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Convention provokes rage against NDP machine

By Yves Engler · March 1, 2018

They came, mostly young people, to fight for justice. They came to support the rule of international law, to help solve a longstanding injustice through non-violent means; they came to tell an oppressed people you have not been forgotten; they came to do what is right for a left wing political party; they came to speak truth to power.

And how did the left wing party respond? By using the “machine” — orders from on high, backroom arm-twisting, opaque block voting and procedural manoeuvring — to prevent debate. Silence in class!

While NDP insiders probably feel they dodged the “Palestine Resolution” bullet at their recent convention, many party apparatchiks may come to regret their undemocratic moves. Their naked suppression of debate might stir rage against the machine they’ve proved to be. At a minimum it has provoked many to ask why.

Why, when the Palestine Resolution was endorsed unanimously by the NDP youth convention and by over 25 riding associations, did the powers that be not want it even discussed?

Given the resolution mostly restated official Canadian policy, except that it called for “banning settlement products from Canadian markets, and using other forms of diplomatic and economic pressure to end the occupation” one can only assume that the party machine either supports the indefinite Israeli occupation of Palestinian land or has some sort of problem with boycotts and economic sanctions. Clearly the NDP is not against boycotts and economic sanctions in principle since they’ve recently supported these measures against Russia, Venezuela and elsewhere.

If, after a half-century of illegal occupation, one can’t call for boycotting Israeli settlement goods, then when? After a century? Two?

Or is the problem the particular country to be boycotted? Does the NDP hierarchy believe that anti-Semitism can be the only possible motivation for putting economic pressure on Israel to accept a Palestinian state? Or perhaps it is simply a worry that the dominant media would attack the party?

Whatever the ideological reason the bottom line is the Palestine Resolution was buried to ensure it wouldn’t be discussed. When its proponents sought to push it up the priority list at an early morning session before the main plenary, the party hierarchy blocked it. In a poorly publicized side room meeting they succeeded 200 to 189. NDP House Leader Guy Caron mobilized an unprecedented number of current and former MPs, including Murray Rankin, Randall Garrison, Craig Scott, Tracey Ramsey, Alexandre Boulerice, Hélène Laverdière, Nathan Cullen and others, to vote against debating the most widely endorsed foreign policy resolution at the convention (Niki Ashton was the only MP to support re-prioritizing the Palestine Resolution.)

Apparently, the party leadership discussed how to counter the resolution at two meetings before the convention. In a comment on a Guardian story about the need for the NDP to move left, Tom Allen, a staffer for Windsor Tecumseth NDP MP Cheryl Hardcastle, describes “panicked” planning to defeat the resolution. “As for the part about the ‘party establishment (being) easily able to deflect challenges from the left.’ I would respectfully submit that this is wrong. As an NDP staffer I can tell you that it wasn’t easy at all this time and, especially with regards to the ‘Palestinian Resolution,’ which required a great deal of panicked last minute organizing to defeat (and only then by a close margin).”

Why would the party establishment risk turning off so many young activists, exactly the sort of member new leader Jagmeet Singh claims he wants to attract?

A quick look at some of the more prominent supporters of shutting down debate suggests an answer.

Victoria area MPs (defence critic) Randall Garrison and (justice critic) Murray Rankin who voted against debating the Palestine Resolution are members of the Canada Israel Inter-Parliamentary Group and took a Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs paid trip to Israel in 2016. After the IDF slaughtered 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza in the summer of 2014, Rankin offered words of encouragement to an emergency fundraiser for Israel.

Party foreign critic Hélène Laverdière, who voted to suppress the Palestine Resolution, took a paid trip to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington in 2016 and participated in a Jewish National Fund event in Israel.

British Columbia liaison and critic for democratic institutions, Nathan Cullen also voted against debating the Palestine Resolution. “I am strongly in support of Israel”, Cullen bellowed in a 2016 statement about how people should be allowed to criticize that country. In 2014-15 Cullen’s office took in Daniel Gans through CIJA’s Parliamentary Internship Program, which pays pro-Israel university students $10,000 to work for parliamentarians (Gans then worked as parliamentary assistant to NDP MP Finn Donnelly). In 2014 Cullen met representatives of CIJA Pacific Region to talk about Israel, Iran and other subjects. According to CIJA’s summary of the meeting, “Mr. Cullen understood the importance of a close Canada-Israel relationship.”

Maybe the loudest anti-Palestinian at the convention was former president of the Ontario NDP and federal council member Janet Solberg. Unsatisfied as a settler in Toronto, Solberg pursued a more aggressive colonial experience when she moved to historic Palestine as a young adult.

Just before the convention the President of the Windsor-Tecumseh Federal NDP, Noah Tepperman, sent out an email to all riding associations calling on them to oppose Palestine resolutions. In it he claimed, “boycotts based on religion, nationality or place of origin directly contravene the spirit of inclusiveness to which we in the NDP are committed.” He further alluded to an anti-Jewish agenda by connecting the different solidarity resolutions to “a backdrop of already-high-and-rising antisemitism here in Canada as well as abroad.” But, Tepperman sits on the board of the Windsor Jewish National Fund, which is an openly racist organization.

The truth is pro-Israel-no-matter-what-it-does NDP members in positions of power within the party won a narrow battle. How the war goes will depend on the lessons learned by those seeking a party that’s an instrument of real change, that fights against all forms of racism and oppression.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

US State Dept pledges $40mn of military funds for ‘information wars’

RT | February 27, 2018

The Pentagon will pump millions into a State Department center created to fight propaganda and disinformation campaigns waged by foreign nations, as it wants to be “on the offensive” and respond “aggressively” to attacks.

The State Department announced on Monday that it had signed a memorandum with the US Department of Defense to transfer $40 million to the State’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), so it could up its game in countering malicious content online.

Part of these funds will be distributed between various civil rights groups, creators of media content, non-governmental organizations, as well as state-funded and private research entities. The grants would be awarded to those presenting the best ways to combat propaganda and disinformation. An Information Access Fund, to be set up for this purpose, will “support public and private partners working to expose and counter propaganda and disinformation from foreign nations.”

According to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein, the funds earmarked by the Pentagon for what is slated to become a large-scale campaign are “critical” to ensure that Washington will “continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation.”

Goldstein hinted that protection from such attacks may become only one of many facets of the initiative, adding: “It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive.”

The money has been transferred into State Department coffers after the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson requested the transfer of $40 million from the Department of Defense last year. The allocation of up to $60 million from the US defense budget to counter disinformation campaigns run by the foreign states, namely China, North Korea and Russia, was authorized by the Pentagon defense bill signed by Barack Obama as far back as in December 2016. The bill widened the scope of the center’s activities, which had previously focused exclusively on battling terrorist propaganda, and envisaged $60 million in funding from the Pentagon both for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. However, it was not before August last year when Tillerson asked for the funds to be unlocked, prompting speculation about him being reluctant to “anger” Moscow as “Russiagate” was gaining momentum.

At the first stage of the initiative, the State Department said it plans to distribute “an initial $5 million in grants” from the newly established fund, which would play “a key part” in the State Department’s co-operation with civil society, content providers and NGOs. In addition, the GEC will work on several “pilot projects,” details of which have not been revealed.

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Lessons learned from ‘Republic of NGOs’

By Yves Engler · February 25, 2018

Imagine living in a country where the entire social services sector is privatized, run by “charities” that are based in other countries and staffed by foreigners who get to decide whether or not you qualify for assistance.

Welcome to Haiti, the “Republic of NGOs.”

As salacious details about Oxfam officials hiring Haitian girls for sex make headlines, the media has downplayed NGOs lack of accountability to those they purportedly serve. Even less attention has been devoted to the role so-called non-governmental organizations have played in undermining the Haitian state and advancing wealthy countries’ interests.

According to a series of news reports, Oxfam UK’s Haiti director hired prostitutes and organized orgies at a charity run villa set up after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Some of the girls may have been as young as 14 and Oxfam representatives traded aid for sex. Oxfam UK leaders tried to keep the issue quiet when it emerged in 2011, which enabled a number of the perpetrators to join other NGOs operating internationally.

Since the earthquake there have been innumerable stories of NGOs abusing their power or pillaging funds raised for Haitians. In an extreme case, the US Red Cross built only six houses with the $500 million they raised for Haiti after the earthquake.

While impoverished Haitians get short shrift, NGOs respond to the interests of their benefactors. After the UN occupation force brought cholera to Haiti in October 2010, Oxfam and other NGOs defended the Washington-France–Canada instigated MINUSTAH (Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti). In response to Haitians protesting the UN’s role in the cholera outbreak, Oxfam spokeswoman Julie Schindall, told the Guardian “if the country explodes in violence, then we will not be able to reach the people we need to.” At the same time Médecins Sans Frontières’ head of mission in Port-au-Prince, Stefano Zannini, told Montreal daily La Presse,our position is pragmatic: to have learnt the source at the beginning of the epidemic would not have saved more lives. To know today would have no impact either.”

Of course that was nonsense. Confirming the source of the cholera was medically necessary. At the time of these statements UN forces were still disposing their sewage in a way that put Haitian life at risk. Protesting UN actions was a way to pressure MINUSTAH to stop their reckless sewage disposal and generate the resources needed to deal with a cholera outbreak that left 10,000 dead and one million ill.

Worse than deflecting criticism of the UN’s responsibility for the cholera outbreak, NGOs put a progressive face on the invasion/coup that initiated MINUSTAH. Incredibly, many NGOs justified US Marines taking an elected President from his home in the middle of the night and dumping him 10,000 km away in the Central African Republic. On March 25, 2004 Oxfam Québec and a half dozen other Canadian government-funded NGOs defended Canada’s (military, diplomatic and financial) role in the ouster of thousands of elected officials, including President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Marthe Lapierre of Development and Peace stated: “We’re not talking about a situation where a rebel group suddenly orchestrated Aristide’s departure. We’re talking about a situation where the Aristide government, since 2000, had gradually lost all legitimacy because of involvement in activities such as serious human rights violations and drug trafficking, but also because it was a profoundly undemocratic government.” Oxfam Québec regional director Carlos Arancibia concurred: “I fully agree with the analysis presented by others. It’s important to understand that things went off the rails starting in the year 2000, with the election.”

(After they lost the May 2000 legislative elections the opposition claimed that the electoral Council should have used a different voting method, which would have forced eight Senate seats to a runoff. Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party would likely have won the runoff votes, but the US/Canada backed opposition used the issue to justify boycotting the November 2000 presidential election, which they had zero chance of winning. For its part, Washington used the election dispute to justify blocking aid to the country. Even without the disputed senators, Fanmi Lavalas still had a majority in the senate and even when seven of the eight Lavalas senators resigned the aid embargo and effort to discredit the elections continued.)

At the time of the coup most of Haiti’s social services were run by NGOs. A Canadian International Development Agency report stated that by 2004, “non-governmental actors (for-profit and not-for-profit) provided almost 80 percent of [Haiti’s] basic services.” Amongst other donor countries, the Canadian government channelled its “development assistance” through NGOs to shape the country’s politics. According to CIDA, “supporting non-governmental actors contributed to the creation of parallel systems of service delivery. … In Haiti’s case, these actors [NGOs] were used as a way to circumvent the frustration of working with the government … this contributed to the establishment of parallel systems of service delivery, eroding legitimacy, capacity and will of the state to deliver key services.” As intended, funding NGOs weakened the Aristide/René Préval/Aristide governments and strengthened the US/France/Canada’s hand.

Highly dependent on western government funding and political support, NGOs broadly advanced their interests.

The Oxfam “sex scandal” should shine a light on the immense, largely unaccountable, power NGOs continue to wield over Haitian affairs. In a decent world it would also be a lesson in how not to use “aid” to undermine democracy.

February 26, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

New Proposal Designed to Confuse Public and Prevent Medicare for All

By Margaret Flowers | HealthOverProfit | February 23, 2018

The Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington-based Democratic Party think tank funded by Wall Street, including private health insurers and their lobbying group, unveiled a new healthcare proposal designed to confuse supporters of Medicare for All and protect private health insurance profits. It is receiving widespread coverage in ‘progressive’ media outlets. We must be aware of what is happening so that we are not fooled into another ‘public option’ dead end.*

The fact that CAP is using Medicare for All language is both a blessing and a curse. It means Medicare for All is so popular that they feel a need to co-opt it, and it means that they are trying to co-opt it, which will give Democrats an opportunity to use it to confuse people.

This effort could be preparation for the possibility that Democrats win a majority in Congress in 2018 or 2020. It is normal for the pendulum to swing to the party opposite the President’s party during the first term in office. If Democrats win a majority, they will be expected to deliver on health care, but they face a dilemma of having to please their campaign donors, which includes the health insurance industry, or pleasing their voters, where 75% support single payer health care.

The public is aware that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protects the profits of the medical-industrial complex (private health insurers, Big Pharma and for-profit providers) and not the healthcare needs of the public. “Fixing the ACA” is not popular. Last year during repeal attempts, people made it clear at town halls and rallies that they want a single payer healthcare system such as National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA). By offering a solution that sounds good to the uninformed, “Medicare Extra for All,” but continues to benefit their Wall Street donors, Democrats hope to fool people or buy enough support to undermine efforts for NIMA.

This is an expected development. If we look at the phases of stage six of successful social movements by Bill Moyer (see slide 8), we see that as a movement nears victory, the power holders appear to get in line with the public’s solution while actually attacking it. If the movement recognizes what is happening, that this is a false solution and not what the movement is demanding, then we have a chance to win NIMA. If the movement falls for the false solution, it loses.

Our tasks at this moment are to understand what the power holders are offering, recognize why it is a false solution and reject it.

“Medicare Extra for All” versus National Improved Medicare for All

The basic outline for the new proposal is that people would be able to buy a Medicare plan, a form of ‘public option,’ including the Medicare Advantage plans offered by private health insurers. People who choose to buy a Medicare plan would pay premiums and co-pays, as they do now for private health insurance. The new Medicare system would replace Medicaid for people with low incomes.

Private health insurance would still exist for employers, who currently cover the largest number of people, federal employees and the military. While workers would have the option to buy a Medicare plan, it is unclear how many would do so given that most employers who provide health insurance have their own plans and that private health insurers are experts at marketing their plans to the public.

NIMA, as embodied in HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” would create a single national healthcare system, paid for up front through taxes, that covers every person from birth to death and covers all medically-necessary care. NIMA relegates private insurance to the sidelines where it could potentially provide supplemental coverage for those who want extras, but it would no longer serve as a barrier for people who need care.

Here are the flaws in the CAP proposal:

  1. CAP’s plan will continue to leave people without health insurance. Instead of being a universal system of national coverage like NIMA, coverage under the CAP plan relies on people’s ability to afford health insurance. Only people with low incomes would not pay, as they do now under Medicaid. Just as it is today, those who do not qualify as low income, but still can’t afford health insurance premiums, would be left out. Almost 30 million are without coverage today. There is no guarantee that health insurance premiums will be affordable.
  2. CAPS’s plan will continue to leave people with inadequate coverage. Under NIMA, all people have the same comprehensive coverage without financial barriers to care. The CAP plan allows private health insurers to do what they do best – restrict where people can seek health care, shift the cost of care onto patients and deny payment for care. This is the business model of private health insurers because they are financial instruments designed to make profits for their investors. People with health insurance will face the same bureaucratic nightmare of our current system and out-of-pocket costs that force them to delay or avoid health care or risk bankruptcy when they have high health care needs.
  3. CAP’s plan will continue the high costs of health care. NIMA has been proven over and over to have the best cost efficiency because it is one plan with one set of rules. It is estimated that NIMA will save $500 billion each year on administrative costs and over $100 billion each year on reduced prices for pharmaceuticals. As a single purchaser of care, NIMA has powerful leverage to lower the costs of goods and services. The CAP plan maintains the complicated multi-payer system that we have today. At best, it will only achieve 16% of the administrative savings of a single payer system and it will have less power to reign in the high costs of care.
  4. CAP’s plan will allow private health insurers to continue to rip off the government. NIMA is a publicly-financed program without the requirement of creating profits for investors. With a low overhead, most of the dollars are used to pay for health care. The CAP plan maintains the same problems that exist with Medicare today. Private Medicare providers cherry pick the healthiest patients and those who have or develop healthcare needs wind up in the public Medicare plan. This places a financial burden on the public Medicare plan, which has to pay for the most care, while private health insurers rake in huge profits from covering the healthy with a guaranteed payor, the government.
  5. CAP’s plan will continue to perpetuate health disparities. NIMA provides a single standard of care to all people. Because all people, rich and poor (and lawmakers), are in the same system, there are strong incentives to make it a high quality program. CAP’s plan maintains the current tiered system in which some people have private health insurance, those with the greatest needs have public health insurance, some people will have inadequate coverage and others will have no coverage at all.
  6. CAP’s plan will continue to restrict patients’ choices. NIMA creates a nationwide network of coverage and consistent coverage from year-to-year so that patients choose where they seek care and have the freedom to stay with a health professional or leave if they are dissatisfied. CAP’s plan continues private health insurers and their restricted networks that dictate where patients can seek care. Private plans change from year-to-year and employers change the plans they offer, so patients will still face the risk of losing access to a health professional due to changes in their plan.
  7. CAP’s plan does not guarantee portability. NIMA creates a health system that covers everyone no matter where they are in the United States and its territories. CAP’s plan maintains the link between employment and health coverage. When people who have private health insurance lose their job or move, they risk losing their health insurance.
  8. CAP’s plan will perpetuate physician burn-out. NIMA creates a healthcare system that is simple for both patients and health professionals to use. Under the current system, which the CAP plan will perpetuate, health professionals spend more time on paperwork than they do with patients and physician offices spend hours fighting with health insurers for authorization for care and for payment for their services. This is driving high rates of physician burnout. Suicides among physicians and physicians-in-training are higher than the general population.

The new proposal is a ‘public option’ wrapped in a “Medicare for All” cloak. It is a far cry from National Improved Medicare for All. And, contrary to what CAP and its allies will tell you, the CAP plan will delay and prevent the achievement of NIMA.

Co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program**, Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, explained why the public option would not work in the last health reform effort:

“The ‘public plan option’ won’t work to fix the health care system for two reasons.

“1. It forgoes at least 84 percent of the administrative savings available through single payer. The public plan option would do nothing to streamline the administrative tasks (and costs) of hospitals, physicians offices, and nursing homes, which would still contend with multiple payers, and hence still need the complex cost tracking and billing apparatus that drives administrative costs. These unnecessary provider administrative costs account for the vast majority of bureaucratic waste. Hence, even if 95 percent of Americans who are currently privately insured were to join the public plan (and it had overhead costs at current Medicare levels), the savings on insurance overhead would amount to only 16 percent of the roughly $400 billion annually achievable through single payer — not enough to make reform affordable.

“2. A quarter century of experience with public/private competition in the Medicare program demonstrates that the private plans will not allow a level playing field. Despite strict regulation, private insurers have successfully cherry picked healthier seniors, and have exploited regional health spending differences to their advantage. They have progressively undermined the public plan — which started as the single payer for seniors and has now become a funding mechanism for HMOs — and a place to dump the unprofitably ill. A public plan option does not lead toward single payer, but toward the segregation of patients, with profitable ones in private plans and unprofitable ones in the public plan.”

What we must do

The movement for National Improved Medicare for All experienced tremendous growth in the past few years. All of the flaws of the Affordable Care Act are becoming reality as people are forced to pay high health insurance premiums, face high out-of-pocket costs before they can receive care and have their access to health professionals or services denied. There is a strong demand for NIMA that has resulted in more than half of the Democrats in the House of Representatives signing on to HR 676 and a third of the Democratic Senators endorsing the Senate Medicare for All bill. Medicare for All is becoming a litmus test for the 2018 elections and 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Power holders are feeling threatened by support for NIMA. They are looking for ways to throw the movement off track and allow lawmakers who don’t support NIMA to support something that sounds like NIMA. This is why they invented “Medicare Extra for All.” It is common for the opposition to adopt our language when we have strong support.

This is the time when the movement for NIMA needs to remain focused on our goal of NIMA, resist compromising and escalate our pressure for NIMA. We are closer to winning, it’s time to increase our efforts to pass the finish line.

Here are our tasks:

  • We need to expose the reasons for CAP’s proposal. It is designed to protect  health insurance industry profits.
  • We need to educate ourselves and others about the reasons why CAP’s proposal is flawed and deficient.
  • We need to educate and challenge lawmakers and candidates who speak in favor of CAP’s proposal and push them to support NIMA.
  • We need to be loud and vocal in our demand for nothing less than NIMA, as described in HR 676.
  • We need to make support for HR 676 a litmus test in the upcoming elections.

We need to practice “ICU” – being independent of political party on this issue by not tying our agenda to the corporate agenda of major political parties, being clear about what will and what will not solve our healthcare crisis, and being uncompromising in our demand for National Improve Medicare for All.

With a concentrated effort for NIMA, we can overcome this distraction*** and win National Improved Medicare for All. This is the time for all supporters of single payer health care to focus on federal lawmakers from both parties. Movements never realize how close they are to winning and victory often feels far away when it is actually close at hand.

The fact that the Democrats are proposing something that sounds like NIMA means we are gaining power. Let’s use it to finally solve the healthcare crisis in the United States and join many other countries in providing health care for everyone. NIMA is the smallest step we can take to head down the path of saving lives and improving health in our country.



*The ‘public option’ dead end occurred during the health reform process of 2009-10. Faced with widespread public support for National Improved Medicare for All, and 80% support by Democratic Party voters, the power holders had to find a way to suppress that support. They created the idea of a ‘public option,’ a public health insurance for part of the population, and convinced progressives that this was more politically-feasible and a back door to a single payer healthcare system. Tens of millions of dollars were donated to create a new coalition, Health Care for America Now (similar in name to Healthcare-Now, a national single payer organization – this was intentional), that organized progressives to fight for this public option and suppress single payer supporters (they were openly hostile when we raised single payer). Many single payer supporters fell for it, and the movement was successfully divided and weakened. Kevin Zeese and I wrote about this in more detail in “Obamacare: The Biggest Health Insurance Scam in History.”

** Read more about this from Dr. Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Program in his Quote-of-the-Day.

*** Read more about intentional distractions through incremental approaches to prevent National Improved Medicare for All in this presentation.

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

America Needs a 21st Century Church Committee

Former members and staffers of the Church Committee | March 17, 2014

Dear Congress, Mr. President and the American public,

In 1975 the public learned that the National Security Agency had been collecting and analyzing international telegrams of U.S. citizens since the 1940s under secret agreements with all the major telegram companies. Years later, the NSA instituted another watch list program to intercept the international communications of key figures in the civil rights and anti–Vietnam War movements among other prominent citizens. Innocent Americans were targeted by their government. These actions were uncovered — and stopped — only because of a special Senate investigative committee known as the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee.

We are former Church Committee members and staffers and write today as witnesses to history and as citizens with decades of collective experience in Congress, the federal courts, the executive branch and the intelligence community. We write today to encourage Congress to create a Church Committee for the 21st century — a special investigatory committee to undertake a thorough and public examination of current intelligence community practices affecting the rights of Americans and to make specific recommendations for future oversight and reform. Such a committee would work in good faith with the president, hold public and private hearings and be empowered to obtain documents. Such congressional action is urgently needed to restore the faith of citizens in the intelligence community and in our federal government.

The actions uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s bear striking similarities to the actions we’ve learned about over the past year. In the early 1970s, allegations of impropriety and illegal activity concerning the intelligence community spurred Congress to create committees to investigate those allegations. Our committee, chaired by Sen. Frank Church, was charged with investigating illegal and unethical conduct of the intelligence community and with making legislative recommendations to govern the intelligence community’s conduct. The bipartisan committee’s reports remain one of the most searching reviews of intelligence agency practices in our nation’s history.

Our findings were startling. Broadly speaking, we determined that sweeping domestic surveillance programs, conducted under the guise of foreign intelligence collection, had repeatedly undermined the privacy rights of U.S. citizens. A number of reforms were implemented as a result, including the creation of permanent intelligence oversight committees in Congress and the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Even though our work was over 30 years ago, our conclusions seem eerily prescient today. For example, our final report noted:

We have seen a consistent pattern in which programs initiated with limited goals, such as preventing criminal violence or identifying foreign spies, were expanded to what witnesses characterized as “vacuum cleaners,” sweeping in information about lawful activities of American citizens. The tendency of intelligence activities to expand beyond their initial scope is a theme, which runs through every aspect of our investigative findings.

The need for another thorough, independent and public congressional investigation of intelligence activity practices that affect the rights of Americans is apparent. There is a crisis of public confidence. Misleading statements by agency officials to Congress, the courts and the public have undermined public trust in the intelligence community and in the capacity of the branches of government to provide meaningful oversight.

The scale of domestic communications surveillance the NSA engages in today dwarfs the programs revealed by the Church Committee. Thirty years ago, the NSA’s surveillance practices raised similar concerns as those today. For instance, Church explained:

In the case of the NSA, which is of particular concern to us today, the rapid development of technology in this area of electronic surveillance has seriously aggravated present ambiguities in the law. The broad sweep of communications interception by NSA takes us far beyond the previous Fourth Amendment controversies where particular individuals and specific telephone lines were the target.

As former members and staffers of the Church Committee, we can authoritatively say the erosion of public trust currently facing our intelligence community is not novel, nor is its solution. A Church Committee for the 21st century — a special congressional investigatory committee that undertakes a significant and public re-examination of intelligence community practices that affect the rights of Americans and the laws governing those actions — is urgently needed. Nothing less than the confidence of the American public in our intelligence agencies and, indeed, the federal government, is at stake.


Counsel, advisers and professional staff members of the Church Committee, including

Chief Counsel Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.

Loch Johnson

John T. Elliff

Burt Wides

Jim Dick

Frederick Baron

Joseph Dennin

Peter Fenn

Anne Karalekas

Michael Madigan

Elliot Maxwell

Gordon Rhea

Eric Richard

Athan Theoharis

Christopher Pyle

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Haley and Abbas have exposed the fallacy of PA representation at the UN

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | February 22, 2018

The outcome of the UN Security Council meeting does not bode well for the people of Palestine. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas gave a lengthy speech during which opportunities for hammering out the truth of the matter were reduced to statements showing that little has changed in terms of how the PA interprets history and time frames.

Abbas declared that Israel “has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation as per international law into a situation of permanent settlement colonisation.” He also described the PA as having become “an Authority without authority.” The inaccuracy of these statements is the suggestion that their claims have just become obvious, highlighting the refusal to recognise that the facts of the matter have been very clear since the start of the occupation — Zionism is an expansionist ideology forever seeking “Greater Israel” — and the creation of the PA, whose sole role is to serve Israeli interests. Having allocated enough space in order to portray the alleged deterioration of the situation as opposed to current circumstances being the result of a premeditated plan of colonisation and collaboration, Abbas is entrenching a poor bargaining position for Palestinians.

This deficiency has been recognised by the US. The response to Abbas by America’s Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, emphasised that the only option considered by the US is “compromise”. In Haley’s words: “You can choose to put aside your anger about the location of our embassy and move forward with us towards a negotiated compromise that holds great potential for improving the lives of the Palestinian people.” In other words, forget about a state; you can have the crumbs off the table, which is better than no crumbs at all.

Haley’s response cannot be read solely within the context of a diatribe against Abbas. It is a direct attack on Palestinians rights and aspirations for liberation. Indeed, this exchange portrays the consequences which Palestinians suffer as a result of political isolation. The rhetoric within international institutions takes place in such a detached manner that it is possible to discern a narrative for UN forums that only skims the surface of what is deemed acceptable to discuss. The choice of discourse has been determined away from Palestinian reality.

The diverging narratives are imbued with recognition and repudiation, with the latter reserved for Palestinians. Haley is emphasising this discrepancy and exploiting it at a time when Israel and the US are working overtly to accelerate the colonisation process so that “Greater Israel” becomes more of a reality day by day. Recognising the colonial narrative at an international level is aided by the fact that Abbas is not speaking for all Palestinians. His calculated discourse, which should generate outrage at the way decades of Israeli violations are being recognised by himself and the PA so belatedly — particularly after US President Donald Trump’s unilateral declaration on Jerusalem — is a blatant example of pandering to colonial complicity.

Haley’s statement on Palestinians’ limitations unfortunately rings true. Whether or not the US is involved in negotiations, the damage to the Palestinians and their cause is immense. Turning to international organisations with weak leadership for solutions will ultimately result in the diminished power of the people. The fact that Abbas continues to engage with the international community without acknowledging its role in isolating Palestinian voices can only mean an extension of the current situation, with long-term benefits for Israel. Engaging with the US after the measures it has taken to hinder the legitimate claims of Palestinians on their territory to the point of elimination should not be an option.

Whatever Abbas chooses, and recent history has shown many examples of how the PA fluctuates from one degenerative option to another, it is important to remember that the decisions are not Palestinian choices. The people of Palestine have been experimented upon from all sides — even militarily — and options offered by parties across the political spectrum ignore the fact that the genuine possibilities for Palestinians can only be generated from within; Abbas knows this only too well. It is with calculated intent that the entire world has been allowed to impose anything and everything upon the Palestinians apart from their legitimate rights. The added indignity is having these same impositions articulated in the name of the Palestinian people by someone like Mahmoud Abbas.

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Zionists, Traitors and Congressmen

Mantiq al-Tayer | February 23, 2018

As mindless zionist-bullshit-fed Americans worry about Russiagate, an unspeakable evil is about to descend upon the once great capital city of what is left of the United States. This evil is so thoroughly ingrained in the consciousness – for lack of a better term – of the inside-the-beltway crowd that it can come like a thief in the night and be mistaken for a guest, a friend, an ally. But it is none of those.

Yes, we are talking about this year’s AIPAC policy conference which will officially begin shitting on Washington on March 4th. Among the chief shitters and shit eaters are 18 members of the allegedly US Congress. To see if any of your representatives are speaking at this treason fest, go here.

And what gathering of bigoted warmongering motherfuckers would be complete without the presence as a keynote speaker of the puke-generating Nikki Haley who has got to be the worst woman on the planet? […]

Anyway, this post is actually about the video below. It’s a sort of a modern-day example of billboard correction. Video correction in honor of AIPAC’s upcoming treason fest. To see the original video you can go to AIPAC’s site and find it. I won’t even link to it here, but I digress. … Full post

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , | 3 Comments

Mindblowing Corruption At FBI – NSA Whistleblower Reveals

The Jimmy Dore Show | February 20, 2018

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

Is Sweden complicit in Saudi war on Yemen?

Press TV – February 21, 2018

Last year, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström told a conference that the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Yemen was one that “has far too long been neglected and forgotten by the global community” and what Yemeni people were going through was “difficult to imagine.”

It is such statements that, besides leading various international peace efforts to help resolve major conflicts across the globe, including Saudi Arabia’s deadly war on Yemen, have helped Sweden establish the image of a peace-loving country that cares for others.

However, a steady rise in the Scandinavian country’s weapons business over the past years, including its major dealings with repressive Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf region, has cast doubt on Stockholm’s true intentions.

In fact the rise has been so fast that according to official data by the US government, Sweden is now the world’s third largest weapons producer per capita, closely following Russia and Switzerland while overtaking France, Britain and the US.

At the heart of Sweden’s weapons industry is Saab, a company that sold over $2.7 billion worth of weapons in 2016 alone, making its way into the world’s top 30 arms producing companies according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Over the recent years, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have become some of the main customers for Swedish-made weapons.

Svenska Freds, a 135-years-old Swedish anti-militarization group, charges that Stockholm has been providing Riyadh with weapons since 1998, with a brief suspension in 2015 following a diplomatic row between the two countries.

The larger chunk of the trade has taken over in the past eight years. According to Svenska Freds, the arms sales to Saudi Arabia reportedly approached six billion Swedish kronor ($741mn) between 2010 and 2016.

That means the arms deals between the two sides have continued throughout Saudi Arabia’s deadly war on Yemen, which began in March 2015 and has killed nearly 14,000 Yemeni civilians.

The UAE, another Saudi ally in the bloody war, was able to secure a larger deal in 2016, when the Swedish administrative authority, the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products, authorized 11 billion Swedish kronor ($1.3bn) in arms sales to the Arab country.

Before that, the country had sold 2.1 billion kronor ($272mn) in weapons sales to the UAE.

In a move that further proved Sweden’s desire to expand military ties with repressive Arab regimes, Saab opened a new office in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi in late 2017.

Lawmakers in the Swedish parliament have time and again criticized the government’s arms deals with the Saudi-led coalition.

While Foreign Minister Margot Walltröm has pledged to introduce measures that would limit the exports later this year, there are no signs that Stockholm is willing to end the profitable business anytime soon.

February 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Egypt-Israel gas deal is scandalous and shameless

Dr Amira Abo el-Fetouh | MEMO | February 21, 2018

After Al-Sisi opened the very large Zohr gas field about two weeks ago the newspapers celebrated and announced the news that Egypt will achieve gas self-sufficiency this year by means of the Zohr, North Alexandria, Nawras, and Atoll gas fields. The Egyptian citizens lived this dream until they awoke to a nightmare where Netanyahu is announcing that Israel is celebrating after signing a historical agreement with Egypt that stipulates Egypt will import gas from Israel for 10 years. The imported gas agreement is worth $15 billion and these billions will be added to the Israeli treasury in order to be spent on education, health services, and welfare for Israeli citizens.

Of course it was no coincidence that Netanyahu announced this great news to the Israeli people on the anniversary of President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem, as such an agreement poses a new victory for Israel, no less significant than its victory in 1967 and the signing of the peace treaty. In my opinion, they are crowning their victories with this latest victory, as a result of which they control energy in Egypt and the key to the energy tap is placed in their hands. They can turn it off whenever they please. Whoever controls the energy can suffocate the states that live under its mercy and can control the decisions of these states.

This is a major crime committed against Egypt as a state and against its people. This gas is actually Egyptian gas that was seized by Israel either without the ruling government’s knowledge or in collusion with it. Instead of admitting to this crime and being ashamed of it, the government’s mouthpieces and corrupt media came up with justifications and excuses more criminal and shameless than the act itself. Some examples include but are not limited to the claims that the government has nothing to do with the Israeli gas import deal, overlooking the fact that the government facilitated the deal and prepared a draft bill allowing the private sector to import gas from abroad and sell it in the local market. Of course, the corrupt parliament, which does as the government desires and was formed under its watchful eye, approved the bill. It is foolish to make such claims when everyone knows that no private company can import anything without first obtaining government approval. Moreover, where would an unnamed company that has never operated in this field before, come up with $15 billion from to pay the Israelis?

Another justification included claims that economic interests dictate relations between countries and that there is no problem importing gas, even from an enemy, as long as it serves Egypt’s interests. However, those making these claims forgot that a country’s interests cannot be served by their enemy, and that from a purely national security standpoint, it is a strategic mistake to link Egypt’s energy security to Israel, which can stop exporting gas to Egypt if any conflict between the two countries arises.

The most absurd justification is the claim that Egypt is seeking to turn into a regional centre for energy and that the gas market has become available and open to any private company. No one bothered to mention what happened to the natural gas self-sufficiency claims made two weeks ago and ask why Egypt is importing gas when it has one of the largest gas fields, the Zohr gas field, in addition to the fields discovered in Egyptian regional waters and in the western and eastern deserts.

These mouthpieces also failed to mention why Egypt is importing gas specifically from Israel, especially since there are several alternatives, such as Algerian, Iraqi or Russian gas.

However, what is most astounding is the strange silence of the Egyptian government regarding this suspicious agreement, compared to the historical celebrations in Tel Aviv. Of course these celebrations are completely understandable given the financial, strategic, and moral benefits the agreement will grant Israel. Israel never dreamt of such benefits, even during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, their strategic treasure. What we cannot understand or accept is the fact that the corrupt Egyptian media is celebrating this agreement, despite the fact that such an agreement is the most prominent manifestation of betrayal and treachery, and the secret to the link between Egypt’s energy security and Israel’s gas.

February 21, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

Bear scare! Why the US Democrats desperately need a Russian bogeyman

By Robert Bridge | RT | February 20, 2018

Even before Donald Trump set foot in the White House, loveless liberals were busy pushing the narrative that Russia meddled in the elections. But could this claim be – just maybe – a dastardly ploy to hide some unsavory truths?

Pass the popcorn, the theater of the political absurd known as ‘Russiagate’ continues playing to disappointed audiences without so much as an intermission. And with the latest episode featuring an indictment against 13 Russian nationals without rhyme or reason, perhaps it’s a good time to pause and reflect on the question the mainstream media conspicuously ignores: was the real meddlesome actor in the 2016 presidential election not the perennial bogeyman known as ‘Putin’s Russia’, but the Democratic Party itself?

Indeed, some highly questionable moves on the part of the Democrats before, during and after the elections go far in exonerating the Russian fall guy from any and all charges. You be the judge.

The FISA fail

In a memo declassified by the White House and released to great fanfare by the House Intelligence Committee on February 2, it was alleged that on October 21, 2016, the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) – armed with the notorious Trump dossier – secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.

But something looks rotten in Denmark. As it turned out, the explosive Trump dossier, compiled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, was bought and paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign. In other words, this represents – at the very least – a very big conflict of interest.

At the same time, in the their application for the FISA warrant, the FBI and DOJ “cited extensively” a Yahoo News article by one Michael Isikoff, which discusses Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow.

As it turned out, however, there were serious problems with that article. As the Nunes memo states, Isikoff’s article “does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself…”

Indeed, Steele admitted that he met with Yahoo News “at the direction of Fusion GPS,” the firm that organized the dossier, in September 2016. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has largely played down these glaring violations of FISA protocol, as it continues to heap scorn on Russia.

“Putin’s KGB-inspired maneuvering of the United States via Donald Trump and the Republican Congress has all the earmarks of a carefully planned, professionally executed war game in which Trump, congressional Republicans and some in right wing media are his comrades,”wrote Cheri Jacobus in USA Today.

The specter of the Russian bogeyman is truly the gift that keeps giving.

Clinton’s email scandal

In March 2015, the news broke that Hillary Clinton, while serving as secretary of state, had used her home computer while handling classified government documents. An assortment of experts and politicians accused Clinton of violating State Department protocol.

On July 5, 2016, following an investigation, FBI Director James Comey said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in handling her email correspondences. He added that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

That statement did little to calm the critics, however, as Clinton was haunted by the ghosts of emails past right up to the eve of the elections.

On October 28, 2016, the FBI said it was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s private email server after messages were discovered on the computer of top aide Huma Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner, who was then embroiled in a sexting scandal. Comey announced just before the elections that nothing had changed in the Clinton case, which had been closed four months earlier without criminal charges.

However, the email saga refuses to go away as the DOJ once again reopened its investigation into Clinton’s email server in January.

To this day, Hillary Clinton has been able to divert attention away from the very serious charge of handling classified government emails over her private server thanks to a giant smokescreen known as Russia, the bogeyman that conveniently explains every transgression and setback by the Democratic Party.

Operation Sink Sanders

In July 2016, the DNC suffered a broadside after WikiLeaks released a batch of emails purporting to show that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the body, was actively conspiring against the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. Naturally, this news had a way of upsetting those donors who contributed funds to the Sanders campaign. Wasserman Schultz resigned in disgrace following the revelations.

Despite there being a deliberate effort to undermine the Sanders campaign, that disturbing news was sidelined by the conspiracy theory that a Russian army of apparatchiks hacked the DNC computers, turning over the information to Julian Assange. To this day, no evidence has been provided to support that claim.

Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz was eventually cleared of rigging the Democratic primary in favor of Hillary Clinton, while Russia continues to suffer from mainstream media mudslinging.

Clinton cheated in debates

One of the most shocking revelations to come from the leaked/hacked DNC emails was the claim that Donna Brazile, interim chairperson of the DNC who once worked at CNN, used her inside connections to feed Hillary Clinton the questions to several of her public debates against Donald Trump.

Following the DNC debacle, Brazile hoped to cash in on the scandal by publishing a tell-all book entitled, ‘Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.’

In one particularly candid part, Brazile said she was secretly concerned about Clinton’s health as Election Day drew closer. This comment did not sit well with Brazile’s former colleagues. Clinton’s staffers published an open letter in response to the book, saying, “It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.”

Once again, Russia was used and abused as the convenient 11-time-zone Band-Aid that can cover any political wound, whatever the size. What is the most surprising about this tactic is that anybody still falls for it.

Regime change

Given Hillary Clinton’s past track record for advocating on behalf of military adventures, most memorably in Iraq and Libya, the tall tale of Trump-Russia collusion appears to have been a desperate effort on the part of the establishment to get their candidate into office and the military industrial complex into another war.

According to the Center for Public Integrity’s review of Federal Election Commission data, over a 14-month period (January 2015 through February 2016), Clinton and Sanders jointly received at least $765,049 from employees of major defense contractors – more than twice the $357,775 sum received by the Republican Party presidential candidates.

To prove the liberal media’s (and by extension, the establishment’s) apparent desire for military conflict, consider how it lavished praise on Trump after he attacked Syria’s Shayrat Airbase on April 7, 2017, America’s first unilateral military act aimed at the Syrian government forces (not the terrorists).

CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria waxed poetically, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States,” he said dreamily. “I think this was actually a big moment.” On MSNBC, Nicholas Kristof, a regular Trump critic, said the Republican leader “did the right thing.” Elliott Abrams could barely contain his newfound enthusiasm for Trump: “… the Trump administration can truly be said to have started only now. The president has been chief executive since January 20, but this week he acted also as Commander in Chief. And more: He finally accepted the role of Leader of the Free World.”

Judging by such comments, had Trump continued bombing Syria, and thereby pacifying the hawks in Washington, there is a very good chance that Russiagate would have been quietly swept under the media’s carpet.

Impeach Trump

It would be difficult to name another US president who has suffered the slings and arrows of media scorn more than Donald J. Trump. And he’s only been in office for just over one year. Indeed, no sooner had his Inauguration finished there were already calls for him to be impeached. In fact, the subject has become so popular among the Democrats that there is even a special Wikipedia page dedicated to the relentless campaign.

Although the clamor to impeach the Republican leader has subsided of late, when the idea does raise its head, the empty claim that Russia influenced the elections ranks high among the reasons.

Clinton Foundation ‘pay to play’

Another reason why the Democrats would need to push the anti-Russia narrative is to protect the Clinton family from allegations that they personally profited from donations to the Clinton Foundation.

In January 2017, it was reported that the FBI opened an investigation into whether the Clinton Foundation accepted donations in exchange for political favors while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state in the Obama administration, the Los Angeles Time reported, citing two anonymous sources.

“Critics have accused the Clinton family of using the foundation to enrich themselves and give donors special access to the State Department when Hillary Clinton was its head,” the article said.

The LA Times said that the Democrats have rejected the claims, saying that “Trump is trying to steer attention away from investigations examining…Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.”

Nunes Memo, Part 2

If anybody thought the Trump administration would just release the Nunes memo and drop it, think again. In fact, Trump’s legal team backs the idea of a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Air Force One Monday that Trump’s attorneys have given the green light to starting the process of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department’s behavior during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a report by Axios.

In other words, expect a lot more anti-Russia outbursts from the Democrats in the days and weeks to come.


Read more:

Clinton campaign fed Steele info for Trump dossier – Senate Judiciary Committee

FBI thought Hillary broke the law, drafted acquittal despite ongoing investigation – report

Brazile out at CNN after WikiLeaks reveals she gave debate questions to Clinton camp

DoJ probing Clinton Foundation over alleged ‘pay-to-play’ schemes – report

February 20, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nunes: FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | February 19, 2018

Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. “If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial,” he said. “The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created.”

Devin Nunes interview with Sharyl Attkisson

Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, which aired on Sunday.

Attkisson said she had invited both Nunes and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) but that only Nunes agreed. She asked him about Schiff’s charge that Nunes’ goal was “to put the FBI and DOJ on trial.” What followed was very atypical bluntness — candor normally considered quite unacceptable in polite circles of the Washington Establishment.

Rather than play the diplomat and disavow what Schiff contended was Nunes’ goal, Nunes said, in effect, let the chips fall where they may. He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. “DOJ and FBI are not above the law,” he stated emphatically. “If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you’re darn right that we’re going to put them on trial.”

Die Is Cast

The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials — and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page — may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory.

This was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? Back when the FISA surveillance warrant of Page was obtained, just weeks before the November 2016 election, there seemed to be no need to hide tracks, because, even if these extracurricular activities were discovered, the perps would have looked forward to award certificates rather than legal problems under a Trump presidency.

Thus, the knives will be coming out. Mostly because the mainstream media will make a major effort – together with Schiff-mates in the Democratic Party – to marginalize Nunes, those who find themselves in jeopardy can be expected to push back strongly.

If past is precedent, they will be confident that, with their powerful allies within the FBI/DOJ/CIA “Deep State” they will be able to counter Nunes and show him and the other congressional investigation committee chairs, where the power lies. The conventional wisdom is that Nunes and the others have bit off far more than they can chew. And the odds do not favor folks, including oversight committee chairs, who buck the system.

Staying Power

On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.)

At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – or the more things change, the more they stay the same – but that would be only half correct in this context. Yes, scoundrels will always take liberties with the law to spy on others. But the huge difference today is that mainstream media have no room for those who uncover government crimes and abuse. And this will be a major impediment to efforts by Nunes and other committee chairs to inform the public.

One glaring sign of the media’s unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh’s most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. In a sense, this provides what might be called a “confidence-building” factor, giving some assurance to deep-state perps that they will be able to ride this out, and that congressional committee chairs will once again learn to know their (subservient) place.

Much will depend on whether top DOJ and FBI officials can bring themselves to reverse course and give priority to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This should not be too much to hope for, but it will require uncommon courage in facing up honestly to the major misdeeds appear to have occurred — and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, it would be the right thing to do.

Nunes is projecting calm confidence that once he and Trey Gowdey (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, release documentary evidence showing what their investigations have turned up, it will be hard for DOJ and FBI officials to dissimulate.

In Other News …

In the interview with Attkisson, Nunes covered a number of other significant issues:

  • The committee is closing down its investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign; no evidence of collusion was found.
  • The apparently widespread practice of “unmasking” the identities of Americans under surveillance. On this point, Nunes said, “In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans’ names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes.”
  • Asked about Schiff’s criticism that Nunes behaved improperly on what he called the “midnight run to the White House,” Nunes responded that the stories were untrue. “Well, most of the time I ignore political nonsense in this town,” he said. “What I will say is that all of those stories were totally fake from the beginning.”

Not since Watergate has there been so high a degree of political tension here in Washington but the stakes for our Republic are even higher this time. Assuming abuse of FISA court procedures is documented and those responsible for playing fast and loose with the required justification for legal warrants are not held to account, the division of powers enshrined in the Constitution will be in peril.

A denouement of some kind can be expected in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington.  He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

February 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment