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Showing posts from September 25, 2015

Radicalisation kit links green activism and 'alternative music' to extremism

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[Booklet aimed at helping teachers identify radicalised students warns they can become motivated by ideologies such as ‘environmental or economic concerns.’ In another story, a key author of the anti-radicalisation kit says it was never meant to be used in schools. *RON*]

Bridie Jabour, The Guardian, 25 September 2015

The Australian government has used an environmental activist who became involved in the “alternative music scene” as an example of violent extremism, in a booklet aimed at helping teachers identify students who are becoming radicalised and linked to terrorism.

The Radicalisation Awareness Kit was launched this week by Michael Keenan, the justice minister and minister assisting the prime minister on counter-terrorism, to help teachers look out for signs of radicalisation in their students.

The booklet warns that people can become motivated to be violent by particular ideologies such as “environmental or economic concerns, or ethnic or …

Manufacturing Neoliberalism: How the Council of Foreign Relations Marketed Global Capitalism

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[Some important and interesting, eye-opening stuff here - I'm going to see if I can download a sample chapter to my e-reader to check it out. *RON*]

by Joan Roelofs, Counterpunch, 22 September 2015


There are conspiracies! Some are secret and others overt. The most important of them usually have a public and a private aspect. Yet even those with plenty of data in the full light of day are secret in one sense: they are barely known by the general public and mostly ignored by those who are supposed to be telling us what is going on and what makes things happen: scholars, journalists, and pundits. Thus the obscurity of the Council on Foreign Relations. It may surface as a tagline for the wise men and women of NPR and PBS forums, but its workings and impact remain largely unexamined.

Wall Street’s Think Tank by historian Laurence Shoup is a much awaited sequel to Imperial Brain Trust (Shoup and William Minter, Monthly Review Press, 1977). This is h…

The CIA’s Torture Defenders

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["An all-star cast teams up to spin their enhanced interrogation regime." From The America Conservative: war crime should not be a partisan issue! *RON*]
By Philip Giraldi, The American Conservative, 23 September 2015

Back in the days when I was a spy there were certain things that one just did not dwell upon. Everyone who worked in the field knew that there were episodes that it would be best not to recall, either because they were embarrassing, possibly unsavory, or even, more rarely, wildly successful though at a price that one would not be willing to pay a second time around. With that kind of baggage, the expectation was that a retired officer would be best advised to live quietly on a couple acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains and take up landscape painting or breeding Labradors and not think about or try to explain the past.

But that was then, and today the new breed of intelligence officers apparently prefers to flaunt the naughty…

Priceless Antiquities are Being Destroyed By Saudis and Americans in Yemen … Like They’re Being Destroyed By ISIS In Syria and Iraq

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[I ran across this link while reading a different story - eye-opening! *RON*]
Posted on September 16, 2015 by WashingtonsBlog

Westerners are rightly horrified by the destruction of priceless antiquities in Syria and Iraq – such as the 2,000 year old Palmyra temple – by the ISIS terrorists.

But did you know that priceless antiquities are also being destroyed in Yemen by the Saudis and their allies?

The Economist reported last week:
The roster of antiquities damaged in the war in Yemen runs long. Missiles fired from the coalition’s planes have obliterated a museum (where the fruits of an American-Yemeni archaeological dig were stored), historic caked-mud high-rise dwellings, 12th century citadels and minarets and other places whose importance to humanity’s heritage has been recognised by the UN. The Great Dam of Marib, a feat of engineering that was undertaken 2,800 years ago, has been struck four times, most recently on August 18th. Antiquities exper…

Elizabeth Warren's truth in sentencing bill for corporate crime just passed the US Senate

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[It's like a 'truth in advertising' bill - it would force the US government to cut through the baffle-gab when it describes the real impact of out-of-court bank settlements to the public. *RON*]

Matthew Yglesias, Vox, 22 September 2015

The US Senate today passed a bill by Elizabeth Warren that will force federal regulators to fully disclose the terms of any settlement or deferred prosecution agreement that they reach in a major case.

Her concern is that regulators — in particular the ones responsible for monitoring Wall Street — often announce a tough settlement with an eye-popping dollar figure to grab good headlines, while quietly burying the news that the real penalty is significantly less impressive. Most people don't know, for example, that these settlement fees are usually tax deductible, so a profitable company can slice a third of the price of the fine right off the top. Settlement agreements also at times "credit"…

U.S. and Its Coalition of Mid-East Dictators Kill 13 Times More Yemeni Civilians than Al Qaeda

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[The title pretty much says it - details below... One factoid: twice as many Yemeni citizens are killed by US drones alone than by Al Qaeda. *RON*]
Posted on September 23, 2015 by WashingtonsBlog

Armed U.S. Drones Alone Killed Twice As Many As Al Qaeda …

A new report from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNCHR) documents the number of civilian deaths in Yemen over the year-long period between July 1, 2014 to June 30 of this year.

The UNCHR report states:
At least 24 civilians were killed and 65 injured in attacks claimed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Sana’a, Aden and Taizz. [all cities in Yemen.] We all know that Al Qaeda are bad guys … but let’s compare that with civilian deaths caused by the U.S. and the “coalition” partners of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and various other Mid-East dictatorships .

CATERPILLAR WARNS: Bad news is 'converging' and now we have to make some major changes

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[Caterpillar, now laying off 10,000 workers, is often seen as a bellwether for the global economy. Realistically, they are also experiencing the double whammy of being an exporter when the US dollar is high and relatively high dependence on the energy industry for sales. But they are also affected by the universal trend for corporate executives to take advantage of cheap money to buy back shares, thereby lining their own pockets rather than investing in the real economy. *RON*]
Myles Udland, Business Insider, 24 September 2015

Caterpillar has some bad news.

On Thursday, the industrial giant announced plans for it to cut as many as 10,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan in the face of what it called "a convergence of challenging marketplace conditions in key regions and industry sectors — namely in mining and energy."

In early trading on Thursday, shares of the company were down over 7%.

Year-to-date, the stock is down about 25%.

Cater…

Jimmy Carter on US 'Oligarchy' and Corrupting Power of Money on Politics

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["We've become, now, an oligarchy instead of a democracy," Carter told Oprah Winfrey. "I think that's been the worst damage to the basic moral and ethical standards to the American political system that I've ever seen in my life." *RON*]

By Lauren McCauleyCommon Dreams, 23 September 2015

Commenting on the political landscape, now six years after the U.S. Supreme Court'sCitizens United ruling, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter laments that Washington D.C. has become corrupted by the influence of money.

"We've become, now, an oligarchy instead of a democracy," Carter told Oprah Winfrey in an interview excerpt released on Tuesday. "I think that's been the worst damage to the basic moral and ethical standards to the American political system that I've ever seen in my life."

When asked if he would be able to become president today, the Nobel Peace Prize winner answered: "Absolu…