Tag Archives | USA

Now the truth emerges: Here’s how the US fueled the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq


This won’t really come as a surprise to most of Disinfo readers, but I figured it would be worth sharing anyway.

Seumas Milne via The Raw Story:

For the past year, US, British and other western forces have been back in Iraq, supposedly in the cause of destroying the hyper-sectarian terror group Islamic State (formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq). This was after Isis overran huge chunks of Iraqi and Syrian territory and proclaimed a self-styled Islamic caliphate.

The campaign isn’t going well. Last month, Isis rolled into the Iraqi city of Ramadi, while on the other side of the now nonexistent border its forces conquered the Syrian town of Palmyra. Al-Qaida’s official franchise, the Nusra Front, has also been making gains in Syria.

Some Iraqis complain that the US sat on its hands while all this was going on. The Americans insist they are trying to avoid civilian casualties, and claim significant successes.

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The Decline and Fall of the United States

Harold Navarro (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Harold Navarro (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At the end of his essay, David Swanson asks, “Can we be revived?”

David Swanson via Washington’s Blog:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
–Robert Frost

After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the opposite was true. Imagine if China had military bases along the Canadian and Mexican borders with the United States and ships in Bermuda and the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Vancouver. Would you feel stabilized? Or might you feel something else?

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Hawks Fume as World Celebrates ‘Victory for Diplomacy over War’

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Though a final deal won’t be sealed until later this year, the framework agreement announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday between Iran and the P5+1 nations is having reverberations across the world—offering hope of rapprochement, peace, and better days ahead for those who support it and heckles and frowns from those who appear to think that a continued stalemate and endless sanctions, or possibly war, are the better path.

As Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, writes in an op-ed at The National Interest on Friday morning: “Peace won. War lost. It’s as simple as that.”

“Make no mistake,” Parsie continued, “the framework agreement that was announced yesterday is nothing short of historic. A cycle of escalation has been broken – for the first time, Iran’s nuclear program will roll back, as will the sanctions Iran has been subjected too.”

As regular Iranians were reportedly celebrating in the streets and in their homes and President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the foreign ministers of the other nations were receiving widespread praise for the diplomatic accomplishment, hawkish forces were quickly—and unsurprisingly—making public their objections to the deal.

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Help Wanted, Now Hiring – Leader of the United States


I view America like this: 70 to 80% [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along.
And the other 20 percent of the country run it. ”

— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

On the heels of President Obama’s and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s on-going food fight, Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and foreign contributions to her foundation, more shootings in Ferguson, and Congressional gridlock over budgets – we will hire a new President next year. Our recent hires have struggled: President Obama’s job approval averaged 42.6 percent for 2014 and former President Bush averaged 37 percent his second term. Congress approval in 2014 averaged a historic low of 15 percent. Americans now tell Gallup that government is our number one problem – even surpassing the economy.

Here is the rub: We get the leadership we select. If we want better leaders we must upgrade our selection criteria.

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President Obama Is Right: It’s Time for Mandatory Voting


On Thursday at the Cleveland City Club, President Obama suggested mandatory voting as a solution to the influence of big money in politics. “We shouldn’t be making it harder to vote, we should be making it easier to vote,” President Obama said to applause. “In Australia, other countries, there’s mandatory voting.” President Obama became the first president to propose this. He continued:

“It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. If everyone voted, it would completely change the political map in this country. Because the people who tend not to vote are young, they’re lower income, they’re skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups. And, you know, there are often the folks who are scratching and climbing to get in to the middle class, and they’re working hard. There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls, we want to get them into the polls.

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Inverted Totalitarianism: A New Way of Understanding How the U.S. Is Controlled

51Nq0NjuepLChalmers Johnson via Alternet:

Reviewed: Democracy Incorporated by Sheldon S. Wolin (Princeton University Press, 2008)

It is not news that the United States is in great trouble. The pre-emptive war it launched against Iraq more than five years ago was and is a mistake of monumental proportions — one that most Americans still fail to acknowledge. Instead they are arguing about whether we should push on to “victory” when even our own generals tell us that a military victory is today inconceivable. Our economy has been hollowed out by excessive military spending over many decades while our competitors have devoted themselves to investments in lucrative new industries that serve civilian needs. Our political system of checks and balances has been virtually destroyed by rampant cronyism and corruption in Washington, D.C., and by a two-term president who goes around crowing “I am the decider,” a concept fundamentally hostile to our constitutional system.

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All the Creepy Ways Big Brother Is Watching You


John W. Whitehead Via Activist Post:

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
—George Orwell, 1984

None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.

Indeed, there was a time when most Americans thought nothing of driving a few miles over the speed limit, pausing (rather than coming to a full stop) at a red light when making a right-hand turn if no one was around, jaywalking across the street, and letting their kid play hookie from school once in a while. Of course, that was before the era of speed cameras that ticket you for going even a mile over the posted limit, red light cameras that fine you for making safe “rolling stop” right-hand turns on red, surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition software mounted on street corners, and school truancy laws that fine parents for “unexcused” absences.

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Worse Than Fascism?

pratanti (CC BY 2.0)

pratanti (CC BY 2.0)

Via Paul Street at telesur:

The contemporary U.S. model is some ways worse than classic or real historical fascism in advancing tyrannical imperial and state-capitalist goals.

I’ve never been much for calling the United States (U.S.) “fascist,” something that a significant number of my fellow leftists and progressives like to do in a half-serious way. What do such progressives mean when they use that loaded and ugly term to describe the contemporary U.S.? In their more serious moments, the factors mentioned include a merging of corporate and state power; suppression of unions; a culture and vast apparatus of imperial militarism; celebration of violence and cruelty; nationalism; hostility to equality and democracy; demagogic appeals to a frustrated middle class; hatred of the weak and poor; attachment to tradition and hierarchy; the systematic subordination of racial and ethnic minorities; militarized policing; mass incarceration; the devaluation or erosion of basic civil liberties; and hostility to intellectuals, modern science, liberalism, and socialism.

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Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong

via Democracy Now:

As President Obama seeks $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs in his new budget, we talk to British journalist Johann Hari about the century-old failed drug war and how much of what we know about addiction is wrong. Over the past four years Hari has traveled to the United States, Mexico, Canada, Uruguay and Portugal to research his new book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War of Drugs.” His findings may surprise you — from the U.S. government’s persecution of Billie Holiday, to Vancouver’s success in addressing its heroin epidemic, to Portugal’s experiment with full decriminalization of all drugs.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One part of President Obama’s new budget that has received little attention is the war on drugs. The White House is seeking $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs, nearly $1 billion more than last year.

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“War on Whistleblowers”: Another Whistleblower Sentenced

In 2013, just weeks before revelations by Edward Snowden and PFC Chelsea Manning, we released War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State.

Two years later, the aggressive war on whistleblowers is still being waged. This Monday, Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer, was found guilty of 9 criminal counts and is likely on his way to a lengthy prison sentence for telling the truth.

Now, War on Whistleblowers is more relevant than ever. Watch the trailer below and go here for more information.

Four renowned cases of whistle-blowing serve as the backdrop to a much larger story of what happens to people who resort to the media to expose fraud and abuse:

  • Franz Gayl (Deputy Branch Head for the Space and Information Operations Integration Branch) — a lifelong Marine Gayl blew the whistle to stop unnecessary death and dismemberment of soldiers by replacing Humvees with MRAP’s (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles) in Iraq.
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