For years, the outsourcing of defense and intelligence work was, with good reason, controversial in political circles. But in the last years of Bill Clinton’s administration, the president authorized the CIA’s creation of the first US government–sponsored venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, designed to invest in cutting-edge Silicon Valley companies. The firm, named after Ian Fleming’s fictional character “Q,” who masterminds James Bond’s spy gadgets, was founded on September 29, 1999, when the intelligence agencies came to realize they couldn’t produce the technology required to make sense of the vast amount of data they had acquired. The firm’s mission is to “identify, adapt, and deliver innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and broader US community.”
He hopes prisoners will organize to mount a coordinated nationwide work stoppage and hunger strike to improve conditions behind bars, including raising pay from the roughly $1 a day that prisoners now receive for eight hours of labor to the legal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. He would like to see coordinated boycotts of the overpriced commissaries. He said prisoners should purchase only the bare necessities, such as soap and toothpaste, and forego the “zoozoos and wamwams,” prison slang for junk food. He places no hope in the courts and the legislatures. Prisoners will have to start to carry out acts of mass civil disobedience for any justice, he said—that is the only mechanism left to them. “Prison authorities never give you anything without a fight,” he said, clutching white prayer beads.
The US government held yet another conference on how best to combat “Islamic radicalism.” It is interesting that radicalism — even without adding the Islamic adjective, as the Obama administration avoids the label — is applied to only one cultural and religious milieu. Radicalism is thus assumed to be a phenomenon of one culture and one religion. When the US government speaks about radicalism, it ignores the radicalism that prevails in the US Congress or in the US churches. It has only one radicalism and one form of violence in mind. Thus the violence of the US government, visited upon people in many Muslim countries, is not seen as the product of radicalism, but of moderation and of lofty ideals. Furthermore, for the US to really demonstrate its willingness to effectively combat radicalism it has to undertake those steps and policies — which it will never do. . .
Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed. In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.
“Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty in the Army Profession” is the title of a new paper by Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras of the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. Its thesis: the U.S. Army is full of liars who habitually lie as part of a lying culture that has internalized and normalized lying to the point of unrecognizability. Finally a claim from the Army I’m prepared to take seriously! But the authors aren’t interested in the Army’s lying press releases or lying Congressional testimony or lying sound bytes promoting each new war, predicting imminent success, and identifying each dead adult or child as an evildoer. In fact, it seems pretty clear that the authors are in fact lying to themselves about the nature of the Army’s lying.
AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and affiliated organizations have long been bending politicians’ ears and filling their pockets, supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine and trying to push the US into war with Iran. Racism is the force that both helped to create and now helps to sustain and justify the brutal occupation of Palestine and the accompanying police state. Now is the time to connect the dots and challenge state-sponsored violence and racist police at home and abroad. Whether your motto is #FreePalestine or #BlackLivesMatter, we must unify our movements to call for an end to global militarism and the plague of racism. February 28th – March 3rd, when war criminal Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in DC to address AIPAC and a joint session of Congress, join activists from around the country to #ShutDownAIPAC!
I slept pretty well last night when I found out that the film, “American Sniper” did not win best picture at the Academy Awards. I also believe that 58,000 American soldiers who were killed in Vietnam also slept well. “By every standard, Fallujah was a crime.” Chomsky also had this to say about the Vietnam War during the same interview. “The entire Vietnam War was an atrocity. The My Lai Massacre was just an afterthought.” This is the great truth that has great silence, as far as what really happened in Vietnam and Iraq. This is what the American people cannot face, because it would dismantle their belief system. Whenever the truth threatens one’s core beliefs, there is an urgent instinct to deny its reality. Clint Eastwood’s film, is a continuous betrayal of all I felt when I came back from Vietnam. Lying is the most powerful weapon in war. This is the internal hemorrhage that almost killed me. It so often reminds me of the words of Malcolm X: “The only thing worse than death is betrayal.” More Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in Vietnam. Many of my friends did not die in Vietnam, but as a result of being there. A very close vet friend of mine hung himself in a motel room several years ago.
Q & A between the Associated Press’s Matthew Lee and the State Department’s Jen Psaki: Lee: President Maduro [of Venezuela] last night went on the air and said that they had arrested multiple people who were allegedly behind a coup that was backed by the United States. What is your response? Psaki: These latest accusations, like all previous such accusations, are ludicrous. As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful, and legal. We have seen many times that the Venezuelan Government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela. These efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Venezuelan Government to deal with the grave situation it faces. Lee: Sorry. The US has – whoa, whoa, whoa – the US has a longstanding practice of not promoting – What did you say? How longstanding is that? I would – in particular in South and Latin America, that is not a longstanding practice. Psaki: Well, my point here, Matt, without getting into history –
Three protesters were detained at the gate of a United States Marine base on Okinawa on Sunday during the largest demonstration yet against the start of construction of a new airfield there, protesters and local media said. The Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper said that at least 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Camp Schwab, near the village of Henoko, where Japanese and U.S. officials have agreed to relocate the busy Futenma air base from a more densely populated part of the southern Japanese island. The relocation, first proposed in the 1990s, has been delayed for years because of local opposition, much to the frustration of Washington. But construction of the replacement airfield appears to have finally begun under Shinzo Abe, the conservative Japanese prime minister who has vowed closer ties between his nation and the U.S., its postwar protector.
Spring Rising is quickly gathering steam and looks to be one of the largest Antiwar Events in DC since the fall of 05′. We realize that not everyone can come to DC. We also realize that the more voices we have rising as one across not only the U.S. but globally will have a huge impact and will make our voices for Peace even louder. The clock is ticking. Soon Congress will debate and as we know, ultimately pass the Authorization for Military Force (AUMF) giving the President the authorization he wants to sustain endless wars. Please join us in solidarity in your hometown. Tell us about your solidarity events in the contact form below and we will list and promote your action.
After a week here in FMC Lexington Satellite camp, a federal prison in Kentucky, I started catching up on national and international news via back issues of USA Today available in the prison library, and an “In Brief” item, on p. 2A of the Jan. 30 weekend edition, caught my eye. It briefly described a protest in Washington, D.C., in which members of the antiwar group Code Pink interrupted a U.S. Senate Armed Services budget hearing chaired by Senator John McCain. The protesters approached a witness table where Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and George Schulz were seated. One of their signs called Henry Kissinger a war criminal. “McCain,” the article continued, “blurted out, ‘Get out of here, you low-life scum.’” At mail call, a week ago, I received Richard Clarke’s novel, The Sting of the Drone, (May 2014, St. Martin’s Press), about characters involved in developing and launching drone attacks.
A Chicago detective who led one of the most shocking acts of torture ever conducted at Guantánamo Bay was responsible for implementing a disturbingly similar, years-long regime of brutality to elicit murder confessions from minority Americans. In a dark foreshadowing of the United States’ post-9/11 descent into torture, a Guardian investigation can reveal that Richard Zuley, a detective on Chicago’s north side from 1977 to 2007, repeatedly engaged in methods of interrogation resulting in at least one wrongful conviction and subsequent cases more recently thrown into doubt following allegations of abuse. Zuley’s record suggests a continuum between police abuses in urban America and the wartime detention scandals that continue to do persistent damage to the reputation of the United States.
The army will deploy new unmanned ground vehicles that can carry remote-controled weapons and sensors for surveillance missions to patrol the Gazan border this year. The Tomcar-based Guardium, produced by Israeli defense company G-NIUS Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles, has spent the past six years patrolling the Gaza border, carrying out reconnaissance missions. This year, it will be replaced by a UGV called Border Patroller, which will soon enter operations. The new UGV, also produced by G-NIUS (a joint venture company established by Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems), is based on the Ford F-350 Super Duty Truck, which the army has converted into a remote-controled vehicle.
Meet American torture victim Darrell Cannon. On the morning of Nov. 2, 1983, Cannon, then 32 years old, was tortured while in the custody of the Chicago Police Department. Officers escorted him from his Southside home at 7:30am and took him to a local precinct where they shocked him in the testicles and the mouth with an electric cattle prod and struck his knees with a baton, trying to force him to confess to a murder he didn’t commit. Cannon gave a false confession around 2pm that afternoon. He spent the next 24 years in prison until he was exonerated and released in 2007. While serving his sentence, Cannon sued for damages in connection with the torture; he was awarded the paltry sum of $3,000 and left with $1,247 after costs and legal fees were deducted.