Articles

The Rise and Fall of the Human Terrain System by ROBERTO J. GONZÁLEZ

June 30, 2015

Pentagon distributed much of the funding to two large defense firms that became the HTS’s principal contractors: BAE Systems and CGI Federal. HTS supporters frequently claimed that the program would increase cultural understanding between US forces and Iraqis and Afghans–and therefore reduce American and civilian casualties. The program’s leaders insisted that embedded social scientists were delivering sociocultural knowledge to commanders, but the reality was more complex. HTS personnel conducted a range of activities including data collection, intelligence gathering, and psychological operations. In at least one case, an HTS employee supported interrogations in Afghanistan (Weinberger 2011). The program also served a more insidious function: It became a propaganda tool for convincing the American public–especially those with liberal tendencies–that the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were benevolent missions in which smart, fresh-faced young college graduates were playing a role. It appeared to demonstrate how US forces were engaged in a kinder, gentler form of occupation. Department of Defense photos portrayed HTS personnel sitting on rugs while drinking tea with Afghan elders, or distributing sweets to euphoric Iraqi children. Here was a war that Americans could feel good about fighting. When HTS was first announced in late 2006, I followed its development

Truth Is A Crime Against The State – Paul Craig Roberts

June 30, 2015

The entire Western edifice rests on lies. There is no other foundation. Just lies. This makes truth an enemy. Enemies have to be suppressed, and thus truth has to be suppressed. Truth comes from foreign news sources, such as RT, and from Internet sites, such as this one. Thus, Washington and its vassals are busy at work closing down independent media. Washington and its vassals have redefined propaganda. Truth is propaganda if it is told by countries, such as Russia and China, that have independent foreign policies. Propaganda is truth if told by Washington and its puppets, such as the EU Observer. The EU Observer, little doubt following Washington’s orders, has denounced RT and Sputnik News for “broadcasting fabrications and hate speech from their bureaus in European Union cities.” Often I appear on both RT and Sputnik. In my opinion both are too restrained in their reporting, fearful, of course, of being shut down, than full truth requires. I have never heard a word of hate speech or propaganda on either. Washington’s propaganda, perhaps, but not the Russian government’s. Read

The Deep Racism of Western Imperial Intervention By Prof. Tim Anderson

June 30, 2015

Racism in western societies is often spoken of as something involving simple discrimination or prejudice. Yet the most profound racism has always been generated and sustained by imperialism, including colonial rule and, in the post-colonial era, imperial intervention. Denying the very existence and integrity of other peoples requires ideologies of systematic exclusion and dehumanisation. That denial is implicit in every coup, proxy war or invasion, under whatever pretext, carried out either for ‘regime change’ or to divide and weaken those peoples not well embedded in the imperial orbit. The new pretexts often have to do with the ‘protector’ role of the empire, including protection against great crimes and genocide. Yet history tells us that it is almost always imperial interventions that generate those same great crimes. Rafael-Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who invented the term ‘genocide’ spoke of it as a ‘recurring pattern of history’ by which empires displaced and wiped out entire peoples. The deep racism of imperial intervention and war renders as illegitimate, non-existent and worthless entire peoples and their cultures, values and social organisation, including nation-states and alliances. The aim is to create a cultural void into which the imperial powers can step as protectors and saviours, hiding

Obamacare “Doctors Should Warn Global Warming Could Make Patients’ Health Worse” – Mac Slavo

June 30, 2015

If having your doctor quiz you about owning a gun isn’t enough to raise your blood pressure, then this new Obamacare policy surely will. Obama’s White House is once again politicizing health care, even as the net/noose tightens, now asking medical professionals to advise patients on the effects that global warming/climate change will supposedly have on their health. The Daily Caller reported: Americans trust their doctors, so the White House wants these medical professionals to be a mouthpiece for President Obama’s global warming agenda. […] The Obama administration has been hard at work trying to draw a link between global warming and public health issues. The summit included the U.S. Surgeon General, top administration officials, and public health experts from around the country telling doctors, nurses and other conference goers how to talk about global warming with their patients. The central message: doctors should warn their patients that global warming could make their health worse. Read

High Court’s Ruling, Say Critics, Endorses ‘Torturing People to Death’ – Sarah Lazare

June 30, 2015

In the most closely-watched death penalty case in years, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4(pdf) that Oklahoma can use the controversial and experimental execution drug midazolam that was behind the last year’s horrific killing of 38-year-old man Clayton Lockett—who writhed and groaned for 43 minutes before ultimately succumbing to a heart attack. The decision not only gives the approval for states to use a killing method that many regard as torture, but it also amounts to an ideological defense of the death penalty itself—however cruel. Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito stated: Our decisions in this area have been animated in part by the recognition that because it is settled that capital punishment is constitutional, “[i]t necessarily follows that there must be a [constitutional] means of carrying it out.” And because some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution, we have held that the Constitution does not require the avoidance of all risk of pain. After all, while most humans wish to die a painless death, many do not have that good fortune. Holding that the Eighth Amendment demands the elimination of essentially all risk of pain would effectively outlaw the death penalty altogether. The ruling

Supreme Court rejects EPA’s regulation of power plants’ emissions of mercury and other toxins by Meteor Blades

June 30, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court plunked a setback into the lap of the Environmental Protection Agency Monday by trashing the agency’s regulation of emissions of mercury and other air toxins (MATS) from electricity-generating plants. The court overturned a lower-court decision in the case of Michigan v. EPA stating that the agency had acted reasonably when it chose not to consider compliance costs first in its effort to control those emissions. The justices split 5-4, with the four liberals on the side of the EPA and the four conservatives and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the side of industry and the states that had sued. The ruling—Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency and two other consolidated cases—is a major disappointment for environmentalists and drag on the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce toxic emissions. While it doesn’t bar the EPA from regulating these toxins, it means the agency has to start over, this time considering costs as one of the factors BEFORE making a decision about whether to limit emissions. It was under the Clinton administration that the EPA began work on the mercury and air toxins rules. That was stopped when George W. Bush became president and restarted when President Obama was elected. The EPA considered cost irrelevant to

Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy – Joseph Stiglitz

June 30, 2015

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics. Of course, the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%. It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018. Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming

The Greek Debt Crisis and Crashing Markets by MICHAEL HUDSON

June 30, 2015

Back in January upon coming into office, Syriza probably could not have won a referendum on whether to pay or not to pay. It didn’t have a full parliamentary majority, and had to rely on a nationalist party for Tsipras to become prime minister. (That party balked at cutting back Greek military spending, which was 3% of GDP, and which the troika had helpfully urged to be cut back in order to balance the government’s budget.) Seeing how unyielding the opposition was, Syriza’s stance was: “We would like to pay. But there’s no money.” This kept throwing the ball back into the troika’s court. The Institutions were so unyielding that Syriza’s approval rating in the polls rose by 13% by June. Greek voters became increasingly incensed at the Troika’s demand for further pension cuts and privatizations. Tsipras and Varoufakis were willing to pay the IMF with the IMF’s own funds, in what V. called “extend and pretend.” But their only interest in keeping current on debt was to obtain additional funding that could be used to pay domestic pensions and other basic government budgetary expenditures. The basic tactic in such tensions between creditors and debtors is clear: once debt repayments

So-called ‘free trade’ agreements should be strongly opposed – Bill Mitchell

June 30, 2015

My header this week is in solidarity for the Greek people. I hope they vote no and then realise that leaving the dysfunctional Eurozone will promise them growth and a return to some prosperity. They can become the banner nation for other crippled Eurozone nations – a guiding light out of the madness that the neo-liberal elites have created. While Greece battens down against the most incredible attack on European democracy since who knows when – perhaps since the Anschluss that led finally to war breaking out a year later in Europe, one wonders how low the Brussels elite will go to preserve control of the agenda. They clearly lost control on Friday when the Greek leadership decided to go back to the people to determine whether they wanted more poverty-inducing austerity. In response, the Brussels gang along with their Washington mates at the IMF have come out with personal attacks, lies, threats and ridiculous dissembling. But that is what happens when bullies can’t bully. But while these events are rather extraordinary in historical terms, other insidious attacks on democratic rights and choice are on-going. One of the more startling attempts to undermine the capacity of elected states to deliver on their

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs By David Rotman

June 30, 2015

Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. ­Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine. That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. But Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s claim is more troubling and controversial. They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries. Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence,
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