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Irresponsibly Accusing Putin of Wanting Western Elections Disrupted - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 02:37
Irresponsibly Accusing Putin of Wanting Western Elections Disrupted
by Stephen Lendman
Hillary disgracefully accused Russia of hacking DNC emails to distract attention from clear evidence showing she stole the Democrat party nomination by primary election rigging.
Her campaign manager Robby Mook irresponsibly called Trump a Putin “puppet” - because he’d rather normalize relations with Russia than go to war with a nuclear super-power, the greatest risk of a third Hillary and Bill Clinton co-presidency, she in the leading role this time.
The Wall Street Journal hyped the nonexistent threat of Putin wanting elections in America and other countries disrupted - citing unnamed US officials making preposterous claims, saying he seeks “(e)lectoral chaos in (the) West…to safeguard (his) hold on power…”
He’s overwhelmingly popular with an 80% + approval rating. If held today, he’d win an open, free and fair reelection without campaigning - his name on the ballot enough to assure it.
Russians want no one else leading them. No evidence suggests he’s interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in any way - unlike how America operates.
Yet the Journal, to its discredit, accused Russia of “rock(ing) the presidential campaign” by hacking, perhaps “peak(ing) on election day” - despite not a shred of evidence suggesting it.
Citing disreputable “White House officials and other experts” with a clear anti-Russia agenda, the Journal absurdly said “Russian meddling…may become more potent in Europe than in the US (by) courting political figures there…”
Russia seeks cooperative relations with all nations, the way all responsible governments operate - polar opposite how America intimidates, bullies and bribes other countries to support its imperial agenda, featuring endless wars of aggression and destabilizing activities to assert its authority.
According to the neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Russia researcher Pasi Eronen, elections in Germany, France and elsewhere in Europe next year “have big geopolitical implications for Russia.”
So does America’s next week most of all. No credible evidence suggests Russia trying to influence outcomes anywhere, regardless of what parties and candidates it may favor privately.
Claiming otherwise is part of unjustifiable Putin bashing - solely because he champions respect for international law, favors peace, not war, multi-world polarity and inviolability of sovereign independence for all nations, free from dominance by others, the way America operates.
The Journal: “US and European observers have criticized previous elections under Mr. Putin as rigged and marred by obvious fraud…”
Fact: Independent international monitors judged Russian presidential and parliamentary elections open, free and fair - during his tenure as Russia’s president and prime minister.
The Journal: “Mr. Putin hopes to inoculate himself against such criticism by sowing so much chaos in US and European elections before then that Western leaders will be too preoccupied with domestic problems to spend much effort criticizing the Russian poll, one senior White House official said.”
“By hacking and dumping emails, Russia is trying ‘to denigrate the American electoral system, to make it look chaotic, make it look manipulable, make it look subject to intrusion, cheating and vulnerable so you can’t trust it…to make us look no better than the Russian electoral system,’ the official said.”
Fact: Utter rubbish! Typical US willful lying and deception, distracting attention from its endless high crimes, ones the Journal and other media scoundrels suppress, supporting America’s war on humanity instead of honorably denouncing it.
WikiLeaks’ dump of over 50,000 Hillary campaign emails came from one or more US intelligence sources, not Russia, as falsely claimed.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Is America's Presidential Election Rigged for Hillary? - Sun, 06/11/2016 - 23:41
Is America’s Presidential Election Rigged for Hillary?
by Stephen Lendman
Power brokers infesting America’s deep state decide who’ll hold all top government posts. Voters believing their say matters don’t understand how things work.
Elections are exercises in deception, especially for the nation’s highest office. Future incumbents are vetted well in advance to assure they’ll continue dirty business as usual.
Duopoly power runs things with two right wings, not a dime’s worth of difference between undemocratic Democrats and Republicans.
Trump isn’t anti-establishment. He just sounds that way. He didn’t get to be a billionaire by being a good guy, especially headquartered in New York, America’s financial capital, home to Wall Street, the epicenter of corrupt financial power, controlling the nation’s money, the lever controlling government and business.
Hillary was chosen last year to succeed Obama before announcing her candidacy. Throughout the campaign, things haven’t gone as planned. Trump surprisingly emerged last man standing among 17 Republican aspirants.
Sanders didn’t run to win - merely to create the appearance of a contest for the Democrat nomination, knowing Hillary would emerge triumphant, primaries rigged to assure it.
So what to expect on November 8? Are things rigged for Hillary - despite her baggage, most voters calling her a liar, dishonest and untrustworthy?
Pollster Doug Kaplan says “(e)very four years, there is a surge at the end by the Republican nominee, like muscle memory kicking in that in some years is enough and some is not.”
Pollster Pat Caddell said Trump has momentum. “The whole country is in motion, and states in play are going all together.” The election is up for grabs, he believes with up to 12% of the electorate “floating” between the two candidates.
Guccifer 2.0, responsible for hacking DNC emails for WikiLeaks, he claimed, “warn(ed) that the Democrats may rig the elections on November 8.”
“This may be possible because of the software installed in the FEC networks by the large IT companies,” he said. “(T)heir software is of poor quality, with many holes and vulnerabilities.”
“I have registered in the FEC electronic system as an independent election observer; so I will monitor that the elections are held honestly.”
“I also call on other hackers to join me, monitor the elections from inside and inform the US society about the facts of electoral fraud.”
According to Black Box Voting, the GEMS election management system counts about 25% of all votes in US elections.
“(A) fractional vote feature is embedded in each GEMS application which can be used to invisibly, yet radically, alter election outcomes by pre-setting desired vote percentages to redistribute votes,” it explained.
“This tampering is not visible to election observers, even if they are standing in the room and watching the computer. Use of the decimalized vote feature is unlikely to be detected by auditing or canvass procedures…”
After polls close on November 8, we’ll know whether Hillary or Trump emerged triumphant. He could win if power brokers, at the 11th hour, decided Hillary’s baggage left her too tainted to serve, got Trump to assure he’ll support their agenda, and intend making him Obama’s successor by fair or foul means.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Washington Post Anti-Trump Scare Tactics - Sun, 06/11/2016 - 23:27
Washington Post Anti-Trump Scare Tactics
by Stephen Lendman
As the moment of truth approaches, America’s two leading broadsheets, the NYT and WaPo, continue relentlessly bashing Trump, shamelessly supporting a woman belonging in prison, not high office.
A same day article discussed The Times’ latest anti-Trump broadside. WaPo featured two editorials hammering him, following so many others earlier, disgracefully accusing him of everything imaginable, while practically elevating Hillary to sainthood by comparison.
“Will Republicans respect democracy,” WaPo editors asked? How can anyone knowledgeable about how America is run respect what’s nonexistent, not earlier or now?
“The big question after Tuesday’s election…will be whether the nation’s leaders act to preserve our republic - or hasten a descent toward a banana republic,” said WaPo editors. 
They failed to explain US governance resembles the way a crime family operates - a godfather (or godmother) atop the hierarchy, serving privileged interests exclusively.
The “first priority (for the nation’s leadership) must be preserving and restoring the country’s democratic institutions…” WaPo editors claimed. How can it when none exist?
America is a rogue state, run by its lunatic fringe, neocon extremists, waging endless wars of aggression, punishing ordinary people with neoliberal harshness, enforcing police state viciousness on resisters, a hair’s breadth from instituting full-blown tyranny - likely coming with Hillary in charge.
WaPo editors are terrified about how multiple investigations of her wrongdoing might turn out - heading toward possibly indicting and impeaching her, ludicrously claiming:
“There is no substantiated charge against Ms. Clinton that would warrant impeachment, or even talk of impeachment. Despite suggestions otherwise, there is also no imminent indictment against the Democratic nominee, or any available evidence suggesting that indictment is a realistic possibility.”
“Instead, what the nation has seen over the closing days of this campaign is a party preparing to (mis)use extraordinary congressional powers for despicable political ends.”
Fact: Volumes of evidence show Hillary guilty of war crimes, orchestrating coups, other international and constitutional law violations, racketeering, perjury, obstruction of justice, fraud, influence-selling pay-for-play, and jeopardizing national security by using her private server for classified State Department documents - enough to lock anyone up for life.
Separately, WaPo editors said “Trump’s election would be a major threat to the economy” - a way over-the-top unjustifiable claim, saying:
His “election would be a major new source of instability here and abroad…Suddenly, a man with a deep-seated hostility to, and incomprehension of, markets would be at the helm of the world’s preeminent market economy.”
A billionaire business tycoon with no comprehension of markets? No one could become super-rich without a keen understanding of how they work - so what irks WaPo editors?
They support jobs-killing trade deals like NAFTA and TPP. Trump’s justifiable opposition riles them. 
They’re angry because he’s right accusing the (Wall-Street controlled) Fed of keeping interest rates near zero for political reasons, along with government agencies fudging economic data like GDP, monthly jobs numbers and inflation, among others - to make economic conditions look rosier than reality.
Trump “failed to level with the public about the challenges before us, to provide a plausible sense of how he would improve things - or to demonstrate much of anything except the risks of entrusting him with management of an $18 trillion economy,” WaPo editors claimed.
Agree or disagree with him, he presented a clearer agenda than Hillary - time and again proving she’s a serial liar, dishonest, untrustworthy, ruthless and dangerous.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

NYT Scare Tactics for Hillary - Sun, 06/11/2016 - 23:08
NYT Scare Tactics for Hillary
by Stephen Lendman
The Times shamelessly serves as Hillary’s press agent, masquerading as a legitimate source of news and information.
On November 5, its editors hyped a nonexistent “catastrophe that looms if we wake up Wednesday morning to President-elect Trump…Averting the worst starts with electing Hillary Clinton,” they blustered.
Appealing to voters unwilling or dubious about supporting her, they ignored her high crimes and unfitness for any public office, calling Trump “an ignorant and reckless tyrant,” then asking: “(W)hat did you do to stop him” if he emerges triumphant?
Claiming “Republican efforts to jam the electoral machinery through lies, legal obstructions and the threat of violence,” they ignored DNC rigged primaries for Hillary, urging voters to “hold out, however intimidating the process and long the lines.”
The Times never served its readers responsibly, an exclusive voice for wealth, power and privilege. Its press agent journalism for Hillary turned itself into a laughing stock - disgracefully supporting a war criminal/racketeer/perjurer, the most recklessly dangerous presidential aspirant in US history, her elevation to the nation’s highest office risking nuclear war.
Calling the Republican party “sick” ignores America’s deplorable political process too debauched to fix - money controlled fantasy democracy, voters having no say over who governs.
“If Mr. Trump is rejected on Tuesday, the nation will have a momentary breather,” Times editors blustered, adding “(a)nd some good news to build on…(a)nd the electorate will have demonstrated its decency.”
It’s hard imagining anyone swallowing this rubbish. Whoever emerges triumphant on November 8, ordinary people lose - with an important difference between Trump and Hillary.
Her empowerment as commander-in-chief of America’s military risks unthinkable nuclear war. At least with Trump, we’re likely to avoid a potential catastrophe able to end life on earth - what Times editors won’t ever explain, shamelessly supporting a war goddess lunatic endangering everyone.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Latest Terrorist Offensive in Aleppo Failed - Sun, 06/11/2016 - 02:45
Latest Terrorist Offensive in Aleppo Repelled
by Stephen Lendman
According to Syrian MP Aref al-Tawil, America, its Western partners and rogue regional allies want Aleppo divided - so terrorists they support, falsely called “moderates,” can maintain control of eastern parts of the city to maintain pressure on Damascus.
Their strategy is failing. Liberating Aleppo is just a matter of time. Freeing Idlib from its terrorist scourge is next. Russian and Syrian aerial operations over eastern Aleppo remain suspended, for how much longer remains to be seen.
They continue elsewhere across western Syria, slowly ebbing the strength of US-supported terrorists. During Russia’s Friday humanitarian pause in Aleppo from 9:00AM until 7:00PM local time, terrorists continued shelling corridors established for civilians and militants to leave safely.
According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, “(k)nowing…buses, ambulances and journalists” were positioned at government-controlled checkpoints, “they opened fire from mortars and Hell Fire systems with (toxic) gas cylinders.” 
“As a result, four people were injured - two officers of the Russian reconciliation center and two Syrian servicemen.” Russia and Syria refrained from aerial strikes to deter them.
Moscow has gone all-out to relieve the suffering of eastern Aleppo residents held hostage as human shields by US-supported terrorists. Its good faith efforts were foiled, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov saying:
“…Russia and the Syrian government have been taking all possible steps to alleviate the difficulties that the residents of Aleppo are facing.”
“You can see how reasonable and responsible the Russian military unit’s command has been while fulfilling the orders of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief,” Vladimir Putin.
“I would like address those who continue bashing Moscow for what is going on in Syria and have been looking for new pretexts.” 
“I call on them to remove their ideological blinders, and after all acknowledge the truth that it is not in Russia’s hand to decide whether the humanitarian problem in eastern Aleppo will be solved.” 
“Pressure needs to be exerted on the terrorists and extremists who are actually preventing these problems from being solved” - along with foreign governments supporting them.
On Thursday, interviewed by Serbia’s Politika broadsheet, Assad explained America and its rogue allies are responsible for failure of the latest ceasefire - jointly announced by Moscow and Damascus, saying:
“(T)he West, mainly the United States…always asks for ceasefire only when the terrorists (they support) are in a bad situation, not (to help) civilians” in harm’s way.
Then they use “ceasefires…to support the terrorists, bring them logistic support, armament(s), money, everything…to re-attack and to become stronger again.”
“So who’s to blame…the United States and its allies…supporting the terrorists (in an endless) war of attrition.” All Russian conflict resolution efforts turn out the same way, Washington mainly to blame.
Once Aleppo is liberated, defeating US-supported terrorists elsewhere in Syria will be easier, though not simple or soon. Their latest offensive on Friday was repelled - yet they refuse to cease fighting, arms and other material support largely supplied through Turkey’s border.
Turkish chief of General Staff Gen Hulusi Akar met in Moscow with his Russian military counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov. It’s unclear if talks continue. 
Putin wants Erdogan halting support for terrorists in eastern Aleppo and other parts of northern Syria. He’s unlikely to get him to agree.
If so, a previous article suggested a possible November surprise, coinciding with America’s elections, involving a major military assault to liberate eastern Aleppo from its terrorist scourge, smashing it decisively.
Days ahead of November 8, Putin could act any time, perhaps as early as this weekend or Monday.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Obama on the Stump for Hillary - Sun, 06/11/2016 - 02:31
Obama on the Stump for Hillary
by Stephen Lendman
If she has a 93% chance of becoming America’s next president, according to the NYT, why isn’t Obama in Washington doing his job, taking care of the nation’s business, instead of campaigning for Hillary?
His remarks make painful listening whenever he speaks, a litany of doubletalk, misinformation and Big Lies. “I want us to focus,” he told a Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC audience on Friday.
“(W)e’ve turned the page,” he claimed. “(A)n America that was on the edge of depression has battled back.” 
Fact: For its privileged few alone, not the vast majority of others, struggling under protracted Main Street Depression conditions.
Obama: “Last year, incomes rose faster than any time since 1968.” 
Fact: They’re dismally low for most people, wages failing to keep up with inflation, benefits eroding, growing millions struggling to get by, assuming onerous debt to do it.
Obama: “Poverty fell faster than any time since 1968. Businesses created 15.5 million new jobs. The unemployment rate is 4.9%. Twenty million Americans have healthcare that didn’t have it before.”
Fact: Around half of US households are impoverished or bordering it. The vast majority of jobs created were and continue to be rotten low-pay, poor-or-no-benefit part-time ones.
Industrial America operates from China and other low-wage countries. Real unemployment is 23%. Tens of millions of discouraged workers aren’t counted, treated like nonpersons.
Healthcare costs are skyrocketing out-of-control. Obamacare was supposed to provide universal coverage at an affordable cost. Around 30 million Americans have none. Many millions more too little because full coverage everyone deserves is unaffordable for many households.
Obama: “(W)e’ve doubled our production of renewable energy. We’ve become the world leader in fighting climate change. We’ve brought home more of our men and women in uniform. We took out Osama bin Laden. We’ve got ISIL on the run. We’re more respected around the world than we were when I came in.”
Fact: Renewable energy production is pathetically little. America’s addiction to fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power, increasing greenhouse gases, remains unchanged.
Fact: It’s a leading global polluter, doing virtually nothing to address climate change, other than falsely claim responsible policies.
Fact: Obama bombed seven countries as president, waging endless wars of aggression in multiple theaters, more planned if Hillary succeeds him, possibly attacking Russia, China and Iran with nuclear weapons - a potential doomsday scenario.
Fact: Obama didn’t kill Osama. He died in December 2001 in a Pakistani hospital of natural causes, reported by The New York Times, Fox News, the BBC and other media at the time - conveniently forgotten, supporting Obama’s Big Lie.
Fact: America created and supports ISIL. It’s far from “on the run” - except when deployed to new war theaters, serving as US imperial foot soldiers along with virtually all other terrorist groups.
Fact: America and Israel are the two most universally reviled countries - state terror their geopolitical strategy of choice.
Obama’s litany of misinformation, distortions and Big Lies continued throughout his address. It’s hard imagining why anyone believes his rubbish, given the enormous harm he caused millions at home and abroad.
Calling Hillary “the only…candidate in this race…who has devoted her life to helping to build (a) better America” was the biggest Big Lie he told Fayetteville listeners.
She’s an unindicted war criminal, racketeer, perjurer, belonging in prison, not high office. She represents America’s lunatic fringe, an unprecedented threat to humanity.
Her road to the White is paved with electoral rigging, one-sided scoundrel media support, and powerful figures comprising America’s deep state wanting her as US president, serving their interests exclusively at the expense of most others.
When polls close next Tuesday, it’ll be all over but the postmortems - and mourning if Hillary becomes president-elect as expected.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

US Threatens Cyberterrorist Attack on Russia - Sun, 06/11/2016 - 00:59
US Threatens Cyberterrorist Attack on Russia
by Stephen Lendman
On November 4, NBC News reported “US military hackers have penetrated Russia’s electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the US deem it necessary, according to (an unnamed) senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News.”
The news agency cited unnamed US officials, saying Russia, China and other nations “prepar(ed) the battlefield” for cyberattacks on America. If its report is accurate, Washington targeted Russia and other countries the same way.
No evidence suggests Moscow intends interfering in next week’s election, despite hysterical claims otherwise. Last month in Sochi, speaking at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin debunked what he called “mythical and fictitious” issues, explaining:
“It’s much simpler to distract people with so-called Russian hackers, spies, and agents of influence. Does anyone really think that Russia could influence the American people’s choice in any way? Is America a banana republic or what? America is a great power.”
Russia isn’t planning a cyber or military attack on anyone, he added. Julian Assange explained it didn’t hack DNC or Clinton campaign emails. Blaming Moscow is part of escalating US hostility, perhaps heading for war if Hillary succeeds Obama.
In response to NBC’s report, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “(m)easures of ensuring cyber security and information security are taken at a level matching the current moment, and also the threats voiced against us at the official level by the representatives of other countries.”
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “(i)n connection with the mass media reports that US military hackers have penetrated Russia’s telecommunications networks and electric grid and also ‘the Kremlin’s command systems,’ we expect the reaction of the US authorities, including the White House and the Department of State, with the legal assessment of this information.”
“The lack of an official reaction from the American administration will mean state cyberterrorism exists in the US. In case the threats broadcast by US mass media are put into effect, Moscow will have the full right to bring accusations against Washington.”
In 2014, NSA chief Admiral Mike Rogers told Congress US adversaries are able to disrupt industrial controls, affecting everything from the electrical power grid to factories, water treatment plants and much more.
“All that leads me to believe it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see something dramatic,” he said.
Not likely except in self-defense against hostile US action, Rogers didn’t explain, nor NSA spying on virtually everyone illegally, including ordinary people threatening no one.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Erdogan's War on Turkey's Pro-Kurdish Political Leaders and MPs - Sat, 05/11/2016 - 22:09
Erdogan’s War on Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish Political Leaders and MPs
by Stephen Lendman
Despite ISIS claiming responsibility for a car-bombing in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province, killing at least nine and injuring scores more, Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the incident.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, along with 11 deputies, were arrested and detained in overnight raids - Yildirim saying they should “pay the price (for engaging in) terror. Politics cannot be a shield for committing a crime.”
They committed no crimes, the arrests and detentions part of Erdogan’s war to eliminate pro-Kurdish political representation. In central Ankara, police raided HDP’s headquarters.
Last May, pro-Erdogan legislators approved a constitutional amendment, stripping immunity from MPs - the measure targeting pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP) MPs and others expressing opposition to tyranny under his leadership.
They’re vulnerable to expulsion from parliament, arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment on charges of criticizing the president, terrorism and/or treason.
At the time, HDO co-chairmen Demirtas and Yuksekdag called the constitutional amendment “a political coup attempt to completely destroy the separation of powers by subordinating the legislative to the executive and leaving the former to the mercy of a thoroughly politicized and biased judiciary.”
“This coup would be a most crucial step for Erdogan to replace Turkey’s parliamentary democracy, which he has twice declared ‘de facto over,’ with an absolutist presidential system in which the legislative, executive and judiciary powers are virtually monopolized by the president himself.”
Following the failed July military coup, mass arrests and detentions followed, targeting military, government, judiciary, police, civil servants, and other civilian personnel. 
Everyone opposing Erdogan’s iron-fisted rule remains vulnerable - notably Kurdish parliamentarians and member of its civil society.
Western leaders and their spokespersons criticize his actions, yet do nothing to deter him. Via Twitter, the HDP “call(ed) (on) the international community to react against (his) Regime’s coup.”
Days earlier, Diyarbakir HDP Mayor Gultan Kisanak and co-Mayor Firat Anli were arrested for alleged PKK membership. Numerous other mayors and administrators were removed.
Since the July coup attempt, over 110,000 arrests, detentions or suspensions followed. Numerous opposition media organizations were shut down.
On November 5, nine Cumhuriyet broadsheet personnel were arrested, including its editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, journalists and board members - falsely accused of supporting the July coup.
Last year, its previous editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul were arrested and detained - accused of espionage and treason for publishing photos of Ankara intelligence smuggling weapons to ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria.
Erdogan warned anyone opposing his regime will “pay a heavy price.” Despots operate this way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

NYT Hypes Nonexistent Economic Recovery - Sat, 05/11/2016 - 21:46
NYT Hypes Nonexistent Economic Recovery
by Stephen Lendman
America’s privileged class never had things better. For the vast majority of others, hard times keep getting harder.
Commenting on Friday’s Labor Department jobs report, Trump was right calling the numbers “phony.” 
America’s economy is weak, he said earlier, burdened by widespread poverty, high unemployment and underemployment, downward mobility and crushing national debt.
“Our country is in deep trouble.” Trump correctly explained millions of good, high-paying jobs disappeared, sent overseas to low-wage countries.
Most jobs created are rotten ones - part-time, low-pay, poor-or-no benefits ones. Most workers need two or three to survive. Half of the nation’s households are impoverished or bordering it - one missed paycheck from homelessness, hunger and despair.
According to economist John Williams, “Main Street USA is not happy.” Real unemployment is 23%, not the phony 4.9% reported, excluding millions unable to find work so they stopped looking, becoming nonpersons in the process as far as the Labor Department is concerned.
Real inflation is 9.1%. Phony numbers hide reality. Social Security recipients are cheated - this year no increase in benefits over 2015, next year the one announced is too minuscule to matter. 
Insurers are raising Obamacare premiums by double-digits next year - on average 25%, in some states much higher, with fewer provider choices and reduced benefits in some cases, putting proper healthcare increasingly out-of-reach for millions without incurring onerous debt.
“Manufacturing never recovered from its pre-recession peak,” said Williams. “Third quarter GDP growth of 2.9% was not credible.”
“Underlying economic reality remains far from recovery and expansion. Headline GDP remained massively inconsistent with recession seen in freight traffic, petroleum usage, corporate revenues, construction, industrial production, broad employment indicators,” housing starts and other economic data.
Fed governors “redefin(ed) economic normalcy” to reflect non-recovery, America’s privileged benefitting, not most others, struggling through protracted Main Street Depression conditions likely to worsen.
Williams explained the incumbent party lost the race for the White House every time since 1932 when annual real disposable income growth was below 2.9%. In Q II 2016, it was 1.8%.
NYT reinvented reality ignored all of the above. On November 4, its editors bashed Trump for truth-telling about the dismal state of America’s economy, citing phony government figures, concealing the deplorable state of things for most people.
“Trump…presumably believes…his best shot at the White House is to insist that the economy is in terrible shape and that he alone can fix it,” said Times editors. When he disagrees with reported data, “he calls them ‘phony numbers.’ “
The Times is part of the state-sponsored conspiracy concealing dismal reality from the public. America’s economy was thirdworldized, increasingly resembling a banana republic, combining neoliberal harshness with police state repression.
With shameless understatement, Times editors said “economic recovery has not touched every American equally.” They failed to explain the vast majority was left out.
Costs of essentials to survive keep rising. Incomes fail to keep pace, so the standard of living for most Americans keeps falling.
Will Trump fix things? He’ll try unsuccessfully without majority congressional support. What about Hillary? She’s beholden to Wall Street, war profiteers and other corporate predators.
Harder than ever hard times are likely if she succeeds Obama. Her promises otherwise were Big Lies. Times editors conceal ugly truths in boosting her candidacy instead of responsibly opposing it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Deep Dive: Open Access and Transforming the Future of Research - Sat, 05/11/2016 - 05:47

EFF works to inform the world about breaking issues in the world of technology policy and civil liberties. And one of our best ways of communicating with our friends and members is through our nearly-weekly newsletter, EFFector. Last week, we sent out a very special EFFector: a deep dive, single-issue edition that got into the nitty-gritty of open access and research. To keep the conversation going, we are publishing it here on the Deeplinks blog as well.

Did you miss it? Don't worry—you can sign up for EFFector here so you're never out of the loop again.

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Open Access on the Frontlines for Transparency and Innovation

The Internet should be a place where we can share ideas and educate ourselves unimpeded by unfair paywalls or backwards licensing—and the academic publishing world is at the frontlines of the battle to make it that way.

Academic research is a driving force behind technological innovations, medical breakthroughs, and policy decisions. The open access movement has been working for decades to make that research more open and accessible to the public. “Open access” refers to the practice of making research and other scholarly materials freely and immediately available online. Ideally, this happens under licenses that allow full reuse, sharing, and adaptation.

At first glance, this may not seem like a radical idea. Researchers tend to want to share their work; most research is federally funded and thus paid for by taxpayers; and public access to research pushes innovation forward. On top of all that, the Internet makes sharing and collaborating easier than ever, for professional researchers and amateur problem-solvers alike.

But academic publishing today is stuck in a traditional system that was built on paper, not on the web. In a paper world, we needed publishers as an intermediary between researchers and readers. In a digital world, however, giant publishers have taken on the role of gatekeepers and legal bullies.

This leaves us with a system in which publishers charge libraries and users exorbitant fees for access to subscription journals and paywalled databases. The average price for a one-year institutional subscription to a scholarly journal is in the thousands, with some specialty publications charging as much as $40,000.

Without a wealthy library or university footing the bill, ordinary users may have to pay upwards of $30 a pop to access research articles—a difficult proposition for a patient researching their medical care options, a high school student doing homework, a non-profit employee analyzing public policy, or an unemployed person getting up-to-date on their field while looking for a job.

The open access response to this restrictive status quo boils down to two primary goals: making research accessible, and making research reusable.

Free to Access

Universities and the federal government hold many of the keys when it comes to unlocking access to research. As these creators and funders of research change their policies, publishers will feel the pressure to migrate to open access business models.

Even Harvard University—the richest in America—cannot afford all the journal subscriptions its faculty and students need. To save funds and further its mission of creating and disseminating knowledge, Harvard established the country’s first university open access policy in 2008. Since then, the University of California system, MIT, the University of Oregon, Duke, and countless others have followed suit, often thanks to student activism.

The federal government funds a huge slice of the research world, both inside and outside of universities. In 2013, FASTR—the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act—was introduced, proposing that every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on research grants be required to adopt an open access policy. After all, when taxpayer dollars fund research from the likes of NASA and the NSF, the public should have access to that research.

Free to Reuse

Open access depends on more than removing cost barriers. It also means giving the public freedom to use research. Under the current academic publishing model, even the simple act of sharing can be a crime.

When Diego Gomez, a Master’s student in Colombia, shared a colleague’s thesis with other scientists over the Internet, he was doing what any grad student would do: sharing research he found useful so others could benefit from it. But the author of the paper filed a lawsuit, and Diego’s act of sharing became a copyright violation punishable by four to eight years in prison.

In the U.S., activist Aaron Swartz also met unjust charges on 13 criminal counts for downloading millions of articles from academic journal database JSTOR. The charges would have put him in jail for years under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

If other users see Diego’s or Aaron’s cases and fear the consequences that can come with copyright infringement allegations, everyday activities like sharing academic resources can become intimidating. These cases remind us that sharing and building on existing research is integral to the open access vision. That could mean anything from translation to remixing to large-scale analysis. In an open access world, these innovative, collaborative actions would not be criminal.

Standing Up For Open Access

You can join EFF in speaking out for open access principles of transparency and innovation on national and international levels.

For a bill whose name sounds like “faster,” FASTR has been remarkably slow to move through Congress. EFF is rallying members of Congress to support FASTR now and ensure public access to public funded research.

Our activism to move FASTR is only the tip of the iceberg. Research exists within a web of laws that restrict the public’s access to and use of knowledge. EFF is working toward reform in areas including overbearing copyright law, patent practices, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Internationally, we have been standing with Diego Gomez for two and a half years since his trial started—and we continue to stand with him and demand global open access today.

Fulfilling our shared human right to information with open access could be transformative. Only when research is available to everyone—not just those with large budgets or institutional connections—can we fully promote innovation and creativity.

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Categories: Aggregated News

Confrontation Between FBI Agents and DOJ Officials on Investigating Hillary Wrongdoing? - Sat, 05/11/2016 - 03:06
Confrontation Between FBI Agents and Top DOJ Officials on Investigating Hillary Wrongdoing?
by Stephen Lendman
Infighting in Washington is commonplace. Is something with possible far-reaching consequences now going on below the radar?
Former US Justice attorney Joseph DiGenova thinks so, according to an interview with The Daily Caller. His sources within the FBI believe agents, angry about how top DOJ officials are handling investigations of Hillary’s wrongdoing, aim to expose and bring them down.
“Just think of the FBI as the Vietcong. That’s what they are,” said DiGenova. “They are digging tunnels under the Justice Department. They are going to sink that place.”
If he’s right, top officials are targeted, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kaznick, Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin, and Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, along with senior level staff beneath them. They’re involved in “something that they are going to regret,” said DiGenova.
Dissident agents are operating on their own, defying DOJ policy. On October 30, the Wall Street Journal addressed what it called the “FBI in internal feud over (the agency’s) Hillary Clinton probe.”
Top DOJ officials want evidence of her criminal wrongdoing suppressed. Dissident FBI agents want it revealed, especially Clinton Foundation practices - a money-laundering self-enrichment racket for Bill, Hillary, Chelsea and their cronies, masquerading as a charitable NGO.
According to DiGenova, “nobody is going to control” dissident agents from targeting top DOJ officials. Addressing the issue of laptops belonging to Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, he said nobody destroyed them. Their contents were reviewed.
Emails and other information on the laptop owned by top Hillary aide Huma Abedin and estranged husband former congressman Anthony Weiner were likely reviewed.
“I’m sure they’ve opened them up for god sake’s,” said Digenova. “Of course, they’ve done that.” He believes Comey already knows the contents of emails most relevant to his investigation.
“NSA has all (Hillary’s) emails,” if including the 33,000 she deleted, “that’s the end of the ball game because they prove conclusively what she deleted was not personal,” said DiGenova.
“Everything is on that laptop. It’s probably adverse to everything she has said publicly and probably proves that she has committed multiple perjuries.” 
“So their stuff like that over at the department of state. There’s classified information. There’s pay to play. There’s stuff about destroying documents. No doubt it’s the panoply of issues that they have tried to cover up.”
The FBI can restore its undeserved public reputation if it wants to - by bringing down Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with top DOJ officials concealing their criminality.
It has access to enough incriminating evidence to hang them both - the right thing to do, but will dissident agents tell all or be pressured to silence?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Would a Pre-Election Homeland Terrorist Attack Help or Hurt Hillary? - Sat, 05/11/2016 - 02:45
Would a Pre-Election Homeland Terrorist Attack Help or Hurt Hillary?
by Stephen Lendman
America hasn’t experienced a terrorist attack in modern memory. Innocent patsies were wrongfully blamed for officially announced ones, and others allegedly foiled - 9/11 the mother of all false flags.
Would Hillary or Trump benefit from a pre-election incident, proclaimed a terrorist attack? CBS News cited unnamed sources, saying “US intelligence has alerted joint terrorism task forces (about) al Qaeda (perhaps) planning attacks in three states (believed to be New York, Texas and Virginia) for” November 7 - the day before US elections.
According to an unnamed senior FBI official, “(t)he counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States.”
“The FBI, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, shares and assesses intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety.”
Fact: Al Qaeda is a US creation, supported in Syria and other countries where its fighters are deployed - unlikely to bite the hand feeding it. 
CBS reported phony scare-tactic information supplied by Washington sources. If an incident occurs, it’ll be state-sponsored, an American tradition.
In the wake of last June’s Orlando false flag, followed by incidents in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota, Trump blamed Obama, saying:
“We've been weak. Our country’s been weak. We’re letting people in by the thousands, the tens of thousands. I’ve been saying we’ve gotta stop it. Hillary Clinton wants to increase” the refugee numbers Obama let in.
Hillary said “I’m the only candidate in this race who’s been part of the hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield. The kinds of rhetoric and language that Mr. Trump has used is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries.”
So who’ll benefit or be disadvantaged by a pre-election false flag hours before polls open? Neither most likely, unless power brokers, at the 11th hour, decided they erred in choosing Hillary, cut a deal with Trump assuring he’ll support their agenda, and intend anointing him Obama’s successor by electoral-rigging if necessary.
It’s unlikely to go this way. But given America’s deplorable state, anything is possible with an important reminder. So-called US democracy serves its privileged few alone. 
No matter who holds top executive, congressional and judicial posts, the dirty system continues - each administration and its supporting caste exceeding the ruthlessness of its predecessors since the neoliberal 90s during the two-term Bill and Hillary co-presidency, America's most notorious crime family.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Why Haven't Bill and Hillary Clinton Been Imprisoned? - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 22:44
Why Haven’t Bill and Hillary Clinton Been Imprisoned?
by Stephen Lendman
They’re not the only members of America’s criminal class. They’re most important because likely electoral-rigging may give them a third co-presidential term - humanity threatened by their empowerment.
They partner in each other’s high crimes - major offenses too serious to ignore, including Nuremberg-level crimes of war of war and against humanity, racketeering, fraud, obstruction of justice, perjury, compromising national security, and influence-selling pay-to-play self-enrichment, among others.
Hillary is legally, ethically, morally and emotionally unfit to serve in any public capacity. Bill is a serial rapist. The Clinton Foundation got millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other rogue states actively supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups - Bill and Hillary largely using the money for self-enrichment, not charitable purposes as claimed.
Veteran Chicago newsman John Kass called for “Democrats (to) ask (Hillary) to step aside,” highlighting “decades of lies and cynicism oozing from Clinton Inc” - saying “(i)t’s obvious the American political system is breaking down…crumbling” in plain sight.
Hillary is under multiple FBI investigations. Volumes of incriminating evidence so far haven’t gotten her indicted - because the system is rigged to prevent it.
The so-called Justice Department is in cahoots with the FBI, the White House and other powerful interests, ones I call dark forces, deciding how the nation is run and by whom.
Abraham Lincoln once said “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Things today are out-of-control. Wars on humanity rage, threatening possible thermonuclear confrontation. Neoliberal harshness enriches the nation’s privileged class at the expense of most others.
Police state injustice targets nonbelievers. Tyranny approaches full-blown. Democracy is pure fantasy, not real.
Another Clinton crime family co-presidency means the best of times for Wall Street, war profiteers and other corporate crooks - a nightmarish scenario for ordinary people everywhere, a doomsday one if Hillary as commander-in-chief of America’s military squeezes the nuclear trigger.
If anointed by fair or foul means, likely the latter, it’s clear what’s coming:
  • greater neoliberal harshness than already - proving Hillary’s people-friendly promises as empty as Obama’s;

  • ending what remains of constitutional governance, freedoms sacrificed for alleged greater security, assuring both are lost; and

  • escalated wars of aggression, possible thermonuclear war on Russia, China and Iran, risking humanity’s survival.

Trump is no peacenik, populist or good guy. He’s not Hillary and that matters. Returning her and husband Bill to power threatens world peace, stability and security more than any other previous time in history - the most important reason to oppose them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Maintaining Pressure on Hillary - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 22:27
Maintaining Pressure on Hillary
by Stephen Lendman
If anointed to succeed Obama, pressure on Hillary’s wrongdoing won’t end. Likely Republican-controlled House committees will target her relentlessly. So will Senate ones if the GOP maintains control.
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Jason Chaffetz (R. UT) called probing Hillary’s public and private record “a target-rich environment.”
“Even before we get to day one, we’ve got two years worth of material already lined up,” he said. “She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good” - plus lots relating to Clinton Foundation shenanigans.
According to Speaker Paul Ryan, (t)he rigorous oversight conducted by House Republicans has already brought to light troubling developments in the Clinton email scandal. The speaker supports Oversight’s investigative efforts following where the evidence leads, especially where it shows the need for changes in the law.”
If successful over Trump next week, as seems likely, she’ll enter office with two-thirds of voters calling her dishonest and untrustworthy. Multiple FBI investigations suggest serious wrongdoing, even if it’s doubtful she’ll be charged and prosecuted.
She’s irreparably tainted before likely succeeding Obama in January. Her deplorable reputation will dog her throughout her tenure.
Former State Department official Steve Pieczenik said US intelligence officials turned whistleblowers - concerned about her succeeding Obama, they gave WikiLeaks thousands of her emails now released daily. 
Russia had nothing to do with hacking them, a diversionary tactic by Hillary and her campaign claiming otherwise,  changing the subject, bashing Russia to conceal her criminal wrongdoing.
The conservative American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) sued Attorney General Loretta Lynch for meeting privately with Bill Clinton at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport in late June 2016 - days before the FBI interrogated Hillary as part of its criminal investigation into her wrongdoing.
Its lawsuit demands full disclosure of records, communications and names of DOJ personnel relating to the meeting.
In its filing, ACLJ said defendant DOJ “wholly failed to respond to Plaintiff’s FOIA request,” violating US statute law. “Defendant is unlawfully withholding records requested by Plaintiff pursuant to 5 USC § 552.”
Attorney General Lynch “disqualified herself from this critical investigation…We will do…everything we can to hold her accountable.”
On November 3, Judicial Watch (JW) “filed a motion to compel…Hillary Clinton to answer three interrogatory questions under oath, submitted by (JW) under a court order issued by US District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on August 19, 2016.”
Hillary’s so-called failure to recall responses to 20 questions asked under oath suggests obstruction of justice.
According to JW, her stonewalling is unjustifiable - “(p)ursuant to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” She failed to provide credible reasons for refusing to answer. Questions JW demands answers to are:
Interrogatory question 1: “Describe the creation of the system, including who decided to create the system, the date it was decided to create the system, why it was created, who set it up, and when it became operational.”
Interrogatory question 14: “On March 6, 2009, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric J. Boswell wrote in an Information Memo to your Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, that he ‘cannot stress too strongly, however, that any unclassified BlackBerry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving email, and exploiting calendars.’ “ 
“A March 11, 2009 email states that, in a management meeting with the assistant secretaries, you approached Assistant Secretary Boswell and mentioned that you had read the ‘IM’ and that you ‘get it.’ “ 
“Did you review the March 6, 2009 Information Memo, and, if so, why did you continue using an unclassified BlackBerry to access your email account to conduct official State Department business?”
Interrogatory question 24: “During your October 22, 2015 appearance before the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi, you testified that 90 to 95 percent of your emails ‘were in the State’s system’ and ‘if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.’ “  
“Identify the basis for this statement, including all facts on which you relied in support of the statement, how and when you became aware of these facts, and, if you were made aware of these facts by or through another person, identify the person who made you aware of these facts.”
JW president Tom Fitton said “(b)y refusing to answer our simple questions, Hillary Clinton is obstructing our efforts to get basic information about her email practices.”
“Because she has not - and cannot - demonstrate that her refusal to answer our questions is proper, Hillary Clinton should be required by the court to answer them promptly.”
Her likely ascension to power suggests lots political turbulence throughout her tenure. “The work of government would grind to a halt if she were ever elected,” said Trump.
If indicted, though highly unlikely, she could pardon herself, a presidential prerogative. Impeachment is another matter, but could it work?
No US president was ever removed from office by this or other judicial means. John Adams said it would take a national convulsion for a Senate trial and conviction. 
Whatever the outcome on November 8, perhaps the most chaotic time in US history will follow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Iran's Supreme Leader Correctly Calls America Arrogant and Untrustworthy - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 22:06
Iran’s Supreme Leader Correctly Calls America Arrogant and Untrustworthy
by Stephen Lendman
Iran’s 1979 revolution ended a generation of repressive rule under US-installed Reza Shah Pahlavi, a despot ruling with an iron fist.
On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the calm and orderly Iranian student takeover of America’s Tehran embassy and its aftermath, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Kmanenei addressed thousands of students and teachers.
Washington’s embassy was a hotbed of spies. Media propaganda at the time and the deplorable Hollywood film Argo misportrayed events - reflecting longstanding US Islamophobia, notably against Iran since its 1979 revolution.
Ayatollah Kmanenei is one of the few world leaders willing to speak openly and forthrightly about America’s destructive imperial agenda.
Ruling out talks with Washington, he said “(n)egotiations…will not resolve our problems because, firstly, it is a liar, disloyal, cheater and stabber in the back, and secondly, (its government) is crisis-sticken…(H)ow can a crisis-hit country resolve another country’s problems?”
“The policy and essence of the arrogant US government is on the basis of over-ambitiousness, and for years it has applied the policy in different parts of the world, particularly in the Western Asia region and pre-revolution Iran.”
“Now the Americans are in a situation that they have become desperate about the developments in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and North Africa. Isn't this situation a crisis?”
Washington consistently breaches agreements with other countries. Its word isn’t its bond. It pledges one thing and does another over and over again.
Years of Geneva talks with Russia on resolving Syria’s conflict accomplished nothing. Washington breached terms agreed on straightaway. War rages with no prospect for peace.
The P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear deal failed to achieve normalized bilateral relations. Sanctions related to its legitimate nuclear program alone were lifted. Others remain in place illegitimately.
US hostility toward Iran continues unabated, likely intensifying whether Hillary or Trump succeeds Obama. Regime change remains official US policy. Neocons infesting Washington demand it. So does AIPAC representing Israeli interests.
Tehran has just cause for concern. As long as lunatics infest Washington, Iranians remained threatened.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Support Whistleblowers at the Aaron Swartz Hackathon This Weekend - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 10:07

This weekend you have the chance to add to Aaron Swartz’s legacy by boosting tools for whistleblowers.

The 2016 Aaron Swartz International Hackathon—held in honor of the late Internet and political activist—will take place during the day Saturday and Sunday at the Internet Archive in San Francisco. The hackathon will focus on whistleblower submission system SecureDrop, which was created by Swartz and Kevin Poulsen to connect media organizations and anonymous sources and is managed by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

This weekend’s events—timed to what would have been his 30th birthday on Nov. 8—will also feature a series of speakers on Saturday night, including SecureDrop’s Conor Schaefer, Fight for the Future Co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, and EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, as well as a special statement from Chelsea Manning.

After battling needlessly aggressive federal computer fraud charges, Swartz tragically took his own life in 2013. Under the often-abused Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, he faced many months of jail time—and could have faced up to 35 years in jail and a $1 million fine—stemming from his 2011 use of original software to automatically download millions of academic articles from JSTOR from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s network.

Swartz had a hand in many major efforts to improve and protect the Internet. By the time he was 14, he was working on RSS standards. He went on to help launch Creative Commons in an effort to make copyright licensing more accessible, contribute to Reddit at the company’s early stages, and work to open up government documents stored on PACER. In 2010 he founded Demand Progress, which was instrumental in massive online protests that derailed the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012.

The hackathon provides the opportunity to help whistleblowers supply information to SecureDrop users like The Guardian and The Intercept while remembering Swartz and his contributions to the Internet activism community.

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Categories: Aggregated News

Researchers Matched Images on Tattoo Websites to a German Police Database - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 05:06

For the last year, EFF has been battling to free records from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding an ethically dubious research program to promote the development of automated tattoo recognition technology. The agency is months delinquent in providing a variety of information, most notably the list of 19 research entities who received a giant set of tattoo images obtained from prisoners in custody. This delay is particularly alarming as NIST is currently recruiting institutional participants for the next stage of its expanded research, scheduled to begin on Dec. 1. 

What we’ve discovered so far about NIST’s approach to tattoo identification raises major concerns for privacy, free speech, the freedom to associate, and the rights of research subjects. We’ve also learned that similar tattoo recognition experiments are being conducted in Germany, a country that is usually sensitive to personal privacy.

One of our chief concerns is how automated tattoo recognition technology—algorithms that can match tattoos—can be used to identify and track people in a similar way to how facial recognition systems are being deployed by law enforcement entities. We foresee a future where this technology is used to scan tattoo images on the Internet as a form of surveillance.

A presentation recently released in response to our Freedom of Information Act request confirms that this is not only possible but that researchers in Germany have already used tattoo recognition technology to compare online tattoo images to law enforcement records.

Although we still don’t have the full list of 19 organizations who participated in the FBI-sponsored Tattoo Recognition Technology Challenge (Tatt-C), we do know that the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation, a German research body, was one of them.

As part of Tatt-C, NIST and the FBI provided research entities with more than 15,000 images “operationally collected” by law enforcement and asked researchers to run a series of trials using their proprietary tattoo-analysis algorithms. Fraunhofer reported that it was able to match two images of the same tattoo taken over a period of time with 96.8% accuracy.

But that wasn’t the only the tattoo research Fraunhofer has conducted. 

According to presentation delivered at a NIST event these researchers scraped images from at least two commercial tattoo websites and then used automated algorithms to match those tattoos to a much larger set of images obtained from the German police.

The presentation shows that researchers grabbed 8,400 images from, an online resource for people looking for tattoo ideas, and another 848 images from, an online store for the body art community. Those images were then combined with 330,000 images from the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany.

One particular slide showed researchers had not fully thought through the propriety of scraping private databases:

The researchers acknowledge that there may have been privacy issues with scraping commercial databases. They claim that the German police images “were not considered personal data, however…” But the “however" was never followed up with an answer in the slide deck.  A video of the various Tatt-C presentations that may have shown the follow-up has been removed from the NIST website. 

Fraunhofer’s position on police images reflects a troubling and contradictory assumption that was also adopted by NIST. On one hand, researchers claim that tattoos are not considered personally identifiable information. On the other, they argue that tattoos are a useful biometric for identifying people. As a hypothetical example in the presentation, Fraunhofer used a tattoo on a woman’s foot as a way to identify a missing person. 

This development illustrates why it’s in the public interest for NIST to release the list of 19 entities who participate in Tatt-C: the companies and research institutions involved may be engaged in activities that deserve greater scrutiny.

EFF’s research into NIST’s program revealed how the research had not gone through the proper ethical review until after the research had been completed. Our report also found that personally identifiable information had been inappropriately released and published, a fact admitted by NIST in response to our report. NIST subsequently redacted many of the tattoo images from the presentations it published on its website.

EFF raised First Amendment concerns, since the experiments, often using religious imagery, were designed to show how technology could use tattoos to establish associations between subjects. NIST also scrubbed claims in its documentation that tattoo recognition would be useful in identifying people’s religious and ritualistic beliefs.

As a public entity, NIST has a responsibility to be transparent and follow ethical guidelines. We call upon the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has jurisdiction over NIST, to release documents in response to our FOIA request immediately. German citizens may want to explore what precautions Fraunhofer and the German federal police are taking with their own tattoo experiments.

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Categories: Aggregated News

Obama Bashes Comey - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 03:15
Obama Bashes Comey
by Stephen Lendman
Comey’s October surprise turned Democrat allies into enemies and Republican adversaries into supporters - the way things work in Washington.
On Wednesday, Obama weighed in, turning on his FBI director, a highly unusual act, rebuking his October surprise, saying:
“There is a norm that when we are investigating. We don’t operate on innuendo. We don’t operate on incomplete information. We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
Without mentioning Comey by name, it’s clear whom he meant, wanting nothing about Hillary’s criminal wrongdoing made public. 
“I trust her,” Obama said. “I know her. And I wouldn’t be supporting her if I didn’t have absolute confidence in her integrity.”
He and his former secretary of state are unindicted war crimes and pathological liars, both belonging in prison doing hard time, unsuited for any public office. 
Claiming Comey violated longstanding agency policy flies in the face of its purported mandate to:
1. Protect America from terrorist attacks.
2. Protect it from foreign intelligence operations and espionage.
3. Protect it against cyberattacks and high-technology crimes.
4. Combat public corruption at all levels.
5. Protect civil rights.
6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises.
7. Combat major white-collar crime.
8. Combat significant violent crime.
9. Support federal, state, local and international partners.
10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the agency’s mission.
In fact, its primary mission is protecting the interests of wealth, power and privilege from beneficial social change - consistently committing human and civil rights violations unaccountably.
Since J. Edgar Hoover’s days, the FBI illegally targeted political dissidents, communists, anti-war, human and civil rights activists, social reformers, the American Indian Movement, the Black Panther Party, among other individuals and groups.
Its tactics include mass surveillance, warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of electronic communications, breaking and entering, spreading misinformation and assassinations, among other dirty tricks.
Hillary committed numerous high crimes as first lady, US senator, secretary of state, and presidential aspirant conspiratorially with husband Bill. Comey whitewashed her email wrongdoing in July, instead of doing his job responsibly.
I’ve said before, after failing to hold her accountable so far, it’s hard imagining him changing tactics ahead - whether or not she succeeds Obama.
Criticizing him has nothing to do with diverging from FBI protocol, everything to do with an 11th hour announcement, potentially damaging Hillary’s campaign - the possibility, though remote, of turning near-certain victory into defeat.
If she loses the popular vote, winning by an Electoral College majority and Trump cries foul, there could be blood in the streets.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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

Media Scoundrel Trump Bashing Continues Hot and Heavy - Fri, 04/11/2016 - 02:46
Media Scoundrel Trump Bashing Continues Hot and Heavy
by Stephen Lendman
Never in the history of US presidential politics have media scoundrels allied more overwhelmingly for one aspirant over the other.
Bias substituting for legitimate journalism is bad enough, disgracefully worse by featuring misinformation, distortions and lies about one candidate, while effusively praising the other undeservedly - highlighting nonexistent virtues for Hillary, suppressing negatives disqualifying her for any public office.
Why haven’t other major media reported the news Fox News anchor Bret Baier broke Wednesday night about likely indictment(s) from the FBI’s Clinton Foundation probe - though not before it’s completed weeks or months from now?
The New York Times and Washington Post continue as lead Trump antagonists, one-sidedly promoting Hillary’s candidacy, acting as virtual press agents.
Times columnist Charles Blow calls him “an existential threat” - based solely on his rhetoric. As a businessman, he has no public record - unlike clear evidence of Hillary’s war crimes, racketeering and perjury.
Lately, he’s been staying on point in the campaign’s late stages, diverging from his earlier bombast, apparently gaining support as November 8 approaches - likely why intense bashing persists along with drowning out negatives about Hillary, especially multiple FBI probes of her email scandal and racketeering foundation.
Focusing solely on Trump, Blow writes as follows:
“Donald Trump is a bigot.
Donald Trump is a demagogue.
Donald Trump is a sexist, misogynist, chauvinist pig.
Donald Trump is a bully.
Donald Trump is a cheat.
Donald Trump is a pathological liar.
Donald Trump is a nativist.
Donald Trump’s campaign (attracts) anti-Semites, Nazis and white nationalists…
Donald Trump (is a sexual molestor), an unrepentant predator.
…Donald Trump is a lowlife degenerate…” Phew!
Blow apparently believes Hillary is America’s sweetheart, saying she’s “tolerant.” He’s “intoleran(t).” She’s “respect(ful).” He’s “disrespect(ful).” She’s “a politician with some flaws.” 
He’s “a flaw threatening our politics…America’s existential threat.” No legitimate editor would touch Blow’s rubbish. Times editors featured it.
WaPo editors claim “the only way Trump can win” is if voters forget or ignore what he’s said. Despite lots of bombast earlier in the campaign, he’s toned down his rhetoric, staying disciplined late in the campaign, and presented ideas on how he’ll govern if elected, agree or disagree with him.
No duopoly power aspirants for congressional seats and the nation’s highest office represent popular interests - no matter what they say.
With rare exceptions proving the rule, they all represent dirty business as usual. Voters have to decide from a deplorable array of unpalatable choices, especially for president.
Trump’s main virtue is he’s not Hillary. She threatens humanity with possible nuclear war. He’d rather profit from planet earth than destroy it - and his business enterprises along with it.
What type leader do you prefer at the most perilous time in world history? A simple choice for anyone valuing life over possible mass annihilation.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at 

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