Category Archives: National Security vs Police State

‘For Taking Great Risks in Pursuit of Greater Truths,’ Journalists Under Attack Named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year

“They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world…who risk all to tell the story of our time.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-11-2018

Jamal Khashoggi and some of the Capital Gazette staff were included in TIME magazine’s Person of the Year issue, which honored journalists who have been killed, imprisoned, and attacked in the past year. (Photo: TIME Magazine)

Capping off a year marked by accusations of “fake news,” hurled at journalists by President Donald Trump and other global threats to press freedom, TIME magazine selected as Person of the Year journalists who have spent the past year fighting increased hostility toward their work—including those who lost their lives as a result of their reporting.

Calling journalists under attack “guardians” of the truth, the  magazine announced the selected Tuesday as it prepared to release four covers of the yearly issue. Continue reading

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Media Mum as Congress Readies Largest Foreign Military Aid Package in US History

The “aid” package gives $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, which amounts to $7,230 per minute, or $120 per second, and equals about $23,000 for each Jewish Israeli family of four.

By Alison Weir. Published 11-29-2018 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

In an astounding case of media negligence, U.S. news media are failing to tell Americans that Congress is about to enact legislation for the largest military aid package to a foreign country in U.S. history.

This aid package would likely be of interest to Americans, many of whom are cutting back their own personal spending.

The package gives $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, which amounts to $7,230 per minute to Israel, or $120 per second, and equals about $23,000 for each Jewish Israeli family of four. A stack of 38 billion one-dollar bills would reach ten times higher than the International Space Station as it orbits the earth. Continue reading

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With Statement Equal Parts ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Imbecilic,’ Trump Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis

“This Donald Trump statement—simultaneously pledging never-ending support for Saudi Arabia and blaming Iran for every Middle East problem—reads like a 6th grader’s school report.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-20-2018

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

In a bizarre, exclamation point-riddled statement on Tuesday that one critic said reads more “like a 6th grader’s school report” than an official White House press release, President Donald Trump shrugged at the CIA’s conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—”maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”—and declared that the U.S. will continue to back Saudi Arabia because it is one of the world’s largest oil producers, a major purchaser of American arms, and an ally in the “fight against Iran.”

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn just hours after his statement went public, Trump said Khashoggi’s murder “is a very complex situation, it’s a shame, but it is what it is.” Continue reading

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Journalist James Risen: Trump Is Attacking Free Press ‘In a Way We Haven’t Seen in Modern American History’

“I think the Acosta incident is… a symbol of an attempt to discredit not only CNN but the entire press corps.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2018

Screenshot: CNN

Speaking from his years of experience being pursued by the Obama Justice Department for simply practicing journalism and refusing to reveal his confidential sourcesIntercept reporter James Risen told The Hill on Monday that President Donald Trump is building on his predecessor’s war on the free press by “demagoguing” the media “in a way we haven’t seen in modern American history.”

“Obama tried to put me in jail for seven years… A lot of conservatives try to point to me as an example of Obama on press freedom and I fully agree with the view that he had a terrible record on press freedom,” Risen said. “The difference with Trump is that he is demagoguing the issue in a way we haven’t seen in modern American history.” Continue reading

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Trump’s Rules of Engagement for Troops at US-Mexico Border Mirror Those Used By the IDF in Gaza

The intent behind Trump’s new rules of engagement and considerable militarization of the U.S. border appears to be greenlighting the U.S. military to function as an IDF-style military police force whenever the next “threat” emerges, whether it be “foreign invaders” or “internal enemies.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-2-2018 by MintPress News

Photo: US Army/flickr

Since President Donald Trump first directed the outrage of his supporters at a Central American migrant caravan making its way towards the United States a little over a week ago, his plan to deploy between 5,200 and 15,000 active-duty U.S. soldiers to the border has provoked mixed reactions within the United States. However, Trump’s more recent announcement that armed U.S. soldiers have been instructed to target any migrants who resort to throwing stones as though they were firing rifles has evoked an even wider range of reactions.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump detailed in a speech that “Anybody [in the caravan] throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm.” He then elaborated that “we will consider it [stone throwing], the maximum that we can consider that…We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back….I told them to consider it a rifle.” Continue reading

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‘Real Teeth’: Senator’s Bill Would Punish CEOs With Up to 20 Years in Jail for Violating Consumer Privacy Rules

“There need to be consequences when corporations don’t protect your data. My bill will put reckless CEOs in jail if they lie about protecting your personal information.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-2-201

Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill . Screenshot: C-SPAN

At the tail end of a year full of egregious data mining scandals and privacy violations by corporate giants like FacebookGoogle, and Equifax—behavior that went virtually unpunished in the United States—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would dramatically strengthen internet privacy protections and hit executives who violate the rules with up to 20 years in prison.

“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy, and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared,”  Wyden said in a statement. Continue reading

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Your Commander-in-Chief Is Lying to You: Veterans Issue Open Letter to Active Duty US Soldiers

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.

By 

To All Active Duty Soldiers:

Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.

These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace.  Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.  History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.

In solidarity,

Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister

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

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Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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Minnesota Police Train at Military Base as Line 3 Pipeline Protests Escalate

Pipeline protests in Standing Rock pitted police against Native Americans and their supporters.

By Andrew Neef. Published 10-25-2018 by Unicorn Riot

Unicorn Riot has uncovered documents showing coordination between state-wide authorities to prepare for anti-pipeline protests. Emails obtained from Minnesota State Patrol under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act show close cooperation between state and local law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Public Safet, pipeline company security staff and a private police foundation.

One such email, dated June 18, 2018, shows discussion about a “table top” exercise located at Camp Ripley, a military base operated by the Minnesota National Guard which also hosts trainings for the Minnesota State Patrol. The email states the exercise “relates to MFF [Mobile Field Force] and the Line 3.”  Line 3 is a controversial pipeline project proposed by Canadian oil giant Enbridge, and has been the focus of years of protests by indigenous tribes and environmental activists. Continue reading

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For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

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