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The Intercept – New Online Journal

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THE//INTERCEPT

The//Intercept

Here is the new online journal from First Look Media. A collaboration between Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Pierre Omidyar.

Welcome to The Intercept

We are very excited to welcome everyone to The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media (FLM). The Intercept, which the three of us created, is the first of what will be numerous digital magazines published by FLM. Read more

The opening article is: The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people. Read more


Glenn Greenwald: “*** no American, no matter your political affiliation or ideology, should accept the idea that the president of the United States has the power to order American citizens killed, not on a battlefield or anywhere else that is in a war zone, but simply on the suspicion that they intend to engage in future criminal behavior. To describe that power is to describe the most extremist and out-of-control government you can get.”

–Joe
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The World Loves Snowden

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121813_Snowden-HeroPerson of the Year – Edward Snowden

Black Agenda Report

Freedom Rider: Edward Snowden: Person of the Year

Wed, 12/18/2013 – 10:27 — Margaret Kimberley
Edward Snowden is vilified as a “traitor” by politicians of the American political duopoly, and hunted like Public Enemy Number One by the global imperial apparatus. However, for a large proportion of Earthlings, Snowden has made the singular contribution to humanity of the year 2013.

There is not very much democracy left in America, a country which endlessly brags about how democratic it is. Every now and again we are pleasantly surprised when the people and their interests are served instead of the 1% and their factotums in government. Those moments are few and far between but when they take place it is always because an individual decides to take on the system directly. In 2013 Edward Snowden was the person who risked his freedom to tell every human being with access to modern communications that they were under United States government surveillance.

Click here to continue:

[Source]

–Joe

The NEW Meaning for “Second-Class Citizen”

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[UPDATE Below]

America redefines the meaning of being a Second Class Citizen.

US Kills Anwar al-Awlaki, a US Citizen

The “Rule of Law” ?


[UPDATE :: Tuesday, October 18, 2011]

Joe Blow and the Unpeople

Noam Chomsky connects the dots and identifies the root cause of war. Here is an excerpt posted on Democracy Now:

MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky, the world renewed linguist and political dissident, spoke Monday night at Barnard College in New York City about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just hours before Israel and Hamas completed a historic prisoner exchange. “I think [Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit] should have been released a long time ago, but there’s something missing from this whole story. There are no pictures of Palestinian women, no discussion, in fact, in the story of, what about the Palestinian prisoners being released? Where do they come from?” Chomsky says. “There is a lot to say about that. For example, we do not know — at least I do not read it in The Times — whether the release includes the elected officials who were kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel in 2007 when the United States, the European Union, and Israel decided to dissolve the only freely elected legislature in the Arab world.” Chomsky also discussed the recent U.S. assassination of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. “Almost all of the critics, of whom there were not many, criticized the action or qualified it because of the fact that al-Awlaki was an American citizen,” Chomksy says. “That is, he was a person, unlike suspects who are intentionally murdered or collateral damage, meaning we treat them kind of like the ants we step on when we walk down the street — they’re not American citizens. They are unpeople, therefore, they can be freely murdered.”

Then there’s this: U.S. Accused of Killing 16-Year-Old American Citizen in Yemen Drone Strike – More Unpeople.

In news from Yemen, the U.S. government is being accused of killing a 16-year-old U.S. citizen in a drone strike last week. The teenager — Abdulrahman al-Awlaki — become the third American killed in Yemen in a U.S. drone strike in the past three weeks. He was the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric assassinated in a separate drone strike last month. Initial news accounts reported Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was 21 years-old, but his family says he was only 16. They said he was born in Denver in 1995. Nasser al-Awlaki, the boy’s grandfather said, “To kill a teenager is just unbelievable, really, and they claim that he is an al-Qaeda militant. It’s nonsense. They want to justify his killing, that’s all.”


–Joe

Osama Bin Laden Killed; the Impact? – MacLeod Cartoon

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I just couldn’t pass this one up.

It’s been my opinion for some years now, that at some point the world population will get over their governments love affair with America and will stop tolerating the American assault on sovereign rights and begin to enforce the American-style (Osama bin Laden) Justice on individual Americans. Probably why I think the cartoon is so appropriate. The question is, was this the match that lights that fire?

–Joe

Dark Age Barbarism

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… and Freedom of Religion.

What freedom of religion means to most Americans is the right to judge their neighbor. Did you ever think about what the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses are really saying to you when they come, uninvited to your door offering to reeducate you about the Bible, Jesus Christ and Almighty God so you can worship God in truth like they do? What about the other Missionary Ministries that tell you to be accepted as a Christian you first must be saved of your sins. To do that you must to be redeemed by Jesus Christ.  This Gospel of Jesus Christ has been spread to every nation on this Earth by these two religious peoples. They join an illustrious group of Evangelicals and other missionary minded religions that believe they are doing Christ’s work. Christian people have expanded great energies in their fervent beliefs that these words of Jesus are their mandate: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” -KJV

Why do they think you need their information? What do they expect you to do when you get it? What makes any of them think that what Jesus’ preached is the Gospel they preach? Why would one Christian religion enforce their freedom to try to convert another Christian religion? Is this presumed freedom not the root cause of intolerance in direct defiance of Jesus explicit teachings?

Unfortunately, the record for religious tolerance for all people to practice their religious beliefs throughout the history of America is exceedingly abysmal. The Christian Post September 13, 2010 article: Koran Burning: How Dare the Muslim World Lecture America on Religious Tolerance is a good example of the attitude that drives this intolerance. What motivates these people to foist their beliefs upon their fellow neighbors is exactly why they discriminate against all other non-Christian religions and religious peoples. As a “saved” people, recognized by the Hand of God through Jesus Christ these Christians take on the mantle of an exceptional people directly blessed and protected by God. Enclaves of Christians throughout the World take on the trappings of what America does to other religions and religious peoples. The common belief is that“Islamic Terrorists” are the spawn of an Islamic aberration therefore Islam and all that are Islamic are responsible for the war. For decades in Iraq, the Shiite religious majority people were able to live together with their ruling minority Sunni brothers. No thanks to America’s intervention to save all the people from despotic rule and enforced majority governance, as soon as the Shiites got control they cleansed the country of the Sunni. What you never hear much about is that they also cleared out almost all the Christians too.

These are the consequences of what happens where Christians are a minority. This is a real concern among Christian religions throughout the world when the Muslim (Islam) minority are attacked in America. The Wall Street Journal had an article back in January of this years: “Islamic Christianophobia” – The world ignores the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. On Friday, September 10, 2010, The Independent had Patrick Cockburn: The fires of religious fury are easily lit but hard to put out – Christian communities in the Muslim world that date back 2,000 years are finally being extinguished. Then there is: NYC Mosque Rhetoric May Harm Persecuted Christians in The Christian Post September 2, 2010. They point out that there are millions of Christians in the Middle East and “hateful rhetoric being used by opponents of the proposed mosque near ground zero can result in violence against Christians living in Muslim-dominated countries.”

It would seem that this war on Islamic Terrorist has boxed these warmongering heretics into a corner. Perhaps Michael Moore has the solution: If the ‘Mosque’ Isn’t Built, This Is No Longer America – It’s time to move on beyond all the bigotry, lies and emotional claptrap of hurt feelings and sensitivity and deal with what’s really in jeopardy.
[Source]

–Joe

“War Exception”-Assassination by Accusation

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[ADDENDUM below]

Below is a post titled : “Death by Accusation.” The title probably should have been: Assassination by Accusation. The following is an addendum to that article by the same author. I’ve attached an excerpt, but the whole article is worth reading and considering.

Anyone with a clear understanding of conflict and war knows that military might with the inherent threat to annihilate the earth is no guarantee of victory. Yet America is going broke morally, ethically, legally, and financially by continuing to fight a war based upon lies and no legal, might I say legitimate constitutional

basis. War is about will. Illegitimate corruption degrades or disempowers the will. The so-called terrorists at 9/11 attacked an illegitimate government with the intent to attack this country at its weakest point — WILL.

The fact is, America’s response was and is “by the numbers.” This issue defines our destruction – the sickness from within. Here’s what Mr. Greenwald says:

On the claimed “war exception” to the Constitution

BY GLENN GREENWALD

Far beyond the specific injustices of assassinating Americans without trials, the real significance, the real danger, is that we continue to be frightened into radically altering our system of government.  In Slateyesterday, Dahlia Lithwick encapsulated this problem perfectly; her whole article should be read, but this excerpt is superb:

America has slid back again into its own special brand of terrorism-derangement syndrome. Each time this condition recurs, it presents with more acute and puzzling symptoms. . . .

Moreover, each time Republicans go to their terrorism crazy-place, they go just a little bit farther than they did the last time, so that things that made us feel safe last year make us feel vulnerable today. . . . In short, what was once tough on terror is now soft on terror. And each time the Republicans move their own crazy-place goal posts, the Obama administration moves right along with them. . . .

We’re terrified when a terror attack happens, and we’re also terrified when it’s thwarted. We’re terrified when we give terrorists trials, and we’re terrified when we warehouse them at Guantanamo without trials. If a terrorist cooperates without being tortured we complain about how much more he would have cooperated if he hadn’t been read his rights. No matter how tough we’ve been on terror, we will never feel safe enough to ask for fewer safeguards. . . .

But here’s the paradox: It’s not a terrorist’s time bomb that’s ticking. It’s us. Since 9/11, we have become ever more willing to suspend basic protections and more contemptuous of American traditions and institutions. The failed Christmas bombing and its political aftermath have revealed that the terrorists have changed very little in the eight-plus years since the World Trade Center fell. What’s changing — what’s slowly ticking its way down to zero — is our own certainty that we can never be safe enough and our own confidence in the rule of law.

This descent has certainly not reversed itself — it has not really even slowed — with the election of a President who repeatedly vowed to reject this mentality.  Just consider what Al Gore said in his truly excellent 2006 speech decrying the “Constitutional crisis” under the Bush presidency:

Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution?

If the answer is yes, then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited?

If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can’t he do?

Here we are, almost four years later with a new party in power, and the President’s top intelligence official announces — without any real controversy — that the President claims the power to assassinate American citizens with no charges, no trials, no judicial oversight of any kind.  The claimed power isn’t “inherent” — it’s based on alleged Congressional approval — but it’s safeguard-free and due-process-free just the same.  As Gore asked of less severe policies in 2006, if the President can do that, “then what can’t he do?”  As long as we stay petrified of the Terrorists and wholly submissive whenever the word “war” is uttered, the answer will continue to be:  “nothing.”  We’ll have Presidents now and then who are marginally more restrained than others — as the current President is marginally more restrained than the prior one — but what Lithwick calls our “willingness to suspend basic protections and become more contemptuous of American traditions and institutions” will continue unabated.

In the real world, America has already lost the “war” by becoming what it is fighting.

ADDENDUM :: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Democracy Now interviewed Rep. Dennis Kucinich and blogger and attorney Glenn Greenwald. Dennis Kucinich affirms the legal protections granted all American citizens and wants to know by what authority The President of the United States can murder an American citizen on his say-so alone. Dennis Kucinich’s most distressing comment regarding legal justification had to do with presidential declarations “declaring three states of national emergency,” “one relating to 9/11, another one relating to the war on terror, and a third one relating to Iran.”

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, Congress has the authority, under a joint resolution, to challenge any presidential directive. It’s not widely known, Amy, but there are at least three states of national emergency that we’re operating under right now by presidential declaration: one relating to 9/11, another one relating to the war on terror, and a third one relating to Iran. You know, this idea of being governed by an edict, of being locked into this war on terror, poses all kinds of challenges to our Constitution. I take an oath to defend the Constitution. And when I see in the Fifth Amendment where it says that no one should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, I want to know what’s the constitutional basis for suspending this provision for anyone, even for a moment, because if this is—if this, in any sense, can be set aside, then we are on a slippery slope to anti-democracy.

Kucinich points out why this should be important to all American citizens no matter where they live:

*****  And what’s happened is that the Constitution is being vitiated here. The idea that people are—have—if their life is in jeopardy, legally have due process of law, is thrown out the window.
And, Amy, when you consider that there are people who are claiming there are many terrorist cells in the United States, it doesn’t take too much of a stretch to imagine that this policy could easily be transferred to citizens in this country. That doesn’t—that only compounds what I think is a slow and steady detachment from core constitutional principles. And once that happens, we have a country then that loses its memory and its soul, with respect to being disconnected from those core constitutional principles which are the basis of freedom in our society.

If you consider the possibility that this, the destruction of America’s soul, was the real target on 9/11, then you would have admit they’ve rather successful.

–Joe

Tell Me Words Don’t Matter!

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A longstanding argument of this Report is that “words are important,” that “words mean what they say.” That is how the intentions of the speaker or writer are communicated or expressed. Today we hear that it is unacceptable to use the word “negro” in normal day-to-day language. Use the evil “N” word and you commit suicide. Reason? It offends some “…” people. Well, the use of the term “African-American” offended me! That term means “African” first, “American” second. As an American “white,” with roots that go back to the beginning of this country, I find such usage and it’s overt acceptance is a direct implication of my second-class status.

Keeping and protecting their African heritage at the cost of their American reality has dominated their movement toward individuality and their maturity as a race within the American context is self-evident. Simple-minded, knee jerk reactions, however well intended, because someone’s sensitivities are tweaked, can lead to some rather undesirable and unintended consequences. But then, that’s usually the undisclosed plan, especially one with an ulterior motive, isn’t it?

Today we see an effort to actually recognize the value and meaning of words expressed in law. In the state of Washington –

Decades ago, poor children became known as “disadvantaged” to soften the stigma of poverty. Then they were “at-risk.” Now, a Washington lawmaker wants to replace those euphemisms with a new one, “at hope.”

Lovely word “euphemisms.” It means: “the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.”

Democratic State Sen. Rosa Franklin says negative labels are hurting kids’ chances for success and she’s not a bit concerned that people will be confused by her proposed rewrite of the 54 places in state law where words like “at risk” and “disadvantaged” are used.

You can read the rest of the story here:

Wash. lawmaker wants to banish negative language

Of course there’s the expected standard simple-minded Republican response:

“It’s not the label, it’s the people who show up to help (children) that make the difference,” he says. “What helps is a smart, well structured program, that has funding and credibility.”

You can read Robert Preidt report on HealthDay News published at MedicineNet.com, “Negative Words Register Faster” and see why I say “simple-minded.” Class stigmatisms are subliminally contained in the attitude expressed by the words used to tag, classify and identify people. It is a “truth” nearly impossible to overcome.

This is nowhere expressed more succinctly than in this statement by a Federal Judge at the Sentencing Hearing of Richard Reid: “And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

Yes, words matter. Words of truth do not make anyone a bigot, a racist, or a monster. But then, Jesus Christ spoke words of truth defending and empowering the “disadvantaged” and “at risk” and look what happened to him!

[Picture source]

–Joe

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