at least, of the nature of the darkness that envelops us. Having seen her film in a packed house at the New York Film Festival, I sat down with Poitras in a tiny conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City to discuss just how our world has changed and her part in it.

Tom Engelhardt: Could you start by laying out briefly what you think we've learned from Edward Snowden about how our world really works?

Laura Poitras: The most striking thing Snowden has revealed is the depth of what the NSA and the Five Eyes countries [Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the U.S.] are doing, their hunger for all data, for total bulk dragnet surveillance where they try to collect all communications and do it all sorts of different ways. Their ethos is "collect it all." I worked on a story with Jim Risenof the New York Times about a document -- a four-year plan for signals intelligence -- in which they describe the era as being "the golden age of signals intelligence." For them, that’s what the Internet is: the basis for a golden age to spy on everyone.

This focus on bulk, dragnet, suspicionless surveillance of the planet is certainly what’s most staggering. There were many programs that did that. In addition, you have both the NSA and the GCHQ [British intelligence] doing things like targeting engineers at telecoms. There was an article published at The Intercept that cited an NSA document Snowden provided, part of which was titled "I Hunt Sysadmins" [systems administrators]. They try to find the custodians of information, the people who are the gateway to customer data, and target them. So there's this passive collection of everything, and then things that they can't get that way, they go after in other ways.

I think one of the most shocking things is how little our elected officials knew about what the NSA was doing. Congress is learning from the reporting and that's staggering. Snowden and [former NSA employee] William Binney, who's also in the film as a whistleblower from a different generation, are technical people who understand the dangers. We laypeople may have some understanding of these technologies, but they really grasp the dangers of how they can be used. One of the most frightening things, I think, is the capacity for retroactive searching, so you can go back in time and trace who someone is in contact with and where they've been. Certainly, when it comes to my profession as a journalist, that allows the government to trace what you're reporting, who you're talking to, and where you've been. So no matter whether or not I have a commitment to protect my sources, the government may still have information that might allow them to identify whom I'm talking to.

TE: To ask the same question another way, what would the world be like without Edward Snowden? After all, it seems to me that, in some sense, we are now in the Snowden era.

LP: I agree that Snowden has presented us with choices on how we want to move forward into the future. We're at a crossroads and we still don't quite know which path we're going to take. Without Snowden, just about everyone would still be in the dark about the amount of information the government is collecting. I think that Snowden has changed consciousness about the dangers of surveillance. We see lawyers who take their phones out of meetings now. People are starting to understand that the devices we carry with us reveal our location, who we're talking to, and all kinds of other information. So you have a genuine shift of consciousness post the Snowden revelations.

TE: There's clearly been no evidence of a shift in governmental consciousness, though.

LP: Those who are experts in the fields of surveillance, privacy, and technology say that there need to be two tracks: a policy track and a technology track. The technology track is encryption. It works and if you want privacy, then you should use it. We’ve already seen shifts happening in some of the big companies -- Google, Apple -- that now understand how vulnerable their customer data is, and that if it’s vulnerable, then their business is, too, and so you see a beefing up of encryption technologies. At the same time, no programs have been dismantled at the governmental level, despite international pressure.

TE: In Citizenfour, we spend what must be an hour essentially locked in a room in a Hong Kong hotel with Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Ewan MacAskill, and you, and it’s riveting. Snowden is almost preternaturally prepossessing and self-possessed. I think of a novelist whose dream character just walks into his or her head. It must have been like that with you and Snowden. But what if he’d been a graying guy with the same documents and far less intelligent things to say about them? In other words, how exactly did who he was make your movie and remake our world?

LP: Those are two questions. One is: What was my initial experience? The other: How do I think it impacted the movie? We've been editing it and showing it to small groups, and I had no doubt that he's articulate and genuine on screen. But to see him in a full room [at the New York Film Festival premiere on the night of October 10th], I'm like, wow! He really commands the screen! And I experienced the film in a new way with a packed house.

TE: But how did you experience him the first time yourself? I mean you didn't know who you were going to meet, right?

LP: So I was in correspondence with an anonymous source for about five months and in the process of developing a dialogue you build ideas, of course, about who that person might be. My idea was that he was in his late forties, early fifties. I figured he must be Internet generation because he was super tech-savvy, but I thought that, given the level of access and information he was able to discuss, he had to be older. And so my first experience was that I had to do a reboot of my expectations. Like fantastic, great, he's young and charismatic and I was like wow, this is so disorienting, I have to reboot. In retrospect, I can see that it's really powerful that somebody so smart, so young, and with so much to lose risked so much.

He was so at peace with the choice he had made and knowing that the consequences could mean the end of his life and that this was still the right decision. He believed in it, and whatever the consequences, he was willing to accept them. To meet somebody who has made those kinds of decisions is extraordinary. And to be able to document that and also how Glenn [Greenwald] stepped in and pushed for this reporting to happen in an aggressive way changed the narrative. Because Glenn and I come at it from an outsider’s perspective, the narrative unfolded in a way that nobody quite knew how to respond to. That’s why I think the government was initially on its heels. You know, it's not everyday that a whistleblower is actually willing to be identified.

TE: My guess is that Snowden has given us the feeling that we now grasp the nature of the global surveillance state that is watching us, but I always think to myself, well, he was just one guy coming out of one of 17 interlocked intelligence outfits. Given the remarkable way your film ends -- the punch line, you might say -- with another source or sources coming forward from somewhere inside that world to reveal, among other things, information about the enormous watchlist that you yourself are on, I’m curious: What do you think is still to be known? I suspect that if whistleblowers were to emerge from the top five or six agencies, the CIA, the DIA, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and so on, with similar documentation to Snowden’s, we would simply be staggered by the system that's been created in our name.

LP: I can't speculate on what we don't know, but I think you're right in terms of the scale and scope of things and the need for that information to be made public. I mean, just consider the CIA and its effort to suppress the Senate’s review of its torture program. Take in the fact that we live in a country that a) legalized torture and b) where no one was ever held to account for it, and now the government's internal look at what happened is being suppressed by the CIA. That's a frightening landscape to be in.

In terms of sources coming forward, I really reject this idea of talking about one, two, three sources. There are many sources that have informed the reporting we've done and I think that Americans owe them a debt of gratitude for taking the risk they do. From a personal perspective, because I’m on a watchlist and went through years of trying to find out why, of having the government refuse to confirm or deny the very existence of such a list, it’s so meaningful to have its existence brought into the open so that the public knows there is a watchlist, and so that the courts can now address the legality of it. I mean, the person who revealed this has done a huge public service and I’m personally thankful.

TE: You’re referring to the unknown leaker who's mentioned visually and elliptically at the end of your movie and who revealed that the major watchlist your on has more than 1.2 million names on it. In that context, what's it like to travel as Laura Poitras today? How do you embody the new national security state?

LP: In 2012, I was ready to edit and I chose to leave the U.S. because I didn't feel I could protect my source footage when I crossed the U.S. border. The decision was based on six years of being stopped and questioned every time I returned to the United States. And I just did the math and realized that the risks were too high to edit in the U.S., so I started working in Berlin in 2012. And then, in January 2013, I got the first email from Snowden.

TE: So you were protecting...

LP: ...other footage. I had been filming with NSA whistleblower William Binney, with Julian Assange, with Jacob Appelbaum of the Tor Project, people who have also been targeted by the U.S., and I felt that this material I had was not safe. I was put on a watchlist in 2006. I was detained and questioned at the border returning to the U.S. probably around 40 times. If I counted domestic stops and every time I was stopped at European transit points, you're probably getting closer to 80 to 100 times. It became a regular thing, being asked where I’d been and who I’d met with. I found myself caught up in a system you can't ever seem to get out of, this Kafkaesque watchlist that the U.S. doesn't even acknowledge.

TE: Were you stopped this time coming in?

LP: I was not. The detentions stopped in 2012 after a pretty extraordinary incident.
I was coming back in through Newark Airport and I was stopped. I took out my notebook because I always take notes on what time I'm stopped and who the agents are and stuff like that. This time, they threatened to handcuff me for taking notes. They said, "Put the pen down!" They claimed my pen could be a weapon and hurt someone.
"Put the pen down! The pen is dangerous!" And I'm like, you're not... you've got to be crazy. Several people yelled at me every time I moved my pen down to take notes as if it were a knife. After that, I decided this has gotten crazy, I'd better do something and I called Glenn. He wrote a piece about my experiences. In response to his article, they actually backed off.

TE: Snowden has told us a lot about the global surveillance structure that's been built. We know a lot less about what they are doing with all this information. I'm struck at how poorly they've been able to use such information in, for example, their war on terror. I mean, they always seem to be a step behind in the Middle East -- not just behind events but behind what I think someone using purely open source information could tell them. This I find startling. What sense do you have of what they're doing with the reams, the yottabytes, of data they're pulling in?

LP: Snowden and many other people, including Bill Binney, have said that this mentality -- of trying to suck up everything they can -- has left them drowning in information and so they miss what would be considered more obvious leads. In the end, the system they’ve created doesn't lead to what they describe as their goal, which is security, because they have too much information to process.

I don't quite know how to fully understand it. I think about this a lot because I made a film about the Iraq War and one about Guantanamo. From my perspective, in response to the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. took a small, very radical group of terrorists and engaged in activities that have created two generations of anti-American sentiment motivated by things like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Instead of figuring out a way to respond to a small group of people, we've created generations of people who are really angry and hate us. And then I think, if the goal is security, how do these two things align, because there are more people who hate the United States right now, more people intent on doing us harm? So either the goal that they proclaim is not the goal or they're just unable to come to terms with the fact that we've made huge mistakes in how we've responded.

TE: I'm struck by the fact that failure has, in its own way, been a launching pad for success. I mean, the building of an unparallelled intelligence apparatus and the greatest explosion of intelligence gathering in history came out of the 9/11 failure. Nobody was held accountable, nobody was punished, nobody was demoted or anything, and every similar failure, including the one on the White House lawn recently, simply leads to the bolstering of the system.

LP: So how do you understand that?

TE: I don't think that these are people who are thinking: we need to fail to succeed. I'm not conspiratorial in that way, but I do think that, strangely, failure has built the system and I find that odd. More than that I don't know.

LP: I don't disagree. The fact that the CIA knew that two of the 9/11 hijackers were entering the United States and didn't notify the FBI and that nobody lost their job is shocking. Instead, we occupied Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. I mean, how did those choices get made?

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gas Pipeline Expansion Should Alarm Homeowners

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/26492-gas-pipeline-expansion-should-alarm-homeowners

(photo: EcoWatch)

Gas Pipeline Expansion Should Alarm Homeowners

By Marcia Greenberg, The Washington Post
20 October 14

Homeowners and communities are unprepared for an invasion of their cherished private yards and public spaces.

The Mid-Atlantic region is facing an expansion of natural gas transport infrastructure that threatens communities’ health, safety and homes. With increased hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and plans toexport liquefied natural gas (LNG), the gas industry needs supporting infrastructure. Beyond drilling wells, energy companies are building compressor stations and laying thousands of miles of pipelines. The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America has estimated that from 2011 to 2035 the industry must build nearly 15,000 miles of subsidiary lines — each year.

It is hard to ignore the compressors and pipelines extending quickly through the Mid-Atlantic. Last month, Dominion Power gained the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a plan to convert a dormant LNG import facility at Cove Point on the Chesapeake Bay into a major exporting facility for fracked gas. With the FERC’s green light, Dominion will start exports from the Lusby, Md., facility in 2017.

Now, residents are engaged in battles to protect their families and neighborhoods: Until 2012, Lusby was a peaceful town of more than 20,000 people who happily raised children in a safe and quiet environment. Dominion’s plans will turn their lives upside down, threatening quality of life, health, safety and property values.
Families are distraught. Approximately 360 homes lie within 4,500 feet of the site, to which large trucks will regularly haul heavy equipment and construction will generate noise. While an increase in pollution is undisputed, Dominion has easily satisfied the FERC’s pollution-abatement requirement by buying clean-air credits from elsewhere in Maryland — which will not alleviate the toxic conditions around the facility.
Moreover, the possibility of an explosion is undeniable. Homeowners know that, unlike with oil-based fires that burn locally, an LNG fire could trigger an explosion that could race along the pipeline.

In Myersville, Md., citizens learned in 2011 that Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) proposed to build a noisy compressor station less than a mile from the town’s only elementary school. The 16,000-horsepower compressor is expected to emit 23.5 tons of nitrogen oxides and 53,892 tons of greenhouse gases every year.
Myersville’s residents and officials have been battling to stop the compressor. The town’s council rejected DTI’s request for a zoning variance, but the FERC authorized the project.

The threats from gas industry juggernaut may seem to be local rather than regional. They are not.

This could be your actual back yard: In Nelson County, Va., DTI notified homeowner Charlotte Rea of plans to survey her property, which lies along the proposed route of a 550-mile pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. Rea was advised that DTI may use eminent domain if homeowners resist. Her reaction is unnerving: “It’s a violation,” she told a reporter in Charlottesville. “It’s a desecration. It makes you feel totally powerless.” While eminent domain takings may sometimes be necessary for energy infrastructure serving our needs, they support Dominion’s profit-driven exports.

Communities must mobilize to protect themselves. If your home or town lies in the path of pipelines or near a planned compressor, you will have little warning: Lusby’s residents did not see the notice of Dominion’s application in the Federal Register — and it allowed parties only two weeks to intervene. To be sure, corporations have rights, and businesses may pursue profits. But the playing field should be level for
homeowners.

Communities must wrest back local control. They must demand that states repeal laws that enable the gas industry to invade private property and challenge state laws preempting local lawmaking. They should pass bills making people’s rights trump corporate privileges. Unless we rise up and are vigilant, this may be in our own back yards soon.

The writer, a lawyer, has worked on U.S.-funded democracy programs and local economic development in Eastern Europe.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs