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Police State America: When the Occupier Comes Marching Home

The Wars Come Home: A Five-Step Guide to the Police Repression of Protest from Ferguson to Baltimore and Beyond
 
Last week, as Baltimore braced for renewed protests over the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) prepared for battle. With state-of-the-art surveillance of local teenagers’ Twitter feeds, law enforcement had learned that a group of high school students was planning to march on the Mondawmin Mall. In response, the BPD did what any self-respecting police department in post-9/11 America would do: it declared war on the protesters.

Over the course of 24 hours, which would see economically devastated parts of Baltimore erupt in open rebellion, city and state police would deploy everything from a drone and a “military counter attack vehicle” known as a Bearcat to SWAT teams armed with assault rifles, shotguns loaded with lead pellets, barricade projectiles filled with tear gas, and military-style smoke grenades. 
 
The BPD also came equipped with “Hailstorm” or “Stingray” technology, developed in America’s distant war zones to conduct wireless surveillance of enemy communications. This would allow officers to force cell phones to connect to it, to collect mobile data, and to jam cell signals within a one-mile radius.
 
 

Who Counts? Who Cares! Bug Splats and War Stats

Who Counts? Body Counts, Drones, and “Collateral Damage” (aka “Bug Splat”)
by Tom Engelhardt  - TomDispatch

In the 21st-century world of drone warfare, one question with two aspects reigns supreme: Who counts? In Washington, the answers are the same: We don’t count and they don’t count.

The Obama administration has adamantly refused to count. Not a body. In fact, for a long time, American officials associated with Washington’s drone assassination campaigns and “signature strikes” in the backlands of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen claimed there were no bodies to count, that the CIA’s drones were so carefully handled and so “precise” they never produced an unmeant corpse -- not a child, not a parent, not a wedding party. Nada.

When it came to “collateral damage,” there was no need to count because there was nothing to tote up or, at worst, such civilian casualties were “in the single digits.”
 
 

Cluster Bomb Nation: Choosing the Right Trigger Finger for Mass Mayhem in Yemen

Murder's Loophole: US Cluster Bombs Rain Mass Death on Yemen
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
On Sunday, Human Rights Watch reported that Saudi Arabia is dropping cluster bombs supplied by the United States in the relentless onslaught on Yemen. These horrific weapons — which not only unleash mass death on first use but leave unexploded bombs that can kill for months or years afterward — have been banned by 116 nations.
 
The United States has not signed the convention against cluster bombs, but has greatly restricted their use. However, a loophole left in US law allows the Pentagon’s favorite war profiteers to sell cluster bombs abroad.
 
The Saudis are dropping the cluster bombs near villages, HRW reports. But the Saudis — and their ally, the United States, which is supplying weapons, logistics and intelligence support to the act of aggression — have already shown they are unconcerned about civilian casualties in the conflict.
 

FINTRAC: Canada's Less Famous Police State Legislation

FINTRAC: the national security conversation that’s flying under the radar
by Micheal Vonn  - BCCLA

May 2, 2015
 
daniel-therrien-bcclaWhile eyes are focused on the rapid advance of Bill C-51, comparatively little light is being shone on some of the specific components of Canada’s national security and intelligence agencies that could be the subject of even further changes in law and policy.

Very quietly, the Standing Committee on Finance is doing a study of the “cost, economic impact and best practices to address the issue of terrorist financing both here in Canada and abroad”.
 
Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien
 
The BCCLA was asked to present to the Committee on the subject of terrorist financing and we took the opportunity not only to press the Committee on the dangerous failures of accountability in this sphere of national security operations, but also to highlight how Bill C-51 will make the situation infinity worse.
 
 

Post Find Obama Blameworthy for Syria

WPost Blames Obama for Syrian Mess
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

May 3, 2015


For the past two decades, American neocons and Israeli hard-liners have targeted Syria for “regime change,” a dream that may be finally coming true, albeit with the nightmarish ending of Al-Qaeda or maybe the Islamic State emerging as the likely winners.

Such an outcome would be disastrous for the millions of Syrian Shiites, Alawites, secular Sunnis and Christians, including descendants of survivors of Turkey’s Armenian genocide a century ago.

Journalist James Foley shortly before 
execution by Islamic State operative

They would all face harsh repression or, possibly, mass decapitations. An Al-Qaeda/Islamic State victory also would be a major problem for the United States and the West, which would have to choose between a terror central in the center of the Middle East or a military invasion.

So, what we’re now seeing in Official Washington is the beginning of a neocon finger-pointing narrative that promotes the theme that if President Barack Obama had only armed and trained “moderate” rebels and bombed the Syrian military (to create “safe zones” or to punish the government for its alleged use of sarin gas), everything would have worked out just fine.

The Saud/Israel Front of the "Long War on Terror"

Sham and Shame: Saudi-US Slaughter in Yemen Shows Truth of Terror War
by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque
Last week, the United States sent an armada to Yemen, to help enforce a blockade of the poverty-ridden country as it groans under the mass slaughter of Saudi Arabia’s American-backed war of aggression. Now the Saudis, employing the bombs they procured from U.S. war profiteers, have shut down aid shipments by air with a bombing raid on the capital, Sana’a. The result will be more hunger, suffering and death in one of the world’s poorest countries. — But hey, wasn’t Obama so funny at that media dinner thing!
 
While aiding the Islamic extremists of Saudi Arabia to help al Qaeda in Yemen — who have made great gains while their mortal enemies, the Houthis, are being pounded by the Saudis — Obama and the American military machine has also been busy joining hands with al Qaeda in Syria, helping them make huge advances and capture key cities. It now looks increasingly likely that the Syrian government will not be able to withstand the onslaught of Islamic extremists (oh, and the “moderate” rebels, which also include al Qaeda elements). The fall of the secular Syrian state will open up an abyss of chaos which will be filled by the extremists armed and bankrolled by the United States and Saudi Arabia — just as the American destruction of the secular government in Iraq has led to murderous nightmare for millions of people.
 
What’s more, Israel has also joined the fight with al Qaeda, launching airstrikes on positions in Syria to clear the way for Islamic extremists to keep up their offensive. Robert Parry is on the case:
 
The Saudi-Israeli alliance, in league with other hard-line Sunni countries, is helping Al-Qaeda affiliates advance toward gaining either victory or at least safe havens in Syria and Yemen, highlighting unresolved contradictions in President Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East. Fueled by a surge of support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – and with Israel striking at Syrian government allies – Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda’s hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State, are making major advances in Syria with some analysts now predicting the likely collapse of the relatively secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.
… As this relationship firmed up, Israel even began voicing a preference for Al-Qaeda’s militants over the relatively secular Assad government, which was viewed as the protectors of Alawites, Shiites, Christians and other Syrian minorities terrified of the Saudi-backed Sunni extremists. In September 2013, in one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.
 
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Oren expanded on his position in June 2014 at an Aspen Institute conference. Then, speaking as a former ambassador, Oren said Israel would even prefer a victory by the Islamic State, which was massacring captured Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.“From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.
 

The Nature of the New War(s): Meeting the Techno/Financial Global Genociders

Techno-Financial Capital and Genocide of the Poorest of the Poor
by James Petras
‘The war and its results have turned Yemen back a hundred years, due to the destruction of infrastructure . . . especially in the provinces of Oden, Dhalea and Taiz.’ - Izzedine al-Asbali, Yemeni Human Rights Minister
‘Yemen is devastated. There are no roads, water or electricity. Nobody’s left but thieves.’ - A resident of Sana (Yemen)
 
The Euro-American and Japanese ruling classes, as well as their collaborators in the Afro-Asian and Latin American countries, have accumulated vast profit. This has occurred through a complex stratified system re-concentrating the world’s wealth through:
 
1. The exploitation of labor in the First World (North America and Western Europe);
2. super-exploitation of labor in the Second World (China, ex-USSR);
3.dispossession of peasants, native communities and urban dwellers to grab resources, land and real estate in the Third World; and
4. wars of genocide against the poorest of the poor in the ‘Fourth World’.

Besides all the forms of brutal exploitation and dispossession, which enrich the Euro-US ruling classes, by far the most sinister and threatening to humanity is the concerted worldwide effort to literally exterminate the poorest-of-the poor, the hundreds of millions of people no longer essential for the accumulation and concentration of imperial capital today.

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Who Do Merkel and the BND Really Wrok For?

Is Merkel a CIA Asset?
by Finian Cunningham - Sputnik

 

The claims that Merkel’s government knew about German state intelligence spying on behalf of the Americans against the country's own industrial interests raise disturbing questions about the integrity of German government leaders.

The apparent betrayal of German national interests by Chancellor Angela Merkel is not only evident over the recent industrial spying scandal on behalf of America. The slavish pursuit by Merkel of Washington's anti-Russian policy over Ukraine — in contradistinction to her country's national interests — also cogently suggests that the chancellor is serving a foreign master.

Recent reports that German state intelligence was spying on behalf of the Americans against the country's own industrial interests are bad enough. But then added to that are claims that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel knew about the espionage — and turned a blind eye.


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The Colonial Divide Tearing Punjab Still

The Hidden Tears of Punjab
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

A lane, a narrow passage to Jallianwala Bagh Garden inside the old city of Amritsar, in the state of Punjab. It is a monument now, one of the testaments to madness and crimes committed by the British Empire during its colonial reign over Sub-Continent.

This is where, on April 13 1919, thousands of people gathered, demanding release of two of their detained leaders, Dr. Satyapal and Dr. Saifuddin.

It was right before the day of Baisakhi, the main Sikh festival, and the pilgrims came to the city, in multitudes, from all corners of Punjab.

The British Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer brought fifty Gurkha riflemen to a raised bank, and then ordered them to shoot at the crowd.

Bipan Chandra, an Indian historian, wrote in his iconic work, “India’s Struggle for Independence”:

“On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out. The figures released by the British government were 370 dead and 1200 wounded. Other sources place the number dead at well over 1000.”

Tesla Testing the Limits of Battery Tech

Tesla Could Be Changing The Dynamics Of Global Energy
by Michael McDonald - Oilprice.com
 
Tesla's announcement last week about creating a new line of batteries for use by businesses, consumers, and the electrical grid at large is a game-changer for the industry. Currently, when individuals or companies need back-up power, they usually rely on generators. Effective battery storage for large amounts of energy would be a game changer in that it would enable a separation of generation and use of energy produced through clean fuels like solar and wind power.
 
The big problem with solar and wind right now is that the energy is only useful when it is actually produced and, because a company cannot modify generation to correspond with demand needs, any excess power has to be sold back to the market for immediate use. Tesla's new batteries could go a long way towards solving this problem.
 
It is likely that Solar City, for example, would be very interested in any home application for large scale battery technology.
 
 

The Saudi-Israeli Alliance and Syria's Nightmare Future Past

Syria’s Nightmarish Narrative
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

 April 27, 2015


The Saudi-Israeli alliance, in league with other hard-line Sunni countries, is helping Al-Qaeda affiliates advance toward gaining either victory or at least safe havens in Syria and Yemen, highlighting unresolved contradictions in President Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East.
 
Fueled by a surge of support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – and with Israel striking at Syrian government allies – Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda’s hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State, are making major advances in Syria with some analysts now predicting the likely collapse of the relatively secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.
 
Saudi Arabia and Israel have made clear over the past few years that they regard the overthrow of the Iranian-backed Assad government as a geopolitical priority even if it results in a victory by Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. But Obama, who has been unwilling or unable to rein in the Saudi-Israeli alliance, would then have to decide what to do with Islamic terrorists dominating a major Mideast nation.
 
Some of these Sunni radicals have shown that they will move aggressively toward slaughtering minority groups that they consider infidels, including Christians, Alawites and Shiites. The terrorists could leave the streets of major Syrian cities running red with blood – and give Al-Qaeda a solid platform from which to launch terrorist attacks against the West.
 

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