War and Peace

NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

January 29, 2014 by Source
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By John Filthy

In the ongoing international debate over NSA spying there are few voices of reason. The NSA would like you to think they are the eye on the pyramid of the great seal. An all-seeing all-knowing department of the most powerful government on earth. A division of James Bonds and Bondettes with the latest gadgetry spying on all manner of digital communication to protect the world from the scariest terrorist de jour.

On the other side of the same coin are the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden. He has now joined the ranks with Julian Assange and the Wikileaks hacktivists. They fancy themselves a gang of revolutionaries striking fear in the heart of evil government ‘leaders’, and corporate CEOs. Digital warriors, exercising their superior-hacking skills to bring nefarious secrets into the light of day. The truth is not nearly as sexy as the media, the NSA, or the hacktivists would have you believe.

In reality NSA spies are cubicle-dwelling keyboard jockeys not tuxedo-wearing international men of mystery.

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Indigenous People of Michoacán Organize to Defend Themselves Against Drug Cartel

January 28, 2014 by Source

First Statement from the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán

aquilamichoacan

Written by The Self-Defense Council of Aquila, Michoacán
Translated by Scott Campbell of Upside Down World

Reposted from San Diego Free Press

Aquila, Michoacán?, January 18, 2014

From the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán to the general public:

Today, the residents of the municipal seat of Aquila, tired of the extortions, rapes, killings, kidnappings and all sorts of criminal acts committed by the Knights Templar; given the complete abandonment of the citizenry by the municipal and state governments who for 12 years did not provide the security needed for our people to have a peaceful and dignified life; …

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“Best of OB Rag” – 2008 – Part 1

December 21, 2013 by Staff
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Here’s the first part for “Best of OB Rag” in 2008 – a story of the disappearance of the “Peace Sign” off of Bird Rock, and more on the Iraq war, the peace movement, the 2008 elections, torture, nuclear power, video from an alien invasion of OB in the Seventies, San Diego foreclosures and health care reform :

Peace Sign Atop “Peace Rock” Disappears From Sunset Cliffs – Vandals? Thieves? Conservatives?

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50 Years of the Big Lie – the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination – Part 2

November 22, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Here’s Part 1.

By Frank Gormlie

It’s finally here, Friday, November 22nd – exactly 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Of course you’ve noticed it – you can’t help but … as everywhere you go there are signs that everybody in the media is commemorating the half century mark of the end of the Kennedy Era – an era that was terminated with bullets.

It’s been 50 years since the end of Camelot and we are told it was the end of the “idealism of the Sixties”.

Well, it has been fifty years, and it’s been fifty years of the Big Lie – …

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America’s Big Lie: Fifty Years of the Cover-Up of the John F Kennedy Assassination

November 21, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Fifty years ago this Friday, the 22nd of November, I walked out of my English class at Point Loma High School and full of disgust threw my brown bag full of lunch away in a trash can. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t bare to think ab0ut eating – we had just heard that the President had been shot by someone from an overpass while he was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Classes were cancelled and we all went home, …

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Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘As a Congressman, I need all the facts on Syria – and I’m not getting them.’

September 10, 2013 by Source
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On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify

By Congressman Alan Grayson / The New York Times / Sept. 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

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Has Assad Crossed a Red Line In Syria?

September 5, 2013 by Source

Syria fighterby Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Is the Gassing of 1400 Syrians More of a Crime Against Humanity Than the Slaughter of 100,000 Syrians?

Frank Thomas’ take:

Russia’s ongoing multi-dollar sales of advanced massively destructive weapons to Assad’s government has exacerbated the killing fields in Syria. Yet Russia sanctimoniously thinks the rest of the world, namely the U.S., has no right of humanitarian intervention to protect the lives of innocents being slaughtered by chemical weapons and more so by Russia’s own prolific arms sales to Assad’s military forces.

Russia would remind us that for many years (1980-88) Saddam Hussein’s army blatantly used mustard and nerve gases at will against Iran and even the people of Iraq. Foreign Policy has just published CIA documents confirming Washington and other western nations knew of Iraq’s production and use of chemical gases and even delivered some raw materials.

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Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

August 29, 2013 by Source

by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer / Common Dreams

The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong.

Credit: Wikipedia

“What we are talking about here is a potential response . . . to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.

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5 Companies That Make Money By Keeping Americans Terrified of Terror Attacks

August 22, 2013 by Source

CounterTerrorismA massive industry profits off the government-induced fear of terrorism.

By Alex Kane/Alternet

Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, has invaded America’s television sets in recent weeks to warn about Edward Snowden’s leaks and the continuing terrorist threat to America.

But what often goes unmentioned, as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is that Hayden has a financial stake in keeping Americans scared and on a permanent war footing against Islamist militants.

And the private firm he works for, called the Chertoff Group, is not the only one making money by scaring Americans.

Post-9/11 America has witnessed a boom in private firms dedicated to the hyped-up threat of terrorism. The drive to privatize America’s national security apparatus accelerated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and it’s gotten to the point where 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on private contractors, as author Tim Shorrock reported.

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American Hero Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years

August 21, 2013 by Source

Bradley ManningComparisons between WikiLeaks and Pentagon Papers cases raise serious questions about government and judicial discretion.

By David Gespass/Military Law Task Force

Today, Bradley Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years for the “crime” of revealing the seamy underside of US diplomacy and war-making. The sentence is substantially less than sixty years the prosecution asked for, but greater than what the defense requested. It was predicated on alleged damage done to the US, though it remains unclear what actual damage, aside from embarrassment, occurred.

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Guantanamo, Drone Strikes and the Non-War Terror War: Obama Speaks

May 26, 2013 by Source
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By Marjorie Cohn / Truth-Out.org

As one of the 1,200-plus signatories to the full-page ad that appeared in The New York Times, calling for the closure of Guantanamo, I was disappointed in President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday on counterterrorism, drones and Guantanamo.

Torture and Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo

In a carefully crafted – at times defensive, discourse, Obama said, “In some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values – by using torture to interrogate our enemies and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law,” adding, “We unequivocally banned torture.” But Obama failed to note that the United Nations Human Rights Commission determined in 2006 that the violent force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo amounted to torture and that he has continued that policy.

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It’s a Sad Day in America When the Navy Launches a San Diego-Built Drone off a Carrier

May 17, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s a sad day in America. The US Navy launched the first carrier-based drone off its deck the other day, off the coast of Virginia. It’s an even sadder day for us in San Diego, as the drone was manufactured – in part, at least – by plants and engineers right here in our own city.

The launching of the drone off that deck demonstrates clearly that as drones become more and more integrated into becoming the armament of the nation’s military, they are becoming more and more accepted – here domestically, back in the good ol’ US of A.

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Sex in San Diego: Pentagon Study Finds 26,000 Military Sexual Assaults Last Year, Over 70 Sex Crimes Per Day

May 9, 2013 by Source
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Editor: The following is a transcript of Amy Goodman’s program on Democracy Now from yesterday, May 8, that aired highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assaults . We also include the video – see below. Democracy Now!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimated there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported.

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Dirty Wars and Drones: Real National Security?

May 5, 2013 by Source

Jeremy Scahill
Author Jeremy Scahill Examines the Ugly Reality
By Jay Powell / San Diego Free Press

Thursday night, Jeremy Scahill, author of “Blackwater” gave a preview of his new book “Dirty Wars” to a full house at Hoover High School auditorium in City Heights a community that is home to many refugees from countries torn by war.

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Why Bomb the Boston Marathon?

April 25, 2013 by Source

Islamic Totalitarians, the Apocalypse, and Terrorism

By Chip Berlet / Talk to Action

E 43.tifWalk a mile in the shoes of those who claim to honor God and yet cheer the bombing of the Boston Marathon. They represent only a tiny fraction of the Muslims on our planet, yet they see themselves as carrying out the will of God. Fanatics such as these can be found in many of the World’s religions. They shoot abortion providers in the United States; blast apart buses in Israel; and murder Muslims in India (and vice versa).

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OB Rag Poll on the Use of Drones: 82% Oppose Drones in the U.S.

April 8, 2013 by Frank Gormlie

Recently, the OB Rag ran a readers’ poll on the use of drones by the US government either in America and/or abroad. The results of the week-long poll are in: 82% of respondents oppose the use of drones in the United States.

36% of the respondents replied that they are okay with the use of the unmanned flying vessels in other countries by our government. 17% indicated that they are okay with their use in America.

45% of the 108 readers who responded specifically feel that the use of drones in America is unconstitutional or that they should not be used in our country. Another 37% replied that they specifically opposed their use overseas as well.

26% said that their use in America is “absolutely unconstitutional”. Another 19% were okay with their use in hunting down terrorists abroad, but opposed their deployment here in this country.

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The Last Letter – A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

March 21, 2013 by Source

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

Originally posted at Truthdig.com

10th aniv iraqI write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

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Did Richard Nixon Commit Treason By Sabotaging Vietnam Peace Talks?

March 20, 2013 by Source
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Newly-released tapes record LBJ saying Nixon committed treason.

By Eric Brown / International Business Times / March 17 2013

Newly released tapes recorded during Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency have confirmed long-held rumors that in 1968, then-presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon worked to sabotage Vietnam War peace talks.

The LBJ tapes were recently declassified and released by the Johnson library in Austin, Texas. According to the BBC’s summary of the tapes, not only did Nixon possibly commit treason, but LBJ knew about it and decided not to expose him in the closing days of an election that Nixon barely won.

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Dumb Wars – Now and Forever

March 20, 2013 by Source
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By Robert Scheer / truthdig – Nation of Change / March 20, 2013

It is a staple of our widely trumpeted Judeo-Christian heritage that the acknowledgment of sin is a prelude to redemption. So how is it that there is no palpable sense of soul searching associated with the 10th anniversary of a war based on officially concocted lies and a policy of torture? It is because the presumption of a unique American claim to an original and enduring innocence perseveres, no matter the death and destruction.

Indeed, some of our most celebrated publicists defined moral deceit as virtue in justifying the Iraq War. “As far as I am concerned, we do not need to find any weapons of mass destruction to justify this war,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote in April 2003, when U.N. inspectors had clearly established that the proclaimed basis for invading Iraq was a lie. “Mr. Bush doesn’t owe the world any explanation for missing chemical weapons (even if it turns out that the White House hyped this issue).”

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A War of Aggression

March 19, 2013 by Source
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From “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law”

By Marjorie Cohn, 2007

According to sources inside the administration, George W. Bush was planning to invade Iraq and remove its government well before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Such an invasion violates the UN Charter, which the United States signed in 1945 after the bloodiest conflict in history. The Charter permits countries to use military force against another country only in self-defense or with Security Council permission. But the evidence indicates that the U.S.-led invasion satisfied neither condition and is therefore a war of aggression, which constitutes a Crime Against Peace – exactly the kind of war the Charter was meant to prevent.

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Old Military Shell Found in Ocean Beach Garden

March 5, 2013 by Source

NBC San Diego / March 5, 2013

An old military artillery shell was discovered in the backyard of an Ocean Beach resident Monday night [March 4].

A woman working in the garden of her new home at Saratoga Avenue and Santa Barbara discovered what looked like an explosive device and called 911.

When bomb experts arrived just after 6:30 p.m., they found the shell in the dirt outside the home.

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Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans

February 5, 2013 by Source
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By Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent / NBC News / February 5, 2013

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

Read the entire ‘white paper‘ on drone strikes on Americans

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, s

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Amy Goodman: Documentary “Dirty Wars” Is an Antidote to Zero Dark Thirty Heroics

February 5, 2013 by Source
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Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill’s antidote to Zero Dark Thirty’s heroic narrative

By Amy Goodman / The Guardian

In this new documentary, the Nation’s investigative reporter lifts the lid on the ugly reality of US counter-terror operations

As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in for his second term as the 44th president of the United States, two courageous journalists premiered a documentary at the annual Sundance Film Festival. Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield reaffirms the critical role played by independent journalists like the film’s director, Rick Rowley, and its narrator and central figure, Jeremy Scahill.

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Torture, Compromise, Revenge: Hollywood Reflects a Divided America

February 5, 2013 by Source
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By Frank Rich / RSN – New York Magazine / February 4, 2013

Not long after President Obama delivers his State of the Union address this month, Hollywood will offer its own annual summation of the national Zeitgeist, the Oscars.

They’ve lately been an irrelevancy: Best Pictures like The King’s Speech and The Artist have been footnotes, nostalgic European footnotes at that, to America’s kinetic pop culture in the day of Homeland.

Not this year.

Whatever the explanation – and little in show business happens by design – the movie industry has reconnected with the country.

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Noam Chomsky: The Paranoia of the Superrich and Superpowerful

February 5, 2013 by Source
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By Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian / RSN – TomDispatch / Feb 4, 2013

This piece is adapted from “Uprisings,” a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Noam Chomsky’s new interview book with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books). T
________

Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it’s not insignificant. The Western-controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it’s been eroding for some time.

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Ocean Beach Antique Shop Owner’s Wounded Nephew Gets Visit from President Obama for being “Hero”.

December 27, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Teresa Mallory’s nephew Quinn Rogan receives surprise visit after saving lives in Afghanistan

The owner of an antique store in Ocean Beach has her nephew’s photo propped up in her consignment shop on Newport Avenue. The picture has her nephew, Quinn Rogan – wounded in Afghanistan when he blocked suicide bombers from attacking his base – along with the President – who made him a surprise visit recently at Walter Reed Army hospital.

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Romney’s Job Creation Plan That No One Is Talking About

October 29, 2012 by Source

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press / Oct. 27, 2012

Mitt Romney has a jobs creation plan if he becomes President, alright. But no one, including Mitt Romney himself, is talking about it.

Remember the $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military? That $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military which the Pentagon doesn’t even want (but Defense contractors certainly do) translates into a huge jobs program.

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Occupy San Diego: A Year Later

October 9, 2012 by Source
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By Nadin Abbott

Occupy San Diego reached an important milestone this weekend. Occupy San Diego is now one year old, and like all children, it has learned a lot this year, but also achieved quite a bit.

The weekend saw a series of events, some low key, some going back to it’s roots in the streets, celebrating the fact that OSD is still here. The first event was at Balboa Park on Saturday afternoon.

When I reached the Park I was no longer surprised to see San Diego Police coming in to talk to an Occupier. Well, so what is new? Same old, same old – right? This time, the officers had cause. No, not the usual we saw over the course of last year. They had a call, from another occupier, reporting what can best be described as a domestic dispute. Given the Occupier in question wore a Guy Fawkes costume with knives (which I could not tell at a distance were plastic either), the cops showed up in force. This is standard.

Moreover, while the Police kept an eye on Occupy, like they do on every demonstration that happens in this town, they also kept their actual contact to a minimum, and kept their distance.

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The Maimed – On Eleven Years of War In Afghanistan

October 8, 2012 by Source
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Chris Hedges gave this talk Sunday night – October 7th – in New York City at a protest denouncing the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The event, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was led by Veterans for Peace.

By Chris Hedges

Many of us who are here carry within us death. The smell of decayed and bloated corpses. The cries of the wounded. The shrieks of children. The sound of gunfire. The deafening blasts. The fear. The stench of cordite. The humiliation that comes when you surrender to terror and beg for life. The loss of comrades and friends. And then the aftermath. The long alienation. The numbness. The nightmares. The lack of sleep. The inability to connect to all living things, even to those we love the most. The regret. The repugnant lies mouthed around us about honor and heroism and glory. The absurdity. The waste. The futility.

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Time for Oversight of Predator Drones – Made in San Diego

September 14, 2012 by Source
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Unmanned predator drones are now used for surveillance here in the U.S. and abroad

By Dave Patterson / East County Magazine / September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012 (Poway)–Every Thursday afternoon one can see a demonstration at the General Atomics plant in Poway, home of the Predator drone. The demonstrators are from the San Diego Veterans For Peace and their supporters, with the goal of enlightening the public on the desperate need for oversight regarding drone technology.

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