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Admiral Poindexter Took Total Information Awareness Program To Singapore

By: Thursday July 31, 2014 10:00 am

The panopticon shall prevail. Retired US Navy Admiral John Poindexter came to the public’s attention during the Iran-Contra scandal where he was convicted of lying to Congress about the operation, though the conviction was overturned on appeal. Upon leaving the military Poindexter worked as a defense contractor but was ultimately brought back into government by President George Bush in 2001 where, in the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Poindexter took the surveillance society to its ultimate end with the concept and policy framework of Total Information Awareness (TIA).

Once TIA became public it too created controversy for Poindexter though he ultimately retired from the Bush Administration in 2003 due to controversy surrounding the creation of a gambling project called Policy Analysis Market which allowed people to profit by betting on terrorist attacks and assassinations.

Though Poindexter’s service in the Bush Administration was relatively brief, it did leave an impression on one person, Peter Ho, the permanent Secretary of Defense for Singapore.

The two men met in Poindexter’s small office in Virginia, and on a whiteboard, Poindexter sketched out for Ho the core concepts of his imagined system, which Poindexter called Total Information Awareness (TIA). It would gather up all manner of electronic records — emails, phone logs, Internet searches, airline reservations, hotel bookings, credit card transactions, medical reports — and then, based on predetermined scenarios of possible terrorist plots, look for the digital “signatures” or footprints that would-be attackers might have left in the data space. The idea was to spot the bad guys in the planning stages and to alert law enforcement and intelligence officials to intervene.

Ho said he was impressed with Poindexter’s “sheer audacity” and went back to Singapore with a commitment to implement a version of TIA there. But it was not just Sinapore where Poindexter’s seemingly disgraced ideas would live on.

In late 2003, a group of U.S. lawmakers more sympathetic to Poindexter’s ideas arranged for his experiment to be broken into several discrete programs, all of which were given new, classified code names and placed under the supervision of the National Security Agency (NSA). Unbeknownst to almost all Americans at the time, the NSA was running a highly classified program of its own that actually was collecting Americans’ phone and Internet communications records and mining them for connections to terrorists. Elements of that program were described in classified documents disclosed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, sparking the most significant and contentious debate about security and privacy in America in more than four decades.

That’s right folks, TIA was never really shut down. Publicly condemned as an Orwellian unconstitutional invasion of people’s privacy? Yes. But actually stopped? Not really.

Singapore’s TIA, called the Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning program (RAHS), is in full gear and attracting a lot of interest from Pentagon officials. The Singapore government even hired a former American military officer to be a consultant on the program.

The name of the consultant? You guessed it, John Poindexter.

US Imposes Travel Ban On Officials From Venezuela

By: Thursday July 31, 2014 7:51 am

After getting caught in the attempted coup and murder of President Hugo Chavez, the US government backed off Venezuela a bit. The US imperialist forces had clearly botched the job in a fiasco that even dragged in the Bush White House. Chavez was staying and the tradition of asserting US dominance in Latin America would have to wait, until now.

The Obama Administration has now imposed travel bans on officials serving in the freely elected Venezuelan government. The ban follows the response from the government to violent right wing rioters who have been killing police officers and journalists in an attempt to destabilize the government after losing an election.

Some of the organizations involved in the riots received funds from the US government in a familiar pattern of using the cover of providing aid to help foment political instability.

Amid escalating tensions with Venezuela, the U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced a travel ban for officials of the socialist government it said committed human rights abuses during a crackdown on opposition protests.

In imposing the sanctions, the strongest U.S. action yet against the South American country, the State Department jumped ahead of Congress, which has been pondering a similar move since the height of the protests in March.

Yes, while the US is supplying Israel with more ammunition to kill civilians in Gaza it is imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials for “human rights abuses.” The hypocrisy is off the charts. Especially when considering the Venezuelan officials’ real offense is being part of a government that is not willing to turn over Venezuela’s vast petroleum reserves to US intermediaries from Miami.

Apparently multitasking for the Obama Administration is undermining US credibility all over the world simultaneously.

Obama Admin Condemns Attack On UN School In Gaza But Refuses To Assign Blame, Restocks Israel’s Ammunition

By: Thursday July 31, 2014 5:20 am

In a bizarre public denouncement, the Obama Administration condemned the attack on a UN school in Gaza Wednesday without blaming anyone for it.  The odd blameless condemnation comes despite there being little to no doubt that the devastation at the UN school was a result of Israeli shelling. The IDF itself has acknowledged it fired ordinance in the area, allegedly in response to mortar fire. So almost everyone, including Israel to a limited degree, agrees the attack on the UN School was done by Israel.

Stranger still, the condemnation came as the US agreed to resupply Israel with ammunition to carry out more attacks on Gaza – like the one that occurred at the UN school. Is the Obama Administration aware of how ridiculous it looks?

The White House escalated its rhetoric yet again on Wednesday by condemning the shelling of the UN school that was sheltering displaced Palestinians. While the administration did not publicly assign blame for the attack, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “all available evidence” pointed to Israel and the Israeli military acknowledged that it fired back after its soldiers were targeted by mortar rounds launched from the vicinity of the school.

“We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council. She also condemned “those responsible for hiding weapons in the United Nations facilities in Gaza” — a nod to Israel’s charge that Hamas is housing arms in those facilities.

Hours after Meehan made those statements the Obama Administration confirmed it had supplied Israel with ammunition, further implicating America in the killings in Gaza which have now claimed the lives of more than 1,300 Palestinians.

The Obama Administration’s utter failure to rein in Israel’s bloody behavior despite having an incredible amount of leverage is almost as pathetic as its dishonest communications strategy. A strategy that has not only failed to help achieve peace, but continually makes America look like a dishonest pitiful giant whose malevolence is only matched by its incompetence.

The Roundup for July 30th, 2014

By: Wednesday July 30, 2014 1:26 pm

Hey folks, how are you this Wednesday? International Politics Overall – The UN Security Council agreed on a resolution condemning the violence in Iraq – Journalist Gareth Porter joins The Real News to discuss the latest negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran – The G7 announced more sanctions against Russia for its involvement in Ukraine – [...]

David Frum Accuses New York Times And Reuters Of Faking Gaza Hospital Photos [Updated]

By: Wednesday July 30, 2014 9:39 am

Faked photo leads NYT story today — David Frum (@davidfrum) July 24, 2014 Former George W. Bush speech writer and current Senior Editor at The Atlantic David Frum has leveled a severe accusation at both the New York Times and Reuters – that they created “fake photos” of Palestinians suffering in Gaza. The author [...]

Under Sanctions American Sales To Russia Increase

By: Wednesday July 30, 2014 7:00 am

POTUS Re Ukraine: Russia should understand we will continue to support the people of Ukraine due to their ties with Europe and US — U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) July 30, 2014 Though the US government helped overthrow the elected government in Ukraine and is arming forces in Kiev, it can not make the economic [...]

Israel Increases Attacks On Gaza: Knocking Out Power Plant, Expanding Target List

By: Wednesday July 30, 2014 5:37 am

BREAKING PHOTO: Gaza earlier today after more than 30 rockets fired into Israel today. Via Mohammed Saber — PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) July 29, 2014 Despite international outcry over civilian casualties, Israel escalated its strikes on Gaza yesterday. One of the strikes knocked out an electric power plant in Gaza that started a large [...]

The Roundup for July 29th, 2014

By: Tuesday July 29, 2014 3:54 pm

Hey folks, how are you doing this Tuesday? International Politics Overall – Journalist Derek Monroe talks with The Real News about critical questions on recent allegations of Russian involvement in the downing of MH17 – Pew: 49 percent of Americans cite Russia as “a serious problem, but not [an] adversary” – With Israelis rejecting a ceasefire and Americans favoring [...]

No Labels Document Shows Politics As Usual Strategy

By: Tuesday July 29, 2014 8:48 am

“No Labels”, a group of political consultants claiming to be dedicated to rising above Washington DC partisanship and cynicism, has  apparently become partisan and cynical. In a memo viewed by Yahoo News, No Labels is discovered to be the phony mouthpiece for moneyed interests many assumed it was. Rather than “solving problems” as is the [...]

Privatization Of World Water Supply Kicks Into Gear

By: Tuesday July 29, 2014 7:55 am

How much would you pay to stay alive? As climate change makes the planet less hospitable for human life in numerous well established locations, a major push is taking place by transnational corporations to secure claims on the most valuable commodity on earth – water. While privatizing and commidifying water supplies has been a neoliberal [...]

Questions Surround Edited NBC Report On Al-Shifa Hospital Bombing

By: Tuesday July 29, 2014 5:20 am

Our own cameras and pictures of the attack on the complex @GileadIni @JoshBlockDC @nbc @AviMayer @IDFSpokesperson — Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 28, 2014 Something strange happened yesterday. NBC News reported that Israel bombed Al Shifa hospital located in the Gaza Strip only to later pull back the report based on statements from the Israeli military. Ayman [...]

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