Seth Rich, Craig Murray And The Sinister Stewards Of The National Security State

ANGELA N / CC BY 2.0

By Mike Whitney for Counter Punch – Former-DNC employee, Seth Rich, not only had access to the emails, but also a motive. He was pissed about the way the Clinton crowd was “sandbagging” Bernie Sanders. In contrast, there’s neither evidence nor motive connecting Russia to the emails. On top of that, WikiLeaks founder, Julien Assange (a man of impeccable integrity) has repeatedly denied that Russia gave him the emails which suggests the government investigation is completely misdirected. The logical course of action, would be to pursue the leads that are most likely to bear fruit, not those that originate from one’s own political bias. But, of course, logic has nothing to do with the current investigation, it’s all about politics and geopolitics. We don’t know who killed Seth Rich and we’re not going to speculate on the matter here. But we find it very strange that neither the media nor the FBI have pursued leads in the case that challenge the prevailing narrative on the Russia hacking issue. Why is that? Why is the media so eager to blame Russia when Rich looks like the much more probable suspect? And why have the mainstream news organizations put so much energy into discrediting the latest Fox News report, when– for the last 10 months– they’ve showed absolutely zero interest in Rich’s death at all?

UN Must Face Scientifically Predicted Consequences Of Nuclear War

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By Steven Starr for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – The preamble of the treaty to ban nuclear weapons now under consideration at the UN will be greatly strengthened if it includes a summary of the long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war, as described by a series of peer-reviewed studies done by prominent scientists working at major US and Swiss Universities, as well as at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. These studies are considered to be the most authoritative type of scientific research—subjected to criticism by the international scientific community before final publication in scholarly journals—and the findings of these studies remain unchallenged. The research predicts that a nuclear war fought between emerging nuclear weapon states—with less than 1 percent of the explosive power contained in the global nuclear arsenals—can produce catastrophic long-term damage to global environment and weather. A war fought with 100 atomic bombs can result in the coldest average annual surface temperatures experienced in the last 1,000 years, and this prolonged cold (and drought) would last for several years before temperatures began to return to normal.

Oscar López Rivera Returns Home To Chicago – And To A Movement

By Max Herman

By Asraa Mustufa Asraa Mustufa for The Chicago Reporter – Earlier this year, former President Barack Obama commuted the sentence for Oscar López Rivera, who served 35 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and charges related to his work with the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacionala (FALN). The militant Puerto Rican independence group claimed responsibility for a series of bombings beginning in the 1970s that resulted in five deaths. López Rivera’s supporters argue that prosecutors presented no evidence linking him to any FALN act that resulted in casualties. On Thursday, López Rivera returned to his home neighborhood of Humboldt Park. In 1967, after serving in the Vietnam War, he became an organizer in the community, where he led a campaign to create Roberto Clemente High School and open an alternative school for Puerto Rican dropouts. He also co-founded El Rincon health services for drug addicts and helped establish a local office of ASPIRA, which supports the educational and leadership development of Latino youth.

Naked Protest Against TSA Not Protected By First Amendment

Thessaloniki airport, one of 14 in Greece to be run by a German company as a condition of bailout funding. Photograph: Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty

By David Kravet for ARS Technica – An Oregon man who stripped naked at an airport security screening checkpoint must pay a $500 fine after a federal appeals court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect this method of protest. The nude protest at Portland International Airport (PDX) by a traveler named John Brennan prompted legal action by both the federal government and the state of Oregon. Portland prosecutors charged him with indecent exposure. A local judge acquitted him, saying that Oregon cannot “punish” him for his nudity, which amounted to protest speech protected by the First Amendment. Federal authorities also imposed a civil fine for violating a US law that prohibits “interference with screening personnel.” The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, siding with the government, ruled last week that the First Amendment is no defense to getting naked in a TSA security line. As you might recall, Brennan made national headlines in 2012. A security screener’s gloves used in his pat down tested positive for nitrates, a substance that can be used to build bombs.

Students Walk Out On Mike Pence’s Commencement Speech At Notre Dame

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By Tommy Christopher for Shareblue – Vice President Mike Pence delivered a pair of commencement addresses this weekend, both of which drew powerful protests. Pence’s speech to small Christian school Grove City College was met with demonstrations outside the event. And his address to the University of Notre Dame drew protests from without and within. Pence’s appearance at the commencement drew throngs of protesters outside the campus, and spurred a sizable walkout by graduates. A seemingly endless parade of Notre Dame students began to file out of the stadium as soon as Pence was introduced: The planned walkout was a highly visible protest, not just of Pence, but of the administration which he represents. The organizers of the protest cited Pence’s own political positions, as well as Trump administration policies, as reasons for the walkout:

There’s Less Than Meets The Eye In Trump’s Saudi Arms Deal

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By William D. Hartung for Defense One – Donald J. Trump may be unpredictable, but there is one common theme that runs throughout his presidency: a penchant for exaggerating his achievements. From his insistence that the crowd at his inauguration numbered over one million people to his claim to have rebuilt the military before his first budget was even announced, the president is perfectly comfortable claiming credit for things that have not, in fact, occurred. So it may be with the new arms deal with Saudi Arabia, pegged by the Trump administration as worth up to $110 billion. Many of the items mentioned as part of the package had already been offered to Riyadh during the Obama administration, including a Patriot missile defense system, Multi-mission Surface Combatants, attack and transport helicopters, and artillery systems. The value of these offers runs into the tens of billions of dollars. One item in the Trump package that is clearly new is the offer of a Lockheed Martin Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, a deal that could run into the billions depending on how many missiles are included and what kind of support systems are involved. But that leaves the administration a far distance from its $110 billion in claimed sales.

How The US Empire Was Made In North Korea

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By Niall Bradley for SOTT – Over the past 15 years, fighting-talk has periodically flared over ‘what to do about that crazy Asian dictator’ in North Korea. Today’s round of brinkmanship by the US/Western ‘deep state’ against North Korea will – in all probability – unfold the same way as in previous episodes; it will fizzle out. China is a guarantor of North Korean security, so the US will not go to war with North Korea. Period. The battle between Trump and the Washington Crazies for control of the reins of empire continues, however, and the ‘Krazy Korean’ is relevant to that. I hope to get to that in a later article, but in the meantime, take note of the contradictory messages coming from the US. One minute, US Navy battle-groups are ‘en route to North Korea’; the next they’re heading in the opposite direction. One minute, THAAD missile systems are ‘installed and operational in South Korea’; the next, Trump wants South Korea to pay for them. One minute, someone on the US National Security Council is telling NBC News that the US is considering ‘decapitating the North Korean regime’; the next, Trump announces he’d be honored to meet Kim Jung Un… All of which has provoked the South Korean and Japanese governments to denounce Trump’s confusing and contradictory statements.

Donald Trump’s Turn Towards China Curtails Navy Patrols In South China Sea

The USS Chancellorsville in the Luzon Strait, which links the Philippine Sea to the South China Sea, in March last year. Recently, three requests by the US Navy to sail near disputed islands in the South China Sea were rejected.PHOTO: NYTIMES

By Staff of Straits Times – WASHINGTON • More than 100 days into the Donald Trump presidency, no US Navy ship has gone within 12 nautical miles of any of the disputed islands in the South China Sea, Pentagon officials said. A request by the United States Pacific Command six weeks ago for a warship to sail within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef claimed by China and the Philippines, was turned down. The decision not to challenge China’s territorial claims shows a remarkable deference towards Beijing from an administration that is increasingly turning towards Chinese President Xi Jinping for help amid the escalating crisis in the Korean peninsula. It remained unclear whether it was Defence Secretary James Mattis, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or one of their deputies who turned down the request and two others by the Navy in February. Defence officials said the White House was not involved. Mr Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the US at the Wilson Centre, said: “All of the language, combined with the fact that the Republican foreign policy establishment had been critical of (Barack) Obama for not carrying out enough Fonops (freedom of navigation operations), means there was a wide expectation that Trump would put down a marker early. And that hasn’t happened.”

Veterans Oppose Trump Policies, Wars; Rally At Lincoln Memorial

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By Staff of World Beyond War – On Tuesday, May 30, at 11:00 am, veterans and supporters will mass at the Lincoln Memorial. Speakers include Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, David Swanson, Medea Benjamin, Chris Hedges, Brian Becker, Col. Ann Wright, Mara Verhayden Hilliard, Michael McPhearson, and Matt Hoh. Music will be provided by Lyla June Johnston, Pat Scanlon, Ariel Zevon, and the Fugs, who will lead an attempt to exorcise the White House as they did 50 years ago. “Donald Trump and company are hell-bent on destroying what’s left of our democracy, the environment, and whatever chance we have of world peace. Veterans will not be silent while he does it,” says Matt Hoh, former Marine Captain (two tours in Iraq) and State Department official, who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over U.S. strategic policy and goals. Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf has sent a letter to President Trump requesting a meeting to discuss military policy and to refocus spending on peace and issues at home.

“I’m Scared I’m Not Going To Make It To My 31st Birthday

(Image: Health care via Shutterstock)

By Staff of HCRMD – Pain medication [opioids]. I hate it so much. But my grandmother hates her insulin for her diabetes, but she still does because it keeps her alive. I’m on a teeny tiny dose to just keep me going. My rheumatologist informed me yesterday that this was the last script he was going to do, so now I have to go to a pain clinic. It’s difficult for me to get to a pain clinic. Hogan declared a state of emergency for the opioid epidemic and I think that’s what made the doctor not able to give me my prescription. I think it’s interesting that they’re putting all this money into fighting the epidemic instead of funding research to alternative pain medications. Since talking to you, I’ve had three fractures. Yesterday, when I got that phone call, I broke down. The first thought that was through my head was, “this is how I die”. It’s such a huge topic for me because if I didn’t have to take pain medication, I would be so much happier, because I hate it. I don’t like the sluggishness and I don’t like the addictiveness of it.

S Korean Activists Discuss Left Priorities In The Moon Jae-in Era, Part 3

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By Staff of Zoom In Korea – In response to his election, KCTU said in its statement, “While we will support the administration when it moves in the right direction, we will not hesitate to criticize it and make it the target of our struggle should it fail to do so.” Moon promised that he would build a country where the dignity and rights of workers are respected. It is our assessment that while his labor policy is focused on creating new jobs in the public sector, it is weak in the area of promoting fundamental labor rights. The key question is how much will Moon be able to control the chaebols, which dominate the country’s economy, and change the existing laws and labor relation practices to ensure the guarantee of fundamental rights for all workers. The Korean economy is deeply enmeshed in the global recession and relies too heavily on the chaebols. Many of the economic problems the country faces—from low growth to inequality and youth unemployment—can be solved under a system where the working class plays a leading role. In this sense, strengthen unity and solidarity among workers is more important than ever.

US Has Budgeted $49M For Venezuelan Right-Wing Since 2009

U.S.-funded violent opposition protests continued into their seventh week. | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Tele Sur – The funds have now become a mainstay of the U.S. State Department congressional budget for foreign operations. Since at least 2009 the U.S. Department of State has budgeted at least US$49 million in total to support right-wing opposition forces in Venezuela who are now in their seventh week of violent protests to oust democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro. According to the 2010 budget justification, which designated US$6 million that year to Venezuela’s “Economic Support Fund” the budget “will support efforts to preserve and expand democratic space through programs that strengthen and promote civil society, citizen participation, independent media, human rights organizations, and democratic political parties.” In a more detailed breakdown of the 2011 US$5 million budgeted for Venezuelan economic support, the budget indicates that US$1 million was designated specifically for the support of “political competition and consensus building.”

Venezuelan Revolutionaries Demand ‘Truly Communal State’

A pro-government supporter wears a T-Shirt with image of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, as he waits for results during congressional elections in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim for Venezuela Analysis – Puebla, Mexico, May 13, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas this week to rally in support of the country’s commune movement. Socialist revolutionaries from across the country joined the march, calling on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to endorse a proposal to provide constitutional recognition of communes. Currently, the commune movement has broad legal recognition, but isn’t included in the country’s constitution. However, commune supporters are optimistic that could soon change, with Maduro recently calling for constitutional reform. “The commune is the essence of the people,” said Frank Corrales from the Guerrero JiraJara Socialist Commune. Speaking to Venezuelanalysis during a rally on Tuesday, Corrales said, “We know what we really need [and] … it is in us to truly prepare, from the grassroots, the transformation of this state into a truly communal state.” “We have to keep transforming the state, into a socialist state, where the largest possible amount of happiness is brought to all of the people. The commune or nothing!” he said.

At CNN, Imagining An Absurd Iranian/ISIS Alliance

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By Jim Naureckas for FAIR – Axelrod’s suggestion that Iran might be sharing intelligence with ISIS is absurd. ISIS’s stance toward Shia Islam, the kind practiced by most Iranians, is openly genocidal: “Shia have no medicine but the sword,” an ISIS video proclaimed, showcasing Shiites decapitated by ISIS’s militants (Independent, 3/20/14). The Iranian government is predictably hostile toward a movement that would exterminate 90 percent of its citizens. Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds special forces unit, called ISIS “a plague and a grave catastrophe in the world” in explaining why Iran was supporting the government in Syria’s civil war (Al-Monitor, 3/8/15): “We need to quarantine our borders and aid our neighbors so this cancer does not spread to our country.” Donald Trump was rightly scorned when he gave a foreign policy speech which seemed to not understand the Shia/Sunni division in the Muslim world. The New York Times editorial board (8/16/16) lectured him: Lumping Iran, which is a Shiite nation, with the Sunni militants of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda makes no sense. In fact, Iran and the Sunni groups are enemies.

Trump’s New DHS Appointment Previously Called For Rounding Up Protesters

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By Derrick Broze for Activist Post – “I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position by Secretary Kelly, working for the Trump administration,” Clarke told McKenna. He said he plans to leave Milwaukee County in June to work with Office of Partnership and Programs as “a liaison with state, local and tribal law enforcement.” The DHS has not confirmed Clarke’s new position, but in a tweet they did acknowledge that the job does not require Senate confirmation. Clarke has been mentioned as a possible appointment to the DHS since the moment Trump was elected. However, the possibility of Clarke working with the feds has not been without controversy. The Human Rights Campaign blasted the news, calling Clarke’s appointment “a grave mistake.” “His homophobic, transphobic, racist and sexist views have absolutely no place anywhere, including and especially in law enforcement agencies or the federal government,” the HRC wrote. What makes Clarke so dangerous? For starters, Sheriff David Clarke is responsible for a prison in which four people have died and been tortured. At least one prisoner died of dehydration after the water in his cell was shut off for seven days.