Sunday, June 30, 2013

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for July 5, 6, and 7, 2013

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for July 5, 6 and 7, 2013

Friday, July 5 at 10AM US Central time: Mohammad Marandi

Marandi is an Associate Professor at the University of Tehran. He also chairs their North American studies department.

Discussion will focus on Iran, Syria and other Middle East issues.

Saturday, July 6 at noon US Central time: Rodney Shakespeare

Shakespeare is a Professor of Binary Economics at Trisakti University, Britain where he teaches postgraduate Islamic Economics and Finance.

He's also a qualified UK Barrister, co-founder of the Global Justice Movement, and distinguished writer, scholar and lecturer, particularly at Islamic conferences on money, the real economy, and social and economic justice.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Sunday, July 7 at noon US Central time: Sibel Edmonds

Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). She did so to aid "national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods."

She's founder and editor of Boiling Frogs It features vital news, information and analysis.

Her books include "Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story" and a forthcoming one titled "Shooting the Messenger," co-authored with Professor William Weaver.

America: Government by Terror, Torture and Tyranny

America: Government by Terror, Torture and Tyranny

by Stephen Lendman

America governs lawlessly. Out-of-control rogues run things. Conditions go from bad to worse. Tyranny threatens everyone. So does possible global war.

Fear-mongering, saber rattling, hot wars, proxy ones, drone ones, geopolitical ones, financial ones, anti-populist ones, mass incarceration, censorship, lawless sanctions, subversion, sabotage, targeted assassinations, mass murder, cyberwar, and horrific draconian harshness reflect out-of control governance gone mad.

Lying is official policy. So is state terror. Independent governments aren't tolerated. They're targeted. Regime change is prioritized. World peace is threatened. Humanity's menaced. Survival's uncertain.

Daily revelations explain more. War is called peace. State-sponsored assassins are called freedom fighters. Real ones are called terrorists.

Capital has divine rights. Monied interests run things. Plundering the earth for profit is prioritized. Popular needs go begging. Social America's dying. Poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness and human misery go unaddressed. Corporate rights alone matter.

Democracy's a four-letter word. Out-of-control power is unaccountable. Rule of law principles are mocked. Tyranny's the law of the land. Advancing America's imperium matters most.

Workers are exploited. They're unprotected. Human and civil rights are sacrificed. Wealth, power and privilege are served. Militarized control supports them. Nonbelievers aren't tolerated.

Torture is official policy. Gitmo is America's public face. Innocent detainees suffer. So do many others. Thousands of political prisoners fill America's gulag. It's the world's largest. It operates globally. Mercy isn't in Washington's vocabulary.

Diktat power rules. Police state terror threatens everyone. Freedom's fast disappearing. Dissent's not tolerated. Heroic whistleblowers are criminalized. 

Even retired four star generals aren't safe. More on that below. 
Journalists are spied on. So is everyone worldwide. Big Brother watches everyone. It's no longer fiction.

Censorship prevents truth and full disclosure. Managed news misinformation substitutes. Students are debt entrapped for life. Millions have no futures. An entire generation's lost. 

Madness substitutes for sanity. Unconscionable wrongdoing persists. America's unsafe to live in. Oblivion awaits. Most people are too out of touch to notice. Others are dismissive. 

Failure to act responsibly matters. It lets Washington get away with murder and much more.

Rogues running America take full advantage. Who knows what's next. 

The Pentagon's former second in command's being investigated. General James (Hoss) Cartwright allegedly leaked information higher ups want suppressed. 

Cyberwar is official US policy. In spring 2010, Iranian intelligence discovered Stuxnet malwar contamination. Its Bushehr nuclear facility was affected. US/Israeli cyberwar bore full responsibility. 

Cartwright perhaps explained. He ran cyber-operation Olympic Games. Obama ordered stepped up attacks. Targeting Iran is prioritized. 

Perhaps there's hope if retired four star generals become whistleblowers. Maybe other insiders will be emboldened to act. Legions more than ever are needed. Hopefully many will come forward responsibly.

Edward Snowden provided a vital service. He's a hero in his own time. He's globally recognized. He deserves praise, not prosecution. History won't forget him. He revealed what everyone needs to know.

Unprecedented global spying is official US policy. It's lawless. Spies "R" us defines it. Police states operate this way. America's by far the worst. It's unmatched in human history. No one's safe anywhere any time.

Shoot the messenger. Snowden's hunted. He's a wanted man. Washington wants him arrested. It wants him prosecuted. It wants him imprisoned. It wants him silenced. Perhaps it wants him dead.

It wants information he knows suppressed. London's Guardian revealed it. It plans telling more. On June 28, it headlined "US army blocks access to Guardian website to preserve 'network hygiene.' "

It wants truth suppressed. It wants its message alone circulated.  "The US army has admitted to blocking access to parts of the Guardian website for thousands of defence personnel across the country."

"A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve 'network hygiene' and prevent any classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems."

Pentagon officials lied. Censorship is official US policy. NETCOM On-Line Communication Services operates from San Jose, CA. It's an Internet service provider.

Spokesman Gordon Van Vleet said it filtered "some access to press coverage and online content about NSA leaks."

"The Department of Defense routinely takes preventive 'network hygiene' measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks."

An Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) spokesman said policy affects hundreds of defense facilities. Doing so suggests far worse future policy.

Washington may block anti-government content. It may do so routinely. Alternative media sites may be targeted. Vital truths more than ever may be suppressed. 

Revealing them responsibly risks being criminalized. So may discussing what's already known. Pointing fingers the right way is dangerous. Doing so risks being charged with aiding and abetting America's enemies.

Van Vleet added:

"We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security, however there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information."

"Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information - including material released through an unauthorized disclosure - must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel. If a public website displays classified information," blocking it will follow.

"Classified" includes vital information people have a right to know. Suppressing it reflects police state harshness. Rogue states operate this way. It bears repeating. America's by far the worst.

According to an unnamed Pentagon spokesman:

"The Guardian website is NOT being blocked by DoD. The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks."

On June 25, Guardian editors headlined "Edward Snowden: in defence of whistleblowers," saying:

He's no traitor. America's First Amendment matters. It "prevents prior restraint and affords a considerable measure of protection to free speech."

Obama violates its letter and spirit. He's done so by "show(ing) a dismaying aggression in not only criminalising leaking and whistleblowing, but also recently placing reporters under surveillance - tracking them and pulling their phone and email logs in order to monitor their sources for stories that were patently of public importance."

Thanks to Snowden, we know more about what NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake called "a vast, systemic institutionalized, industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance state that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism."

Snowden is today's Daniel Ellsberg. Releasing the Pentagon Papers got him targeted. He also faced Espionage Act charges. 

He might have gotten life in prison. He was lucky. Gross government misconduct saved him. His 1973 trial collapsed. At the time, judge William Byrne, Jr. ruled:

"The totality of the circumstances of this case which I have only briefly sketched offend a sense of justice." 

"The bizarre events have incurably infected the prosecution of this case."

Federal judges today don't speak this way. Ellsberg later said:

"The public is lied to every day by the President, by his spokespeople, by his officers."

"If you can't handle the thought that the President lies to the public for all kinds of reasons, you couldn't stay in the government at that level…."

"The fact is Presidents rarely say the whole truth - essentially, never say the whole truth - of what they expect and what they're doing and what they believe and why they're doing it and rarely refrain from lying, actually, about these matters."

Ellsberg's a modern day hero. So is Snowden. Washington fears ugly truths revealed. Doing so arouses public anger.

Perhaps it emboldens others to tell more. Coming forward  threatens America's imperial ambitions. Preventing them responsibly matters most.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Texas: America's State-Sponsored Execution Capital

Texas: America's State-Sponsored Execution Capital

by Stephen Lendman

In 1972, the Supreme Court's Furman v. Georgia ruling banned capital punishment, saying:

"(T)he imposition and carrying out of the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments." 

Doing so is "harsh, freakish, and arbitrary." It's constitutionally "unacceptable."

Forty state death penalty statutes were voided. Over 600 death row inmates nationwide were spared.

In Gregg v. Georgia (1976), the High Court reversed its earlier ruling. It called capital punishment not inherently cruel. It's "an extreme sanction, suitable to the most extreme of crimes." It said so irresponsibly. More on that below.

It let states resume executions. It ruled new death penalty statutes constitutional. It ignored Eighth Amendment protection. It prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

On December 7, 1982, Texas resumed executions. Charlie Brooks died first. He expired by lethal injection. He was a 40-year old Black man. He never had a chance. Serious doubts of his guilt didn't save him. 

The prosecutor pleading his death sentence be commuted didn't help. Evidence was lacking. No one knew for sure. Was he guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt or innocent? Was his codefendant involved? It didn't matter. 

He requested a stay. The Supreme Court heard his case. It ruled 6 - 3 against him. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended execution. It did so 2 - 1.

On June 26, Texas executed Kimberly McCarthy. She's the 500th victim since the state resumed executions in 1982. Another 282 victims await death. 

Governor Rick Perry is a modern-day executioner. He's an assassin. He permitted 263 premeditated executions on his watch. He acted irresponsibly. He did so unapologetically. He can't wait to kill again.

How many prisoners are innocent? How many are Black or Latino? How many are poor and disadvantaged? How many had inadequate representation? How many never had a chance?

Texas likes to kill. It does more often than any other state. It can't wait to lethally inject again. Since December 7, 1982, over 1,000 US prisoners nationwide were executed this way.

Health professionals are required to do so or assist. Those involved violate core medical ethics. Med students are taught primum non nocere: First, do no harm. What harms more than painful killing! 

Lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. It's state-sponsored torture. It's excruciatingly painful. Numerous injections are botched. 

Death takes around 20 minutes to over an hour. Prisoners are strapped in gurneys. They're helpless. They gasp for air, grimace in pain, convulse, and suffer foot-long chemical burns.

Former Texas attorney general Mark White call state justice "very fragile." Since Utah executed Gary Gilmore by firing squad in 1977, Texas accounted for nearly 40% of over 1,300 executions nationwide. 

On average, prisoners die every three weeks. It's practically an assembly line process. Texas traditionally is tough on killers. Guilt by accusation suffices. Justice is a four-letter word.

Killing McCarthy was just another execution. They're routine. They go off like clockwork. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said, "We simply carried out the court's order."

Maurie Levin represented McCarthy. "Five hundred is 500 too many," he said.

"I look forward to the day when we recognize that this pointless and barbaric practice, imposed almost exclusively on those who are poor and disproportionately on people of color, has no place in a civilized society."

Serious doubts of McCarthy's guilt didn't matter. She maintained innocence numerous times. Levin tried to halt her execution. Dallas County prosecutors improperly excluded Black jurors.

Levin said there's a "pervasive influence of race in administration of the death penalty and the inadequacy of counsel - a longstanding issue here."

People of color don't have a chance. Things are rigged against them. Guilt by accusation suffices. Innocence doesn't matter.

Ritual death proceed regularly. They've become mundane. Most Texans support them. Who cares if another Black man or woman dies?

McCarthy was a Huntsville Texas State Penitentiary inmate (Huntsville Unit - HV). In 1998, Ponchai Wilkerson became warden. He oversaw 89 executions.

"Here in Texas, another one is coming a fews days later, and you've forgotten the one before," he said. Life is cheap. Ritual murder's mundane.

Amnesty International's Brian Evans heads AI's abolishing capital punishment campaign. In Texas, it's "arbitrary, biased and prone to error," he said.

"It is a profound and irreversible injustice. The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading, and a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Mostly people of color are affected. Since January 2012, 13 of 16 victims were Black. Prisoners suffering severe mental illness are executed. Many are intellectually disabled. 

Teenagers are treated like adults. Counsel is woefully inadequate. Prisoners are routinely executed. Flawed or questionable evidence doesn't matter. Sometimes none exists.

The ACLU opposes capital punishment. It does so "on moral, practical, and constitutional grounds. (It) inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantees of due process of law and of equal protection under the law."

"(T)he state should not give itself the right to kill human beings -  especially when it kills with premeditation and ceremony, in the name of the law or in the name of its people, and when it does so in an arbitrary and discriminatory fashion."

"Capital punishment is an intolerable denial of civil liberties and is inconsistent with the fundamental values of our democratic system. The death penalty is uncivilized in theory and unfair and inequitable in practice."

"People of color are far more likely to be executed than white people, especially if the victim is white."

Since 1973, over 140 prisoners in 26 states got death sentences commuted. Innocence saved them. At least one person nationwide is exonerated for every 10 executed. 

Many innocent victims die. Capital punishment is imposed irresponsibly. It's done without probable cause providing a reasonable certainty of guilt based on verifiable facts.

Beyond a reasonable doubt isn't applied. The term requires an inviolable standard be met. Prosecutors, jurors and judges must have no doubt of guilt. It involves the highest standard of proof.

In civil litigation, convincing or preponderance of evidence suffices. It's a lesser standard to satisfy. Capital cases require the highest. Clear and convincing evidence based on verifiable facts is essential. Anything less demands exoneration.

Kimberly McCarthy should have been spared. She never should have been convicted in the first place. She was accused of a 1997 robbery/murder.

Trials are rigged to convict. Evidence is manufactured out of whole cloth. White prosecutors, judges and jurors try Black and Latino victims. Most are among society's most disadvantaged.

They can't afford proper representation. Texas and other states don't provide it. Systemic injustice follows. Dozens of wrongful convictions explain.

David Protess headed Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project. He now heads the Chicago Innocence Project

ChIP is non-profit. It "investigates cases in which prisoners may have been convicted of crimes they did not commit, with priority to murder cases that resulted in sentences of death or life without parole." 

It "involve(s) college students, community residents, private investigators and journalists in the reporting process." 

It doesn't "represent clients in criminal cases, but after (its) investigation is completed, outside counsel may bring new evidence of innocence to court." 

Its "fundamental goal is to expose and remedy wrongdoing by the criminal justice system." There's more than enough there to expose. It's a cancer needing expunging.

Protess spent decades exposing wrongful convictions. He showed duplicitous tactics were used. It's done to frame victims. 
His work got former Illinois Governor George Ryan to clear death row.

He did so calling capital punishment "arbitrary, capricious, and therefore immoral." He ended his tenure by pardoning four men.

He issued a blanket death row commutation. He said "(t)he legislature couldn't reform it, lawmakers won't repeal it, and I won't stand for it - I must act."

In March 2011, Illinois officially abolished it. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia prohibit capital punishment. Perhaps a future Supreme Court will end it nationwide.

It's unlikely Texas will any other way. Over two-thirds of countries worldwide abolished it. Only a handful of countries use it often. 

America uses it abusively. It's racially biased. Over three-fourths of US death row prisoners were executed for killing whites. Over half of all homicide victims were African-American.

FBI data show states without capital punishment have lower homicide rates than overall nationally.

Capital punishment disregards mental illness. Imposing it violates international law. 

America executed more juveniles than all other nations combined. Doing so is universally called barbaric and uncivilized.

Foreign nationals are executed without being informed of their right to communicate with consular representatives.

Capital punishment is premeditated murder. Ending life irresponsibly is the highest form of injustice. America does arbitrarily, often, extrajudicially, and vengefully. 

It does so against society's least protected. It denies due process and judicial fairness. It violates constitutionally guaranteed equal protection. 

It's cruel and unusual punishment. It's barbarism writ large. It doesn't control crime. It wastes limited resources. Societies that respect life don't kill. 

America does it retail and wholesale. It does it at home and abroad. Indiscriminately shedding blood assures more. It reflects disdain for justice for all.

It reveals madness, not sanity. It shows contempt for international law. It kills innocent victims deserving better. It denies them due process irresponsibly. It's irreversible. Lost lives don't revive.

Texas reflects the worst of state-sponsored murder. Carlos DeLuna was one of many horrific cases. In 1989, state authorities executed him. They did so knowing another man was guilty.

In May, Columbia University Law School released a study titled "Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution." Professor James Liebman and 12 student spent seven years compiling evidence.

They did so firsthand. They interviewed about 100 witnesses exhaustively. DeLuna was wrongfully executed for Wanda Lopez's stabbing death. He steadfastly maintained innocence.

He had every right to do so. He had no involvement. He identified Lopez's killer. He named Carlos Hernandez. Prosecutors wrongfully said he didn't exist.

They lied. Liebman's team proved it. He was an alcoholic. He was arrested 39 times. His rap sheet included numerous violent crimes.

Two months before DeLuna's execution, he got 10 years for assaulting a woman with a knife. The same weapon killed Lopez. Hernandez admitted doing it. Corpus Christie police knew. They did nothing.

The night she died, Lopez asked police for protection. She did so twice. They could have saved her. They ignored her. 

They arrested DeLuna straightaway. Liebman said it was to "overcome embarrassment." Doing so framed an innocent man. No evidence connected him.

It's true in many other wrongful convictions like his. Innocent victims died. They still do. State lawlessness bears full responsibility. Texas is more guilty than other states. 

It institutionalized assembly line executions. Odds are more innocent prisoners died than guilty ones. Killing them reflects premeditated state-sponsored murder. It continues with disturbing regularity.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Senate Passes Racist Immigration Bill

Senate Passes Racist Immigration Bill

by Stephen Lendman

On June 27, S. 744: Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (BSEOIMA) passed. House members address it next.

On June 28, The New York Times headlined "Senate, 68 to 32, Passes Overhaul for Immigration," saying:

Senators approved "the most significant overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws in a generation with broad support generated by a sense among leading Republicans that the party needed to join with Democrats to remove a wedge between Republicans and Hispanic voters."

An accompanying editorial headlined "Immigration Reform, Finally," saying:

Senators "approved the most ambitious overhaul of the nation’s immigration system in a generation."

House passage remains uncertain. Times editors admitted what passed isn't perfect "or even ideal." They endorsed what demands condemnation.

They said it starts an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants down "a path to citizenship….It offers them a chance to live, work and travel without" fearing arrest and deportation.

It "makes possible an outpouring of energy and hope such as this nation has never seen. (It offers) sensible reforms. (There's) a strong chance (this) bill could" be enacted, they believe. It demands rejection, not passage.

America's racist war on immigrants is longstanding. It mocks high-minded rhetoric claiming otherwise. Nothing positive occurred for years.

Nothing's planned now. Congressional profiles in courage don't exist. Obama's beholden solely to Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites and rich elites. 

He betrayed ordinary Americans throughout his tenure. From January 2009 - January 2012, he deported a record 1.5 million people. In the fiscal year ending last September 30, he deported 409,849.

Throughout his tenure, he's done so irresponsibly. He punished defenseless immigrants deserving better. Many were accused of crimes they didn't commit. 

Others committed misdemeanors too minor to matter. Traffic violations got some immigrants deported. Families were separated. Children were harmed. Sweep arrests lawlessly included US citizens.

Harshness inflicts punishment indiscriminately. It does so irresponsibly. Obama deported more immigrants than any previous US president in four years. Bush deported two million in eight years. 

In 2014 or sooner, Obama will easily surpass him. He'll do it whether or not current legislation's enacted. His monthly deportations maintain a record pace.

Since 2004, Border Patrol staff more than doubled. Numbers are ninefold greater than 30 years ago. Over 21,000 agents guard US borders. Nearly 90% are deployed in states bordering Mexico. 

Plans call for thousands more. Untold additional billions will be spent. Migrants won't be deterred from coming. Doing so will entail greater hazards. Remote crossings will be chosen. More people will die. Others will be lucky to survive.

If apprehended, imprisonment from one to 30 years will follow. Prior criminal and immigration history will determine sentences.

Intensified militarization along Mexico's border is prioritized. Adding another 350 miles of security fencing is called for. Doing so will double what original legislation proposed. 

Drone surveillance is funded. Harsher crackdowns are certain. Provisions require intensified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sweeps. Massive deportations will follow. Current intolerable conditions will worsen.

Nine states issue driver's licenses to immigrants. Current legislation may deprive them. It requires REAL ID Act compliance. 

It establishes federal standards for state-issued licenses as well as non-driver ID cards. It changes visa limits for temporary workers, nurses and Australian citizens. 

It includes rules for "delivery bonds." It's for aliens pending hearings. It's similar to bail bonds.

It tightens asylum application laws and deporting foreigners for alleged "terrorism." It waives laws restricting border barrier construction.

Many states haven't approved REAL ID. Non-compliance forces most residents to have passports solely to work. Doing so may incentivize states to restrict driver's licenses. Immigrants needing them will lose out.

So-called pathway to citizenship could take 13 years or longer. Many or most immigrants won't likely qualify. Those trying must apply for "registered provisional immigrant (RPI)" status.

It's a new legal classification. It's created six months after legislative enactment. It's contingent on border security requirements in place.

"Comprehensive immigration reform" is a figure of speech. Reality suggests otherwise. RPI status involves overcoming enormous hurdles. Many immigrants won't try. Many more will fail.

Qualifying involves proving continuous US presence since December 2011, a $500 fine, and payment of back taxes. Minor misdemeanors, youthful indiscretions, other inconsequential convictions, and more substantive ones may disqualify applicants.

Anyone Department of Homeland Security calls unacceptable won't make it. RPI's status excludes healthcare and welfare benefits. Rights granted are too limited to matter.

RPI qualifiers are considered second class. As citizens they'll fare no better. After 10 years of provisional status, they can seek green card and permanent resident status.

Doing so requires proof back taxes were paid. An additional $1,000 fine is incurred. Continuous residency since December 2011 must be verified. Doing so means avoiding unemployment. 

It means enduring harsh conditions. It means low pay with few or no benefits. It means serfdom, not legitimate employment.  

English must be learned. Employment must be proved. Meeting these requirements doesn't assure citizenship.

Employer E-Verify is mandatory. So is biometrically tracking foreigners who enter and leave America by land, sea or air. Implementation's required in four years. It's a government-run online system. It enforces draconian harshness.

It uses photo IDs. It compares employee information to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security data. Numerous false alarms are triggered. Millions of legal immigrants are falsely targeted.

Millions of family members of legal US residents await permanent residency status. 

Undocumented immigrants will be forced to the back of the line. US citizens trying to bring unmarried Mexican children to America requires waiting 17 years or longer. Most never succeed.

Current immigration law caps employment-based visas at 140,000 a year. They're based on five preferential skill categories.

Current legislation increases visa eligibility in ones business wants. Numbers will rise or fall depending on needs. 

Current high unemployment is longterm. Obama's done little to reduce it. Likely harder times ahead will increase it. Immigrants and citizens will lose out.

BSEOIMA is hard-right, pro-business, anti-labor, anti-immigration fairness. House Republicans want it hardened. Whatever final legislation emerges, expect anti-immigrant toughness featured.

Current legislation prioritizes militarizing America's border with Mexico more intensively. It gives business access to skill areas it seeks. It lets them do so at bare bones wages. 

It's about attracting high-skill workers at less than citizens now earn. It intensifies America's race to the bottom. It further destroys opportunities for a generations of youths. 

It makes higher education less meaningful. It mocks democratic fairness. It's more evidence of America's true face. It's not the same country older generations grew up in. 

It's not the land of the free and home of the brave. It never was. It's not now. More than ever, it's exploitive, repressive, unfair and unjust. 

America's criminal class is bipartisan. They betray ordinary constituents. They do so consistently. They do it with disturbing regularity. They do so unapologetically. They mock legitimate democracy in the process.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

More Evidence of Lawless US Spying

More Evidence of Lawless US Spying

by Stephen Lendman

Post-9/11, unprecedented domestic spying began. It did so extrajudicially. It continues under Obama. It's institutionalized. It's warrantless. It's unconstitutional. 

It doesn't matter. It's sweeping and all-embracing. It prioritizes everyone Washington wants monitored. Phone calls, emails, web sites visited, and other personal information is routinely collected.

Doing so reflects police state lawlessness writ large. It's official US policy. Constitutional protections don't matter. Government by diktats supersede them. Alleged national security priorities don't wash. They're fabricated to justify policy.

On June 27, London's Guardian headlined "NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama," saying:

NSA "collect(ed) vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian."

They reveal lawless Bush administration domestic spying. NSA codenamed it Stellar Wind. It continues under Obama. An unnamed senior administration official said it ended in 2011. 

He lied. It continues. It's secret. It's more sweeping now than ever. It's done with technological ease.

A FISA court (FISC) judge approved Internet meta-data collection "every 90 days." Automatic renewals follow. Telecommunications are obtained the same way. Verizon, AT&T and other telecom companies provide them.

An NSA inspector general top secret report authorized "collection of bulk internet metadata (involving) communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States."

Targeting Americans followed. NSA's a power unto itself. It "analyze(s) communications meta-data associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States."

A secret 2007 Justice Department memo revealed it. Internet meta-data collection continues. It "details the accounts to which Americans sent emails and from which they received emails."

"It also details the internet protocol addresses (IP) used by people inside the United States when sending emails - information which can reflect their physical location." Allegedly it "did not include the content of emails."

It's hard believing that's true. Washington's able to gather sweeping information. Prioritized targets are intensively monitored. Whatever's available is collected and stored.

In June 2011, Shawn Turner was appointed Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). He handles National Intelligence communications.

Previously he was National Security Staff's Assistant Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He also worked for the Defense Department.

He lied saying "Internet metadata collection….authorized by the FISA court was discontinued in 2011 for operational and resource reasons and has not been restarted."

"The program was discontinued by the executive branch as the result of the interagency review." He didn't elaborate for good reason. The more explained, the clearer the fabrication.

Guardian-obtained documents show "collection of Americans' online records continues today." Last December, NSA began "analyz(ing) communications with one end inside the US, leading to a doubling of the amount of data passing through its filters."

Obama officials claim privacy rights are respected. Saying so defies reality. Deputy Attorney General James Cole defended lawless telecommunications spying, saying:

"Toll records, phone records like this, that don't include any content, are not covered by the fourth amendment because people don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in who they called and when they called."

"That's something you show to the phone company. That's something you show to many, many people within the phone company on a regular basis."

This type reasoning turns constitutional rights on their head. A previous article cited United States v. US District Court (1972). The Supreme Court upheld Fourth Amendment protections in cases involving domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat. Justices ruled unanimously.

In US v. Jones, Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor acknowledged the need to update Fourth Amendment protections, saying:

"I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, disentitled to Fourth Amendment protection."

All constitutional rights matter. Congress may enact no laws violating them. Government agencies must respect them. Failure to do so flouts the law of the land.

Americans are protected against lawless searches and seizures. Personal information is private. Email content is routinely monitored. Internal government documents explain what's obtained.

"One 2008 document, signed by the US defense secretary and attorney general, states that the collection and subsequent analysis included 'the information appearing on the 'to,' 'from' or 'bcc' lines of a standard email or other electronic communication' from Americans."

It's hard "distinguish(ing) email meta-data from email content. Distinctions that might make sense for telephone conversations and data about those conversations do not always hold for online communications."

According to Cato Institute's Julian Sanchez:

"The calls you make can reveal a lot, but now that so much of our lives are mediated by the internet, your IP (internet protocol) logs are really a real-time map of your brain: what are you reading about, what are you curious about, what personal ad are you responding to (with a dedicated email linked to that specific ad), what online discussions are you participating in, and how often?"

"Seeing your IP logs - and especially feeding them through sophisticated analytic tools - is a way of getting inside your head that's in many ways on par with reading your diary."

A classified March 2009 draft NSA inspector general (IG) report said the Agency "analyzed networks with two degrees of separation (two hops) from the target."

In other words, NSA examines emails and other online communications between people who communicate with two or more others allegedly targeted.

NSA calls doing so "contact chaining." Others call it data-mining. Pre-9/11, a draft NSA IG report considered the practice off-limits, saying:

Data-mining was rejected when DOJ "told NSA that the proposal fell within one of the FISA definitions of electronic surveillance and, therefore, was not permissible when applied to metadata associated with presumed US persons."

Post-9/11, anything goes became policy. Sweeping surveillance followed. Big Brother watches everyone all the time everywhere. It does so lawlessly. Official denials don't wash. 

An unnamed senior Obama official tried having things both ways. On the one hand, online meta-data-mining was denied. On the other:

"I'm not going to say we're not collecting any internet meta-data" followed.

The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) restricts telecommunications wiretaps. It prevents unauthorized government access to private online communications. 

It sets strict guidelines for search warrants. It protects stored online communications. It prohibits pen registering and/or trap and trace devices. 

They're used to record dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information for processing or transmitting wire or electronic communications without court order. Emails may be subpoenaed lawfully. Warrantless authorizations are prohibited.

USA Patriot Act provisions changed things. They subvert ECPA restrictions. So does the 2008 FISA Amendments Act.

Meaningful oversight is lacking. Constitutional rights don't matter. Lawless spying is out-of-control. Checking it is essential. Reforms are urgently needed. Privacy is too important to lose. 

Government of, by and for everyone demands transparency. It requires obeying rule of law principles. It punishes violators.

Jennifer Granick is Director of Civil Liberties for Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. Christopher Jon Sprigman is University of Virginia Professor of Law.

On June 27, they headlined their New York Times op-ed "The Criminal NSA," saying:

Meta-data-mining is lawless. Fundamental privacy rights are violated. The "letter" and "spirit" of "federal law" are "violate(d)."

"No (federal) statute explicitly authorizes mass surveillance." The Obama administration subverted legal provisions to permit it.

Strategy employed "consists of wordplay, fear-mongering and a highly selective reading of the law. Americans deserve better…"

Obama violates fundamental constitutional law he once taught. He defends the indefensible. Meta-data-mining is out-of-control. 

Probable cause proving likely criminality no longer applies. Anything goes replaced it. 

Representative James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R. WI) helped draft Patriot Act provisions. He's no civil liberties champion. He's no profile in courage.  

"Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations," he said.

Meta-data-mining isn't "targeted. How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?"

Bush violated Patriot Act provisions. So does Obama. It's done egregiously. It's done extrajudicially. It's done unconscionably. Claiming the right to do so reflects "shockingly flimsy argument," said Granick and Sprigman.

"If all data (are) 'relevant,' it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance." 

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper committed perjury. He lied telling Congress NSA doesn't spy on Americans.

He told NBC news that NSA uses the word "acquire" when it pulls information from its sweeping communications database. It's not when it intercepts and stores it.

According to Granick and Sprigman:

"If there's a law against torturing the English language, James Clapper is in real trouble." Obama conceals "incidental" surveillance of Americans "behind fuzzy language." 

In late 2012, when Congress reauthorized the FISA Amendments Act for another five years, "legislators said Americans had nothing to worry about because surveillance could not 'target' American citizens or permanent residents."

Clapper said the same thing. They lied. Meta-data-mining evidence proves it. 

"There is simply no precedent under the Constitution for the government's seizing such vast amounts of revealing data on innocent Americans' communications," said Granick and Sprigman.

Obama and Congress "made a mockery" of fundamental constitutional protections. We may never know the full extent of mass surveillance. Coverup and denial reflect official policy.

We do "know this: 

"The administration has justified (mass spying) through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures, and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government's professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy." 

"It's time to call the NSA's mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Why Edward Snowden is an American hero

Why Edward Snowden is an American hero

by Dr. James Fetzer

“Edward Snowden is both an American and an international hero for speaking out against tyranny and the conversion of America into a fascist state. He deserves commendation, not prosecution.”
The espionage charges against Edward Snowden for informing the American people and the world that the NSA has been conducting the most massive spying operation in history are completely baseless and absurd.
Snowden is not revealing information that places the national security of the nation at stake but information revealing the NSA has instead been tracking enemies of the national security state.
Those who seem to be the real targets of this surveillance program include veterans, Constitutionalists, NRA members, 9/11 Truthers, Ron Paul supporters, and any one else who might have both the courage, the integrity and the ability to resist the imposition of a new military police state under DHS. The latest figures about the “Main Core” list of political dissidents stands at around 8,000,000 today.

No domestic terrorist threat

We know from a report released by a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Intelligence on 3 October 2012 that, after surveying 680 “fusion center” reports gathered from 2009-2010, it had discovered that there were no indications of any terrorist activity: NONE. ZILCH. NADA. NOT ONE! Yet this astounding data has yet to be broadcast or published by ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN.
This sample, which was obtained under conditions that insured if any domestic terrorist activity had been taking place it would have been revealed, supports the statistical extrapolation that domestic terrorist activity in the United States is virtually non-existent.
It also explains why DHS and the FBI have had to fabricate phony events such as those at Sandy Hook and the Boston bombing, which were staged.

Unwarranted justifications

Even the claim by General Alexander, the head of the NSA, that this program had foiled 50 terrorist plots appears to be hokum. Ron Paul, for example, explained that it was an ad hoc exaggeration and that it included some 40 trivial events that were alleged to have occurred not in the United States but abroad and a story of an attempt to blow up Wall Street that has all the signs of another FBI fabricated event.
So the existence of a bona-fide domestic terrorist threat appears to be a cover-story to justify the most massive spying ever undertaking using enormous computer capabilities to accumulate information on our emails, our phone calls, our financial transactions and even (no doubt) our medical records. They want to know everything there is to know about each and every one of us to promote their own agenda.

DHS preparing for civil war

Everyone must know by now that DHS has acquired 2 billion rounds of .40 caliber hollow-point ammunition, which is not ever permissible in combat under the Hague Convention of 1899.
It has also obtained 2,700 light tanks of the kind deployed in Boston (in violation of Posse Comitatus) and 7,000 assault weapons (of the kind that gun control legislation has been proposed to ban). They are preparing for war.
DHS has even made special arrangements with funeral homes and mortuaries to handle “an excess of casualties” should hospitals and emergency care facilities be overwhelmed.
This can only be because the government is planning to take out or otherwise “neutralize” the enemies of the state that are being identified by means of its massive surveillance program, which Edward Snowden has revealed to us all.

(1) Violation of the 4th amendment

The first problem with this program is that blatantly violates the 4th amendment’s guarantee to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures and a history of lower court decisions decreeing the right of citizens to privacy.
Rand Paul has spoken out eloquently about this and Snowden appears to have secret FISA court decisions that rule against the legality of the program that Obama is trying to defend.
Most Americans and others worldwide naively assume that the NSA scandal represents an excess of zeal in attempting to track down domestic terrorists who want to attack targets in America.
What they do not appreciate is that this has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with the national security state. They are not the same. From the perspective of DHS, veterans are potential terrorists.

(2) Potential for blackmail and manipulation

Those who say, “I have nothing to hide”, are being extremely naïve, because this surveillance program is complete. It was not designated as “Total Information Awareness” for nothing when first introduced by Admiral Poindexter.
The public outcry led to its re-designation as “Terrorist Information Awareness”, but that did not mean that anything had changed. The NSA wants to know everything about everyone so it can selectively use the information to control or modify our actions.
The use for the purpose of political blackmail ought to be obvious to anyone who knows, for example, that J. Edgar Hoover maintained sex dossiers on the members of Congress, while the Mafia kept one on him.
Relationships with girlfriends and mistresses, watching porn or having had an abortion are illustrations of the kinds of information that could be used to manipulate Senators, Presidents or the Courts.

(3) Surveillance programs privatized

Practically no one in the mass media has observed that Snowden had access to these records because he was working for a private firm, Booz Allen, which gave him opportunities to obtain data that a normal government program would not have allowed.
And most of our security and surveillance programs are run by Israeli companies, which is one of the mechanisms by which it controls our leaders.
When the US Senate voted 99-0 to support Israel should it decide to attack Iran in its own self-defense without adding that that would have to be in accordance with international law, it thereby violated not only the UN Charter but the US Constitution, which grants treaties, such as ours with the UN, the same status under the Constitution as the Constitution itself. It was a completely unjustifiable act given that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. But it was also an act of treason.

Real traitors

When Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) declares that the revelations by Edward Snowden are “not going to play out well for the national security interests of the United States”, therefore, she is not talking about the interests of the American people, who are entitled to have their privacy preserved and to be safe-guarded from blackmail and embarrassment. There is no legitimate national security interest that could not be better served by traditional procedures with warrants.
When Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and (the usual suspects) Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham condemn Snowden for treason, they themselves are the ones who are violating the Constitution, their oaths of office and betraying the American people.
Edward Snowden is an American and international hero for speaking out against tyranny and the conversion of America into a fascist state. He deserves commendation, not prosecution.
NOTE: For a recent two-hour interview discussing these issues in detail and more, go to this link.