May 082013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


By John Knefel, Rolling Stone

Despite the rhetoric, scary YouTube videos don’t turn people into terrorists

Accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - FBI via Getty Images

Accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – FBI via Getty Images

If media accounts are to be believed, the accused Boston marathon bombers were “radicalized” by watching American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki’s YouTube sermons and reading Inspire, the al Qaeda magazine. To whatever extent it is true of the Tsarnaev brothers, this narrative follows a familiar path: one in which seemingly ordinary people are exposed to radical ideas, then adopt those ideas as their own, and then become violent. That theory was set out in a 2007 NYPD report called Radicalization in the West, which focuses exclusively on Muslims, and describes a four-stage progression – a “funnel,” the report says – in which each step towards violence is intrinsically linked with increased religiosity. Though the intelligence community at the federal level has distanced itself from the NYPD’s theory, it continues to dominate thinking in law enforcement. There’s only one problem, according to critics: It’s reductive and simplistic at best, and at worst is a thin justification for racial profiling of Muslims.

“Nobody watches YouTube or reads Inspire and becomes a terrorist. It’s absurd to think so,” says John Horgan, director of the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Pennsylvania State University. “YouTube videos and reading Al Qaeda magazines tends to be far more relevant for sustaining commitment than inspiring it.”

The mistaken belief that the earliest stages of terrorism can be seen at “radicalization incubators” – Muslim bookstores, hookah bars, mosques, virtually anywhere Muslims congregate in person or online – has resulted in a focus on so-called “preventive policing,” a policy whose stated aim is to prevent a terrorist attack before one happens. Since the theory says adopting radical ideas is the first step toward someone becoming violent, officials say they’re justified in surveilling places where “radical” ideas might take hold.

According to Horgan, though, that’s just not how it works. “The idea that radicalization causes terrorism is perhaps the greatest myth alive today in terrorism research,” he says. “[First], the overwhelming majority of people who hold radical beliefs do not engage in violence. And second, there is increasing evidence that people who engage in terrorism don’t necessarily hold radical beliefs.” […]




By Marcy Wheeler, Salon

(Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A massive report on torture reveals it’s far less effective than reported. But the CIA refuses to declassify it

Much of what you’ve been told (or seen in movies) about George W. Bush’s supposedly effective torture program is false and overhyped. At least, that’s one of the conclusions of the 6,000-page review of the program the Senate Intelligence Committee completed last year.

Yet, right now, President Obama is preventing you from learning any of this, by keeping the report classified.

Before the end of the Bush administration, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. — then the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee — started investigating the torture program. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took over as chairwoman of the committee in 2009, she intensified the investigation and negotiated with the CIA to get access to its files. After almost four more years of work and reviewing 6 million pages of documents, the committee voted out the report in December on a mostly party line vote.

As you may recall from the debate around the film “Zero Dark Thirty,” Sens. Feinstein, Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have said the report shows that torture didn’t produce the intelligence that led us to finding Osama bin Laden. According to reports, it shows that torture didn’t produce much useful information. While discussing the report, Jay Rockefeller described the torture program this way:

[T]he people who ran it were ignorant of the topic, [it was] executed by personnel without relevant experience, managed incompetently by senior officials who did not pay attention to crucial details, and corrupted by personnel and pecuniary conflicts of interest. It was sold to the policymakers and lawyers of the White House, the Department of Justice, and Congress, with grossly-inflated claims of professionalism and effectiveness, so-called lives saved.

In short, the report rebuts claims that torture worked — and specifically the claim made by torture boosters from Dick Cheney to former Counterterrorism Center head Jose Rodriguez that it helped to find Osama bin Laden. […]




By Henry A Giroux, Truthout

Police officers search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times)

Police officers search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013. (Photo: Eric Thayer / The New York Times)

A tragedy of errors: nobody knows any more who is who. The smoke of the explosions forms part of the much larger curtain of smoke that prevents all of us from seeing clearly. From revenge to revenge, terrorism obliges us to walk to our graves. I saw a photo, recently published, of graffiti on a wall in NYC: ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’.

Eduardo Galeano[1]

The American public rightfully expressed a collective sigh of relief and a demonstration of prodigious gratitude towards law enforcement authorities when the unprecedented manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers came to an end. The trauma and anxiety felt by the people of Boston and to some degree by the larger society over the gratuitously bloody and morally degenerate attacks on civilians was no doubt heightened given the legacy of 9/11. Since the tragic events of that historical moment, the nation has been subjected to “a media spectacle of fear and unreason delivered via TV, news sites and other social media;”[2] it has also been engulfed in a nationwide hysteria about Muslims. Moreover, the American public has been schizophrenically immersed within a culture of fear and cruelty punctuated by a law-and-order driven promise for personal safety, certainty, and collective protection that amounted to a Faustian bargain with the devil, one in which Americans traded constitutional rights and numerous civil liberties for the ever expanding presence of a militarized security and surveillance state run by a government that has little regard for human rights or the principles of justice and democracy.[3]

The collective expressions of relief, compassion, and adulation were reasonable and appropriate once the threat from the Boston Marathon bombers had ended. But such feelings are short-lived in a country that infamously is losing its capacity to question itself, embracing instead a mode of historical amnesia “in which forgetting has become more important than learning.” [4] What is needed in the aftermath of this tragedy is a critical and thoughtful analysis about what the significance of locking down an entire city meant not simply for the present or the future of urban living, but for democracy itself. Locking down Boston was generally left unquestioned by the mainstream media, though a number of progressive and left intellectuals raised serious questions about the use and implications of the tactic, particularly the abridging civil liberties, squelching dissent, and legitimating the spectacle of the war machine. For example, Michael Schwalbe argues that he was troubled by what lockdown foreshadows with its connotation of authoritarian control, its expanding use, and its ongoing normalization in American society. He writes:

When I hear that authorities have locked down a school, a workplace, a transit system, a cell phone network, or a city, the subtext seems unmistakable: We are now in control. Listen carefully and do as you are told. What I hear is the warden saying that communication will flow in one direction only, and that silence and obedience are the only options.[5]

Other critics suggested the lockdown represented a massive overreaction that was symptomatic of a larger social crisis. Steven Rosenfeld argued that “beyond lingering questions of whether the government went too far by shutting down an entire city and whether that might encourage future terrorism, a deeper and darker question remains: why is America’s obsession with evil so selective?”[6] This was an important point and was largely ignored by most commentators on the tragedy. Implicit in Rosenfeld’s question is why the notion of security and safety are limited to personal security and the fear of attacks by terrorists rather than the rise of a gun culture, the shredding of the safety net for millions of Americans, the imprisonment of one out of every 100 Americans, or the transformation of public schools into adjuncts of the punishing and surveillance state. […]




By Helene Colliopoulou, AFP

A homeless man sits in his makeshift shelter at Greece's main harbour, Piraeus, near Athens, on February 6, 2013. After six consecutive years of brutal recession, with homeless and unemployment rates skyrocketing, Greek society is experiencing an "unheard-of fragmentation", made worse by fierce austerity measures, experts say.

A homeless man sits in his makeshift shelter at Greece’s main harbour, Piraeus, near Athens, on February 6, 2013. After six consecutive years of brutal recession, with homeless and unemployment rates skyrocketing, Greek society is experiencing an “unheard-of fragmentation”, made worse by fierce austerity measures, experts say.

ATHENS — After six consecutive years of brutal recession, with homeless and unemployment rates skyrocketing, Greek society is experiencing an “unheard-of fragmentation”, made worse by fierce austerity measures, experts say.

Battered by the eurozone’s three-year debt crisis and four years of austerity, Greece has the highest unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union, with more than one in four people out of work.

And this economic crisis has now transformed into a social emergency, according to UN expert on debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina.

During a recent visit to the country, Lumina said there had been “an estimated 25 percent increase in the country’s homeless population since 2009” and the poverty rate for under-17s was close to 44 percent.

“Adjusted for inflation and using 2009 as the fixed poverty threshold, more than one out of three Greeks (38 percent) had already fallen below the poverty line in 2012,” he estimated.

Drastic spending cuts imposed by the country’s international creditors in exchange for multi-billion-euro bailouts has made a difficult situation even worse, many believe. […]




Source: contrainfo

Fight the terrorism of Power

Information about the arrest of five anarchists on Tuesday noon, April 30th, the criminal proceedings against them, and the hunger/thirst strike of comrade Dimitris Hadjivasiliadis.

On Tuesday, April 30th, at around 4pm, anarchists Yannis Naxakis and Grigoris Sarafoudis were arrested on Dekeleias avenue in the district of Nea Filadelfeia, as they were coming out of a cafeteria.

At the same time, a large police force stormed the café and caught the anarchist fugitives Argyris Ntalios —who tried to break out of the kettle— and Fivos Harisis-Poulos. Both comrades had arrest warrants pending against them since mid-February 2013 (after the double robbery in Velventos–Kozani and the incarceration of anarchists Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, Dimitris Politis, Nikos Romanos and Yannis Michailidis).

Anarchist Dimitris Hadjivasiliadis was also arrested inside the same cafeteria in Nea Filadelfeia.

All five were transferred to the anti-terrorism service on the 12th floor of the Athens police headquarters. The two comrades that were caught out on the street, as well as the two that were wanted by the authorities encountered the violence of statist dogs in the anti-terrorist office. The fifth comrade was forced to stand for twelve hours handcuffed tightly behind his back —what officially is considered torture— and when he was taken into a cell (the white cells of the 12th floor), he remained handcuffed for several hours.

The same evening, the Greek security force put out a report that accused all of them of resisting arrest and giving false testimony —because the five anarchists refused to give fingerprints, profiles or DNA samples, which were ultimately taken by force. In addition, Naxakis, Sarafoudis and Hadjivasiliadis were charged with harbouring fugitives.

On Wednesday noon, May 1st, the arrestees were all transferred to Evelpidon courts, where the media crows were lurking, and were met with the comrades’ hostility. The comrades stood before prosecutor and interrogator without any formal indictment and (for some) without being allowed to meet with a defense lawyer in advance that would also be present in the hearing, what perhaps occurred for the first time in the history of similar cases. The judges applied their usual tactic to postpone the preliminary hearing for two days regardless of the arrestees’ wishes. Ntalios, Harisis, Naxakis and Sarafoudis refused to make any statement. On the other hand, Hadjivasiliadis demanded that he be heard immediately with the presence of a defense lawyer. His demand was dismissed, so the comrade stated that he has denied food and water already from the moment of his arrest, and he goes on hunger/thirst strike for as long as he be locked up in the white cells of the antiterrorism torturers. Lastly, he held the judges responsible for his prolonged custody on the 12th floor of the Athens police headquarters, where the cops were attempting only to ‘manufacture’ an accusatory brief against the three anarchists for whom no warrants were outstanding in order to ask for their pretrial incarceration.

On Wednesday evening, preventive detention warrants were executed against the two ex-fugitives, and Fivos Harisis and Argyris Ntalios were transferred to Koridallos prison.

On Thursday, May 2nd, Ntalios, Harisis, Naxakis and Sarafoudis were charged in past robbery cases on the basis of ‘findings’ from DNA samples that were forcibly taken by them. Additionally, an appellate judge who handles such cases issued preventive detention warrants against Yannis Naxakis and Grigoris Sarafoudis. An indictment was presented to all five arrested in Nea Filadelfeia, including the accusation of ‘membership into a criminal organization with a view to committing robbery,’ in accordance with the Greek antiterrorist law, without exhibiting any direct evidence of premeditation or even intent, other than some orange juices served on the cafeteria table…

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the cops staged a psychological war on Hadjivasiliadis to make him stop the strike. They brought water bottles inside the cell, repeatedly ‘offered’ him food and water, and threatened him that he would stay there for many more days. Hadjivasiliadis and his lawyer insisted on his right to medical examination. A doctor came in at night, and assured that there was no immediate danger to him at this stage but his condition could deteriorate any moment. The doctor also told the human-guards to let the transom window of the cell’s door open, to help the striker breath more efficiently.

On Friday morning, May 3rd, the five anarchists were brought to Evelpidon courts once again, where only a few comrades and relatives were gathered in solidarity. Four of the accused insisted upon their refusal to make any statement. Then Ntalios and Harisis read a text in solidarity to striker Hadjivasiliadis, declaring that he is being held without any substantial evidence whatsoever against him. The judges had no basis to press criminal organization charges against the arrestees and set bail conditions instead for all five of them.

Nevertheless, Dimitris Hadjivasiliadis was the only one to be released, and thus stopped his three-day hunger and thirst strike.

Argyris Ntalios and Fivos Harisis were taken back to Koridallos. The Solidarity Fund for imprisoned and persecuted fighters (Greece) released their prison address:

Fivos Harisis-Poulos – Argyris Ntalios
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou, A Pteryga, 18110 Koridallos, Athens, Greece

In the meantime, Yannis Naxakis and Grigoris Sarafoudis were still held as suspects in bank robbery case, awaiting further proceeding in the city of Larissa. According to mainstream media, these two anarchists were brought before an interrogator on Saturday, May 4th. They are said to be remanded and moved to Koridallos prison.

More updates as they come @





By Mark J. Grant, zerohedge


[…] Having just returned from the Continent I have been musing about the reality of what the European Union has become. I have crossed out the hype and the hyperbole and I concentrate this morning on not what we are all told but how the construct has evolved. In the forthcoming months as the likelihood of Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cypress, Slovenia and possibly Italy returning to the window for funds or more funds grows at a significant rate and as the Rules of Engagement have changed substantially; a realistic assessment now may prove to be quite worthwhile to consider future actions.

“The question is not what you look at but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

In the beginning there were a handful of core nations equal in partnership and full of the excitement of a new venture. Much of the esprit was a desire to band together and compete against the United States for economic dominance and world power. Americans were the upstarts, afterall, and it had long aggravated the Europeans that we had so much control. “Those cowboys,” sums up the European position nicely.

Now the Europeans didn’t say this aloud of course. They rattled off world peace and band of brothers soliloquys that held their populace at rapt attention. It was rather like Camelot where all of the knights sat at the Round Table in pursuit of their noble quest. Well, to quote an American colloquialism, “Them days is gone forever.”

So now we find the EU headquarters no longer staffed by equals but a useful front for Berlin which resides in another country. In the EU now there is Germany and then there is everyone else and whatever motives you may ascribe to the Germans and whatever political position you may wish to embrace; Germany has gained control of most of Europe. Much more pleasant to use Euros than tanks; on that most of us can agree.

This point is critically important to understand. Yes, sure, the Germans will smile and nod and give way on agricultural supplements and on fishing rights and trivial matters but when it gets down to it and the decision is important; Berlin will have its way. Consequently when considering what might happen or allocating your assets; politically and economically the sole thing to consider is the German viewpoint because it will be put in place. When contemplating the discussion on the European banking union or what took place in Greece with the retroactive change in laws that swacked the bond holders, or the confiscation of depositors’ money in Cyprus; this was all approved, if not formulated, in Berlin. It is called the European Union but the Emperor is German and the rest of the Court dances to the Prussian anthem.

The honey is free trade and money when needed and the vinegar is the lack of both. The EU stays intact by the utilization of this carrot and of this stick and it has proven to be a very effective strategy. The problem centers on the Germans wanting and expecting everyone to be German and the inability and the lack of desire for a great many of the people on the Continent to either be German in traditions and standards because of thousands of years of cultural differences that cannot be magically transformed by the occasional bratwurst for lunch. In the end, the Germans will demand too much and there will be some sort of revolt but for now; Puff the Magic Dragon holds sway.

The fact that the equity markets have done fabulously and that the interest rates for European sovereign debt have done remarkably well all rest on one thing and one thing only; the creation of money and a massive amount of it. There is no inflation because the underlying economies are in horrendous shape, unemployment in a number of countries at Depression levels and yet the band still plays on. The printing of money is the alchemist’s dream and we have finally learned how to coin gold from iron ore. […]




By Mike Adams, Natural News


A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”

It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.

The draft text of the law, which has already been amended several times due to a huge backlash from gardeners, is viewable here.

“This law will immediately stop the professional development of vegetable varieties for home gardeners, organic growers, and small-scale market farmers,” said Ben Gabel, vegetable breeder and director of The Real Seed Catalogue. “Home gardeners have really different needs – for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can’t or don’t want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There’s no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don’t meet the strict criteria of the Plant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers.” […]


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