• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 26 mei 2017

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Allison Johnson - Avaaz Afmelden

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A logging giant is trying to take down Greenpeace by suing them for $300 million...because they were too effective in campaigning against them! It could be the beginning of the end for groups like Avaaz who stand up to greedy corporations -- but now we have a plan to stop them. 
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN 
Dear friends,

Canada’s biggest logging giant is dragging Greenpeace to court, demanding more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

If they win, it would give greedy corporations everywhere a green light to silence all of us who stand up to them. But now we have a way to stop them.

The one thing the logger cares about is profits. And some of their biggest customers are book publishers, who have a history of standing up for free speech and have strong commitments to sustainability.

All the major publishers are gathering in days at a major industry event -- let’s overwhelm them with a massive call to take their business elsewhere unless the case is dropped.

Tell publishers to stand up for free speech 

Resolute Forest Products has logged some of Canada’s oldest, most majestic Boreal forests. And now, after a very successful campaign to demand a more sustainable way to do business, Resolute is accusing Greenpeace and Stand.earth of “conspiracy” for trying to stop the destruction -- and hurting their profits!

The case could change campaigning forever, giving corporations a way to silence groups like Avaaz,and oil companies, loggers and miners free rein to destroy our beautiful planet, no questions asked.

Right now, every dollar counts for Resolute, whose stock price has plummeted. It produces paper for some of the world’s biggest publishers -- companies like Penguin and Simon & Schuster that care about their reputations -- and the forests!

When clients have spoken out before, Resolute listened. Let’s overwhelm major publishers before the biggest book conference of the year, asking them to tell Resolute to drop the lawsuit or risk losing some of their biggest customers.

Tell publishers to stand up for free speech 
Avaazers have taken on corporations around the world -- and won! Together, we convinced clothing company Benetton to pay up for victims of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza disaster, and more than a million of us stood up to stop Monsanto in Argentina. Now one of our major allies is defending corporate campaigning for all of us -- let's stand with them to stop these corporate thugs!

With hope and determination,
Allison, Antonia, Martyna, Bert, Alice and the whole Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION:

Resolute, Canadian Forest Giant, Uses Trump-Linked Law Firm To Sue Greenpeace (Huffington Post)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/01/24/resolute-greenpeace-lawsuit_n_14367358.html

Clearcutting Free Speech (Greenpeace)
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/forests/boreal/clearcutting-free-speech/

Battle for the Boreal (National Post)
http://business.financialpost.com/features/battle-for-the-boreal-forest-2

U.S. Marketplace Urged to Protect Canada’s Boreal Forest (Natural Resources Defense Council)
https://www.nrdc.org/experts/anthony-swift/us-marketplace-urged-protect-canadas-boreal-forest

Environmental advocates disturbed by logging activity in Quebec caribou habitat (National Observer)
http://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/03/03/news/environmental-advocates-disturbed-logging-activity-quebec-caribou-habitat

Chris Hedges: Death of the Republic

The Death of the Republic 

Posted on May 21, 2017
By Chris Hedges

Mr. Fish / Truthdig
The deep state’s decision in ancient Rome—dominated by a bloated military and a corrupt oligarchy, much like the United States of 2017—to strangle the vain and idiotic Emperor Commodus in his bath in the year 192 did not halt the growing chaos and precipitous decline of the Roman Empire.
Commodus, like a number of other late Roman emperors, and like President Trump, was incompetent and consumed by his own vanity. He commissioned innumerable statues of himself as Hercules and had little interest in governance. He used his position as head of state to make himself the star of his own ongoing public show. He fought victoriously as a gladiator in the arena in fixed bouts. Power for Commodus, as it is for Trump, was primarily about catering to his bottomless narcissism, hedonism and lust for wealth. He sold public offices so the ancient equivalents of Betsy DeVos and Steve Mnuchin could orchestrate a vast kleptocracy.
Commodus was replaced by the reformer Pertinax, the Bernie Sanders of his day, who attempted in vain to curb the power of the Praetorian Guards, the ancient version of the military-industrial complex. This effort saw the Praetorian Guards assassinate Pertinax after he was in power only three months. The Guards then auctioned off the office of emperor to the highest bidder. The next emperor, Didius Julianus, lasted 66 days. There would be five emperors in A.D. 193, the year after the assassination of Commodus. Trump and our decaying empire have ominous historical precedents. If the deep state replaces Trump, whose ineptitude and imbecility are embarrassing to the empire, that action will not restore our democracy any more than replacing Commodus restored democracy in Rome. Our republic is dead.
Societies that once were open and had democratic traditions are easy prey for the enemies of democracy. These demagogues pay deference to the patriotic ideals, rituals, practices and forms of the old democratic political system while dismantling it. When the Roman Emperor Augustus—he referred to himself as the “first citizen”—neutered the republic, he was careful to maintain the form of the old republic. Lenin and the Bolsheviks did the same when they seized and crushed the autonomous soviets. Even the Nazis and the Stalinists insisted they ruled democratic states. Thomas Paine wrote that despotic government is a fungus that grows out of a corrupt civil society. This is what happened to these older democracies. It is what happened to us.

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Our constitutional rights—due process, habeas corpus, privacy, a fair trial, freedom from exploitation, fair elections and dissent—have been taken from us by judicial fiat. These rights exist only in name. The vast disconnect between the purported values of the state and reality renders political discourse absurd.

Corporations, cannibalizing the federal budget, legally empower themselves to exploit and pillage. It is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. The pharmaceutical and insurance industries can hold sick children hostage while their parents bankrupt themselves trying to save their sons or daughters. Those burdened by student loans can never wipe out the debt by declaring bankruptcy. In many states, those who attempt to publicize the conditions in the vast factory farms where diseased animals are warehoused for slaughter can be charged with a criminal offense. Corporations legally carry out tax boycotts. Companies have orchestrated free trade deals that destroy small farmers and businesses and deindustrialize the country. Labor unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and lenders have been defanged. The Supreme Court, in an inversion of rights worthy of George Orwell, defines unlimited corporate contributions to electoral campaigns as a right to petition the government or a form of free speech. Much of the press, owned by large corporations, is an echo chamber for the elites. State and city enterprises and utilities are sold to corporations that hike rates and deny services to the poor. The educational system is being slowly privatized and turned into a species of vocational training.
Wages are stagnant or have declined. Unemployment and underemployment—masked by falsified statistics—have thrust half the country into chronic poverty. Social services are abolished in the name of austerity. Culture and the arts have been replaced by sexual commodification, banal entertainment and graphic depictions of violence. The infrastructure, neglected and underfunded, is collapsing. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, arrests, food shortages and untreated illnesses that lead to early death plague a harried underclass. The desperate flee into an underground economy dominated by drugs, crime and human trafficking. The state, rather than address the economic misery, militarizes police departments and empowers them to use lethal force against unarmed civilians. It fills the prisons with 2.3 million citizens, only a tiny percentage of whom had a trial. One million prisoners work for corporations inside prisons as modern-day slaves.
The amendments of the Constitution, designed to protect the citizen from tyranny, are meaningless. The Fourth Amendment, for example, reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The reality is that our telephone calls, emails, texts and financial, judicial and medical records, along with every website we visit and our physical travels, are tracked, recorded and stored in perpetuity in government computer banks.
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John Pilger: The White Helmets Are A “Complete Propaganda Construct”

John Pilger: The White Helmets Are A “Complete Propaganda Construct”

In yesterday’s interview with RT’s Going Underground, John Pilger outed the White Helmets as nothing more than a “complete propaganda construct in Syria.”
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    Just prior to the 2016 announcement of the Nobel Prize I wrote to eminent author and filmmaker, John Pilger, about the NATO and Gulf State propaganda construct, the White Helmets, demonstrated to be nothing more than Nusra Front civil defense in Syria. In yesterday’s interview with RT’s  Going Underground, John Pilger outed the White Helmets as nothing more than a “complete propaganda construct in Syria.”
    This was my email to John Pilger on the 27/9/2016. I have no idea if it had any influence upon the comments that Pilger made during his interview but the fact that such a respected and admired analyst has finally, publically exposed the White Helmets – as a primarily British-funded, propaganda, shadow state construct, engineered to facilitate intervention in Syria, should be a powerful ally for independent media in their efforts to reveal the pivotal aspects of the dirty war being waged against Syria.


    “I am writing to you as a journalist who believes in all the values you have represented to them for the years they have followed you.
    I have, for some time, been working to expose, alongside many others, the Dirty War on Syria.  I have recently returned from a 4-week journey around Syria, visiting Aleppo and meeting with President Assad, as part of the US Peace Council Delegation.  Three weeks of my trip were, however, as an independent journalist.
    My main investigation has focused on the White Helmets, the phony NATO shadow state construct, masquerading as a Humanitarian NGO, an alleged first response unit saving civilians.
    I will not go into huge detail in this email but suffice to say that this group is a multi-million $ funded operation with ties to private security firms and to deep state in both US and UK.
    Their current funding amounts to well over £ 100m.  This is not funding for 2,800 civil defence workers, this is funding for an “army”.  Funding comes from UK, US, Japan and EU countries and now Qatar.  This suggests to me an Axis of intervention using these “humanitarians” as a cover for their nefarious military intervention.  Syria is the blueprint.  If Clinton is elected, who knows what kind of tool this blueprint will become in her war-hawk hands.
    At the end of this email, I will include links to the main body of my work, I have compiled them into one article titled “Who are the Syria White Helmets”.
    During my time in Syria, I met with the REAL Syria Civil Defence that has been in existence for 63 years compared to the White Helmets for 3 years.  The REAL Syria Civil Defence is a member of the ICDO affiliated to the UN, WHO, Red Cross and OCHA to name a few.  It is operating across Syria in both terrorist held and government-held areas rescuing civilians.
    I spoke with crew members whose comrades had been massacred by the incoming terrorists who then became known as the White Helmets in East Aleppo for example but also in other areas, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Idlib.
    None of this is being reported and now we are heading towards the abyss of war and this terrorist affiliated group has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
    I appeal to you as someone with such standing and eminence in the media world, in the world at large, please would you highlight this story. If the White Helmets win the Nobel Prize it will bring with it such credibility, not only for the group, but for the entire illegal war effort and US hegemony globally.  The war against Syria is underpinned by the propaganda provided by this group of White Helmets, who knows what they will be used for in the future.
    I speak to you as a journalist, one who believes in presenting the truth not a two dimensional version of it that serves only to amplify state narratives….and to further reduce the brave and noble nation of Syria to ashes and rubble mingled with the blood of their people who would never have killed their country to improve it.
    Another sovereign nation being torn apart but Syria is resisting and refusing to yield.  She needs us to stand by her. 
    Please help me to prevent this travesty of justice and to prevent what is effectively Al Qaeda winning the Nobel Prize.  
    I thank you in advance for your kind attention and look forward to hearing from you.”
    – Thank you, John Pilger, for what you said today.

    Learn more about the White Helmets:

    White Helmets and Mayday Rescue:
    The Syrian Civil Defence: Wikipedia
    21st Century Wire compilation of key information on the White Helmets:
    Who are the Syria White Helmets?

     © 21ST CENTURY WIRE


    Sources: Comey acted on Russian intelligence he knew was fake

    Washington (CNN)Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email was fake -- created by Russian intelligence -- but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process.
    As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over -- without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch -- while at the same time stating that Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified information. His press conference caused a firestorm of controversy and drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. 
    Comey's actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level US officials during the 2016 campaign. 
    The Washington Post reported Wednesday that this Russian intelligence was unreliable. US officials now tell CNN that Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false.
    In fact, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe went to Capitol Hill Thursday to push back on the notion that the FBI was duped, according to a source familiar with a meeting McCabe had with members of the Senate intelligence committee.
    The Russian intelligence at issue purported to show that then-Attorney General Lynch had been compromised in the Clinton investigation. The intelligence described emails between then-Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a political operative suggesting that Lynch would make the FBI investigation of Clinton go away.
    In classified sessions with members of Congress several months ago, Comey described those emails in the Russian claim and expressed his concern that this Russian information could "drop" and that would undermine the Clinton investigation and the Justice Department in general, according to one government official.
    Still, Comey did not let on to lawmakers that there were doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to sources familiar with the briefings. It is unclear why Comey was not more forthcoming in a classified setting.
    Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn't matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods. There were other factors behind Comey's decision, sources say. 
    In at least one classified session, Comey cited that intelligence as the primary reason he took the unusual step of publicly announcing the end of the Clinton email probe.
    In that briefing, Comey did not even mention the other reason he gave in public testimony for acting independently of the Justice Department -- that Lynch was compromised because Bill Clinton boarded her plane and spoke to her during the investigation, these sources told CNN.
    Multiple US officials tell CNN that to this day Russia is trying to spread false information in the US -- through elected officials and American intelligence and law enforcement operatives -- in order to cloud and confuse ongoing investigations.
    UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect that there were additional factors behind Comey's decision and to clarify the description of the political operative.