Friday, February 27, 2015

Meanwhile: The Mujahedin-e-Kalk

In the wake of the embarrassing new revelations that the top Israeli intelligence agency is contradicting Bibi Netanyahu on his alarmist Iran intelligence, the well known liars, the "dissident" group NCRI (aka MEK), has jumped into damage control action and has released a suspiciously timed report that claims Iran has a new secret site.

  Daily Kos
They offered proof of Iran’s nuclear plans by showing a picture of an alleged nuclear material storage safe.
But it's a total fabrication. The image included in the NCRI report is actually a product shot from the Iranian safe company.
MEK background:
Since being legitimized [removed from the US terrorist list], the Mojahedin’s [MEK – “people’s holy warriors”] influence on Capitol Hill spread from the fringes of Congress to include more mainstream and respected Republicans and Democrats. Most of the group’s lobbying focuses on its members’ well-being in Iraq, said a current Hill staffer, who works in foreign policy. But, the staffer added, “undergirding this is all this neocon-friendly warmongering, this intense push for regime change, this intense hatred for [Iranian president Hassan] Rouhani — they’re not subtle about this at all.”

Menendez’s advocacy for the Mojahedin at the October hearing wasn’t new, but it signaled that by 2013 the group had come full circle: from an outlaw terrorist outfit to a player on Capitol Hill. How that happened is a classic story of money, politics and the enduring appeal of exile groups promising regime change.

  The Intercept
Like the Cubans in Miami?

The MEK’s origins go back to the Shah of Iran, the corrupt figure the US had installed as a puppet in Iran, when a group of students organized to attempt to oust him involving attacks and killings, including some Americans. Of course, they were called terrorists by the US. They carried that designation throughout their Saddam Hussein-supported activity in Iraq. Now, most of the US considers them good guys, with several Congressmen actively promoting the group.

You can read about it at the Intercept. Don’t forget your scorecard.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Score One for the People

The internet has been reclassified as telecommunications. That’s a good thing. If the FCC doesn’t get stocked with board members from media conglomerates, that is. (Which, is not something we can rule out in the future.)
[O]nly a year ago, prospects for protecting net neutrality seemed doomed. The Internet service provider industry, including companies such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, had lobbied furiously against the rule, spending tens of millions on lobbying and on so-called “astroturf” efforts to pay third party groups to support their position. In January of 2014, a federal court struck down a previous iteration of the open Internet rules after Verizon filed suit. And shortly thereafter, the newly installed FCC chair Tom Wheeler, a former cable and cell phone lobbyist, began moving forward with a plan that would allow broadband providers to create Internet fast lanes and slow lanes.


This morning, the Federal Communications Commission voted to guarantee the open Internet through so-called net neutrality rules, and with it, forged ahead with one of the biggest policy accomplishments of the Obama administration.


The credit for such a seachange, say activists who agitated for the decision, belongs to a mix of online and traditional activism.


Malkia Cyril, the executive director of the Center for Media Justice, stresses that the strength of the net neutrality movement relied on the diversity of its coalition. She says Color of Change, National Hispanic Media Coalition, immigrant rights’ groups, activists from Black Lives Matter and communities of color “took it to the streets, to the doorstep of the ISPs.”

  The Intercept
Poor people. Maybe we ought to get together more often.
Other developments also helped shift the debate. HBO host John Oliver mobilized his viewers to flood the FCC with more than 45,000 comments in support of reclassification. A number of websites also participated in the “Internet Slowdown Day,” a protest to call attention to what might happen under paid prioritization without strong net neutrality.


[Tim Karr, campaign director for Free Press], who has worked on net neutrality advocacy for over a decade, also emphasized the role of a large coalition, “from librarians to free speech advocates,” with a shared interest in Internet freedom
Librarians are awesome. They aren’t beholden to corporations, and they don’t seem to be afraid of  the Feds.
To be sure, telephone and Internet companies are likely to try to undermine the rules that were voted on today. Earlier this week, former FCC chair and current cable industry lobbyist Michael Powell pledged legal action against reclassification. Another route would be for congressional allies of the industry to try to revoke FCC authority through the appropriations process or through a major rewrite of the Telecommunications Act.
It’s not over. But it’s a great win against the forces of commercial megabucks. Congratulations to the people. From a Demand Progress email:
The FCC just passed Title II Net Neutrality rules thanks to your work and that of a broad coalition of activists. It’s a challenge to describe just how unlikely this victory appeared as recently as a few months ago.

As we told the Huffington Post (in an article that’s at the top of their front page as we send this email): Popular victories like today's are so unusual that three Congressional committees are investigating how this happened.


We thank the millions of Americans who spoke up and gave the FCC the courage to do the right thing. They include the hundreds of thousands of Demand Progress members who have spoken out on this issue more than four million times.


In a political system in which progress can seem nearly impossible, the victory for Net Neutrality is a reminder to us that when we organize and fight for what is just, good things can still happen.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Love those cagey librarians....

The Bizarre Lawsuit Against Citizenfour

And I hope that Laura Poitras files for court costs and whatever else she can get out of these nuts when it's over.

It starts out ridiculous and goes downhill from there. However, the case has not been thrown out of court.

Speaking of FBI "Stings"

Are we sure they have a perfect record?

And if so, it's a dicey game they're playing.  Hopefully when their record is broken, their plot won't have been anything grand enough to cause much damage.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

A First Step to Stopping the TransCanada Pipeline

President Obama has vetoed a Republican bill approving the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. The White House says the move is not a judgment on the pipeline’s merits, but a bid to see through a State Department review that will determine whether the project is in the national interest.

  Democracy Now!
It could have merits, but he doesn’t know yet.
May Boeve, executive director of, said: "After four years of rallies, marches, sit-ins, and civil disobedience, we’re thrilled to see President Obama take an important first step by vetoing this love letter to Big Oil. ... Now, it’s time for the president to show he’s serious about his climate legacy by moving on to step two: rejecting this pipeline once and for all. [...] The pipeline is an accelerant for climate change. If the president is consistent with his climate pledge, he will not approve this pipeline."
We’ll see.

Democracy Now! interviewed Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center on the pipeline politics, who says, “This fight is long from over, but the president clearly has enough information to just cancel this project.”

Apparently, the wind around Obama has not settled into a clear direction.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Whew, Saved Again

The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency’s latest counter-terrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS [...]. As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, “it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.” One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI’s plot: his mom had taken away his passport.


The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.


They end up sending young people to prison for decades for “crimes” which even their sentencing judges acknowledge they never would have seriously considered, let alone committed, in the absence of FBI trickery.


We’re constantly bombarded with dire warnings about the grave threat of home-grown terrorists, “lone wolf” extremists, and ISIS.


But how serious of a threat can all of this be, at least domestically, if the FBI continually has to resort to manufacturing its own plots by trolling the internet in search of young drifters and/or the mentally ill whom they target, recruit and then manipulate [...] ? [...] Shouldn’t there be actual plots, ones that are created and fueled without the help of the FBI, that the agency should devote its massive resources to stopping?


This FBI tactic would be akin to having the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) constantly warn of the severe threat posed by drug addiction while it simultaneously uses pushers on its payroll to deliberately get people hooked on drugs so that they can arrest the addicts they’ve created and thus justify their own warnings and budgets (and that kind of threat-creation, just by the way, is not all that far off from what the other federal law enforcement agencies, like the FBI, are actually doing).

  The Intercept
Yeah. Oh, wait a minute. ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Citizenfour Online Free: One Click & You're There

In reference to my question about the WaPo review of Citizenfour: indeed the film does not infer that Glenn Greenwald had to convince Ed Snowden to come out as the leaker of the documents. In fact, it's quite obviously the opposite, as Glenn presents his concerns about Snowden doing so. I don't know how the Post reviewer concluded otherwise.

I know this for a certainty now because I was able to watch the film again - online. I got a very good quality streaming video from a link on this site: There are numerous links to choose from. Free of cost. Nothing to sign up for or log in to. Just click a link.

So, if you haven't yet seen the documentary, check it out.  (I found the third link at TheVideo - - to stream nicely)

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Speaking of Our Sterling Men and Women at the State Department

Daniel Rosen was arrested by a county detective about noon at his Washington, D.C. home after he allegedly sought to arrange sex with a minor. The detective, a female officer working in the county's Child Exploitation Unit, had been posing as the minor in online exchanges with Rosen, police said.

Rosen, who is the director of counterterrorism programs and policy at the State Department, was arrested and transported to the D.C. jail and charged with one count of Use of a Communications Device to Solicit a Juvenile.

The director of counterterrorism programs and policy.
In a speech in Feb. 2012 at a seminar hosted by The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' International Center for Terrorism Studies, Rosen, while discussing terrorism, talked about the lure of young people into extremism. “It’s not about public diplomacy, it’s not about improving the U.S. image,” he said. “It’s about reaching out to a pretty well-defined and pretty narrow audience, and that’s people that could be persuaded into crossing the boundaries between sympathy and action.”
He was just doing research into how easy young people are to coerce.


Democrats and anti-Republicans ridicule the rallying cry of Hillary haters: "Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi," they say in a rolling-eyes tone intended to convey the idea that the incident at the US Libyan compound was a molehill out of which the Republicans want to make a mountain.  We're probably soon in for a lot more of this as Hillary takes the campaign stage.

I want to see a Benghazi movie.  I think it would be riveting.    Certainly a better true story than the killing of Bin Laden (Zero Dark Thirty, which I didn't see).  Notwithstanding the idea that an assassination, even of a bad guy, is not something to be proud of, they had to sex up the killing of Bin Laden, because, how exciting is it to walk into an unarmed man's bedroom and shoot him?  And then dump his body in the ocean.  (Do you think they really did?)

The Benghazi affair, on the other hand, has lots of plot.  Pretty much all of it a comedy of errors combined with amazing ineptitude by the Hillary Clinton led US State Department.  And why in the world did they have unarmed Libyan guards at the compound?  Were they so roundly hated that they were afraid the guards might turn the guns on them?  What's the point of an unarmed guard in a city beset by continual attacks on foreign targets?  Perhaps they're just mis-described.  Perhaps they should have been called lookouts.  Anyway...that's not a take-away.  It's just a curiosity to me.

Check out this Guardian analysis:

UPDATE:  It looks like I may have my choice of two equally bad Benghazi movies.  They're both going to glorify the "heroic" efforts of the small team of security members.  It'll be like the Alamo.

Their World Is Not the Same One You and I Inhabit

Democratic senators Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein on Monday invited Netanyahu to meet in a closed-door session with Democrats during his visit. He declined the invitation on Tuesday and expressed regret about the politically fraught tone of his trip.


Durbin said in a statement that he regretted Netanyahu could not meet the Democrats.

“We offered the prime minister an opportunity to balance the politically divisive invitation from Speaker [John] Boehner with a private meeting with Democrats who are committed to keeping the bipartisan support of Israel strong,” Durbin said.

“His refusal to meet is disappointing to those of us who have stood by Israel for decades.”

  The Guardian
The invitation from Boehner was to speak at a joint session of Congress, which Netanyahu is going to do. Depressingly desperate Democrats.

Netanyahu declined the meeting on the grounds that it wouldn't be bipartisan.  Sheesh, he should have accepted.  The GOP would have then invited him to a private banquet. It’s now a game of suck-up to the leader of a foreign country. Congress hits a new low.

Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” -- Mark Twain 

...but hey, do what you will anyway.