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Over the weekend, Heather Linebaugh wrote a powerful Op-ed in The Guardian newspaper lamenting the lack of public understanding regarding the American drone program. Heather should know what she’s talking about, she served in the United Stated Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. She worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here are some key excerpts from her article:
Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”
Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.
I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.
What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.
Moreover, the many civilians being incinerated without a trial are not the only victims here. So are the actual drone operators themselves, many of whom end up committing suicide. Recall my article from December 2012: Meet Brandon Bryant: The Drone Operator Who Quit After Killing a Child. Of course, our so-called political “leaders” never get their hands dirty, other than to take a lobbyist bribe that is. Now more from Heather:
Recently, the Guardian ran a commentary by Britain’s secretary of state for defence, Philip Hammond. I wish I could talk to him about the two friends and colleagues I lost, within a year of leaving the military, to suicide. I am sure he has not been notified of that little bit of the secret UAV program, or he would surely take a closer look at the full scope of the program before defending it again.
Full article here.
Wow, this is straight up insane propaganda at the highest level. He is not even trying to hide the message. CNN’s Jake Tapper just comes out and says it:
I think the American people, honestly, want security over freedom.
– Jake Tapper
Compare that to let’s say, Benjamin Franklin:
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
– Benjamin Franklin
That right there demonstrates perfectly how far we have fallen culturally.
The “Too Big Too Jail” nonsense that surrounds large U.S. banks and their above the law employees has been glaringly obvious and thoroughly documented for quite some time now. Yet what represents an even larger slap in the face to millions of hard-working, law-abiding citizens, is how relentlessly the “justice” system goes after small time criminals, while merely fining oligarch thieves for far worse crimes. I first covered this theme earlier this year in my piece Some Money Launderers are “More Equal” than Others, which discussed how HSBC was caught laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.
Well HSBC is back in the news. This time it relates to their transferring funds on the behalf of financiers for the militant group Hezbollah. If transactions such as these had even the slightest link to Bitcoin, there would be endless uproar, calls for countless Congressional hearings and demands to stop the currency at all costs. But when HSBC is caught doing it, what happens? A $32,400 settlement.
More from The Huffington Post:
A major U.S. bank has agreed to a settlement for transferring funds on the behalf of financiers for the militant group Hezbollah, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday.
Concluding that HSBC’s actions “were not the result of willful or reckless conduct,” Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control accepted a $32,400 settlement from the bank. Treasury noted, as did HSBC in a statement to HuffPost, that the violations were voluntarily reported.
Everett Stern, a former HSBC compliance officer who complained to his supervisors about the Hezbollah-linked transactions, told HuffPost he was “ecstatic and depressed at the same time.”
“Those are my transactions, I reported them,” he said, satisfied that the government was taking action. But, he added, “Where I am upset was those were a handful of transactions, and I saw hundreds of millions of dollars” being transferred.
Stern said he hopes the government’s enforcement actions against HSBC have not come to an end with the latest settlement. “They admit to financing terrorism and they get fined $32,000. Where if I were to do that, I would go to jail for life,” he said.
And the government watchdog’s claim that HSBC committed no “substantially similar apparent violations” in the past five years is likely to raise some eyebrows. In December 2012, the bank agreed to pay a $1.9 billion settlement for moving money that a 2012 Senate report found had likely helped drug cartels and a Saudi Arabian bank the CIA has linked to al Qaeda.
No one at HSBC was criminally charged for what U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer called at the time ”stunning failures of oversight.”The Senate report faulted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent bureau with the Treasury Department, for weak oversight of HSBC.
You know you are a Banana Republic if…
Full article here.
Glenn Greenwald: “The Most Shocking Stories Have Not Been Published”…Is This Why He Left The Guardian? | A Lightning War for Liberty
Just yesterday, I was taken aback by an article in Time magazine in which Glenn Greenwald was quoted as saying:
The archives are so complex and so deep and so shocking, that I think the most shocking and significant stories are the ones we are still working on, and have yet to publish.
The above statement was expressed during a speech by Greenwald at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This takes on an entirely new meaning now that we know Mr. Greenwald has decided to leave The Guardian. There have been grumblings for several weeks now that the relationship between the journalist and the paper had been strained. Whether or not that is the result of new censorship resulting from government pressure on the paper at this stage is unknown. Either way, I can’t wait to see what new information he has in store for us, whether it will be through a Brazilian news organization or an independent venture.
Below are statements from both Glenn and The Guardian:
Statement of Glenn Greenwald:
“My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling: I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved….
- Ozgur Uckan: Glenn Greenwald announces departure from the Guardian | Media | theguardian.com (theguardian.com)
- BREAKING: Glenn Greenwald leaves Guardian for vague reasons (hitchensamiswrites.wordpress.com)
- Greenwald: ‘Most Shocking’ NSA Stories Yet To Come (rinf.com)
- ‘Million Mask March’ In The Works for National Mall on Guy Fawkes Day (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Million Mask March Q & A (millionmaskmarch.wordpress.com)
- Million Mask March Event Map: 150+ Locations And Counting (millionmaskmarch.wordpress.com)
- Introducing a Brilliant Parody Website of the NSA (libertyblitzkrieg.com)
10 Chemical Weapons Attacks the U.S. Government Doesn’t Want You to Know About | A Lightning War for Liberty
- Michael Calderone: Obama Admin Denies AP Requests For Syria Evidence (huffingtonpost.com)
- The US government has used more chemical weapons than all other countries combined (paulcraigroberts.org)
Julian Assange Discusses Mainstream Media, the “Wikileaks Party” and our Global Awakening | A Lightning War for Liberty
- Who are our Wikileaks Candidates? (lateralloveaustralia.com)
- WikiLeaks founder and Australian Senate candidate Julian Assange proud of support in homeland (foxnews.com)
- WikiLeaks founder proud of Australian support (nzherald.co.nz)
- The Wikileaks Party (lateralloveaustralia.com)
- Julian Assange: conviction of Bradley Manning a dangerous precedent (theguardian.com)
- Our very own dissident (jewishnews.net.au)
- GCHQ expected to hand over Prism spying report to MPs today (computerworld.co.nz)
- U.S. shared PRISM data with Dutch intelligence agency (dailydot.com)
- What Is PRISM? (gizmodo.com.au)
- Here Are The Best And Worst Redesigns Of PRISM’s Atrocious PowerPoint (gizmodo.com.au)
- Let’s Put Jefferson’s Rightful Liberty in the Context of Prism (ncrenegade.com)
- Nine reasons you should care about NSAs PRISM surveillance (seculardiscourse.wordpress.com)