Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* SCANDAL ALERT: CONGRESS IS QUIETLY ABANDONING THE 5th AMENDMENT
By Conor Friederdorf, The Atlantic
What everyone must understand is that American politics doesn’t work the way you’d think it would. Most people presume that government officials would never willfully withhold penicillin from men with syphilis just to see what would happen if the disease went untreated. It seems unlikely that officers would coerce enlisted men into exposing themselves to debilitating nerve gas. Few expected that President Obama would preside over the persecution of an NSA whistle-blower, or presume the guilt of all military-aged males killed by U.S. drone strikes. But it all happened.
Really thinking about all that may make it easier to believe what I’m about to tell you.
It may seem like imprisoning an American citizen without charges or trial transgresses against the United States Constitution and basic norms of Western justice dating back to the Magna Carta.
It may seem like reiterating the right to due process contained in the 5th Amendment would be uncontroversial.
It may seem like a United States senator would be widely ridiculed for suggesting that American citizens can be imprisoned indefinitely without chargers or trial, and that if numerous U.S. senators took that position, the press would treat the issue with at least as much urgency as “the fiscal cliff” or the possibility of a new assault weapons bill or likely nominees for Cabinet posts.
It may seem like the American citizens who vocally fret about the importance of adhering to the text of the Constitution would object as loudly as anyone to the prospect of indefinite detention.
But it isn’t so. […]
* WHY THE US MEDIA IGNORED MURDOCH’S BRAZEN BID TO HIJACK THE PRESIDENCY
By Carl Bernstein, The Guardian
So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch‘s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America’s democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press.
In the American instance, Murdoch’s goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.
Thus in the spring of 2011 – less than 10 weeks before Murdoch’s centrality to the hacking and politician-buying scandal enveloping his British newspapers was definitively revealed – Fox News’ inventor and president, Roger Ailes, dispatched an emissary to Afghanistan to urge Petraeus to turn down President Obama’s expected offer to become CIA director and, instead, run for the Republican nomination for president, with promises of being bankrolled by Murdoch. Ailes himself would resign as president of Fox News and run the campaign, according to the conversation between Petraeus and the emissary, K T McFarland, a Fox News on-air defense “analyst” and former spear carrier for national security principals in three Republican administrations.
All this was revealed in a tape recording of Petraeus’s meeting with McFarland obtained by Bob Woodward, whose account of their discussion, accompanied online by audio of the tape, was published in the Washington Post – distressingly, in its style section, and not on page one, where it belonged – and, under the style logo, online on December 3. […]
* WHY THE WASHINGTON POST KILLED THE STORTY OF MURDOCH’S BID TO BUY THE U.S. PRESIDENCY
By Jonathan Cook, InformationClearingHouse
Carl Bernstein, of All the President’s Men fame, has a revealing commentary in in the Guardian today, though revealing not entirely in a way he appears to understand. Bernstein highlights a story first disclosed earlier this month in the Washington Post by his former journalistic partner Bob Woodward that media mogul Rupert Murdoch tried to “buy the US presidency”.
A taped conversation shows that in early 2011 Murdoch sent Roger Ailes, the boss of his most important US media outlet, Fox News, to Afghanistan to persuade Gen David Petraeus, former commander of US forces, to run against Barack Obama as the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Murdoch promised to bankroll Petraeus’ campaign and commit Fox News to provide the general with wall-to-wall support.
Murdoch’s efforts to put his own man in the White House failed because Petraeus decided he did not want to run for office. “Tell [Ailes] if I ever ran,” Petraeus says in the recording, “but I won’t … but if I ever ran, I’d take him up on his offer.”
Bernstein is rightly appalled not just by this full-frontal attack on democracy but also by the fact that the Washington Post failed to splash with their world exclusive. Instead they buried it inside the paper’s lifestyle section, presenting it as what the section editor called “a buzzy media story that … didn’t have the broader import” that would justify a better showing in the paper.
In line with the Washington Post, most other major US news outlets either ignored the story or downplayed its significance. […]
* A PLEA FOR TRANSPARENCY: IT’S TIME FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT U.S. TORTURE
By Morris Davis, Spiegel
With the film “Zero Dark Thirty” opening in select US theaters on Wednesday, a former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo worries that the country will get a distorted view on the efficacy of torture. He says it is time to make Guantanamo testimony public and to declassify the new Congressional report on Bush-era interrogation methods.
[…] There is currently a confluence of events that will focus attention on America’s post-9/11 record of torture: a trial, a congressional report and a movie. Will they end up contributing to a more accurate accounting of what happened over the past decade? Or will they just fuel erroneous assumptions and lingering misperceptions? Time will tell.
On Dec. 6, 2012, Colonel James Pohl, the judge in the military commission trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) and four others charged along with him, ruled that anything an accused says in court about his treatment while in US detention is classified information that must be shielded from public disclosure. He upheld the continued use of a 40-second audio delay so such information does not get into the public domain. So much for the transparency part of the Office of Military Commissions motto: “Fairness — Transparency — Justice.” […]
* U.S. SET TO BOMB SYRIA. LOOKS FOR PRETEXT
Source: The Free
The final logic of Capitalism is war. The excuse of a ‘chemical weapons’ in Syria is as false as Saddam’s secret weapons. This time round more millions of innocents will die, to boost the profits of the US ‘War Economy’ Corporations who control the US Congress. This time round there is little protest, nobody believes they can be serious, but this war is becoming daily more certain. Now is the time for the US and UK public to stop a barbaric air blitz…
NATO poised to invade Syria – U.S. fleet on Syrian coast, 10,000 troops ready to go
In fact, we may be so close to another mid-eastern war that Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad is emphatically trying to find an exit:
In a regional tour conducted last week, Syrian Vice-Minister of the Exterior Faisal al-Miqdad delivered requests on behalf of al-Assad to Venezuelan, Cuban, and Ecuadorian authorities. The letters allegedly enquire into the possibility of asylum for al-Assad, his family, and a tightknit circle of advisors and collaborators.
Venezuelan authorities confirmed that President Hugo Chávez had received a letter from al-Assad before travelling to Cuba for continued cancer treatment…. […]
* POLICE ‘CODE OF SILENCE’ VERDICT WILL STAND
CHICAGO — A judge on Thursday refused to toss a jury verdict that suggested Chicago police adhere to a code of silence in protecting rogue officers, citing its “social value” despite claims by the city that the verdict could cost Chicago millions in other litigation.
The ruling involves the case of Karolina Obrycka, a local bartender who was attacked by a drunken off-duty police officer as she worked in 2007. Obrycka sued the city after the beating, which was caught on video and went viral online, and a jury ruled in her favor last month.
But along with awarding her $850,000, jurors strongly suggested in their verdict that they agreed the officer, Anthony Abbate, was protected by an unwritten code of silence among Chicago police.
The city asked U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve to throw out that element of the verdict, arguing it could be cited as a precedent — and potentially cost the city millions of dollars fighting and losing lawsuits claiming the same alleged code. The city said it would still pay Obrycka the full jury award.
But critics said the city was seeking to sweep the police abuse issue that has plagued Chicago for years under the rug. […]
* CANCER OF CORRUPTION, SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION: MONSANTO GMO WHITEWASH
By F. William Engdahl, Global Research
Because of the power vested in the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, with command over a space encompassing 27 nations with more than 500 million citizens and the largest nominal world gross domestic product (GDP) of 18 trillion US dollars, it’s perhaps no surprise in this era of moral promiscuity that powerful private lobby groups such as the tobacco industry, the drug lobby, the agribusiness lobby and countless others spend enormous sums of money and other favors—legal and sometimes illegal—to influence policy decisions of the EU Commission.
This revolving door of corrupt ties between powerful private industry lobby groups and the EU Commission was in full view recently with the ruling of the European Food Safety Administration (EFSA) trying to discredit serious scientific tests about the deadly effects of a variety of Monsanto GMO corn.
Cancer of Corruption
In September 2012, Food and Chemical Toxicology, a serious international scientific journal, released a study by a team of scientists at France’s Caen University led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini. Before publication the Seralini study had been reviewed over a four-month period by a qualified group of scientific peers for its methodology and was deemed publishable.
It was no amateur undertaking. The scientists at Caen made carefully-documented results of tests on a group of 200 rats over a two-year life span, basically with one group of non-GMO fed rats, a so-called control group, and the other a group of GMO-fed rats.
Significantly, following a long but finally successful legal battle to force Monsanto to release the details of its own study of the safety of its own NK603 maize (corn), Seralini and colleagues reproduced a 2004 Monsanto study published in the same journal and used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its 2009 positive evaluation of NK603.
Seralini’s group based their experiment on the same protocol as the Monsanto study but, critically, were testing more parameters more frequently. And the rats were studied for much longer—their full two year average life-time instead of just 90 days in the Monsanto study. The long time span proved critical. The first tumors only appeared 4 to7 months into the study. In industry’s earlier 90-day study on the same GMO maize Monsanto NK603, signs of toxicity were seen but were dismissed as “not biologically meaningful” by industry and EFSA alike. It seems they were indeed very biologically meaningful. […]
* WE ARE BEING NUKED WITH FALSE INFORMATION ON ATOMIC ENERGY
By Gar Smith, Chelsea Green Publishing / Book Excerpt
According to nuclear energy debunker Gar Smith, if we want the truth about nuclear energy, we won’t be getting it from governments. That’s a key message in Smith’s new book,”Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth.” You can learn more by reading “Nuclear Roulette.” Receive a copy from Truthout with a minimum contribution. Just click here.
Below is an excerpt, Chapter 16, from Smith’s wake-up call about “the most dangerous energy source on earth.”
“Run! Run as fast as you can. Don’t believe the government. The government will lie to you.”
—Natalia Mironova, Russian nuclear engineer and Chernobyl “liquidator”
One consistent lesson from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima is clear: when the public is at risk, plant operators and government officials inevitably cover up and lie. “They lied to us,” physicist Michio Kaku memorably told CNN on June 22, 2011. “TEPCO isn’t in cold shutdown and won’t be for another year. And, if there’s another quake, it could start all over again.” Behind the official reassurances from Tokyo, full meltdowns were under way at three of the six reactors, 600,000 spent fuel rods were at risk of burning off into the atmosphere, and the fallout burdens turned out to be 10 times greater than officially reported. Plutonium rained down 28 miles from the plant and strontium-90 turned up 155 miles away–well outside the official 12.5-mile “evacuation zone.”
Immediately after the Fukushima accident, the Health Physics Society (HPS) joined the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) in downplaying the danger. The HPS stated that “loss of life and future cancer risk are small, particularly in contrast with those resulting from the Chernobyl accident,”3 the ANS claimed that “no public ill health effects are expected,” and the NEI echoed the view that “no health effects are expected among the Japanese people.”
London’s Guardian newspaper subsequently revealed that just two days after the Fukushima quake (about the time the first wave of fallout hit the US West Coast), British officials “approached nuclear companies” to fashion a PR strategy “to play down” the accident lest it undermine “public support for nuclear power.” The government-nuclear complex worked closely “with the multinational companies EDF Energy, AREVA, and Westinghouse.”
* THE UNEQUAL STATE OF AMERICA: THE ECONOMICS PAPER THAT RATTLED WASHINGTON
By Deborah Nelson, Reuters
The work of government economists is often so dry that the public never hears of it. And then there’s the work of Thomas Hungerford.
An employee of the Congressional Research Service, Hungerford in 2011 published a paper that found that after-tax income inequality rose 11.2 percent between 1996 and 2006. Rising capital gains and dividends among the wealthy were the main driver of the widening gap, he concluded, accounting for 72 percent of the increase. Tax cuts, he found, accounted for the rest. The cuts had an especially big impact because income from capital gains surpassed salaries for the top 1 percent of earners over that period. […]
[…] Senate Republicans pressed the CRS to retract the document. They also objected to a 2011 report by two other CRS economists that reached similar conclusions about the impact of tax cuts on the economy. The analyses overlooked contrary evidence and were being misused by partisans, Senate staff told a top CRS official.
Over the objections of Hungerford’s superiors, the service temporarily withdrew his September paper. “I stand by my report,” Hungerford told Reuters. […]
* CRONY CAPITALISM’S POWER COUPLE
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig
Where is Phil Gramm hiding? The former Republican senator from Texas, who wrote the radical banking deregulation of the 1990s and was rewarded for his efforts to enrich the banks with a plum job at Switzerland-based UBS, has not been heard from since his bank got nailed by the G-men. Or, as The New York Times put it, UBS now has the distinction of being “the first big global bank in more than two decades to have a subsidiary plead guilty to fraud.”
Surely Gramm, who retired from the bank last year, must know something about the nefarious activities conducted over a time span when he was helping to manage the firm. This latest scandal, involving the rigging of a major trusted banking interest rate, might finally test the theories that he has long written into law that assume banks are best when regulated by themselves—a now obviously dumb idea.
As The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday: “U.S., U.K. and Swiss authorities alleged a vast conspiracy led by UBS AG to rig interest rates tied to trillions of dollars in loans and other financial products, indicating the practice was far more pervasive than previously known.” But what did Gramm know about this criminal behavior at a bank he helped govern, and when did he know it? […]