Saturday, December 08, 2012

"The New America" (It Looks A Lot Like The Old One)

Chris Hedges, Truthdig:
Hurricane Sandy, if you are poor, is the Katrina of the North. It has exposed the nation's fragile, dilapidated and shoddy infrastructure, one that crumbles under minimal stress. It has highlighted the inability of utility companies, as well as state and federal agencies, to cope with the looming environmental disasters that because of the climate crisis will soon come in wave after wave. But, most important, it illustrates the depraved mentality of an oligarchic and corporate elite that, as conditions worsen, retreats into self-contained gated communities, guts basic services and abandons the wider population. ...

This is the new America. It is an America where economic and environmental catastrophes converge to trigger systems breakdown and collapse. It is an America divided between corporate predators and their prey. It is an America that, as things unravel, increasingly sacrifices its own.
Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States. ...

The records show that the Air Force has been testing out a bunch of different drone types, from the smaller, hand-launched Raven, Puma and Wasp drones designed by Aerovironment in Southern California, to the much larger Predator and Reaper drones responsible for civilian and foreign military deaths abroad. The Marine Corps is also testing drones, though it chose to redact so much of the text from its records that we still don't know much about its programs. ...
Left I, U.S.: "Don't emulate us, Syria!":
The U.S. government is now vociferously warning Syria not to use chemical weapons. The U.S. government! That would be the same country that firebombed 67 Japanese cities, killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying 50-90% of each of the cities. Were they dropping matches from the air? No, they were dropping Napalm bombs, a chemical weapon.

That would also be the country that in addition to continuing to use Napalm in its war against the people of Vietnam, carpetbombed that country with Agent Orange, another chemical weapon that killed or maimed an estimated 400,000 Vietnamese and caused an estimated 500,000 birth defects.

That would also be the country that covered Iraq with depleted Uranium, still another chemical weapon that has caused huge numbers of cancers and birth defects in that country.

And finally, that country, the one who is warning Syria about the dire consequences of using chemical weapons (and claiming they are preparing to do so, while maintaining that their "evidence" cannot be revealed), is the same country that said and did nothing when its ally Israel used white phosphorous bombs against Gaza in 2009.
George Washington has posted: Update On Potential War Against Syria

John Pilger highlights some of the stories reported by Project Censored in its book Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution:
The bombing of civilian targets in Libya in 2011 was often deliberate and included the main water supply facility that provided water to 70 per cent of the population. In Afghanistan, the murder of 16 unarmed civilians, including children, attributed to one rogue US soldier, was actually committed by "multiple" soldiers, and covered up. In Syria, the US, Britain and France are funding and arming the icon of terrorism, al-Qaida. In Latin America, one US bank has laundered $378bn. in drug money.
The US says children are legitimate targets in the never-ending war against Afghanistan. Army Lt. Col. Marion "Ced" Carrington, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment: "In addition to looking for military-age males, [we are] looking for children with potential hostile intent."

Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque:
On [November 29], Bradley Manning, one of the foremost prisoners of conscience in the world today, testified in open court - the first time his voice has been heard since he was arrested, confined and subjected to psychological torture by the U.S. government.

An event of some newsworthiness, you might think. Manning has admitted leaking documents that detailed American war crimes in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He has been held incommunicado for more than 900 days by the Obama administration. Reports of his treatment at the hands of his captors have sparked outrage, protests and concern around the world. He was now going to speak openly in a pre-trial hearing on a motion to dismiss his case because of that treatment. Surely such a moment of high courtroom drama would draw heavy media coverage, if only for its sensationalistic aspects.

But if you relied on the nation's pre-eminent journal of news reportage, the New York Times, you could have easily missed notice of the event altogether, much less learned any details of what transpired in the courtroom. The Times sent no reporter to the hearing, but contented itself with a brief bit of wire copy from AP, tucked away on Page 3, to note the occasion. ...

For the actual details of Manning's hearing - which actually began a few days before his appearance - you have to turn to foreign papers, such as the Guardian, whose coverage of Manning's situation has been copious. The Guardian provided two long stories (here and here), totalling 68 paragraphs, on Manning's testimony, both written by one the paper's leading reporters, Ed Pilkington, who was actually present in the courtroom. This was preceded by three long stories (here, here and here), also by Pilkington reporting on the scene, about previous testimony in the hearing, from the brig's commander and from the Marine psychiatrist overseeing Manning's condition.
I'm sad to hear that Floyd is taking a break from blogging. His righteous anger will be missed.

1 comment:

laura k said...

Kind of #LeastImportantThing: I hate when people compare Sandy to Katrina. It trivializes or forgets what Katrina was.

Obviously low-income people and people of colour waited longer for help and services, as they always do, after Hurricane Sandy. But NYC did not whole-scale abandon and kill its low-income population, then ship the survivors out of town, the way New Orleans did.