Evening Blues Preview 8-18-15

This evening's music features r&b singer and songwriter Jimmy "T-99" Nelson.

Here are some stories from tonight's posting:

The Obama administration is still protecting the criminals of the Bush administration. One is left to wonder what Bush, Cheney and their similarly evil minions will give Obama as a thank-you gift.

Justice Department: Appeals Court Wrong to Revive Lawsuit Brought by Immigrants Abused After 9/11

The Justice Department has requested a federal appeals court revisit and reverse its decision to revive a lawsuit against former Justice Department officials, who allegedly violated the rights of Arab or Muslim immigrants when they were detained in the immediate months after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Attorneys for the Justice Department argue, regardless of whether immigrants had their rights violated, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) James W. Ziglar adopted reasonable policies “in an effort to protect the nation during a turbulent time.” The former officials should not be liable for rights violations.

More than a decade later, in January 2013, a federal court dismissed the complaints and concluded there was no evidence the officials had any “intent to punish” the plaintiffs.

However, in June, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Justice Department officials were not entitled to “qualified immunity.” The appeals court also determined the confinement conditions imposed on immigrants, who were rounded up, were established with “punitive intent.”

Justice Department attorneys now assert in a filing submitted to the court on August 14 [PDF] the appeals court was out of line to decide the former officials could be sued for violations of due process or equal protection rights.

Declaring Chelsea Manning’s Voice Against Torture Contraband

Along with [a] list of seemingly trivial items, Leavenworth officials also confiscated an item that goes to the core of the whistleblowing that landed Manning in prison in the first place: the Senate Torture Report.

Chelsea Manning faces the threat of solitary confinement, which most countries and many psychologists consider torture, because she was reading the Senate Torture Report.

Recall that among the events that led Manning to provide information to WikiLeaks was when she was ordered to “assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki” – people who Manning discovered were actually criticizing Maliki’s corruption. Manning realized that by helping the Baghdad Police, US forces would be helping put them “in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police [where they would be] very likely tortured.” In an effort to thwart US complicity in torture, Manning leaked classified materials to WikiLeaks, including information on Iraq’s Wolf Brigade, a unit that conducted torture the official US policy on which was to ignore.

Manning hasn’t ceased her efforts to hold the US accountable for its involvement in torture. Among the seven columns she has written for the Guardian since being in prison, one focused on US torture. “According to numerous public reports, including the Senate Torture Report, these programs were authorized at the highest levels of government,” Manning wrote, relying on the Torture Report that has since been confiscated. “This clearly shows a premeditated and intentional conspiracy to knowingly violate US law, and to avoid any oversight and criminal liability.”

All of Manning’s columns addressed topics that the confiscated items likely helped her write, but by writing on torture she implicated the chain of command. Now Manning’s prison guards have decided the underlying document is contraband.

Once before, Defense Department officials subjected Manning to forced nudity and separation. Now, they’re threatening to do so again, in part because she was reading – and writing – of how such policies are willful and systematic.

Snowden Documents Reveal AT&T’s "Extreme Willingness to Help" NSA Domestic Spy Program

US Military Prepares Drastic Escalation of Global Drone Program

New reporting reveals plans to expand drone program by 50 percent, including broader use of mercenaries

The U.S. Pentagon is poised to dramatically increase the deployment of surveillance drones over "global hot spots" such as Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, the South China Sea, and North Africa, as well as expand its capacity for lethal drone strikes, the Wall Street Journal revealed on Monday.

Citing exclusive interviews with senior U.S. officials, the WSJ's Gordon Lubold reports that the number of daily flights by aircraft such as MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones will surge an estimated 50 percent. Further, the expanded drone program will "draw on the Army, as well as Special Operations Command and government contractors," in addition to the U.S. Air Force, which currently carries out most of the operations for the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.

Lobuld reports: "The Pentagon envisions a combined effort that by 2019 would have the Air Force continue flying 60 drone flights a day, the Army contributing as many as 16 and the military’s Special Forces Command pitching in with as many as four. Government contractors would be hired to fly older Predator drones on as many as 10 flights a day, none of them strike missions."

Osama bin Laden issued a chilling pre-warning of 9/11 attack 'plan', al-Qaeda audio tapes reveal

Osama bin Laden recorded a chilling warning about the 9/11 bombing just a few weeks before the devastating attack on the World Trade Center, according to an analysis of a vast cache of al-Qaeda cassette tapes.

The collection of more than 1,500 audio tapes recovered from an Afghan compound after the US invasion in 2001 offer an extraordinary insight into the listening habits, influences and mindset of the terrorist organisation.

Flagg Miller, an expert in Arabic culture who was tasked with assessing the tapes for the Afghan media Project at Williams College in Massachusetts, said they included early speeches by Bin Laden in the late 1980s.

"What's fascinating is how Bin Laden is speaking about the ways in which the Arabian Peninsula is threatened - but who is the enemy? It's not the United States, as we often think, or the West. It's other Muslims," Miller told the BBC.

Miller, who has written a book about his findings titled The Audacious Ascetic, said Bin Laden’s focus only shifted to “the far enemy” after he was stripped of his Saudi citizenship, under US pressure, in 1994.

The Long Distance Revolutionary - Chris Hedges

Workers To Face Biosurveillance From Employers

The modern work environment was already becoming more than a bit Orwellian, with employees being electronically spied on by their bosses to ensure productivity, but now the corporate push for total information awareness of workers is hitting new levels of creepiness.

According to a report in Bloomberg, companies are now using biosurveillance technologies to monitor workers. Workers at some firms now wear biosensors that let managers know an employee’s physical and mental state by monitoring vital signs such as heart rate, skin temperature, and the pace of their breathing.

The technology is reportedly being adapted from, among other places, the defense industry. Firms such as Equivital are taking biosensor technology developed for battlefield environments and repurposing them for civilian use.

Though such comprehensive and intrusive monitoring systems were originally intended for a battlefield environment to help medics and other responders have an improved medical picture when treating someone suffering life-threatening injuries, that technology can now be used to pressure workers into meeting production goals.

Also of interest:

The Long Sad Slide From Leading Civil Rights Organization to Anti-Black Lives Matter Group

David Graeber: Reflections from a Visit to the West Bank

The Case Against DuPont

The Saudi Royals — Unchained

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mimi's picture

is very revealing and very sad. Thanks for linking to it. Also thanks for the Hedge interview with Larry Hamm, who I didn't know about. The Bio-Surveillance story is what makes my blood boil. Just don't know how handle and fight all of it. Terrible, awful, despicable developments. Slavery is coming upon us.

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talking is silver, silence is golden

Trump can't hold a candle

But “most militaristic?” Even for the Donald, this is a boast that goes a bit too far. In the 2016 election cycle, the “serious and responsible” candidates for the presidency are so bellicose they make Trump look Cindy Sheehan. He can’t even compete with the current Democratic president or the most likely Democratic nominee.

Barack Obama still enjoys an unearned reputation as a reluctant warrior, but by December 2009, when he hit the dais in Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama had already launched more drone strikes than “war president” George W. Bush managed during two full terms. Since then, “44” has racked up nearly nine times as many drone attacks as “43,” launched two undeclared wars, and—as Obama bragged in last week’s speech defending the Iran deal—bombed no fewer than seven countries. He was being uncharacteristically modest, however: the number is actually eight.

For her part, the leading Democratic contender has rarely met a war she didn’t love. From First Lady to Senator and then to Secretary of State, the running theme of Hillary Clinton’s ghoulish career has been “I urged him to bomb.”
When it comes to the GOP race, the Donald can’t begin to match his competitors in warmongering bluster. “Most militaristic?” In this field? These guys have blood coming out of their eyeballs, blood even coming out of their… wherevers.

Can Trump really tell us with a straight face that he’s more belligerent than Senator Lindsey Graham, who’s said he would “literally use the military” to keep Congress in session until they approve more military spending? Graham further proclaimed that “if I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL, I’m not gonna call a judge, I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.” Would Trump do the same?

Read the whole thing.

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Big Al's picture

it's really hard to believe someone like him could get elected and keep getting elected. But Trump sounds like someone,
if by some miracle he landed in the WH, who could be led by the nose to do exactly what the ruling class wants and his
ego is such that he'd be as dangerous as any of the others.
I suppose it's like the old saying, "pick your poison".

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mimi's picture

instead, doing the same killings.

and this clip doesn't seem to be seductive to me too...

No comment, even if he is not as much a war monger as Lindsey Graham is, he is ... unacceptable.

Can we have a political revolution please?

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talking is silver, silence is golden

Hurrah for carnage

The United States-led airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria surged to record levels in July, signaling an unprecedented escalation by coalition forces during its year-long conflict with the militant group.

Throughout the month, drones and warplanes deployed 2,828 weapons against ISIS targets, according to new figures released by the U.S. Air Forces Central Command. That is a 66 percent increase in the number of bombs and missiles fired at the militant group’s targets in June, and even 22 percent more than the 2,038 used in January, when the coalition unleashed a fusillade of firepower in an effort to drive ISIS out of the Syrian city of Kobani.


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"Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years," the head of the international Red Cross says, describing the devastation from a conflict that has left more than 1,900 people dead since March.

Peter Maurer, fresh off a trip to the war-torn country in the Arabian Peninsula, said entrenched poverty, months of intensified warfare and limits on imports because of an international embargo have contributed to "catastrophic" conditions in Yemen.

"The firepower with which this war is fought on the ground and in the air is causing more suffering than in other societies which are stronger and where infrastructures are better off and people are wealthier and have reserves and can escape," Maurer told The Associated Press at his office in the headquarters of the International Committee for the Red Cross.

Yep, we are part of this

The war in Yemen has pushed the country to the brink of famine, with both commercial food imports and aid deliveries held up by the fighting and millions of hungry women and children facing possible starvation, the United Nations said Wednesday.
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joe shikspack's picture

US Sends More Advisers, Munitions for Saudi War on Yemen

US involvement is growing, with the number of Pentagon advisers sent to Saudi Arabia more than doubled to 45 now, and regular shipments of munitions and in-air refueling of bombers serving as the main US contributions to the war effort against Yemeni Shi’ites.

Officials say that the advisory role includes helping the Saudis pick out which targets to attack, a particularly damning admission given the enormous civilian death toll from the Saudi airstrikes against residential areas nationwide.

The Pentagon is insisting, by way of an explanation, that they aren’t “responsible” for any specific strikes that happen in Yemen, so even though they provided the bombs, fueled the planes, and picked the targets, those deaths are somehow not their fault.

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lotlizard's picture

The essay by David Graeber is the deepest thing on Israel/Palestine I've read in awhile. Thanks for the link.

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gulfgal98's picture

It was a long read, but one that we all should read. I saw striking parallels to how blacks are treated in many places in this country.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy