A group of military veterans is taking aim at U.S. drone strikes overseas with graphic TV ads directly asking Air Force pilots to stop flying the unmanned aircraft, calling the operations immoral and illegal.
The ads are the first commercials opposing U.S. drone operations ever shown on American TV, according to sponsors, which include the Veterans Democratic Club of Sacramento County and the Sacramento chapter of Veterans for Peace. The campaign is spearheaded by an activist website, KnowDrones.com.
The commercials are airing this month on Comcast in Northern California communities near Beale Air Force Base, which is home to Golden Hawk reconnaissance drones. Pilots at Beale remotely fly the spy drones over areas believed to be controlled by terrorists in foreign countries and pinpoint human targets for attack by armed Predator and Reaper drones.
The two 15-second spots show images from a drone operations video screen, an explosion and civilians searching through rubble after a drone attack. On-screen messages read “Drone killings violate law and morality” and “Drone pilots. Please refuse to fly. No one has to obey an immoral law.”
One of the ads, which includes images of dead and mutilated children, is being run only after 10 p.m., while the other spot airs from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Both are posted on YouTube.
The commercials cost about $6,000, said Cres Vellucci, president of the Veterans Democratic Club of Sacramento County. The spots are running during popular shows on major cable channels, including AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox News, HGTV and a Comcast Bay Area sports channel.
“If you’re a fan of ‘Mad Men,’ Giants games or Fox News, there’s a good chance you’ll see it,” Vellucci said.
Drones are a controversial weapon in the U.S. war against terrorism in foreign countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Military officials defend using the aircraft to combat enemies and say that every effort is made to limit civilian casualties. Opponents contend the unmanned strikes result in the deaths of countless innocent people, including children.
Activists plan to run the anti-drone spots near operation centers throughout the United States. The campaign began last month in the Las Vegas TV market near Creech Air Force Base, which is home to Predator drones.
Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.com, said this week that the ads are aimed directly at drone pilots, support workers and their families. He criticized President Barack Obama and Congress for supporting drone attacks and likened the ad campaign to Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero’s call to Salvadoran soldiers in 1980 to lay down their arms during that country’s civil war.
“I think pilots and other people in these positions are under intense pressure to do this work,” said Mottern, a Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War. “Our ads challenge them to stop compartmentalizing their work and to engage their consciences.”
In an email statement this week, Col. Douglas Lee of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale expressed support for the First Amendment rights of drone opponents “to freely express their opinions.” He added that using unarmed drones saves lives.
“The intelligence we collect provides national leaders strategic information and knowledge resulting in decision advantage, which (helps) ensure our national security,” Lee said.
Vellucci, who was an Army information specialist in the Vietnam War, said most Americans don’t hear “the whole story” about drone attacks.
“We want to get the word out,” he said. “You hear that they are saving American lives, but you don’t really hear about the innocent women and children being targeted on the ground.”
Vellucci said the ads are scheduled to air on Comcast through April on base at Beale as well as in Yuba City, Marysville, Wheatland, Linda, Live Oak, Colusa and Olivehurst. Supporters hope to raise $4,000 to expand the ads to the Sacramento TV market, he said, and another $8,000 to $10,000 is being budgeted to buy spots within the next 30 days at two other drone operations centers in New York and New Mexico.
A French cable channel is drawing attention for its grilling of a lobbyist defending Monsanto. In the interview with Canal+, Patrick Moore repeatedly insists that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular pesticide Roundup, is safe to drink.
And then he repeatedly refuses to drink it, notes Raw Story. A sample of the exchange:
Moore: “You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you.”
Interviewer: “You want to drink some? We have some here.”
Moore: “I’d be happy to, actually. Not really. But I know it wouldn’t hurt me.”
Interviewer: “If you say so, I have some.”
Moore: “I’m not stupid.”
When the interviewer presses him, Moore says that people regularly try to drink the stuff to commit suicide, but it never works because “it’s not dangerous to humans.” Pressed one last time to drink it, Moore says, “I’m not an idiot” and ends the interview.
Sites such as EcoWatch are reveling in it. Last week, a WHO study declared that the weed killer is “probably” carcinogenic, a conclusion that Monsanto adamantly denies.
Even though the FCC hasn’t yet ruled on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, one group has already filed a lawsuit claiming at least $20 billion in damages from the way the two giants allegedly discriminate against black-owned media.
The complaint, filed in California on Friday, comes from the National Association of African-American Owned Media, which also filed a similar suit against AT&T and DirecTV in December.
This time, the plaintiff is not only targeting both Comcast and TWC — on the eve of the two companies merging to become what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States — but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton for allegedly facilitating discrimination.
The lawsuit figures to face many hurdles, from the sufficiency of its allegations to possibly the First Amendment, but for now it presents a larger portrait of a media company that isn’t carrying many fully owned black channels and the dangers of allowing it to grow bigger.
“We do not generally comment on pending litigation, but this complaint represents nothing more than a string of inflammatory, inaccurate, and unsupported allegations,” responds Comcast in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sharpton tells us that he “welcomes the opportunity to answer the frivolous allegations” and says he will be bringing counterclaims for defamation.
According to the lawsuit, Comcast and TWC “collectively spend approximately $25 billion annually for the licensing of pay-television channels and advertising of their products and services, yet 100% African American–owned media receives less than $3 million per year.”
At the time of Comcast’s 2010 acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast entered into memoranda of understanding with the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, but the lawsuit says the voluntary diversity agreements are “a sham, undertaken to whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”
The plaintiff objects that the only fully black-owned channel picked up by Comcast is the Africa Channel, and that entity is owned by former Comcast/NBCU exec Paula Madison, who “was directly involved in putting together the sham MOUs and obtaining government approval for the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, thus creating a serious conflict of interest.”
Other black channels are said to be “window dressing,” with black celebrities as “fronts” when they are “white-owned businesses” that are run by friends or family of Comcast executives.
The lawsuit goes on to say that Comcast made large cash “donations” to obtain support for its acquisition. The money includes $3.8 million to Sharpton and his National Action Network. The money, it’s charged, was meant to pay Sharpton to endorse the NBCU deal and divert attention away from discrimination. As for Sharpton’s MSNBC gig, the complaint says, “Despite the notoriously low ratings that Sharpton’s show generates, Comcast has allowed Sharpton to maintain his hosting position for more than three years in exchange for Sharpton’s continued public support for Comcast on issues of diversity.”
Sharpton objects that the budget for National Action Network is not even $4 million, and as for his MSNBC show, he believes he has the most successful show in the 6 p.m. hour at MSNBC, that “the numbers speak for themselves.” The lawsuit seems to count Sharpton’s reported $750,000 annual salary at MSNBC as part of the $3.8 million and leverages past criticism of the noted “civil rights leader” that’s rooted in him allegedly turning an eye and forgoing boycotts and protests on corporations upon receiving monetary contributions to the National Action Network.
As for support to the theory of discrimination in contracting, the lawsuit says Comcast has a “Jim Crow” process with respect to licensing black-owned channels, and that one Comcast exec stated, “We’re not trying to create any more Bob Johnsons,” referring to the founder of Black Entertainment Television.
The NAAAOM is suing along with Entertainment Studios Networks, which was founded by Byron Allen and now has a television operation with stations like Justice Central that reach 7.5 million consumers through deals with smaller pay TV distributors.
Representing the plaintiffs are Louis “Skip” Miller at Miller Barondess. The attorney has been a mainstay for many years on The Hollywood Reporter‘s list of the 100 most powerful lawyers in the entertainment industry. Besides representing clients including Rod Stewart, Steven Tyler, Elton John and Bob Dylan, he also defended the city of Los Angeles in the Rodney King civil rights case.
A Comcast spokesperson responds, “We are proud of our outstanding record supporting and fostering diverse programming, including programming from African-Americans”
Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape.
Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a conversation secretly recorded by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas.
One of O’Keefe’s investigators with a hidden camera posed as a Garner supporter during a protest last month at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.
“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter.
“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.
“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.
“Yeah,” Snipes responds.
Snipes, 24, also complained that the Staten Island director of Sharpton’s National Action Network, Cynthia Davis, scolded her for handing out street fliers about her father’s case that did not include NAN’s logo.
“She started attacking me. ‘Oh, I see that you got this flier out, how come you didn’t add the logo?’ ’’ Snipes said.
The undercover then asks, “They want their logo on your fliers?”
“Instead of me, he wants his face in front,” Snipes says, referring to Sharpton
“But it’s not about them, it’s about your dad,” the undercover says.
“Exactly,” Snipes responds.
“Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. She’s trying to make me feel like I owe them,” she adds.
In an interview with The Post on Monday night, Snipes denied that she had accused Sharpton of being a money-grubber.
“No, I didn’t say that I think Al Sharpton is all about the money,” she said.
‘Al Sharpton paid for the funeral. [NAN Director Cynthia Davis is] trying to make me feel like I owe them.’
– Erica Snipes
But she stood by her criticism of Davis, the NAN director, who she claimed tried to block her from attending a protest at the Staten Island Museum against mass incarceration.
Sharpton on Monday night accused Project Veritas of “exploiting” Snipes and a dispute within the Garner family.
“They’re splicing and dicing stuff together. It was a distortion. Erica is a sincere victim. She was not trying to infer anything with me,” Sharpton said of the secret recording.
Sharpton said the premise of the criticism is flat wrong. He said NAN helps families, including paying for funerals, and does not take money from them. He said Snipes’ sister, Emerald, now works for NAN.
Moreover, he said, NAN organizes rallies after receiving legal permits from the city and therefore requests that its logo be put on fliers for events it sponsors.
In the video, Sharpton is also criticized by leaders and supporters involved in the Michael Brown police shooting case in Ferguson, Mo., and the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, according to the Project Veritas videotapes.
Jean Petrus, a Brooklyn businessman who attended a recent Trayvon Martin Foundation fundraiser in Florida, is also seen criticizing Sharpton in the secretly taped video.
“He knows how to make money and get money. They’re shakedown guys to me. You know, let’s call it what it is, they’re shakedown,” he says in the video.
Esaw Garner, wife of the late Eric Garner, cries as the Rev. Al Sharpton leads a vigil on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Staten Island.
Photo: Chad Rachman
Petrus told The Post on Monday night that he never consented to an interview and considers himself a “friend of Sharpton.”
“It was an entrapment situation,” Petrus said. “It’s really underhanded.”
“To some degree, he sort of incites people for the wrong reason,” the bishop says. “I’m in the gathering. He got them all fired up. But I just sense this is not the way you want to go.”
Sharpton dismissed the criticism, saying he went to Ferguson at the request of Brown’s family.
“I condemned the violence in Ferguson,” he said.
The Post attempted to contact all the subjects in the Veritas video documentary. Two responded.
Lawyer Darryl Parks, who is involved with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, said “there may be a little truth in that” when asked in a secret recording whether Sharpton is “all about his money.”
Parks on Monday night told The Post that he was “totally misconstrued” by a woman who misrepresented herself as a donor willing to give $50,000 to the foundation. He said it was a lengthy interview taken out of context.
“This is operating under false disguise. It’s nothing but hogwash,” said Parks, who stressed that he supports Sharpton.
Another subject, Vivian Dudley of One Outreach Ministry in Ferguson, said in the video that she was “not quite sure what Al Sharpton did” when he visited there following Brown’s death. She confirmed that two people identifying themselves as documentarians openly interviewed her.
“They asked me about Sharpton. I don’t have anything bad to say about anybody,” Dudley said Monday night.
Other subjects did not respond or could not be reached for comment.
The National Action Network issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and widow, Esaw Garner.
“Today’s NY Post front page story is deeply misleading about the relationship between our family, National Action Network, and Rev. Al Sharpton.
“As the mother and head of the estate of Eric Garner, and the widow of Eric Garner, let us be clear: We reached out and asked for help and assistance from Rev. Al Sharpton and National Action Network in the wake of Eric’s death. National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton have honored all of our requests, including covering the expenses of Eric’s funeral. We believe that their involvement is solely based on their commitment for justice for Eric and our family. It is National Action Network’s policy that they do not accept monies or even reimbursement from victim’s families.
“Erica made it clear in this NY Post article that the way the interview was conducted was extremely deceptive and her comments were taken out of context.
“We appreciate the work that National Action and Rev. Sharpton has done and continues to do for our family. The best way to continue to seek justice and honor Eric is through peaceful demonstrations, including by attending this Saturday’s rally with Rev. Sharpton at National Action Network.”
Boston’s mainstream media has delivered its verdict on the allegations against marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: he’s so guilty, there’s no need to used the word alleged anymore.
If there were any doubt that Boston’s media had a bias in the case, several of the city’s media pundits and one of its journalism professors have decisively put that question to rest. The panelists on WGBH’s “Beat the Press” were shameless in discarding any pretense of unbiased, neutral reporting.
The use of the word, “alleged” to identify a suspect who has not been convicted is a long-established practice of media ethics. It’s a standard which acknowledges that only properly-held trial can assign guilt. Yet using “alleged” or “accused” for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is unnecessary,” according to the pundits on “Beat the Press”
“In the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I wouldn’t have a big problem if somebody simply described him as ‘The Boston Bomber’ because, the evidence is overwhelming to the point (that) there is virtually no other side to this,” said Northeastern journalism Professor Dan Kennedy.
The Boston Globe’s Dante Ramos went one step further, arguing that the use of “alleged” or “allegedly” is just lip service in this case. The words are “the tribute that we pay to the idea of innocent until proven guilty. There’s no way of putting these facts together in a way that he’s not one of the perpetrators.”
But, given the high number of sealed motions, the dubious hospital bed confession, the restrictions placed on the defendant and his attorneys that have left him incommunicado, is Tsarnaev’s guilt is a foregone conclusion?
On February 23, Al Jazeera headlined “The Spy Cables: A Glimpse into the world of espionage.”
Saying “(s)ecret documents, leaked from numerous intelligence agencies, offer rare insights into the interactions between spies.”
Hold the cheers. Al Jazeera is owned, operated and controlled by Qatar’s government. Its agenda is closely tied to Washington and other Western governments.
Doha hosts America’s forward CENTCOM (US Central Command) headquarters. It’s based at Al Udeid Air Base. It’s home for 5,000 US forces.
It’s a hub for US Afghanistan and Iraq operations. Qatar was instrumental in Obama’s Libya war.
Its special forces armed and trained extremist Islamist militants. It’s allied with Obama’s war on Syria.
The State Department’s annual human rights report said Qatar:
denies its citizens the right to change governmental authority peacefully; constitutional law mandates hereditary male al-Thani family rule.
prohibits fundamental civil liberties;
abuses noncitizen workers;
forbids organized political parties;
denies speech, press and assembly freedoms;
prohibits due process and judicial fairness for anyone facing charges under the Protection of Society and Combating Terrorism Law;
restricts religious practices and movement;
traffics in domestic workers and various other labor sectors; and
discriminates against women legally, institutionally and cultureally.
Don’t expect revelations like Edward Snowden’s. It remains to be seen what Al Jazeera intends to publish.
It’ll be up to others to judge its reliability. Most important is what it intends to keep suppressed.
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit collaborated with London’s Guardian – an establishment broadsheet. It published Snowden’s revelations.
According to Al Jazeera, it intends “a selection of ‘top-secret’ documents, and exploring stories within them.”
They’re from Israel’s Mossad, Britain’s MI6, Russia’s FSB, Australia’s ASIO and South Africa’s SSA.
No direct mention of the CIA, NSA, FBI or other US spy agencies.
Al Jazeera claims a “digital leak” source. It’ll begin selective publishing “(o)ver the coming days.” Documents it obtained cover the period 2006 – 2014.
They include SSA “detailed briefings and internal analyses.”
Revealing South Africa’s “secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the CIA, Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Russia’s FSB and Iran’s operatives, as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.”
Information obtained comes from human intelligence (HUMINT). Al Jazeera calls it “humdrum, day-in-the-office level” espionage.
Offering a “glimpse into the daily working lives of people whose jobs are kept secret from the public.”
Expect no blockbuster revelations. Al Jazeera calling it “important to achieve greater transparency in the field of intelligence” may be more hype than fulfillment.
Snowden connected important dots for millions. Don’t expect Al Jazeera to match him.
Israel may be concerned. On February 23, Haaretz headlined “Massive leak said to reveal Mossad’s ‘true’ assessment on Iran nuclear program.”
If so, it’ll show a peaceful one with no military component. Annual US intelligence assessments say so.
New Snowden leaks reveal US, Israeli and UK spy agencies cooperated in surveilling Iranian officials.
Documents indicate “(t)he respective NSA-ISNU and GCHQ bilateral relationships had gotten to the point that each participant recognized the need for the trilateral engagement to advance this specific topic.”
“The trilateral relationship is limited to the topic of (word redated) and will serve as a proof of concept of this kind of engagement.”
GCHQ “long advocated that it work with NSA and ISNU in a trilateral arrangement to prosecute the Iranian target.”
NSA’s signals intelligence chief “opposed…such a blanket arrangement, and this specific trilateral should not be interpreted as a broad change of approach.”
“In other areas, NSA and CCHQ have agreed to continue to share information gleaned from the respective bilateral relationships with ISNU.”
Documents revealed show US/UK intelligence successes against Iran.
Saying “NSA has successfully worked multiple high-priority surges with GCHQ (during) the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran…”
“Iran’s discovery of computer network exploitation tools on their networks in 2012 and 2013; and support to policymakers during the multiple rounds of P5 plus 1 negotiation on Iran’s nuclear program.”
NSA’s so-called emergency plan in case of crisis conditions with Iran is coordinated with other US spy agencies and Pentagon officials.
Separately, Israeli media report another fake Hamas terror cell uncovered. This one in Hebron.
This type revelation ahead of Israel’s mid-March elections isn’t surprising. Polls show Netanyahu in a close race to remain prime minister.
Shin Bet said it arrested 11 Hamas members plotting terror attacks. It claimed weapons and explosives were seized.
A Shin Bet statement said:
“The activities of this cell reflects the real threat from Hamas activities in Hebron and especially from operatives that have been arrested in the past and then returned to the terror pool.”
Hamas consistently denies fabricated Israeli terror plot claims. Days earlier, Israel said active West Bank IS terror cells operate.
PA security forces spokesman Adnan Dameiri denied it, saying:
“We are obviously adamant not to have ISIS or umbrellas for them in Palestine.”
“Those who have been trying to create the ISIS phenomenon are Israel and Hamas given that the Muslim Brotherhood movement is the incubator which created al-Qaida, ISIS, the Nusra Front and other Jihadist and Takfiri organizations.”
“The Israeli occupation is interested in creating chaos in Palestine…to tell the world that Palestinians do not deserve to have a state.”
Israeli anti-Hamas propaganda remains intense. Egypt spreads similar Big Lies.
On Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abut Zuhri blasted Egyptian “incitement and deception” against Palestinians in Gaza.
He denounced what he called “Zionist-like” rumors and misinformation sowing discord cooperatively with Israel.
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm denounced “attempts to accuse (Gazans) of (involvement in) ongoing events in Egypt.”
Hamas is Palestine’s democratically elected government. It threatens no one.
Israel, Washington, Egypt and likeminded rogue allies outrageously call it a terrorist organization.
Don’t expect Al Jazeera’s Spy Cables to expose Israeli high crimes. Expect they’ll steer well clear of anything too controversial.
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Al Jazeera Spy Cables Reveal Netanyahu Lies about Iran’s Nuclear Program
by Stephen Lendman
Netanyahu is an embarrassment to legitimate governance. He’s unfit to serve. Why Israelis put up with him they’ll have to explain.
On March 17, they’ll have a chance to replace him. He’s in a close race he could lose. Letting him remain prime minister means retaining a war criminal/crook/serial liar.
On the one hand, he’s silent on Israel’s menacing stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
He won’t say it’s official state policy to use them if threatened. Or that Israel uses banned weapons in all its wars.
On the other, he repeatedly lies about a nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program. In September 2012, he made a fool of himself before a world audience.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, his cartoon bomb went viral. It bombed. He looked more cartoonish than his prop.
At the time, the New Yorker said “the ridiculous deserves ridicule.”
The Wall Street Journal compared his stunt to Nikita Krushchev’s shoe-banging incident.
Netanyahu’s “red line” bluster wore thin long ago. It’s hard recalling how many times he lied about Iran being within months of producing a nuclear bomb.
Yet no evidence from the world’s most sophisticated intelligence agencies suggests it. None exists.
Not from the CIA, NSA. other US spy agencies or Israel’s Mossad. Sputnik News was blunt headlining “Netanyahu Lied to UN about Iranian Nuclear Program, Mossad Files Show.”
He deliberately “misled the United Nations about Iran’s nuclear program.” Showing nothing he says has credibility.
In September 2012, he lied saying “(b)y next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move(d_ on to the final stage.”
“From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”
US intelligence consistently finds no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Leaked Mossad cables show Netanyahu lied. On February 23, an Al Jazeera’s Spy Cables report headlined “Mossad contradicted Netanyahu on Iran nuclear programme.”
Showing “Iran was not producing nuclear weapons, after PM sounded alarm at UN in 2012.”
“Less than a month after” his Big Lie, Mossad said Tehran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce (nuclear) weapons.”
According to Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, Mossad’s top secret cable “laid out a ‘bottom line’ assessment of Iran’s nuclear work.”
It showed Netanyahu lied about “Tehran racing towards acquisition of a nuclear bomb.”
No evidence suggests efforts being made to develop and produce nuclear weapons.
Iranian scientists are “working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate such as enrichment reactors.”
“Even though Iran has accumulated enough 5 percent enriched uranium for several bombs, and has enriched some of it to 20 percent, it does not appear to be ready to enrich it to higher levels.”
‘It is allocating some of it to produce nuclear fuel for the TRR (Tehran Research Reactor), and the amount of 20 percent enriched uranium is therefore not increasing.”
On March 3, Netanyahu will address a joint congressional session two weeks before Israeli elections.
He wants ongoing P5+1 talks sabotaged. He wants no agreement reached. He’ll repeat his Big Lie about a nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons program.
He seeks congressional support against rapprochement with Iran. He rejects compromise. He wants hardline US policies remaining unchanged.
“Media reports and public comments by senior current and former officials have frequently indicated dissent from within Israel’s security services over Netanyahu’s alarmist messaging on Iran,” said Al Jazeera.
However, the (leaked) document (it got) makes clear that the Mossad’s formal assessment of Iran’s nuclear capacity and intentions differs from the scenario outlined by the prime minister at the UN” – and numerous other times.
The cable was sent to South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) shortly after Netanyahu’s September 2012 address.
In March 2012, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned against overstating an Iranian threat – heading Israel toward possible war with Tehran.
At the time, he called attacking Iran a “stupid idea (before) exploring all other approaches” to resolve differences between both countries.
In October 2012, Mossad estimated Iran had 100 kilograms of uranium enriched to a 20% level.
In 2013, its stockpile increased. Then was “neutralise(d)” or “destroyed” following P5+1 talks.
Netanyahu/Mossad discord remains. Israel’s spy agency warned US officials against imposing new sanctions.
Saying doing so would sabotage ongoing talks. Iran and P5+1 countries currently seek a permanent deal framework by end of March.
Followed by a full technical agreement by end of June. Much work remains, said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after weekend talks with John Kerry in Geneva.
On Monday, he said “(w)e have made progress on some topics to some extent, but there is still a long way to pave before reaching a final deal.”
No agreement is possible unless both sides agree on all issues, he explained.
“…(T)he negotiations will continue, and we have decided to continue our talks on the sidelines of the upcoming meeting of the Human Rights Council next week,” he said.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said Tehran will stop negotiating if world powers (namely Washington) apply unacceptable pressure.
“We will continue the negotiations as long as there is a language of respect,” he said.
“(B)ut we will surely leave the table if the (bullying) approach is extended to the negotiating table.”
His comments followed John Kerry saying Obama “is fully prepared to stop these talks if he feels that they’re not being met with the kind of productive decision-making necessary to prove that a program is in fact peaceful.”
“Both the US and other P5+1 (countries) have experienced that political and media pressures will never make the Islamic Republic of Iran change it methods, demands and stances in the negotiations,” Araqchi stressed.
“Summing up the discussions, we cannot claim that progress has been made…We still have differences, but the negotiating sides are seriously and resolutely following up the negotiations to reach a solution although they have not achieved comprehensive solutions over key issues.”
Talks continue next Monday in Geneva. Whether agreement is possible remains to be seen.
Given decades of US hostility, it takes a great leap of faith to believe normalizing relations with Iran will occur any time soon.
Not as long as enormous Israeli Lobby pressure keeps Congress from accepting it.
After twelve years, Brian Williams is coming clean, admitting the helicopter he traveled in during NBC’s coverage of the 2003 Iraq invasion never once came under fire, despite Williams’ story to the contrary.
On Jan. 30, NBC Nightly News posted a video of Williams to Facebook, in which Williams recounts the story during a news segment. Williams references “a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq, when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”
A user by the name of Lance Reynolds, who purported to have served in Iraq during the incident in question, subsequently commented on the video, writing, “Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft.”
Reynolds added, “I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened. Then I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your ‘war story’ to the Nightly News.”
Willams responded to the comment via his verified account, writing, “To Joseph, Lance, Jonathan, Pate, Michael and all those who have posted: You are absolutely right and I was wrong.
“In fact, I spent much of the weekend thinking I’d gone crazy. I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.
“Because I have no desire to fictionalize my experience (we all saw it happened the first time) and no need to dramatize events as they actually happened, I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.
“I certainly remember the armored mech platoon, meeting Capt. Eric Nye and of course Tim Terpak. Shortly after they arrived, so did the Orange Crush sandstorm, making virtually all outdoor functions impossible. I honestly don’t remember which of the three choppers Gen. Downing and I slept in, but we spent two nights on the stowable web bench seats in one of the three birds.
“Later in the invasion when Gen. Downing and I reached Baghdad, I remember searching the parade grounds for Tim’s Bradley to no avail. My attempt to pay tribute to CSM Terpak was to honor his 23+ years in service to our nation, and it had been 12 years since I saw him.
“The ultimate irony is: In writing up the synopsis of the 2 nights and 3 days I spent with him in the desert, I managed to switch aircraft. Nobody’s trying to steal anyone’s valor. Quite the contrary: I was and remain a civilian journalist covering the stories of those who volunteered for duty. This was simply an attempt to thank Tim, our military and Veterans everywhere — those who have served while I did not.”
Vaccination debate spills over into 2016 White House race
The roiling national debate over vaccinations has spilled over into the 2016 presidential race, as potential candidates clash over whether a measles outbreak underscores the need for strict vaccination policies.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, both potential Republican candidates, waded into the debate on Monday, saying parents should have a say in whether to vaccinate their kids. The remarks were not a departure from previously stated positions, but in light of the current measles outbreak, they drew widespread attention — and criticism.
The Centers for Disease Control and (Creation) Prevention is reporting 102 confirmed measles cases spread across 14 states, which follows last year’s record outbreak in which 644 cases were diagnosed across 27 states — the largest outbreak since the virus was declared eliminated in 2000.
On Tuesday, Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and conservative advocate who is considering a White House run, weighed in on the other side. While saying there are “exceptional situations” that should be heard and he strongly believes in individual rights, Carson said, “I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society.”
He said in a statement: “Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”
The statement puts some distance between Carson, and Christie and Paul.
Christie, who spoke Monday after making a tour of a biomedical research lab in Cambridge, England, said that he and his wife had vaccinated their children. However, the governor added, “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”
Later Monday, Paul said in a radio interview that he believed most vaccines should be voluntary.
“I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” Paul, an eye doctor, said in a subsequent interview while suggesting vaccines were “a good thing.” ”But I think the parents should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children.”
Both men’s staffs later sent out statements clarifying their remarks. Christie’s spokesman said the governor believed that “with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated.” The statement from Paul’s office pointed out that the senator’s children have all been vaccinated and added that Paul “believes that vaccines have saved lives, and should be administered to children.
Hillary Clinton, the leading likely Democratic contender for the party nomination in 2016, couldn’t resist taking a dig at the GOP hopefuls on Twitter.
“The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest.”
Medical experts and political consultants from both sides joined in the criticism.
“When you see educated people or elected officials giving credence to things that have been completely debunked, an idea that’s been shown to be responsible for multiple measles and pertussis outbreaks in recent years, it’s very concerning,” Amesh Adalja, an an infectious-disease physician at the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh, told The Washington Post.
GOP operative Rick Wilson told the paper that he thought Christie’s remarks could have been a clumsy play to win over conservative voters suspicious of government mandates.
“There’s only one of two options,” Wilson said of Christie. “Either he’s so tone-deaf that he doesn’t understand why saying this is bad for him, or this is a considered political strategy. And that would be even more troubling.”
In fact, Christie pledged to fight for greater parental involvement in vaccination decisions during his first campaign for New Jersey governor in 2009.
All states now require children to get certain vaccinations to enroll in school, although California and New Jersey are among 20 states that let parents opt out by obtaining a waiver. Parents in New Jersey seeking such a waiver for medical reasons must submit a written statement from their doctor or registered nurse.
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to get their children vaccinated against measles and other childhood diseases. The New Jersey health department’s guidelines on vaccines say that objections “based on grounds which are not medical or religious in nature and which are of a philosophical, moral, secular, or more general nature continue to be unacceptable.”
Concerns about autism and vaccinations are often traced to a 1998 study in the British journal Lancet. While the research was later discredited and retracted by the journal, legions of parents abandoned the vaccine, leading to a resurgence of measles in Western countries where it had been mostly stamped out. Last year, there were more than 4,100 cases in Europe, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air, with symptoms that include fever, runny nose and a blotchy rash. The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective at preventing measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Choosing not to vaccinate your child could also endanger the health of other children in your community,” CDC director Tom Frieden said Monday.
New Jersey requires the vaccine for children between 12 months and 15 months old, and then a second dose between ages 4 and 6. Such mandated vaccinations are a point of irritation among some conservatives, notable in the early voting state of Iowa, where Christian home-school advocates constitute an influential bloc of voters who take part in the Republican presidential caucuses.
Barb Heki, a leader in Iowa’s home-school advocacy network, said such parents “adhere to the idea that it’s the parents’ right to make the decision on vaccinations.
“More important than a candidate’s stance on vaccinations, I’m more concerned for parents’ rights to make decisions about their own children, period,” she said. “That’s paramount.”
Louise Kuo Habakus, a radio host who runs a nonprofit group opposed to state-required vaccinations, said she helped arrange a meeting between parents and Christie on the issue in 2009 and saluted him for standing up for the “rights of parents to direct the health, welfare and upbringing of their children.”
“He’s been absolutely constant and I believe courageous and principled on this issue,” she said.
The FOX “news” show Kelly Files w/ MeGyn Kelly was merciless on Rand Paul over this last night – (No clip)
Here is a few recent attacks on Rand by megyn (Ruppert’s attack dog)
Ex-Fox producer kills himself outside NYC headquarters – Police | 26 Jan 2015 | Police say a former Fox news television producer in Texas has shot himself to death outside company headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Forty-one-year-old Philip Perea died after the shooting at about 9 a.m. Monday outside News Corp. Authorities say Perea had been handing out fliers about Fox saying the company destroyed his career shortly before he shot himself outside the building that houses Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Video Posted by Philip Perea Before his death… Points to how FOX Austin was afraid of losing access to the APD Chief, and thus fired Perea. Quite revealing if true.
Those who know Art Acevedo say he’s a type-A personality on steroids.
He’s seemingly everywhere at once in Austin and became such a fixture in the community that some officers nicknamed him the “Rock Star.”
Acevedo still enjoys catching the bad guys. He regularly rides out in a patrol car and has made about 20 arrests since he became chief in the state’s capital in 2007.
In joining the California Highway Patrol in 1986, the Cuban-born Acevedo followed in the footsteps of his late father, who patrolled the streets of Havana before the family fled to the U.S. in the late 1960s. Acevedo worked his way up to the highest rungs of CHP, earning plaudits for combating gang violence in Los Angeles and respect for his willingness to take on police corruption.
Near the end of his highway patrol career, he ran into a rocky patch when a former girlfriend filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him and the highway patrol. A federal judge dismissed the allegation of sexual harassment.
Acevedo also won a $1 million whistle-blower settlement against the highway patrol after complaining that he faced retaliation for, among other things, exposing improper conduct by top officials, including pension irregularities.
Having dealt with Chief Assinvader myself, many times… (yes I called this name to his face, and on my Austin TV Show…) I can confirm that he actually IS a Bafoon, and a Lunatic. Power mad, and slicker than a wall street junk bond salesman.- Jack Blood
Soldiers patrol a street in Paris on Wednesday. France ordered 10,000 troops into the streets Monday to protect sensitive sites Ñ nearly half of them to guard Jewish schools Ñ as it hunted for accomplices to the Islamic militants who left 17 people dead as they terrorized the nation.
Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 9:52 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 9:52 a.m.
PARIS — France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism, announcing Wednesday that 54 people had been arrested for those offenses since terror attacks left 20 dead in Paris last week, including three gunmen.
The order came as Charlie Hebdo’s defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical newspaper that fronted the Prophet Muhammad anew on its cover.
France has been tightening security and searching for accomplices since the terror attacks began, but none of the 54 people have been linked to the attacks. That’s raising questions about whether President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government is impinging on the very freedom of speech that it so vigorously defends when it comes to Charlie Hebdo.
Among those detained was Dieudonne, a controversial, popular comic with repeated convictions for racism and anti-Semitism.
Like many European countries, France has strong laws against hate speech and especially anti-Semitism in the wake of the Holocaust. In a message distributed to all French prosecutors and judges, the Justice Ministry laid out the legal basis for rounding up those who defend the Paris terror attacks as well as those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts. The order did not mention Islam.
A top leader of Yemen’s al-Qaida branch claimed responsibility Wednesday for the Charlie Hebdo attack, saying in a video the massacre came in “vengeance for the prophet.” The newspaper had received repeated threats previously for posting caricatures of Muhammad.
The core of the irreverent newspaper’s staff perished a week ago when gunmen stormed its offices, killing 12 people and igniting three days of bloodshed around Paris. The attacks ended Friday when security forces killed all three gunmen.
Working out of borrowed offices, Charlie Hebdo employees who survived the massacre put out the issue that appeared Wednesday with a print run of 3 million — more than 50 times the paper’s usual circulation. Another run was being planned, one columnist said.
French police say as many as six members of a terrorist cell that carried out the Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket may still be at large, including a man seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the now-dead gunmen. The country has deployed 10,000 troops to protect sensitive sites, including Jewish schools and synagogues, mosques and travel hubs.
The Justice Ministry said the 54 people included four minors and several had already been convicted under special measures for immediate sentencing. Inciting terrorism can bring a 5-year prison term — or up to 7 years for inciting terrorism online.
In its message to prosecutors and judges, the ministry said it was issuing the order to protect freedom of expression from comments that could incite violence or hatred. It said no one should be allowed to use their religion to justify hate speech.
It warned authorities to be particularly attentive to any incidents that could lead to urban unrest or violence against police. That suggested the government fears new riots like the wave that swept through France’s neglected housing projects and immigrant communities a decade ago.
The government is also writing broader new laws on phone-tapping and other intelligence designed to fight terrorism, spokesman Stephane Le Foll said Wednesday.
In addition, the government is launching a deeper project to rethink France’s education system, urban policies and integration model, in an apparent recognition that last week’s attacks exposed deeper problems of inequality in France, especially at its housing projects.
Dieudonne, a comic who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among France’s disaffected youth.
In the Facebook post in question, which was swiftly deleted, the comic said he felt like “Charlie Coulibaly” — merging the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four hostages at a kosher market Friday, a day after he killed a Paris policewoman.
In a separate post, the comic wrote an open letter to France’s interior minister.
“Whenever I speak, you do not try to understand what I’m trying to say, you do not want to listen to me. You are looking for a pretext to forbid me. You consider me like Amedy Coulibaly when I am not any different from Charlie,” he wrote.
Author Russ Baker will be on THE JACK BLOOD SHOW to discuss this, and the Boston Bombing Trial : This Friday January 9th, 2015
Since the first moment of the announced “North Korean attack” on Sony, our alarm bells were going off. Of course, the New York Times and Washington Post took the lazy way out, quoting unnamed officials asserting that they knew it was North Korea behind the cyberattack, without any evidence at all. Apparently, they couldn’t even do the right thing and acknowledge that we should be highly skeptical of these claims—because that would immediately raise questions of why they were headlining them.
And of course everyone ran President Obama’s Dec. 19 press conference comments that “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack.” And then the typically aggressive move, dripping with manipulative rhetoric: “We will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.” The public response, made on Jan. 2, was a new round of economic sanctions—a move that guarantees a story, whether or not the new financial restrictions will have any effect.
A number of journalists and cyber-specialists were out early advising caution in the rush to judgment, based largely on technical considerations and the range of possible culprits. (Glenn Greenwald has just published a good summary of the coverage, both the disappointing and the encouraging.)
My own thoughts were more along the lines of “been there, seen that”—a long history of the U.S. government falsifying allegedly belligerent acts in order to advance some stated agenda.
Today, we still don’t know who hacked Sony, or why. (Most facts in the case seem to point to an ‘INSIDE JOB’ by a disgruntled employee, with help from a Hacktivist group)
But the New York Times did finally catch up, running a short but sober piece by a fairly new reporter, raising the same doubts that others had earlier. It’s interesting that the paper’s original buy-in to the propaganda was co-authored by an old Times Washington hand, David Sanger, and a newbie, Nicole Perlroth, but its corrective was a sole byline of Perlroth, a younger, fairly recent addition to the Times staff based in the “new media” capital of San Francisco. And then, earlier this week, the Times Public Editor (ombudsman) took the paper to the woodshed for its handling of the story, especially its overuse of anonymous sources, noting that “there’s little skepticism in this article.”
Anyone who reads this site knows that it is principally about being skeptical of what we are being told—and pressured to accept without further inquiry—by those who claim to serve the public interest.
So we’re thrilled to see this rising tide of skepticism. One thing that distinguishes our site is that we go further, and look at the bigger picture. If the large news organizations are willing to be used in such a fashion, what does that tell us about how journalism must be reformed? More importantly, if the government is willing to lie to us, what does that tell us about the government itself—and about whether it is really the people, as in a democracy, guiding its leaders, or someone else?
That latter point is what makes everyone nervous, even those who are constantly expressing doubt on their respective platforms about government pronouncements. Because anyone who asks the “big questions” has traditionally been marginalized as a “conspiracist” or nut.
But with growing evidence that we cannot trust what we are being told, perhaps a new moniker would be appropriate. How about: “truthmonger”?
And how about all those brave skeptics taking on something really problematical—and really risky—like the Boston Marathon Bombing, where virtually no one has stepped out of line from the mandated narrative?
Contrast this lock-step approach with the blogosphere’s response to the claim that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack. For example, security blogger Bruce Schneier wrote:
I am deeply skeptical of the FBI’s announcement on Friday that North Korea was behind last month’s Sony hack. The agency’s evidence is tenuous, and I have a hard time believing it. But I also have trouble believing that the U.S. government would make the accusation this formally if officials didn’t believe it.
Schneier is a cyber guy, and a decent one at that, but when will comparable people take a hard look at the government’s much more aggressive propaganda campaign to hype the evidence in the Boston Marathon bombing? In both the Korean story and the Boston one, the authorities have made all kinds of statements about what happened and why, while refusing to back them up with proof.
As the estimable Greenwald wrote, “Coverage of the episode was largely driven by the long-standing, central tenet of the establishment U.S. media: government assertions are to be treated as Truth.”