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Sunday, June 09, 2013

Bush-Obama US dirty wars: technological hit squads, mercenaries, kill lists, militarization of intelligence and police and domestic spying.

08 JUNE 2013 - 20H14  FRANCE 24

New documentary warns against Obama's 'Dirty Wars'

AFP - A new documentary released Friday portrays US secret raids against terror suspects as a misguided assassination campaign that generates new enemies and tarnishes America's image.
In "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield," journalist Jeremy Scahill condemns the "targeted killing" of purported Al-Qaeda linked militants in missile strikes and night raids by commandos as an ominous, permanent state of war that is "spinning out of control."
The film tries to shed light on operations conducted in the shadows since the September 11, 2001 attacks, focusing on civilians cut down in Afghanistan and Yemen.
The documentary recounts a botched raid by special operations forces in the Afghan village of Gardez that killed five people, including two pregnant women.
The documentary has poignant home videos taken by the Afghan family, showing a festive gathering with dancing and laughter only minutes before loved ones are gunned down.
One of the victims turns out to be an Afghan policeman, who was trained by the Americans.
Villagers vent their outrage afterward, vowing to fighting the bearded commandos they call the "American Taliban."
"If the Americans do this again, we are ready to shed our blood fighting them," one Afghan says.
Word leaks out about the raid and US forces initially insist their victims are Taliban insurgents, before apologizing later for a tragic error.
Scahill said in an interview with AFP that the secret operations are counter-productive and morally corrosive, sowing more anti-American hostility.
"I've come to the conclusion over the course of years of doing this work that we are creating more new enemies than killing actual terrorists," said Scahill, who wrote a book about the scandal-plagued Blackwater private security firm.
"The point of the film is not to tell people how to think about these things, but to present them with a different narrative than we generally hear on television."
In Yemen, the documentary features a tribal leader and former parliament member describing a Tomahawk cruise missile strike in 2009 on a Bedouin village, al-Majalah, that he says killed more than 40 innocent people, including children.
The Yemeni government claimed credit for the strike at the time and said it was targeting an Al-Qaeda training camp. Diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks later confirmed that it was a US cruise missile.
For a documentary, "Dirty Wars" adopts an unconventional approach, with Scahill's narration resembling a world-weary detective trying to uncover the truth.
"I returned to Sanaa but I wasn't sure why," Scahill says at one point.
The clipped, noir-style may win "Dirty Wars" a wider audience but it sometimes distracts from the serious questions raised by the film.
The most controversial segment focuses on the killing of the American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was taken out in a drone strike in September 2011.
It was not until last month that the Obama administration openly admitted killing Awlaki, a US citizen, and the White House insists he was hunted down not because of his anti-US propaganda but because he was directly involved in terrorist plots against America.
But Scahill has a different view, arguing Awlaki was targeted for his rhetoric and should have been prosecuted in a US court.
The documentary suggests Awlaki had turned from a moderate-minded spiritual leader based in the US state of Virginia to an angry extremist because of an anti-Islamic climate in the United States after 9/11.
"America had helped to create the very man it was trying to kill," Scahill says.
Days before the film opened, Obama delivered a speech in which he pledged to rein in the war on terror and impose stricter rules on drone strikes.
But Scahill said he remains deeply skeptical.
"I saw it as President Obama creating an infrastructure that will ensure that the drone program continues... in perpetuity."
Scahill, who writes for the left-leaning Nation magazine, argues Democrats have failed to hold Obama to account for expanding secret assassinations begun when George W. Bush was in the White House.
"(Former vice president Dick) Cheney must be sitting back somewhere with a deep sense of envy and a sense of awe and gratitude that Obama kind of kept it going for them," he said.
"Obama's better at their own game than they are."


  1. A review of classified US intelligence records has revealed that the CIA could not confirm the identity of about a quarter of the people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan during a period spanning from 2010 to 2011.

    According to a purportedly exclusive report by NBC News that mirrors findings of an April analysis by McClatchy, between September 3, 2010 and October 30, 2011 the agency’s drone program over Pakistan routinely designated those killed as “other militants,” a label used when the CIA could not determine affiliation, if any.

    The review by NBC News paints both a confusing and troubling picture of the CIA’s reported drone strike success, which three former Obama administration officials feared could have missed or simply ignored mistakes.

    Of the 14 months worth of classified documents reviewed, 26 out of 114 attacks designate fatalities as “other militants,” while in four other attacks those killed are only described as “foreign fighters.”

    Even more irregular are the cases when entry records conflict on the number of those killed, with one such example indicating a drone attack had killed seven to 10 combatants, and another estimating 20 to 22 fatalities.

    By comparison, McClatchy’s April review of drone strikes revealed that at least 265 of up to 482 people that the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al-Qaeda leaders, but were instead “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and “unknown extremists.” Corroborating media accounts show that US drones killed only six top al-Qaeda leaders during the same period.

    One key term in analyzing drone strike records are what are known as “signature” strikes, when drones kill suspects based on behavior patterns but without positive identification, versus “personality” strike, which is when drone targets are known terrorist affiliates whose identities are verified.

    According to an anonymous senior intelligence official who spoke to NBC, at the peak of drone operations in Pakistan in 2009 and 2010 as many as half of all kills were classified as “signature” strikes.

    One former senior intelligence official said that at the height of the drone program in Pakistan in 2009 and 2010, as many as half of the strikes were classified as signature strikes.

    Retired Admiral Dennis Blair, the former Director of National Intelligence from 2009 to 2010, addressed NBC’s report with the claim that the precision of drone strikes was superior to those of traditional battlefield weapons.

    “In Afghanistan and Iraq and places where you have troops in combat ... you know better with drones who you’re killing than you do when you’re calling in artillery fire from a spotter [or] calling in an airplane strike,” he said.

    “This is no different from decisions that are made on the battlefield all the time by soldiers and Marines who are being shot at, not knowing who fired the shot, having to make judgments on shooting back or not. This is the nature of warfare,” added Blair.

    As to just how analysts arrive at determining unverified, “signature” drone targets, that system relies on data which draws connections between the unidentified individuals and known militants. That might entail monitoring everything from the frequency that a suspect visits a particular location, meets certain individuals, or makes phone calls and sends emails.


  2. {…}

    During a key speech defending his administration’s use of targeted drone killings in May, President Obama defended the CIA’s drone program as a “legal,” “lethal” and “effective” counterterrorism tool, while at the same time acknowledging some civilian casualties.

    A report entitled “Living Under Drones,” jointly released by Stanford University and New York University in 2012, is far less muted on civilian casualties, and argues that the civilian death toll in drone strikes over Pakistan is far higher than is reported.

    In the classified reports reviewed by NBC News, for example, of the 600 some killed only one is listed as a civilian, a statistic which Micah Zenko, a drone expert at the Council on Foreign Relations described as “incredible.”

    The Stanford-NYU report, for its part, bases its conclusions on 130 interviews, as well as a review of media reports, though the methodology employed can itself be a subject of debate.

    Separately, an Associated Press investigation in 2012 reported that out of 10 drone strikes over a period of 18 months, Pakistani villagers claimed that only 70 per cent of those killed by US strikes were militants, with the rest either civilians or tribal police.

  3. Did you ever believe that you could wake up and see these story lines about this country?

    * Whistleblower’s NSA warning: ‘Just the tip of the iceberg’...

    * CODE NAMED: Boundless Informant…

    * Top Spook Blasts ‘Reckless' Media and Leakers ...

    * Justice Dept Fights Release of Court Opinion Finding Unconstitutional Surveillance…

    * USA spends $80 billion year on secret information gathering…

    * Postal service photographs front and back of EVERY piece of mail it processes…

    * Limbaugh: ‘We are in the midst of a coup'...

    * SAVAGE: NSA snooping ‘biggest scandal of your entire life'...

    * Government to open criminal probe into leaks about leaks…

    * Leno: ‘We Wanted a President That Listens to All Americans - Now We Have One'...

    * Assange: US rule of law suffering 'calamitous collapse'...

  4. What is behind all these revelations? If Rufus is correct, the hype about them could serve a more sinister purpose and that goes to Syria:

    Qusayr, the Stalingrad of the terrorist death squads
    Another principle of Bilderberg complaint against Obama has emerged with greater urgency during the last several days. The civil war in Syria systematically fomented by NATO intelligence with the help of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the other reactionary Persian Gulf monarchies has now reached a decisive turning point with the fall of the rebel stronghold of Qusayr on June 5. Tens of thousands of terrorists organized into anti-Assad death squads over several years with the help of the CIA and the State Department now face short-term defeat, rout, encirclement, and annihilation. In the meantime, the British and especially the French government are busy manufacturing dubious stories about the alleged use of poison gas by the Syrian government against the Anglo-French terrorist clients. This operation reeks of the worst neocolonialism: it is the Paris-London entente cordiale of 1904, the Sykes-Picot powers, and the infamous duo of Suez 1956, who are demanding the re-imposition of colonial rule in the Levant. Ironically, current Russian opposition and US skepticism in regard to this project are also a distant echo of that same Suez crisis.

    The British, the French, the Israelis, and the neocons are doing everything possible to pressure Obama into attacking Syria and Hezbollah now, a move which would commit him to an attack on Iran a little later. Obama is guilty of numerous crimes and atrocities, including drone strikes, assassinations, cyber warfare, economic sanctions, the bombing of Libya, and many more, but the simple fact is that the Syrian crisis has gone on for more than two years and Obama is still refusing to launch the massive US bombing campaign demanded by the British Colonel Blimps and the French Vichy nostalgics. No one can tell how long Obama’s resolve will last, but this is the reality we have observed so far. Even Obama’s appointments of the warmongers and meddlers Susan Rice and Samantha Power to important regime posts can be variously interpreted. According to one view, these two charming ladies are being set up as prominent and visible targets for the raving attacks of the Congressional tea party fanatics, meaning that Obama personally will be spared a significant part of the flak. Whether Obama will ever follow their urgings towards aggression has yet to be seen. He turned down a demand from Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey and Petraeus to arm the Syrian death squads in the fall of 2012, and Rice and Power are both far weaker than that combination.

  5. On the same day that Qusayr fell, the British and French governments hysterically demanded that Obama undertake a total bombing campaign against Syria, whatever the consequences in regard to Russia and other powers. To his credit, Obama is continuing to say no to this lunatic Anglo-French neocolonial adventure. On that same June 5, the London-based daily The Guardian, in an article by the expatriate American Glenn Greenwald, hyped a court order from the secret FISA panel of federal judges showing that the US National Security Agency was routinely monitoring the telephone records (including time, locations, call duration, and unique identifiers, but not the contents of the conversations) of possibly unlimited millions of Verizon phone subscribers. Back in the US, reactionary talk show hosts began screaming “Obama taps your phones!”

    On June 6, again in advance of every other newspaper in the world, The Guardian published another article by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill revealing that the National Security Agency, under a program called Prism, had obtained direct access to the servers of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Youtube, Skype, AOL, and Microsoft, and was busily monitoring the content of e-mails, file transfers, and live conversations. Back in the US, reactionary talk show hosts began screaming, “Obama reads your e-mail!”

    Under George Bush, warrantless wiretaps and similar illegal programs were revealed by various media organs. These revelations had minimal impact on Bush, whose base was indifferent to civil liberties. Obama’s base, by contrast, cares very much, and has been visibly upset by these new reports. While strongly condemning these totalitarian programs, we must also not lose sight of who is putting these reports into circulation, and why. Phone taps are bad, but a general war in the Middle East leading to a possible Third World War is far worse.

    The British and French defense and intelligence establishment (they have virtually merged) want Obama and the American people to take the lead and shoulder the risk in a perilous attack on Syria, in time to preserve the death squads so they can fight another day in another country. London and Paris, of course, see themselves as the principal beneficiaries of the breakup of Syria. Since Obama is currently blocking their plans, they are bringing up their big guns of scandal, with the center-left Guardian evidently chosen to take the point, doubtless to obtain more attention among Obama’s leftist supporters. (During the initial Clinton scandals of Whitewatergate and Troopergate, the flagship of scandal was the reactionary London-based Daily Telegraph, especially through its columnists Peregrine Worthshorne and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.)

  6. WASHINGTON, NYT — The Syrian opposition will not attend the proposed Geneva conference on the crisis in Syria unless rebel fighters receive new supplies of arms and ammunition, the top rebel military commander said Friday.

    “If we don’t receive ammunition and weapons to change the position on the ground, to change the balance on the ground, very frankly I can say we will not go to Geneva,” Gen. Salim Idris said in a telephone interview from his headquarters in northern Syria. “There will be no Geneva.”

    Secretary of State John Kerry announced in May that the United States and Russia planned to organize an international meeting that would bring together representatives of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Syrian opposition. The aim of the meeting, which has emerged as the centerpiece of Mr. Kerry’s Syria strategy, is to negotiate a transitional government that would take control if Mr. Assad agreed to vacate his position. A date for the Geneva conference has yet to be set.

  7. From the Jerusalem Post:

    The Syrian regime asked Israel not to fire on its tanks in the Golan Heights buffer zone between the two countries during Thursday’s internecine fighting in the area, according to a report apparently by the United Nations peacekeeping troops on the Golan.

    The Syrian armed forces were battling opposition troops who had briefly seized control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria.

    American journalist Nabil Abi Saab, who regularly covers United Nations activity in his blog UN-Report, on Saturday posted a copy of a document apparently from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which monitors the ceasefire between Israel and Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur.

    Saab writes in his blog that he was informed by diplomats that the document was sent to the UN Security Council on Friday, by Herve Ladsous, UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations. The report states that the IDF warned UNDOF that it would "take action" if Syrian army tanks continued to operate in the buffer zone.

    After receiving the message, the Syria regime asked that Israel refrain from firing on its vehicles as "the presence of the tanks was solely for the purpose of fighting the armed members of the opposition." Israel acceded to the request, but did confirm that it had given medical treatment to members of the Syria opposition wounded in the fighting.

  8. “This [split] was the most dangerous development in the history of global jihad”

    -Jabhat al-Nusra fighterAl-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has ruled against the merger of two jihadi groups based in Syria and Iraq.

    Two months ago, the leader the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) - the largest jihadi umbrella group in the country - unilaterally declared a merger with the Syrian-based Jabhat al-Nusra to form a new group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    The leadership of Jabhat al-Nusra, considered a terrorist organisation by the US for its affiliation with al-Qaeda, balked at the declaration by the head of ISI, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    Al-Nusra is considered to be one of the most effective armed groups in the battle against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    But after Baghdadi released a video in April declaring the formation of the ISIL, many of al-Nusra’s fighters, especially non-Syrians, left to join the new umbrella group.

    "This [split] was the most dangerous development in the history of global jihad," an al-Nusra source inside Syria told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

    The divisions and turf battles between commanders prompted the head of al-Nusra, Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, to send a letter to Zawahiri in Afghanistan to arbitrate between the two groups.

    Zawahiri’s verdict came this week in letters sent to Joulani and Baghdadi.

    According to sources in both groups, Zawahiri ruled that the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria will be al-Nusra.

    Baghdadi's command is limited to Iraq, according to a note that Joulani circulated to his fighters relaying the wishes of Zawahiri. This note was seen by Al Jazeera and al-Nusra sources confirmed its authenticity.

  9. The question is:

    Is the timing and coalition of all these leaks about the US internal security apparatus an attempt to force Obama to get the US involved in the Syrian conflict and take political pressure off himself?


  10. He turned down a demand from Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey and Petraeus to arm the Syrian death squads in the fall of 2012, and Rice and Power are both far weaker than that combination.

    1. We rant about McNutz, but it seems like the Shrilldebeast has a hard time saying No to war, also.

  11. If these people are Al Queda, and Al Q. affiliates, shouldn't we be sending Drones over there to kill them?

  12. Two Wars going at once - strong drugs for the Military/Industrial Complex. Heady time for the Generals, indeed.

    Now, one war is over, and the other is winding down. No heroin addict ever saw a withdrawal as tough as this one.

    They really, really want their Iran War.

    Really, really.

    1. Grow that switchgrass, make that ethanol,

      just doesn't evoke the same visceral reaction as Bomb the Damned Iranians, On to Tehran.

    2. Harsh sanctions with no exceptions is the way to avoid war with Iran.

      Sadly Obama is not doing that.

      AIPAC has lead the charge to avoid war for almost 14 straight years calling for strong sanctions on Iran and the revolutionary guards (and their assets). Regime change is the BET way to avoid war. Sadly Obama didnt support that option either when peaceful protests were crushed by the Iranians.

      AIPAC has lead this nations attempts to avoid war by squeezing the Iranians in their pockets. Again this has failed due to successive administrations giving exemptions to China, Turkey and Europe (21 nations in all) to allow that IF they do business with Iran they cannot do business with America. (of course this exclusion does not apply to food and medicine)

      AIPAC's long vision of war avoidance is well documented. AIPAC has supported strong, straightforward sanctions against Teheran, to this aim? It has been sidelined by several Presidents.

    3. But dont let the uninformed and misinformed tell you otherwise.

      To the critics of AIPAC... Do you KNOW what legislation AIPAC has supported for the last 14 years?

      Do you KNOW what Americans that are members of AIPAC say to their elected representatives?

      Really? DO you? Or do you just buy into whispers and allusions?

    4. What is good for AIPAC is good for America? Here is some of the latest:

      Public differences between members of Congress and AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) have largely been papered over in recent weeks, but there remains a palpable sense of frustration with AIPAC’s legislative policy agenda on Capitol Hill. 

      The unprecedented dearth of support for parts of AIPAC’s legislative agenda this year may be a sign the façade of invincibility surrounding the Israel lobby is beginning to erode. In the case of ‘The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013’ (S. 462, H.R. 938), members of Congress appear to have defected en masse; weeks after introduction, the Senate version has only 15 cosponsors. 

      Numerous public reports and off-the-record accounts from legislators and staff signaled that the brazenness and late release of the Israel lobby's legislative demands blindsided both individual members and various committees. Provisions appeared tone deaf and legally problematic, even among Israel’s strongest supporters.


One such proposal, buried within AIPAC's long list of legislative demands, was language proposing that Israel be included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. The seemingly innocuous provision is easy to miss among a litany of other alarming proposals, including a tripwire provision to drag the U.S. into an Israeli initiated war with Iran, an exemption of Israel's annual military aid from sequestration cuts, and a vague but certainly problematic 'strategic ally' designation. 

      Shortly before its annual policy conference, AIPAC made known that it wanted Israel to be included in the Visa Waiver Program, and officials requested that adjustments be made to the program's requirement that Israel ‘extend reciprocal privileges to citizens and nationals of the United States.’ 

      According to off the record accounts, AIPAC officials told members of Congress that there would need to be flexibility on this legal requirement to accommodate Israel's ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans who attempt to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Behind closed doors, members of Congress and legal counsel alike balked at the idea that Israel be allowed in the program but remain exempt from the reciprocity requirement.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/292069-aipacs-legislative-agenda-dividing-members-of-congress#ixzz2Vj2Go2UD

    5. I would say that you found ONE piece of legislation that has not passed.

      I notice you ignored the sanctions issue that I spoke of...


      I also noticed you didnt list the hundreds of bills that passed with almost 100% from both sides of the Congress.

    6. I do like this that you posted:

      "According to off the record accounts, AIPAC officials told members of Congress that there would need to be flexibility on this legal requirement to accommodate Israel's ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans who attempt to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Behind closed doors, members of Congress and legal counsel alike balked at the idea that Israel be allowed in the program but remain exempt from the reciprocity requirement."

      Discrimination? Hardly. Arab and Muslim Americans that travel to Israel have no "RIGHT" to visit the Palestinians controlled lands via Israel. They are FREE to travel to Egypt or Jordan to make that trip. People that are hostile to the Nation of Israel are not OWED the right to USE Israel to spit on it.

      Arab and Muslim Americans are free to hate, protest, lobby and even support those that want to murder jews. They are just not OWED the luxury of traveling to Israel to do so. Nor the luxury of using Israel's hotel and transportation systems as well. Last I heard there are flights to Egypt and Jordan, dont let the camel fuck you in the ass on the way.

    7. The last thing the US needs is a strategic “tail wagging the dog" partnership with Israel.

      Nothing is more telling and to my taste, visually revolting and insulting than those AIPAC posters where the American flag is morphed with the Star of David. The audacity is palpable: Aipac, redesigning the US national flag, to express their triumphalism over the castrato in the US Congress. And before you have your conniption, that applies to every other lobby or foreign interloper.

      Can you imagine the shit fit if some klansman started hosting flags and banners with the Christian Cross morphed into the US flag?

    8. Why not stay on topic and respond to what I was talking about?

      AIPAC and the Sanctions acts.


    9. DeuceSun Jun 09, 09:45:00 AM EDT
      The last thing the US needs is a strategic “tail wagging the dog" partnership with Israel.

      Nothing is more telling and to my taste, visually revolting and insulting than those AIPAC posters where the American flag is morphed with the Star of David. The audacity is palpable: Aipac, redesigning the US national flag, to express their triumphalism over the castrato in the US Congress. And before you have your conniption, that applies to every other lobby or foreign interloper.

      Can you imagine the shit fit if some klansman started hosting flags and banners with the Christian Cross morphed into the US flag?

      Wow... equality.... what a concept

    10. Stalin and Saddam regularly passed legislation with 100% support. Castrato, indeed.

    11. But thanks for using the term "foreign interloper" and " some klansman

      I am sure the National Eagle Scout Association if they were morphing the Eagle with the Flag would not piss you off?

    12. Interesting pissiness.

      At EVERY AIPAC meeting the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.

      The American Flag is given it's honored position. In fact, the amount of American patriotism is amazing.

      You're nitpicking.

      But you need some issue to attack AIPAC since you hate it so much.

      Now back to the hundreds of PRO-American interest legislations that AIPAC has helped get to the Congress?

    13. The first place, your premise is full of shit. Israel has been making terroristic bombing attacks against Iranian scientists. Cyber attacks and attempts at regime change are acts of war.

    14. DeuceSun Jun 09, 09:48:00 AM EDT
      Stalin and Saddam regularly passed legislation with 100% support. Castrato, indeed.

      Congress RARELY passes anything with 100% support.

      Your statement, is specious. But you know that.

      But it is ACCURATE. " regularly "

      Congress doesnt pass anything regularly with 100% support.

      Except the one issue it deems to be non-partisan.

      To make that comparison? Again shows your bias and not a rational discussion.

      Anti-terrorism legislation and Sanctions against Syrian and Iran do gather almost 100% support cause the issue is RIGHT.

      No dictator here... Try again.

    15. DeuceSun Jun 09, 09:52:00 AM EDT
      The first place, your premise is full of shit. Israel has been making terroristic bombing attacks against Iranian scientists. Cyber attacks and attempts at regime change are acts of war.

      Really? can you PROVE that?

      And as for cyber attacks, it seems that America was behind most of those as well.

      As for acts of war?

      Iran and Israel are already in an official state of war.

      Iran murders israeli citizens on a regular basis as a state function. IF Israel took out a specific scientist? All fair in war.

      Now the bombing of a Washington DC restaurant, Jewish community Center, a Bulgarian Tour Bus now that's state sponsored terrorism.

      Unless you are now arguing that Iran is innocent of state sponsored terrorism?

    16. Deuce you love to change the variables to argue...

      like a sliding scale...

      Want to talk about the cyber attacks?

      Want to talk about those iranian scientists getting whacked?

      go for it...

      but you just sweep issues together like a tossed salad...

    17. I don’t do the pledge of allegiance,

    18. DeuceSun Jun 09, 10:00:00 AM EDT
      I don’t do the pledge of allegience.


      That's the FUNNIEST thing I heard today!

    19. Bullshit created by a baptist minister as a scheme to sell flags.

    20. I follow the US Constitution and swore an oath to defend that. No god, no flag, no priest, no Baptist minister, no political hack, No anything except that which I believe in.

    21. Frankly, I am surprised a devout Jew would pledge allegiance to a flag.

    22. You stated: Nothing is more telling and to my taste, visually revolting and insulting than those AIPAC posters where the American flag is morphed with the Star of David. The audacity is palpable: Aipac, redesigning the US national flag, to express their triumphalism over the castrato in the US Congress. And before you have your conniption, that applies to every other lobby or foreign interloper.

      "a flag"

      Well, to me the FLAG is a symbol. Not to be disgraced. But honored. My family died for what it represents.

      Your lack of understanding is breathtaking about so many issues..

    23. Ah, I'm flashing back on Eddie Izzard.

      So . . . . You all don't have a flag, eh? Interesting . . . .

    24. Rufus, why did your guys die in Viet Nam?

    25. You die in combat because the other guy gets lucky, and gets you, before YOU get lucky and get Him. About all there is to it, really.

    26. My cousin died because he stepped on a land mine. He was there because he was in the army and had no choice. He was sent to Viet Nam because two politicians, JFK and Lyndon Johnson thought we needed a war in Viet Nam. His aluminum casket was under an American flag. He did not die for that flag. He wanted to finish his tour and get home. He was not fighting for his family, he was fighting because he and his buddies were fighting to stay alive and leave in one piece. He, unfortunately, did not. His life was not glorified in death. He was broken to piece because some politicians made some bad decisions. Those politicians did not get broken to pieces.

    27. As to your point, in my time if you asked any Marine to sing the Marine Corps Hymn, he would answer with, "Hymn, Hymn, Fuck Him."

      I certainly never heard anybody mention anything about "dying for a fucking flag."

    28. LOL, everything is chicken shit.

    29. Those sailors on the USS Liberty, did they die for their flag? Seems to me that I read that sailors sunbathing on the ship said the flag was flying just fine. Maybe if they had one of those AIPAC American flags with a Star of David on they would have done better.
      You never know, but we did hear that shit happens, did we not?

    30. Napalmed for the flag. OOrah.

    31. Maybe if the Liberty was not where it was not supposed to be, violating direct orders it would not have been targeted.

      American flags are cheap. They burn them in Iran and all over the Arab world every day.

      I know that IF i was in the middle of a war zone and saw a ship flying a flag of America and KNEW that no American ship was supposed to be within 100 miles I would simply trust the fly I saw.

      /off sarcasm.

      Sailors sunbathing on a ship so close to the action they could hear the bombs explode, no worry, no cares, pass the brews, we are "laying out"..

      Yeah sounds like an American War ship alright.

      /off sarcasm

      Maybe if some rouge unit of the NSA was not spying on Israel 12 miles off coast Americans would not have gotten killed.

    32. Rufus IISun Jun 09, 10:39:00 AM EDT
      As to your point, in my time if you asked any Marine to sing the Marine Corps Hymn, he would answer with, "Hymn, Hymn, Fuck Him."
      I certainly never heard anybody mention anything about "dying for a fucking flag."

      No they served and died for America, which the FLAG is a symbol.

      I have heard of plenty or real soldiers getting pissed about people disrespecting the flag.

      Maybe you didnt really serve this nation.

      And I dont KNOW any Marine, Navy or Army person ever to say what Deuce said:

      DeuceSun Jun 09, 10:01:00 AM EDT
      I don’t do the pledge of allegiance,

      But I LOVE the way you wiggle and change the argument and the words that are said to make a point.

      wiggle wiggle wiggle..

    33. I never met Rufus. Never talked to him. Never had an email from him, but I would bet he was a “real soldier” whatever is meant by that.

      I do not recite a poem written by a flim-flam Baptist minister, written so that he could sell flags. I don’t believe in god. There is no republic left to pledge for. There is hardly one nation. That which is left is very divisible and in fact I would support the divisibility. I do not believe that in practice there is liberty and justice for all.

      Unlike you, I did take an oath to serve in the military and did so for seven years. Not for you, not for my family. I did it because I wanted to and it was the law. Most everyone I knew did not take lifers, gung ho mother fuckers and career politicians seriously. They did their time and left to get back to the Real World and celebrated the beauty of a mundane life hoping not to be fucked with by their government.

    34. By the second week "in-country" in was obvious to even the most obtuse asshole in the crotch that we had been fed a line of shit. In my case it took about 12 hrs. I arrived at about 2:00 AM, Danang time, and it was at about 2:00 PM that the little Vietnamese man, helping me to load up the gear, that this "Was Not His War; This Was Johnson's War."

      I said, Aw Fuck. What has Mama Rufus' Idiot Son got Hisself into Now?

      And, made myself a mental note: "12 Months, 30 Days, and a Wake-up. Hep me Jesus."

    35. I spent six months working with the indies. I never, once, heard one of them say anything bad about "uncle Ho," nor anything good about our installed dictator, Theiu.

      You people might be pissed at your government, from time to time; The Vietnamese HATED their government.

      You folks back home were lied to somethin' awful.

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  14. The only thing they have had left to cling to is the proposition that in the long run we are all doomed; hence the boilerplate about nothing having been done to address long-term problems. Except that, too, turns out to be wrong, especially on health care. Social Security is about where it has always been, with spending expected to rise by around 1 percent of GDP by 2035. But if you compare the 2009 Trustees Report for Medicare (pdf) with the latest report, there’s a big change: Medicare spending, formerly projected at 7.2 percent of GDP in 2035, is now projected at “only” 5.6 percent. That’s still a 2-point rise from current levels, but the whole “entitlements” problem is now looking relatively manageable — maybe 3 percent of GDP in savings or additional revenue needed 20-plus years from now, which isn’t trivial but isn’t that impossible either.

    And how urgent is it that we resolve this issue with a Grand Bargain now now now? The summary of the trustees’ reports puts it this way:

    If lawmakers take action sooner rather than later, more options and more time will be available to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare. Earlier action will also help elected officials minimize adverse impacts on vulnerable populations, including lower-income workers and people already dependent on program benefits.

    That doesn’t sound much like a clarion call to . . . . . .




    " Leno: ‘We Wanted a President That Listens to All Americans - Now We Have One'..."

    In defense (sort of) of surveillance:

    Where is the line between public and private? Surely we want law enforcement to watch the public space to keep an eye out for problems, no?

    Absurd lines of privacy? The US government spends loads of money with private contractors. There are a fair number of private contractors who owe US taxes, don't report income ect. yet the Federal government can't (by law and/or ineptitude) cross reference contractors who owe taxes with contractors bidding for US government work).

    1. Yes, definitely the best line. Leno is a gem. :)

    2. for some reason I believe that it wasn't Leno himself that wrote it but we'll let the credit reside with him anyway...

    3. Yeah, I started to write "Leno's writers." But, he delivered it well. :)

      Besides, he could have walked into the meeting, and said, "hey, how about this one guys - The American people wanted . . . . ." :)

  16. Israel has been "punching above its weight" in the Mideast for a long time.

    Remember, it was the Israelis that brought the "Arms for Iran" deal (later to morph into IRAN/CONTRA) to the Reagan Administration.

  17. .

    Did you ever believe that you could wake up and see these story lines about this country?

    Yes. But I thought it would end with Bush. I looked at him as the worst kind of aberration. Not even close.

    When there is a vacuum it will be filled. Power breeds more power. Bureaucracies, including the intelligence/military/industrial complex grow, it is inevitible. When you give the power hungry an open-ended mandate, you can expect the boundaries of that mandate to be expanded beyond recognition. In a democratic republic, one would expect the excesses to be reversed over time; however, when the majority of the population are sheeple, more concerned about the word 'terrorist' than they are about their human and civil rights under the Constitution, we can only expect the tyranny to continue and grow.

    We live in an age and a state that now defines a terrorist as anyone over 15 who is in a suspicious area. We identify the children we kill as "unknown terrorists", or if we are generous, as collateral damage, or 'bug splat's'. We use signature strikes and then identify any actual 'terrorists' we might hit by having our allies count body parts. We now define two young jerks with delusions of grandeur as terrorists. The pressure cooker bomb they used is now defined as a WMD. In trying to track them down, we declare marshall law and shut down a major American city. And the sheeple shout ooray.

    The chances of being hit by a terrorist attack in this country are less than that of being hit by lightning yet the sheeple shout take our privacy, take our constitutional rights, but please, just please keep us safe from the boogeyman...er...terrorists. As they cower in their comfort, they look at the billions of dollars being spent on invading their privacy and again shout ooray. This despite the fact that all major failed terrorist attacks we have heard of over the years results from terrorist stupidity not government prevention. Despite the NSA phone tapping, Prism, Boundless Informant and all the rest, it was citizens acting independently or the stupidity of the terrorists that foiled the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the jerks walking through the streets in Florida wearing camo. No one stopped the Fort Hood shooter or the Boston bombers until after the fact. The NSA programs were useless. Yet, the sheeple are willing to support giving up billions per year and worse their privacy and constitutional rights to these dicks.


    1. .

      Why was this allowed to happen? These days the novel 1984 is constantly mentioned. However, there is another dystopic novel that in many ways is also applicable, The Time Machine.

      You might as well call the sheeple what they are or are morphing into, the Eloi. In Well’s novel, the world ends up in a bifurcated society of Morlocks, brutal, ugly beasts with the ability to get things done who provide the gentle Eloi with the comforts of life in exchange for feeding off of them. The Eloi live for today, they take the comforts and food that is given to them without question or interest, they have little need for thought, for reading or books, no concept of history, they do not work, they are disassociated from one another, they are like a flock not a society.

      They have only one obligation programmed into them over the centuries and that is to answer the siren that rings periodically. The lucky ones will live to answer the next siren. The metaphor is obvious. They are responding to the voice of a charismatic leader(s) telling them all the things they want to hear regardless of the ultimate consequence.

      The trends in the U.S. are apparent. The growing income inequality, the dependence of more and more people on the state for their existence and welfare, millions and growing on food stamps, free cell phones, the erosion of civil and human rights all in the name of security, declining education standards, the break-up of families, the rewriting of history, the secrecy, the assurances, the “Trust us.”

      And the Eloi, in their comfort, say baaa.


    2. Quite the rant there Quirk but you don't really say anything informative at all.

      Should law enforcement 'look' at what is on the internet for clues and leads or should they simply ignore it classifying all internet communications as private?

    3. On the other side, although it wasn't, to my recollection, mentioned, I assume the Morlocks didn't "live forever," either.

      You might make the argument that it wasn't all as "cut and dried" as it might at first seem. :)

    4. You could keep everyone safe with a collective lockdown.

    5. .

      It's my rant, Ash. If you don't like it, don't read it.

      You'll pardon me if I don't get involved in another useless argument with you. When you try to compare the NSA's metadata vacuuming with the local cops monitoring Facebook looking for pedophiles, you are either being disingenuous or vapid and I don't have time for either.


    6. sure, but there is a line we need draw between private and public. If you are speaking loudly in a public space is that conversation private? If you make a post on a blog is that private? Is the destination of your communication public or private? Should the Feds question whether a supplier pays federal, local and state taxes?

    7. Angus King (Ind. Maine) made the point that maybe we should just do as a lot of other countries do, and require the phone companies to keep their records in perpetuam.

      As for spying on offshore internet communications . . . . . hell, it's called "spying." We've been doing it since Joshua was a pup.

    8. are you delineating your argument with seriousness of the crime Quirk? Trolling for pedo's on facebook is ok in your book but trolling for terrorists isn't?

    9. Ash, even you can do better than that. No disrespect intended , of course.

    10. .

      Rufus, your credulity continues to amaze.

      Clapper, the same guy who is telling you the program is restricted to offshore internet communications is the same guy that lied to Congress and said they were not monitoring millions of Americans.

      Mike Rogers says the NSA program stopped one terrorist bombing plot over the last three years. So for the $240 billion we spent in that three years on intelligence we stopped one bomb plot. And when we ask him to give is details we are told, "Oh, gee, that's secret. If we told you, we would have to kill you."

      Is there any point at which after seeing the continuous stream of lies these guys feed you, that you would question anything they say?


    11. Quirk, I'm just not worried about it. There are 315,000,000 Million souls in this country, and, inasmuch as my clan is largely law-abiding, I just don't see how we are going to be affected much.

    12. Deuce,

      On the one hand you have Quirk with his knee jerk claims of 1984 Orwellian surveillance with the sheeple saying baaa and on the other you have Rufus and his 'if you are law-abiding' you have nothing to worry about. Both sides of the same coin which tell us much.

      There are a bunch of interesting issues at play and the constitution doesn't help much in framing the issues surrounding the trillion bytes of data flying about on the intertubes.

      Marketers continually 'crawl' the internet looking for info to sell to folk. Insurance companies 'crawl' the internet looking for tips on fraudulent claims.

      The data is there - many many 'points' to connect. What is private, what is public? What role should law enforcement and the governments of the world play in looking at all those 'points'? There are many interesting questions and issues but knee jerk boiler plate rants really don't inform much. It is akin to WiO and Rat but here we have Quirk and Rufus - "IT's POSITIVELY ORWELLIAN and the sheeple go baaaa" or "pwhah - it's for foreigners only and, heck, IF YOU A'INT A TERRORIST DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY"

      If you send a crawler out on the intertubes are you monitoring Americans?

  18. .

    Don't even try, Deuce.

    He hasn't a clue as to how inane his comment is. It's a waste of time trying to explain it to him.


    1. lets take a brief look:

      "compare the NSA's metadata vacuuming with the local cops monitoring Facebook looking for pedophiles,"

      On the one hand you have constable Joe hand pecking his way through Facebook looking for 'clues' as to whether someone is a pedo preying on children. On the other you have NSA hiring a quant to develop an algorithm to crawl about Facebook pages producing 'clues'. Why would one be Orwellian but the other fine for you?

  19. What I love is when a guy like Sensenbrenner, who helped build, and install, the dice table, is shocked, shocked to hear of gambling in Rick's Place.

  20. Healthcare Exchanges starting to take shape (somewhat, anyway.)


  21. Since then, we’ve been wary of deliberately introducing a mantis shrimp — and for good reason. Aquarists and scuba divers refer to them as “thumb-splitters” because their claws pack a punch as powerful as a .22-caliber bullet.

    Those same claws can shatter a clam shell, and crack open a crab or shatter glass. They can bring down a blue-ringed octopus or a fish. The claws are made of a material so hard it can deliver 50,000 blows between molts - without breaking. It’s being studied by scientists as a model for crafting super-strong body armor for soldiers.

    And it moves its claws so fast that they turn water into plasma and sound into light.


    “A thermonuclear bomb of light and beauty”

    But that’s not the end of the story, as celebrated cartoonist Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal explains in his online love-letter, “Why the mantis shrimp is my new favorite animal.”

    He starts by examining the eyes that make them unbelievably effective hunters. Their vision is so sensitive that a mantis shrimp can see in both infrared and ultraviolet spectra, and uses 16 color receptor cones (compared to just three for humans).

    Inman observes: “Where we see a rainbow, the mantis shrimp sees a thermonuclear bomb of light and beauty.”

    It’s that combination of experiencing a world of transcendent beauty — and then turning around and pounding its prey to smithereens — that fascinates Matthew Inman.

    We hope you’ll be . . . . . . .


    1. Are the little suckers any good in a tossed salad?


    2. Those at the top of the food chain wish to know.


  22. "experiencing a world of transcendent beauty"



    Just experiencing through a better stained glass window more adept at breaking up the pure light of the source.

    Poor peacock-mantis-shrimp, more overcome by the senses, which themselves render frustrate the apprehension of the source, than ever our confused selves.


  23. Whistleblower's NSA warning: 'Just the tip of the iceberg'...

    CODE NAMED: Boundless Informant...drudge

    Nice name, darlings.


    Pussy Galore

  24. >>It's been more than a year since Trayvon Martin's death and the case is finally going to trial. Selection for the six-person jury begins on Monday with court watchers saying the trial should last from 4-8 weeks.<<<

    Only six?

    What is this?

    This is worrisome.

    You can find six nitwits like Ash on most any street corner.

    June 9, 2013
    Jury selection begins tomorrow in Trayvon Martin case
    Rick Moran



  25. >>>VIDEO: The 29-year-old source behind biggest intelligence leak in NSA history explains his motives...

    'I do not expect to see home again'...

    'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things'... drudge<<<

    Is this guy an -

    A) American Hero
    B) American Traitor

    Vote now....

    Your vote be will recorded and stored in The Database.


  26. .

    Edward Snowdon, whistleblower, in his own words.



  27. Edward Snowdon on the next post