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Drones, Death, and Democracy Destroyed

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. made an attempt to apologize for killing innocent civilians. Rod Nordland reported on this over in a New York Times article titled “U.S. General Apologizes After Afghan Drone Strike”. 

Also fascinating is that the Department of Defense as reported on by Bob Yirka over at phys.org is in the process of requesting the creation of drones small in size that would resemble birds in flight.

The somewhat small robotics company Prioria was able to secure the contract from the DoD and from the looks of it has been able to manufacture just what the government was in need of, a small surveillance drone that has the ability to avoid being detected.

GREAT! small surveillance drones shaped like birds, awesome!

* Image Source: http://consciouslifenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Screen-Shot-2012-09-27-at-11.16.28-PM-451x240.png

Corporate Dominance vs Democracy

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Released on November 20th, The Center for Corporate Policy issued a study written by Gary Ruskin titled "Spooky Business: A New Report on Corporate Espionage Against Non-Profits."

In the eye opening report, Ruskin is able to detail how vast numbers of corporations have been able to engage in espionage that targets a large variety of non profit organizations.

Ruskin States in the report:

"Many of the world’s largest corporations and their trade associations - including the U.S. Chamber or Commerce, Walmart, Monsanto, Bank of America, Dow Chemical, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Chevron, Burger King, McDonald’s, Shell, BP, BAE, Sasol, Brown & Williamson and E. ON - have been linked to espionage or planned espionage against nonprofit organizations, activists and whistleblowers."

The Ruskin Study examines how large corporate giants have become keen on employing internal investigative firms that recruit former government employees from the likes of the CIA, NSA, FBI, Secret Service and local police departments that thus carry out the many different forms or corporate maleficence.

These corporations are learning tricks of the trade from ex government officials and using these tools against the American people. 

Ruskin is then able to show in detail that not only are these firms linked to espionage but also acts of infiltration, surveillance and other actions meant to subvert perceived “threats” carried out by nonprofit groups.

The groups targeted by these corporate spy firms include, but are not limited to: environmental, anti-war, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups.

Dave Rosen (a contributor for Alternet.org) recently wrote an article titled  “The Other Police State — The Private Intel Industry Grows” that examines the Ruskin Study. In Rosen’s article he makes mention of how vigorously Dow Chemical and other public relation firms waged war with the nonprofit group Greenpeace. Rosen explains:

"These companies retained the now-defunct private security firm, Beckett, Brown, International (BBI), to conduct the campaign that included electronic surveillance, hacking, wire taping, infiltration, theft of confidential material and even the search of Greenpeace’s trash."

Gary Ruskin puts it best when he is quoted saying:

“Corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations is an egregious abuse of corporate power that is subverting democracy,”

Who will hold these corporate giants accountable for their actions?

* Image source: http://anticap.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/corporate_flag.jpg?w=614

More NSA Spying

Yet again it has been confirmed by leaks coming from whistle blower Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency has been quietly collecting records of websites visited by suspected radicals.

Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher, and Ryan Grim reported the story over at the Huffington Post.

What I find even more disturbing is what Jameel Jaffer, a deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, stated within the detailed article.

Jaffers is quoted as saying:

"Wherever you are, the NSA’s databases store information about your political views, your medical history, your intimate relationships and your activities online. The NSA says this personal information won’t be abused, but these documents show that the NSA probably defines ‘abuse’ very narrowly."

If I was not following the activities of the NSA I might actually find this all to be extreme and eye opening.  Unfortunately these revelations seems to be just another piece of evidence that the United States Government is continuing to spy in on the lives of nearly everyone, here at home and abroad.

If you have been following the NSA spying saga then the name William Binney should sound very familiar.  As a former high level NSA employee, Binney starting blowing the whistle on US government snooping years ago.

In a surprisingly excellent piece of reporting coming from CBS Baltimore division WJZ 13, Mary Bubala gets a one of one with William Binney. In the interview Binney states:

“The data that was being taken in was all about United States citizens,” he said. “They’re destroying our democracy is what they’re doing.”

Binney is just one of many trying to expose the over reaching power and wide spread surveillance that is being conducted under the Obama Administration.

*image source : http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-09/internet/39848908_1_nsa-official-user-data-google-ceo-larry-page

Free Bradley Manning

                                          

The other day Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his part in the disclosure of classified materials that revealed war crimes committed by the United States Government such as:


1) “U.S. special operations forces were conducting offensive operations inside Pakistan despite sustained public denials and statements to the contrary by U.S. officials.”

2) “In Baghdad in 2007, a U.S. Army helicopter gunned down a group of civilians, including two Reuters news staff.”

3) “During the Iraq War, U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to thousands of field reports.”

these are just a few to name.

Over the last few weeks it has been clearly seen that my United States Government does not like what whistle blowers have to say.

Manning’s trial was for the most part a political show of force laid down by the Obama Administration and carried out by a military tribunal.


It is a scary affair when soldiers who torturer prisoners are granted less jail time than soldiers who expose the wrong doings of the US government.

The United States government is wrong in this case.  Bradley Manning should have been released on time served. After all he was held for nearly 9 months without even being convicted of a single crime. He is the definition of a political prisoner.


What has my Government become?

Rant #2 (drones)

       

How many civilian deaths will it take for people to start to get pissed off? Is it too much for the average american citizen to give a shit whether or not our elected officials secretly decide to go and drop bombs on some poor soul in a foreign country?

Just recently on October 24th the most mainstream of mainstream “news” agencies, CNN, reported that a United States drone attack killed 3 people including one women, while injuring 2 children in the process. What did those children and that women ever do to deserve severe injury and death? Oh that’s right I forgot, they were selfishly born in an impoverished middle eastern country, silly me.

The CNN report stated that:

U.S. President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney seem to largely see eye-to-eye on the issue.  CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen notes that most Americans “are comfortable with the muscular use of CIA drones against al Qaeda in Pakistan.”

Its sickens me to sit and watch the President I voted for give a full throat defense of the drone program. Its also extremely frustrating to have to watch two very skilled and crafted politicians debate about foreign policy…when in actuality they are in total and complete agreement.  The third and final presidential debate was anything but a debate. It was 90 minutes of Mitt Romney agreeing with President Obama about how awesome it is to kill people with drones…it made me sick.

Its also extremely disturbing to think that most Americans “are comfortable” with the concept of drone attacks and death they reign down from high above. If people truly understood the realities of the drone programs I don’t think most would agree with them.

Its also disgusting to watch responses from the Obama Administration when they are actually asked some tough questions regarding the secret kill list, and the drone attacks that a killed 16 year old american citizen.

Robert Gibbs (former Press Secretary) interview

Rep. Schultz (Chair of the DNC) interview

These two videos pretty much sum up the childish mentality of the Administration and their lack of concern for the due process free killing of American Citizens.  Rep. Schultz’s response when asked if she is concerned over the presidents secret kill list is mind boggling…She scoffs and laughs and acts like its some crazy conspiracy theory that the President even has a Kill List…It was reported on by the New York Fucking Times!!!!!…it was even reported on my YAHOO News! the President HAS a secret kill list!!! It Exists.

Rep. Schultz is either A) vastly uninformed or B) shielding the president from criticism. Either way its sick to watch the Administration act in such a way.

I know the economy sucks, jobs jobs…blah blah…but really can’t we just agree that its wrong to kill people that have never attacked us or harmed American in any way, shape, or form? Oh I guess not, because that might actually take some critical thinking skills which apparently the vast majority of american along with the political elite lack.

* picture from: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lndi6yqWgT1qi7spt.jpg

Welcome to the Obama ‘Kill Matrix’

                       

"The Obama administration has secretly been ramping up on long-term counter terrorism policies that will essentially institutionalize the tracking, targeting, and killing of individuals—at will—for years and years." - www.commondreams.org

Gregg Miller over at The Washington Post today had a very detailed 5 page story on Obama’s ‘kill list’ and the expanding nature of it. I highly suggest anyone and everyone go and read it.

In it Miller explains that over the last 4 years, Obama and his Administration have created a detailed list of “terrorist” suspects; this list has come to be known inside the white house as a “disposition matrix”.

Greg Miller also writes that:

Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counter terrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

It is clear that the Presidents promise of ‘change’ has certainly come true. President Obama has changed the way America dispenses justice.  Due process free, drone deployed justice is now looking to be the new normal in the Washington beltway.

Let us all not forget about a joint report issues by the Stanford Law School and the New York School of Law titled “living under drones”. It details the threat that civilians in Pakistan live under constantly from the fear of death by the drones deployed by the United States.  It also explains that the number of civilians killed by the United States government (my government) is far greater than any Obama administration official will admit.

Also the official definition now being used to target known militants is so vague it literally can include any male over the age of 16.  The official definition is stated as “all military-age males in a strike zone.”

Mills also points out that:

Meanwhile, a significant milestone looms: The number of militants and civilians killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by certain estimates, surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Is America’s bloody thirst quenched yet? No not in the least.  America under the direction of Obama is now institutionalizing the killing of human beings in other countries even if those humans are American Citizens. It has happened to "teenager, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was born in Denver in 1995", and it can and most certainly will continue to happen unless fierce and swift push back is brought against Obama and his counter terrorism cronies.

Drones have been deployed in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan and soon Africa, and they will eventually be flying over head in the United States soon.

This disposition matrix created by the White House has left two options for the American Citizen: 

Option A) you can take the red pill and forget all about this kill list, you can wake up tomorrow morning as if everything is fine and act like America doesn’t kill innocent people by the use of remote controlled drones.

Or option B) you can take the blue pill and wake up to the realization that the drone war is wrong, creating more enemies than friends, heartless, while also being disastrous foreign policy.  The choice is yours…What pill will you take? I have chosen to swallow the blue pill, and there is no turning back.

on a side note:

* Do not mistake my anger with the Obama Administration over this kill list as showing some type of support for the Republican Party Nominee Mitt Romney.  In the final presidential debate on Monday 10/22/12, it was clear that good’ol boy Mitt was a avid supporter of drones.

Mitt Romney: “I believe we should use any and all means necessary,” Romney said when asked if he agreed with the president’s policy. “I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that policy.” — Mitt and Barack Love drones

Both parties have become nothing more than different sides of the same coin.

** The wording of this KILL LIST is curious. It seems vague enough to not slap you in the face yet interesting enough to grab your attention.  If you were to hear that former President Bush has something known as a ‘disposition matrix’ one might not think twice about whether it was a list of humans to be hunted, targeted, and killed by the use of drones. I feel that the wording of this list was deliberately chosen as to not sound too many alarms.

*** picture from: http://dissociatedpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/obama-drone-photo-225.jpg

NYPD Harassment Documented on Tape

                                         

The policy in New York City known as the Stop and Frisk is one that should be easily observed as unconstitutional.

Imagine walking down any busy street near your home.  You are on your way to a friends house, or you are walking down to a quick stop when suddenly you are singled out by police officers and told to stop and place your hands behind your back as the officers search you without any cause or warrant from pocket to pocket while being verbally harassed in the process.  You have committed no crime, and for all intended purposes you are a faithful law abiding citizen.

This is the Stop and Frisk policy in New York City.  The NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg both think that the police have every right to be able to stop and ultimately take control over citizens actions all based on the way an individual looks.

The Nation Magazine released an amazing video which is linked HERE

It attempts to expose the invasive, harassment that many minorities face while being profiled under the Stop and Frisk laws.

Police officers are pressured into warrantless searches and told that if they don’t meet the necessary required stop and frisks they will face negative write ups, not get promotions, be placed in dangerous work environments and much more…the short 10 minute video speaks for itself and is very eye opening and shocking.

Jennifer Peltz and Colleen Long have an article over at the Huffington Post that also detail the S&F policy.  They detail how in just 2011 alone over 700,000 Stop and Frisks where performed by the NYPD.

And the New York Civil Liberties Union had this to say about the Stop and Frisk tactics used by police:

An analysis by the NYCLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports.

The Stop and Frisk program is clearly wrong, and quickly starting to turn minorities against the NYPD.  Frequent harassment is being done by pressured officers, while citizens are quickly getting fed up with being searched and targeted a criminal for simply walking down the street. The Stop and Frisk Policy must end.

the-uncensored-she:

And as mentioned in the interview, Black people have been saying this for years, because they are most targeted and victimized by the bullshit “war on drugs”.

Rise of the Private Prison System!

Corporate Interests are dominating the Untied States…Whether you vote Obama or Romney, this private prison system will continue to grow and amass power and status. Neither president Obama or Candidate Romney will challenge these prison corporations, in fact both men will continue policies that keep imprisoning the non violent drug offenders.  It will soon get to the point when people wake up in the morning and can’t remember a time without this industry.

(via localcreature)

ACLU exposes more Government Spying

       

According to new documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union, The United States Government under the Obama Administration has drastically started increasing its warrantless electronic surveillance on the American population.

Naomi Gilens over at the ACLU writes:

The documents, handed over by the government only after months of litigation, are the attorney general’s 2010 and 2011 reports on the use of “pen register” and “trap and trace” surveillance powers. The reports show a dramatic increase in the use of these surveillance tools, which are used to gather information about telephone, email, and other Internet communications. The revelations underscore the importance of regulating and overseeing the government’s surveillance power.  (Our original Freedom of Information Act request and our legal complaint are online.)

I was not surprised to find this out, I have been reading about it for at least the last year now. I am however deeply frustrated with the information coming to light from the documents.  It astounds me that our government is openly claiming the right to spy in on emails, phone conversations, and facebook activity without any warrant handed down my the Judicial branch.

Matt Sledge over at Huffington Post summed it up like this:

From the feds to local Mayberry cops, all that law enforcers needs in order to obtain an order allowing evesdropping is to file a procedural request with a judge certifying that the information will be used in conjunction with a criminal investigation. With contemporary technology, telecommunications providers can comply with those orders at the push of a button.

There needs not be any evidence that an individual is committing a crime. Instead the snoopers only need to file a request with a judge stating that the information will be used in a criminal investigation. Once the request is granted the feds or police are free to spy in at will.

But all of this is small in comparison to the spying the National Security Agency is conducting. It is unfortunately just another example of how the Surveillance State is quickly invading the once sacred rights of the american citizen.

Terrorism: USA Style

                      

Today a new study was published,  it was titled “Living Under Drones: Death,
Injury,and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan”. The study was compiled by researchers at both Stanford University and NYU School of Law.  The report documents the terror and fear that the citizens of Pakistan live under on a daily basis.

Read the report in full HERE

The report is not just a few liberal college students deciding to write up a paper to try to impress.  The research “is the result of nine months of research by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic of Stanford Law School (Stanford Clinic) and the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law (NYU Clinic).”

As Glenn Greenwald notes the first three paragraphs in the report are very powerful and should be eye opening to all; liberals & conservatives alike.

         drone report

The report also goes on to mention this horrifying insight into the drones flying high above in Pakistan:

Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in Northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety psychological trauma among civilians communities.

The information given in this report are damning and fly right in the face of the Obama Administrations claims that these drone attacks are very precise and cause little to no harm to civilian populations.

It is disgusting to acknowledge that between June 2004 and September 2012 of the 2,562 to 3,325 known and accounted for deaths from drones…176 of them HAVE been documented as children.  This number is probably much greater.

Greenwald also notes that:

Along the same lines, note that the report confirms what had already been previously documented: the Obama campaign’s despicable (and likely criminal) targeting of rescuers who arrive to provide aid to the victims of the original strike. Noting that even funerals of drone victims have been targeted under Obama, the report documents that the US has “made family members afraid to attend funerals”. The result of this tactic is as predictable as it is heinous

This report is vital to understand the failed policies of the drone program. It a well documented and substantial investigation into the terror being reigned down upon the Pakistani people by the White House, Pentagon, & CIA.  All done in secret, without any oversight by our elected officials in congress.

The report also suggests two things that I have always assumed is the result of the drone program.  (1) that the number of high importance targets is a much lower percentage of total killed and (2) It is turning the once semi USA friendly Pakistani population against the United States and is further fueling hatred and violence against us. even helping our enemies recruit:

      drone report

Unfortunately for the American people our Congress, our White House, and vast numbers of both Democrats and Republican cheer on the drone program.  The current status quo of our government officials seem to think that killing innocent people that have never attacked us is justified if we are able to kill one or two top, middle, or low level terrorist targets.  The ends justify the means according to our powerful elites.  They can’t seem to grasp the fact that if we drop bombs on innocent people the victims family members might forever be against us.  If your son or daughter, your mother or father, your brother or sister was killed by a drone attack wouldn’t you seek revenge on the party that ordered and cheered on the attack?  I certainly would. Either all of the supports of the drone program are extremely ignorant and boorish, naive, or simply don’t give two shits about third world populations in other countries.  It is a travesty and it will soon come back to bite the United States.  It is inevitable.