Glenn Greenwald spares no mercy when condemning “terrorism experts”:
That has to be the single most amusing phrase ever to appear unironically in the Paper of Record: Twitter terrorism. And, of course, the authority cited for this menacing trend is that ubiquitous sham community calling itself “terrorism experts,” which exists to provide the imprimatur of scholarly Seriousness on every last bit of inane fear-mongering hysteria. That cottage industry (like the government’s demands for greater power and Endless War) remains vibrant only if Terrorism does (that is, Terrorism by Muslims: a propagandistic redundancy). Thus, with Osama bin Laden dead, a full decade elapsed since the last successful Terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and the original Al Qaeda group rendered inoperable, these experts are now warning the nation about lurking sleeper tweets.
Consider, too, this gem from a BBC documentary called “The Power of Nightmares”:
In the past, the power of politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people . . . Politicians were seen simply as managers of public life. But now they have discovered a new role that restores their apparent authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us . . . from nightmares.
Because we have bought the nightmares, we have bought endless warmongering at a price of $2 Billion/week in Afghanistan alone:
The disastrous legacy of the Iraq War extends beyond treasure squandered and lives lost or shattered. Central to that legacy has been Washington’s decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.
At Democracy Now, Daniel Ellsberg states that war crimes can be viewed in the Iraq helicopter video that was leaked to Wikileaks.
No question in my mind, as I looked at that, that the specific leaked pictures in there of helicopter gunners hunting down and shooting an unarmed man in civilian clothes, clearly wounded, in an area where a squad of American soldiers was about to appear, as the helicopter gunners knew, to take custody of anyone remaining living, that shooting was murder. It was a war crime. Not all killing in war is murder, but a lot of it is. And this was.
According to Ellsberg, who many have credited with helping to bring an end to the Vietnam war, the alleged leaker of that video should not be sitting in prison:
The Time magazine cover gives protester, an anonymous protester, as “Person of the Year,” but it is possible to put a face and a name to that picture of “Person of the Year.” And the American face I would put on that is Private Bradley Manning. The fact is that he is credited by President Obama and the Justice Department, or the Army, actually, with having given WikiLeaks that helicopter picture and other evidence of atrocities and war crimes—and torture, specifically—in Iraq, including in the Obama administration. That, in other words, led to the Tunisian uprising, the occupation in Tunis Square, which has been renamed by—for another face that could go on that picture, Mohamed Bouazizi, who, after the WikiLeaks exposures of corruption, in Tunis, himself, Bouazizi, burned himself alive just one year ago tomorrow, Saturday, December 17th, in protest. And the combination of the WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning exposures in Tunis and the exemplification of that by Mohamed Bouazizi led to the protests, the nonviolent protests, that drove Ben Ali out of power, our ally there who we supported up ’til that moment, and in turn sparked the uprising in Egypt, in Tahrir Square occupation, which immediately stimulated the Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations in the Middle East and elsewhere. So, “Person of the Year,” one of those persons of the year is now sitting in a courthouse in Leavenworth. He deserves the recognition that he’s just gotten in Time. Julian Assange, who published that, another person of the year, I would say, who’s gotten a number of journalistic awards, very much deserve our gratitude. And I hope they will have the effect in liberating us from the lawlessness that we have seen and the corruption—the corruption—that we have seen in this country in the last 10 years and more, which has been no less than that of Tunis and Egypt.
This segment also contains some pathetic spinning of the truth by Adrian Lamo, who turned in Bradley Manning. See, for example, this exchange:
AMY GOODMAN: When the Wired chat transcripts were finally all released in Wired magazine, the transcripts that you said were transcripts of your chat with Bradley Manning, you repeatedly swore that Manning was telling you these things in confidence, as a journalist and a minister. At one point, you said again, “this is not for print.” Why did you then break that assurance that you gave to Bradley Manning?
ADRIAN LAMO: I believe that that is a fallacious interpretation of my words. I offered him the protection of both journalistic shield and clergical protection. And he did not affirmatively accept either. In fact, at one point he said to me, “I am not your source.” So, he did not bring those factors into play.
The First Amendment isn’t worth a damn unless it is actually being used. If it is not being used, then politicians and their rich and powerful keepers will continue to utter long and loud streams of nonsense to financially screw the ordinary working people of America in dozens of ways. They will continue to feed us unending misinformation in order to justify their urges to wage unnecessary wars to help them retain their power. They will continue invading our houses and and minds thanks to their many stenographers in the commercial media.
Those of us who have resisted drinking much of this country’s spiked elixir of Judeo-Christian-consumerist-warmongering-bigotry know that most of what we hear our authority figures uttering, even those authority figures who we want to believe to be on our side, is flawed. Much of it substantially untrue and quite a bit of it is absolute bullshit. I hate to be writing these words, but I’ve lost a lot of faith in the United States in the past ten years. Misinformation pours into the living rooms and cars of Americans every day, where it too often takes root, perhaps because it is uttered by people wearing fancy suits and flag pins.
Americans need an antidote to this unending poison. They need the kinds of people who can effectively challenge these messages and messengers–someone who not only can challenge this propaganda but can do it with sharp fast pinpricks that deflate this bloviation on the spot. They need much more than “news” reporters who don’t have the tools, courage or motivation to challenge all the BS. They need someone who is old enough and thick-skinned enough that he/she doesn’t give a shit about being criticized for being unpatriotic. In fact, this type of person, of whom we actually need many, feeds on the criticism aimed at them by the powers-that-be and even gets even better under attack; he/she feels compelled to speak truth to power because it is the right thing to do, it’s in the blood and it’s the patriotic thing. The types of patriotic people we need to deliver this blitzkrieg criticism also need to be excellent entertainers in order to maintain the attention of large numbers of Americans. As comedians, they can hone their messages into comical memes that their audience members will pass around in viral fashion long after the original message was delivered. To the extent that these funny social critics portray themselves as jesters, they will have more access to the mass media, enabling them more effectively put their verbal swords in and out of those who own and run this country. Many conservatives consider this iconoclastic feedback to be unpatriotic.
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It looks like those TSA workers are keeping us safe, but John Mica, the U.S. Representative who authored the legislation establishing the TSA is sorely disappointed. Audrey Hudson at Human Events reports:
“The whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats,” said Rep. John Mica (R. -Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
“It mushroomed into an army,” Mica said. “It’s gone from a couple-billion-dollar enterprise to close to $9 billion.”
As for keeping the American public safe, Mica says, “They’ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.”
“Everything they have done has been reactive.
. . . The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the Earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the Earth. He breaks the bough and cuts the spear in two. He burns the chariot in fire. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the Earths. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge.
These words of peace were uttered by a President who is currently waging wars in several countries. These words of prayer , and many other words of prayer, were uttered by my elected representative, Barack Obama, who doesn’t care that his Constitution has a Separation clause and that he was elected to represent Buddhists and Hindus, in addition to many millions of Americans who do not believe in invisible sentient beings. Then again, it’s election season and Mr. Obama is hammering at America’s sweet spot: Judeo-Christian War Mongering.
This was a day when Mr. Obama, like most politicians who hogged the stage on this deservedly sad anniversary, deemed that everyone who died on 9/11 was a “hero,” even though most of the the people who died were victims rather than heroes–there being a huge difference between victims and heroes. But this is not a day that cares about stark distinctions or basic facts.
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Here’s what happens when an ideologue politician like Paul Ryan avoids answering hard questions out in the public. When you threaten well-established social safety net programs, the program beneficiaries are quite willing to pay $15 to actually get a little face time with you, even if it means they will be arrested. When you don’t hear them out, they will get annoying and disruptive. They know that when you are not inviting real criticism, the people in the audience are hearing what amounts to propaganda, which is not a meaningful political process.
The test of a true leader is one who is willing to take serious inconvenient criticism to heart.