Friday, February 8, 2013

Journalism: Facts vs. Fantasy

Who determines fact or fantasy?
What if the news media is incompetent when it comes to determining what separates fact from fantasy in our American Traditions and Law?

I watched a news program this morning, discussing drones. a news program which drifted substantially away from any real comprehension of these most crucial dynamics in any sound nation.

So, in today's post we discuss this in the context of the realm of facts that are used to determine who the government can kill and how they may kill them.

In two recent posts we looked at the issue of drones and how the media becomes a government propaganda device (see Drones Take Out The 5th & 6th Amendments and Mocking America).

In the context of the government killing its citizens, the U.S. Constitution requires the most exacting fact finding methods, processes, and judicial inquiries to develop proof beyond a reasonable doubt before a death sentence can be imposed.

In the Constitution, our founders revealed themselves to be quite concerned with what is called "fact finding."

They separated the federal "government" into three separate segments or branches, all of which were to be subservient to the Constitution.

Under Article I is the Legislative Branch (a Congress made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives), then Article II sets up the Executive Branch (a President and Vice President), and finally Article III sets up the Judicial Branch (The Supreme Court, and lesser courts).

The Judicial Branch is to be what is called "the trier of fact" in all cases where facts determine the outcome as to whether or not the government can kill one of its citizens.

Never-the-less, members of the "news media" who fancy themselves as journalists, today on Morning Joe of MSNBC, said we might have to use torture and drones to kill either Americans or citizens of other nations (without any Judicial Branch fact finding process).

They were clueless concerning the Constitution's declaration about who is to determine the facts even as they incompetently discussed killing Americans "who are suspected terrorists."

So, who determines the facts that prove beyond a reasonable doubt what is a terrorist, or a terrorist organization?

Who determines the facts that prove beyond a reasonable doubt what establishes membership in a terrorist, or a terrorist organization?

Who determines the facts that prove beyond a reasonable doubt what establishes helping a terrorist, or a terrorist organization?

One has to wonder if U.S. citizens who train terrorists to overthrow an elected democratic government are included in this media fantasy:
General Carter Ham, the AFRICOM commander for the Pentagon, admitted last week that the US had helped trained the Mali rebels, including Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led the military coup which overthrew Mali’s constitutionally-elected government.

In describing the statement Ham made at the Ralph Bunche center, Veterans Today editor Gordon Duff is highly critical of Ham’s support for widening US military involvement in the region, including the recent establishment of drone bases in Niger.

Duff is extremely concerned that the US lacks the intelligence resources in Africa to prevent the horrendous “collateral damage” nightmares drones have caused in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

He goes on to describe Mali as a “domino” in a misguided and poorly thought out destabilization effort aimed at creating a generation of warfare.
(US Trained Mali Rebels). Have these media Luddites forgotten how the existence of WMD in Iraq was faked with fantasy ("we create our own reality" - Karl Rove) in the Bush II Administration?

How factual beyond a reasonable doubt was that?

The commentators participating in this shameful episode were: Donny Deutsch, Richard Haass, Eugene Robinson, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Mika Brzezinski.

Anyone who does not see the pattern of "the king can do no wrong" or "the Pope is infallible" in this demented media analysis is not yet informed (see On The Origin of The Bully Religion - 2).

Their demented analysis is a reprehensible repeat of the Operation Mockingbird shame covered in the post Mocking America, and it is a prime example of "destroy the village constitution in order to save it" mentality of the Vietnam Debacle era.

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution were not even mentioned as relevant considerations in their fantasy show.

So, shame on you Morning Joe commentators mentioned above, because that is how things like this happen while you are selling overpriced coffee pretending to be journalists:
Western multinational corporations’ attempts to cash in on the wealth of Congo’s resources have resulted in what many have called “Africa’s first world war,” claiming the lives of over 3 million people. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been labeled “the richest patch of earth on the planet.” The valuable abundance of minerals and resources in the DRC has made it the target of attacks from U.S.-supported neighboring African countries Uganda and Rwanda.

The DRC is minerial rich with millions of tons of diamonds, copper, cobalt, zinc, manganese, uranium, niobium, and tantalum also known as coltan. Coltan has become an increasingly valuable resource to American corporations. Coltan is used to make mobile phones, night vision goggles, fiber optics, and capacitators used to maintain the electrical charge in computer chips. In December of 2000 the shortage of coltan was the main reason that the popular sale of the Sony Play Station 2 video game came to an abrupt halt.

The DRC holds 80% of the world’s coltan reserves, more than 60% of the world’s cobalt and is the world’s largest supplier of high-grade copper. With these minerals playing a major part in maintaining US military dominance and economic growth, minerals in the Congo are deemed vital US interests.

Historically, the U.S. government identified sources of materials in Third World countries, and then encouraged U.S. corporations to invest in and facilitate their production. Dating back to the mid-1960s, the U.S. government literally installed the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, which gave U.S. corporations access to the Congo’s minerals for more than 30 years. However, over the years Mobutu began to limit access by Western corporations, and to control the distribution of resources. In 1998, U.S. military-trained leaders of Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich areas of the Congo. The invaders installed illegal colonial-style governments which continue to receive millions of dollars in arms and military training from the United States. Our government and a $5 million Citibank loan maintains the rebel presence in the Congo.
(American Companies Exploit the Congo). How shameful of you to try to make fellow Americans ignorant of heinous evils done by psychopaths within.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mocking America

McTell News
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has expressed many concerns about government propaganda in various posts (e.g. The Ways of Bernays, Exceptional American Propaganda Inspired NAZI Goebbels, Propagandizing For Our Lords, This Is Your Brain On Propaganda - 4).

We have also recently discussed some of the results of propaganda.

For one example, consider the many years of the public believing myths about various U.S. wars (On The Origin of The Bully Religion - 2).

In the more distant past we began a series that looked into the mental damage propaganda-deceit has had upon the citizenry (Etiology of Social Dementia, Sept. 2009, through Etiology of Social Dementia - 8, Dec. 2012).

In today's post we will take a look at how it happens, beginning with a CIA project called Operation Mockingbird:
Later that year [1948] Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence the domestic American media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry. Graham himself recruited others who had worked for military intelligence during the war. This included James Truitt, Russell Wiggins, Phil Geyelin, John Hayes and Alan Barth. Others like Stewart Alsop, Joseph Alsop and James Reston, were recruited from within the Georgetown Set. According to Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great): "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles."

In 1951 Allen W. Dulles persuaded Cord Meyer to join the CIA. However, there is evidence that he was recruited several years earlier and had been spying on the liberal organizations he had been a member of in the later 1940s. According to Deborah Davis, Meyer became Mockingbird's "principal operative".

One of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), C. D. Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), Walter Winchell (New York Daily Mirror), Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann, William Allen White, Edgar Ansel Mowrer (Chicago Daily News), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Whitelaw Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles L. Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work.

After 1953 the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. These organizations were run by people such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Helen Rogers Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Dorothy Schiff (New York Post), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Barry Bingham (Louisville Courier-Journal) and James S. Copley (Copley News Services).
(Operation Mockingbird, emphasis added). The "free press" became a tool for government propaganda, and that situation continues down to the present time:
The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

Curley, speaking to journalists at the University of Kansas, said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable."
(Warrior's Press For Propaganda). But the propaganda engine did not end with the military, that is just who paid for it:
But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

The article was one of several in a storyboard, the military's term for a list of articles, that was delivered Tuesday to the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based public relations firm paid by the Pentagon, documents from the Pentagon show. The contractor's job is to translate the articles into Arabic and submit them to Iraqi newspapers or advertising agencies without revealing the Pentagon's role. 
(NY Times, emphasis added). The embedded journalism was not limited to the Iraqi press, it affected U.S. news reporting as well.

The govenment still actively tries to control journalism directly and/or indirectly:
US news organisations are facing accusations of complicity after it emerged that they bowed to pressure from the Obama administration not to disclose the existence of a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia despite knowing about it for a year.
(US newspapers accused, complicity with government, drone base). This is just the tip of the iceberg of government propaganda efforts that are ongoing constantly in the U.S. and around the world.

The next post in this series is here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drones Take Out The 5th & 6th Amendments

Above The Supreme Law?
In this post let's discuss The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the ongoing attack upon them by The Obama Administration, specifically by Eric Holder's Department of Justice.

Let's discuss it in the context of drone strikes against United States citizens as well as citizens of other nations.

Any such inquiry naturally begins with the text of the Amendment at issue, and so let's take a look at the text of the Fifth Amendment first, before we begin to discuss it:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
(Wikipedia). And there is also the Sixth Amendment to consider:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
(Wikipedia). A white paper drafted by the DOJ makes the argument that the Fifth and Sixth Amendment requirements (first presenting evidence to a Grand Jury; then that body making the decision to indict or not, which also determines whether a subsequent petite jury trial takes place) do not apply:
Here the Department of Justice concludes only that where the following three conditions are met, a U.S. operation using legal force in a foreign country against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force would be lawful: (1) an informed high level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and (3) the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.
(DOJ Memo, PDF). If the issue is so clear under international "law of war principles", one wonders why the body charged with international "law of war principles" is conducting an investigation into U.S. drone strikes that kill suspected individuals in the manner the DOJ described (without an indictment or trial):
An independent U.N. human rights researcher this morning announced the opening of an investigation into the use of drone attacks and other targeted assassinations by the United States and other governments.

Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, told reporters in London this morning that the "exponential" rise in American drones strikes posed a "real challenge to the framework of international law," according to a statement issued by his office. Emmerson said there was a need to develop a legal framework to regulate the use of drones, and ensure "accountability" for their misuse.

"The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay," he said. "It is therefore imperative that appropriate legal and operational structures are urgently put in place to regulate its use in a manner that complies with the requirement of international law.

The decision to open a drone investigation drew praise from critics of America's drone policies. "We welcome this investigation in the hopes that global pressure will bring the U.S. back into line with international law requirements that strictly limit the use of lethal force," said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project. "To date, there has been an abysmal lack of transparency and no accountability for the U.S. government's ever-expanding targeted killing program."
(Foreign Policy). During the confirmation hearings concerning the CIA Director nominee, the issue is likewise scheduled to be discussed:
After 25 influential years in the CIA, chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan is currently in charge of Barack Obama’s increasing drone-plane assassinations of terrorism suspects, all of which is happening outside our courts. On Feb. 7, he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a promotion to CIA director.
(WND). The issue is not cut and dried in the eyes of many outside the DOJ, because the killing of U.S. citizens without charges and a fair trial runs against the grain of our long standing grand jury and petite jury trial requirements.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

When Government Doesn't Get It

Courtesy of Arctic News
The graphics to the left show methane concentrations in the Arctic in January of 2009 (top), compared with January of 2013 (bottom).

Red indicates higher concentrations of methane while yellow, blue, white, and cyan show lower concentrations.

The amount of time between the two satellite sources, about 4 years, is like one second on the geological - climatological time scales, which emphasizes how very quickly things are changing in that area.

Scientists who work there have naturally become alarmed, as you will read about below.

One of many reasons for real concern is that methane is 30 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2 happens to be.

That means it would take one thirtieth (1/30) as many people releasing methane to equate to all of Human Civilization's emission of CO2, that is, 233.3 million people releasing methane could cause as much damaging green house gas affects as the damage thirty times more people, seven billion people, could do releasing only CO2 into the atmosphere (methane is like CO2 on steroids).

The Arctic, where this methane has been spotted by satellites, is also where the U.S. federal government, with President Obama so far leading the way exuberantly, albeit inexplicably, wants Oil-Qaeda to "drill baby drill."

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has repeatedly warned that the Arctic is a dangerous area.

This is indisputable as was shown by Oil-Qaeda's disastrous attempts to drill baby drill in the Arctic last year.

Oil-Qaeda's drilling apparatus ended up turning tail and running from ice floes -- then eventually running aground in the Gulf of Alaska near Kodiak Island (see Sanity Can't Win For Losing, Hottest Month (July) on Record, You're Doin' A Heckuva Job Browner - 4, and Barry & Oil-Qaeda vs Arctic Wilderness).

When government doesn't get it, then what we the people say does not matter, no, the only thing that matters is what Oil-Qaeda says (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment).

Ok, so what is causing all that methane to appear up there where no one lives and there are no factories releasing methane?

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog has attempted to comprehensively discuss this issue for readers in prior posts:
A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov.

The research results, published in the March 5 edition of the journal Science, show that the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane, is perforated and is leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.

"The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world's oceans ..."

Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
(The Bubbling Up To Rude Awakening, March 2010). Another Dredd Blog post a couple of years later revisited the scenario which focused on some additional observations by scientists:
Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide - have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region. The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who led the 8th joint US-Russia cruise of the East Siberian Arctic seas, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

...

The researchers found significant amounts of methane being released from the ocean into the atmosphere through cracks in the melting sea ice. They said the quantities could be large enough to affect the global climate. Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice.

Eric Kort of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that he and his colleagues were surprised to see methane levels rise so dramatically each time their research aircraft flew over cracks in the sea ice.

"When we flew over completely solid sea ice, we didn't see anything in terms of methane. But when we flew over areas were the sea ice had melted, or where there were cracks in the ice, we saw the methane levels increase," Dr Kort said. "We were surprised to see these enhanced methane levels at these high latitudes. Our observations really point to the ocean surface as the source, which was not what we had expected," he said.

"Other scientists had seen high concentrations of methane in the sea surface but nobody had expected to see it being released into the atmosphere in this way," he added.
(New Climate Catastrophe Policy: Triage - 5, April 2012). Several months later Dredd Blog even pointed out a potential for tsunami generation should the ocean floor holding methane hydrates become destabilized from warming (Perfect Storm: New Global Ground Zero).

One scientist indicates that the Gulf Stream is changing to the extent it warms the Arctic waters even in winter:
The first image clearly shows that the westerly Svalbard branch of the Gulf stream must be destabilizing methane hydrates between Norway and Svalbard. The effects of the eastern Yermack branch of the Gulf stream which enters the Barents Sea is clearly seen in the third figure and methane hydrates in the whole Barents Sea region are clearly being destabilized by the heat it is bringing in. All this extra heating of the Gulf Stream causing increased evaporation is the reason for the giant flooding that has been seen in Europe and the water clouds are preventing the ocean from losing its heat efficiently so the Yermack and Svalbard branches can still destabilize the methane hydrates even in the dead of winter.
(Arctic News, emphasis added). This dove-tails with the observations of warming waters around Greenland and the impact on the fishing industry there (Perfect Storm: New Global Ground Zero).

The danger presented by methane hydrate was discussed in another Dredd Blog series dealing with the Oil-Qaeda induced Deepwater Horizon catastrophe:
Methane hydrates are volatile compounds — natural gas compressed into molecular cages of ice. They are stable in the extreme cold and crushing weight of deepwater, but are extremely dangerous when they build up inside the drill column of a well. If destabilized by heat or a decrease in pressure, methane hydrates can quickly expand to 164 times their volume.
(Danger Lurks In The Deep Water, June 2010). There is room for a strong suspicion that those methane hydrates were disturbed causing explosive releases which cracked the ocean floor around but near the drill site.

This is causing reports of new leaks of oil into the Gulf of Mexico years after BP said they had sealed it off (see this and this).

The bottom line is that Oil-Qaeda has subverted "the government" to the point that the government does not get it, they just say that they get it.





Monday, February 4, 2013

When Government Gets It

Round and round she goes ...
A while back in a post Groundhog Day & The Climate of Fear we compared the similarity of rebuilding on land that was prone to flood again and again to the Groundhog Day movie, noting that such a policy was doomed to eventually fail.

People who do that have to relive the same damages, misery, danger, and loss of money over and over again, until they get killed or go broke.

On the bright side of things, we noted that entire towns had relocated in the face of that reality and had improved in various ways by so doing (Advance To The High Ground).

In New Climate Catastrophe Policy: Triage - 9 we noticed how intense the denial in the federal government is, and how not one presidential candidate during the election debates mentioned or debated climate catastrophe.

This government "Duh - What Now?" policy is beginning to be supplanted by adult, human conversation about rational responses to what we have done to ourselves:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.

The purchase program, which still requires approval from federal officials, would be among the most ambitious ever undertaken, not only in scale but also in how Mr. Cuomo would be using the money to begin reshaping coastal land use. Residents living in flood plains with homes that were significantly damaged would be offered the pre-storm value of their houses to relocate; those in even more vulnerable areas would be offered a bonus to sell; and in a small number of highly flood-prone areas, the state would double the bonus if an entire block of homeowners agreed to leave.

 The land would never be built on again. Some properties could be turned into dunes, wetlands or other natural buffers that would help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms; other parcels could be combined and turned into public parkland.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the region on Oct. 29, Mr. Cuomo has adamantly maintained that New York needs to reconsider the way it develops its coast.
(Cuomo Seeking Home Buyouts in Flood Zones). Imagine that, a fully sane observation of reality with a perfectly sane reaction that over the long haul will be shown to have been a government service (the "old way" of doing things?) -- practical and sane all at the same time!

The struggle may not be all about whether or not to do it, the real difficult question may more likely be about how far back the no-build zone should extend.

I say that because the pabulum that some climate scientists have been pressured into spreading (e.g. "Oh, the ocean will only rise an inch a century") will have to be dealt with in the context of dramatically contrasting projections:
Box also provided a large-scale perspective on how much sea level rise humanity has already probably set in motion from the burning of fossil fuels. The answer is staggering: 69 feet, including water from both Greenland and Antarctica, as well as other glaciers based on land from around the world.
...
Scientists like Box aren't sure precisely when, or how fast, all that water will flow into the seas. They only know that in past periods of Earth's history, levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and sea levels have followed one another closely, allowing an inference about where sea level is headed as it, in effect, catches up with the greenhouse gases we've unleashed. To be sure, the process will play out over vast time periods—but it has already begun, and sea level is starting to show a curve upward that looks a lot like … well, the semi-notorious "hockey stick."
(69 Feet of Sea Level Rise, Mother Jones, emphasis added). The sea level rise where Hurricane Superstorm Sandy made landfall had already risen over a foot.

So, as Governor Cuomo advocates, it is time to begin to address this problem that affects coastal areas where half of the population in the U.S. make their home.

Did I mention who should pay the lion's share of the damages?