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Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown


I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance.

Chelsea Manning

She went on to criticize the structural flaws in media coverage of US wars, stating:

One clue to this disjunction lay in the public affairs reports. Near the top of each briefing was the number of embedded journalists attached to American military units in a combat zone. Throughout my deployment, I never saw that tally go above 12. In other words, in all of Iraq, which contained 31 million people and 117,000 United States troops, no more than a dozen American journalists were covering military operations.

The process of limiting press access to a conflict begins when a reporter applies for embed status. All reporters are carefully vetted by military public affairs officials. This system is far from unbiased. Unsurprisingly, reporters who have established relationships with the military are more likely to be granted access.

Less well known is that journalists whom military contractors rate as likely to produce “favorable” coverage, based on their past reporting, also get preference. This outsourced “favorability” rating assigned to each applicant is used to screen out those judged likely to produce critical coverage.

Reporters who succeeded in obtaining embed status in Iraq were then required to sign a media “ground rules” agreement. Army public affairs officials said this was to protect operational security, but it also allowed them to terminate a reporter’s embed without appeal.

There have been numerous cases of reporters’ having their access terminated following controversial reporting. In 2010, the late Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings had his access pulled after reporting criticism of the Obama administration by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and his staff in Afghanistan. A Pentagon spokesman said, “Embeds are a privilege, not a right.”

If a reporter’s embed status is terminated, typically she or he is blacklisted.” 

(via america-wakiewakie)


Antiwar activists carry rocks up a hill and pile them in formations to block construction of a U.S. naval base on South Korea’s JeJu Island, only to have them removed again by authorities.

From photo series, “Repeatedly Destroyed, but Continuously Constructed Art” by Emily Wang, Sung-hee Choi

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Complicity of Australia and New Zealand in US Drone Assassinations

The Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs has had something of an iniquitous history in the Australian political landscape. It is, more than anything, a sign of the pressing inequalities of the Australian-United States relationship. “Joint command” is a misnomer, given that the facility is under US control. The Pine Gap facility, established in 1970 as one of the world’s largest satellite ground installations, has been responsible for feeding intelligence to American military missions for decades, with, or without the knowledge of the wallahs in Canberra.

Last month, it was revealed by The Australian that two Australian citizens had been killed in a drone strike in Yemen on November 19, 2013. They were Queensland’s Christopher Havard and New Zealand dual national “Muslim bin John” (Darryl Jones). Both men, supposedly members of the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, were traveling in a convoy of vehicles with Abu Habib al Yemeni, a key AQAP figure. (The Australian does not even bother to attach the term “alleged militants” in describing the fate of the slain.) Australia’s somewhat redundant Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, was only informed of the strike after it was revealed that Australian citizens might have been killed. At least that’s the official account.

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Edward Snowden’s emerging value system

It was 9/11 that helped him point his way forward. Snowden has indicated that the attacks had a deep effect on him, and he favored the invasion of Iraq. In May 2004 he did what many under-employed 20-year-olds do: he joined the army. He said later, “I felt I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.”
Snowden reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training. He had enlisted in the army’s “18X” program, as a Special Forces recruit. He soon grew disillusioned, he has said, because he thought many of the other recruits seemed less interested in helping oppressed people than in killing them…

—The Snowden saga: A shadowland of secrets and light. (May 2014) Vanity Fair, 156.

Join us May 15, 16, and 17 in San Diego for Days of Action against drones to speak out against drones used for killing and spying. There will be events everyday, and we would love to see you at as many as you can attend!

Thursday May 15

4-7 PM – San Diego Veterans for Peace Demonstration: Federal Building at corner of Front and Broadway, downtown San Diego; Street Theater staged aerial “drone attack” by Artful Activist San Diego Street theater.

8 PM – 9:30 PM – Overpass Light Brigade, light/sign demonstration at Clairemont Drive overpass at I-5 freeway

Friday May 16

8 – 10 AM – Demonstration, including street theater against drones, Northrop Grumman, 9326 Spectrum Center Blvd. and Ruffin Road, San Diego 92123 

4-6 PM – Women Occupy San Diego Demonstration at SPAWAR, Pacific Highway. Gather between 3:30-3:45p in the parking lot for Old Town Transit Ctr, entrance off Pacific Hwy just south of Rosecrans/Taylor. 4p: March on Pacific Hwy sidewalk (east side) to SPAWAR gate at Enterprise, go up and over a Pedestrian Bridge across Pacific Hwy and down to sidewalk on Enterprise, on west side of Pacific Hwy. Leafleting to and informational picketing 4:30-5:30p. 5:30p, March back to Old Town Transit Ctr Parking Lot.

Saturday May 17

9:30 AM – 2 PM – Stop the Drones Convergence! Registration 9:30 AM; 10 AM – 2 PM: Issues panel, break-out groups to discuss and plan NEXT STEPS! First Church of the Brethren, 3850 Westgate Place, SD 92105

For more info/action updates visit

Fossil fuels maintain America’s geostrategic advantage

Despite a convincing study detailing how America’s largest city, New York, could be entirely powered by wind, water and sunlight by 2050, Obama’s “all of the above” means in practice that the emphasis continues to be on maximizing fossil fuel extraction to undercut rival countries and maintain an imperial geostrategic advantage…

—Williams, Chris (2013, April 2). Imperial recipes for a burnt planetSocialist Worker, pp. 10.


For Shame: The Giant Poster That Shows Drone Pilots the People They’re Bombing

A new project, initiated by a collective of artists from around the world including the French JR, has tried to reach the people pulling the trigger in America’s drone wars—the drone operators themselves.

It’s called “Not A Bug Splat,” and its gets its name from the term drone operators use for a successful “kill,” because—in the pixelated grayscale of the drone camera—ending a human life looks like squashing a bug.

Read more. [Image: Not a Bug Splat]

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