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As Good As Guilty: Obama Silence on MH-17 Shootdown Culprits Implicates Ukraine Allies

The Danger of an MH-17 ‘Cold Case’
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

Now more than six months after the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, the refusal of the Obama administration to make public what intelligence evidence it has about who was responsible has created fertile ground for conspiracy theories to take root while reducing hopes for holding the guilty parties accountable.
 
Given the U.S. government’s surveillance capabilities – from satellite and aerial photographs to telephonic and electronic intercepts to human sources – American intelligence surely has a good idea what happened on July 17, 2014, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine killing all 298 people onboard.
 Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that
crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
(Photo: Aero Icarus, Zürich, Switzerland)
 
I’m told that President Barack Obama has received briefings on what this evidence shows and what U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded about the likely guilty parties — and that Obama may have shared some of those confidential findings with the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak when they met on Dec. 24 in Hawaii.
 
But the U.S. government has gone largely silent on the subject after its initial rush to judgment pointing fingers at ethnic Russian rebels for allegedly firing the missile and at the Russian government for supposedly supplying a sophisticated Buk anti-aircraft battery capable of bringing down the aircraft at 33,000 feet.
 

Rights Group Brings Constitutional Challenge to Solitary Confinement

BREAKING: We're taking on solitary confinement

by BCCLA

Just moments ago, the BC Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada launched a constitutional challenge to solitary confinement in Canadian prisons.
 
Solitary confinement, also known as “segregation”, is the practice of confining a prisoner to a cell and depriving him or her of Meaningful human contact for up to 23 hours a day, sometimes for months or years at a time.

Indefinite solitary confinement is torture


 The negative effects of long-term solitary confinement are well-documented. These effects include psychosis, hallucinations, insomnia and confusion. Solitary confinement can create mental illness where none previously existed, or worsen pre-existing illness.

At a time when the rest of the world is scaling back the use of solitary confinement, Canada remains steadfast in its reliance on a broken and dangerous system.
https://bccla.org/our-work/solitary-confinement/ 

It’s time to end the abuse of solitary confinement


The Canadian government has ignored repeated calls to reform its use of solitary confinement for decades. We’re suing the Government of Canada to ensure that out of sight is not out of mind, and that the constitutional rights of prisoners are protected.

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Wilderness Committee Faces Down Taseko "SLAPP" Suit

Wilderness Committee to appear in court to answer Taseko's defamation charge
by Wilderness Committee
 Courthouse gathering to show support for the right to comment without fear of prosecution.

VANCOUVER - The Wilderness Committee will appear in court starting today to defend against a defamation suit brought by Taseko Mines Ltd.

The lawsuit stems from comments made by the Wilderness Committee in 2012, during a public comment period for Taseko's proposed New Prosperity Mine.
 
The mine proposal, which risked harming Fish Lake ("Teztan Biny"), has since been turned down by the Government of Canada because of unacceptable risks to the environment and Aboriginal rights. The defamation hearing is expected to continue for two weeks.
 
"We say that this court action by Taseko Mines is meant to put a chill on public opposition. Like many others, we want to see the Fish Lake area protected and the company's mine plans abandoned forever," said Joe Foy, National Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee.

"Lawsuits like these eat away at the very foundations of democracy and free speech, which form the basis of our society. We intend to stand our ground," said Foy.
 

Turning Over the Rocks on L'Affair Charlie Hebdo

Je ne suis pas Charlie: The extremely dark and unexamined underside of the Charlie Hebdo affair
by John Chuckman - Intrepid Report
We hear much about bloody events in Paris being an attack upon Western traditions and freedom of the press, and I am sorry but such claims are close to laughable, even though there is nothing remotely funny about mass murder. It certainly is not part of the best Western tradition to insult the revered figures of major religions. You are, of course, technically free to do so in many Western countries—always remembering that in many of them, a wrong target for your satire will get you a prison term for “hate crimes”—but it does represent little more than poor judgment and extremely bad taste to exercise that particular freedom.
 
What Charlie Hebdo does is not journalism, it is sophomoric jokes and thinly disguised propaganda. Hebdo’s general tone and themes place it completely outside the mythic tableau of heroic defender of free speech or daring journalism, it being very much a vehicle for the interests of American imperialism through NATO.
 
Of course, the best Western traditions don’t outlaw what garments or symbols people may wear for their beliefs, as France has done.
 

ICC War Crimes Investigation in Palestine Announced/Denounced

ICC Prosecutor Opens Probe into War Crimes against Palestinians
by Agencies and Ma’an
The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor on Friday opened an initial probe to see if war crimes have been committed against Palestinians, including during last year’s Gaza war.
 
“Today the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine,” her office said in a statement, adding it may lead to a full-blown investigation.

Bensouda said her office would conduct its “analysis in full independence and impartiality.”
 
“A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a (full) investigation,” Bensouda said.

Depending on her findings, Bensouda will decide at a later stage whether to launch or quash the investigation, based on the initial probe.
 

Pilger on Press, Propaganda, and New Cold War Film Project

John Pilger Speaks on Censorship and the New Cold War
Four weeks ago on December 20, filmmaker and award winning journalist John Pilger spoke for 20 minutes with Afshin Rattansi, host of Russia Today‘s program Going Underground.

They talked about the headdline events of the year, notably the revelations of the torture regime that is operated by the CIA and the U.S. government, the crisis in Ukraine and the growing economic, political and military offensive agaisnt Russia and China.

John Pilger with Afshin Rattansi Dec 20, 2014

The interview followed by several weeks the speech delivered by Pilger to the inaugural, annual conference of the Center for Investigative Journalism., on December 5. He was the featured speaker at the conference’s Logan Symposium. You can view or read that speech here on New Cold War.org.




John Pilger is crowdfunding for his new documentary film project, ‘‘The Coming War between America and China’, about the perceived threat to the US from China’. Read more about the film and the crowfunding appeal here on John Pilger’s website.
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Europe's Reichstag Fire: Spain Joins Post-Charlie Anti-Democratic Swell

Spanish government uses Paris terror attack to clamp down on democratic rights
by Alejandro López - WSWS
 
Reichstag FireLast Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy participated along with other heads of government in the official march in Paris in defence of “freedom of speech” following the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo.

His attendance was the height of hypocrisy. As minister of justice under Prime Minister José María Aznar (1996-2004) Rajoy closed down two Basque newspapers. He now leads a right-wing Popular Party (PP) government that is using every opportunity to clamp down on democratic rights.

The PP has used the latest attack on Charlie Hebdo to introduce new amendments to two pieces of legislation going through congress: the Citizens Security Law and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). Rajoy has summoned a “highest level” meeting with the Socialist Party (PSOE), the main opposition party, to reach an agreement on the changes.

An amendment to Article 573 of the CPC aims at punishing “with imprisonment of between one to eight years those who on a daily or regular basis access online communication services or acquire or are in possession of documents which target, or because of their content, result in inciting others to decide to join a terrorist organization or group.”

In other words, anyone who accesses web sites deemed to be supporting terrorism could find themselves in prison.

Descent into the Neocon Imaginarium

Neocons: The ‘Anti-Realists’
by Robert Parry - Consortium News

robert-kaganHistorically, one of the main threads of U.S. foreign policy was called “realism,” that is the measured application of American power on behalf of definable national interests, with U.S. principles preached to others but not imposed.
 
This approach traced back to the early days of the Republic when the first presidents warned of foreign “entangling alliances” – and President John Quincy Adams, who was with his father at the nation’s dawning, explained in 1821 that while America speaks on behalf of liberty, “she has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. …
“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

Prominent neocon intellectual Robert Kagan.  
(Photo: Mariusz Kubik, www.mariuszkubik.pl)

However, in modern times, foreign policy “realism” slid into an association with a cold calculation of power, no longer a defense of the Republic and broader national interests but of narrow, well-connected economic interests. The language of freedom was woven into a banner for greed and plunder. Liberty justified the imposition of dictatorships on troublesome populations. Instead of searching for monsters to destroy, U.S. policy often searched for monsters to install.
 

Credite Suisse: Making Big Crime Good Business

Credit Suisse: Big Crimes Become Big Business
by Ralph Nader - Dissident Voice
In May of 2014, financial firm Credit Suisse AG pled guilty to serious criminal charges. The giant bank aided and assisted approximately 22,000 wealthy U.S. taxpayers (whose names Credit Suisse AG escaped having to send to the Justice Department for law enforcement) for over a decade in filing false income tax returns and other documents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
 
The full extent of these crimes, according to a Department of Justice news release, are as follows:

“assisting clients in using sham entities to hide undeclared accounts;” “soliciting IRS forms that falsely stated, under penalties of perjury, that the sham entities were the beneficial owners of the assets in the accounts;” “failing to maintain in the United States records related to the accounts;” “destroying account records sent to the United States for client review;” “using Credit Suisse managers and employees as unregistered investment advisors on undeclared accounts;” “facilitating withdrawals of funds from the undeclared accounts by either providing hand-delivered cash in the United States or using Credit Suisse’s correspondent bank accounts in the United States;” “structuring transfers of funds to evade currency transaction reporting requirements;” and “providing offshore credit and debit cards to repatriate funds in the undeclared accounts.”

These elaborate illegal acts over many years are quite revealing. They show a deliberate willingness by Credit Suisse AG officials to knowingly engage in profitable activities that defrauded the United States Treasury and burdened honest taxpayers. Credit Suisse paid a $2.6 billion fine—small compared to the size of the crimes and the company’s large revenues. These crimes were yet another sordid chapter in the ever-burgeoning tax-evading business that makes its waves with wealthy Americans and massive corporate entities. But the Credit Suisse story does not end there.
 

Charlie: When Death Is a Good Career Move

Dying 'Good Career Move' for French Hate-Mag
by Finian Cunningham - PressTV
 
The French so-called satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – more accurately a hate-inciting, racist rag - has published its first post-massacre edition this week, with print sales going through the roof.
 
Which just goes to prove the hoary old showbiz observation that “dying can be a good career move.” That dictum describes how washed-up artists and other celebrities are often rescued from obscurity following their death, with sales of old records or biographies benefiting from a surge in renewed public interest.
 
The same would appear to be true for the previously obscure French political weekly magazine where 12 people, including senior editorial staff, were shot dead last week allegedly by gunmen claiming to be affiliated with the Al Qaeda/Takfiri terrorist network.

(The network instigated and spawned by Western military intelligence for all sorts of covert operations, including regime change in Arab and Muslim countries.)
 

CIA Whistlerblower in Tough with Jury

CIA-Friendly Jury Seen in Sterling Trial
by Norman Solomon - Consortium News

When the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling got underway Tuesday in Northern Virginia, prospective jurors made routine references to “three-letter agencies” and alphabet-soup categories of security clearances. 

In an area where vast partnerships between intelligence agencies and private contractors saturate everyday life, the jury pool was bound to please the prosecution.

In a U.S. District Court that boasts a “rocket docket,” the selection of 14 jurors was swift, with the process lasting under three hours. Along the way, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema asked more than a dozen possible jurors whether their personal connections to the CIA or other intel agencies would interfere with her announced quest for an “absolutely open mind.”

 

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling

 

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