Monthly Archives: December 2014

USAID tied to more US subversion plans abroad

In April, The Associated Press revealed that the U.S. Agency for International Development had overseen the creation of a secret “Cuban Twitter” program to stir political dissent on the island and bypass Cuba’s stranglehold on the Internet. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ee9756deb9be416089cd37b894e5b929/5-things-know-about-usaids-cuban-hip-hop-planBut that was part of a larger operation. A second AP investigation in August found the agency dispatched […]

US votes to begin sanctions against Venezuela

The United States Congress has passed a bill which would impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials found to have violated the opposition’s protesting rights. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30426439?print=true The vote was passed by the House of Representatives and received similar approval by the Senate earlier this week. The bill is now likely to be signed into law by President […]

Walmart illegally threatens organizing employees

A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled that Walmart managers in California had illegally disciplined employees for going on strike and unlawfully threatened to close a store if many of its employees joined a group demanding higher wages. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/business/walmart-illegally-punished-workers-judge-rules.html?ref=us In a decision made public on Wednesday, Geoffrey Carter, an N.L.R.B. administrative law judge, also found […]

Obama moves to block FOI torture request

The Obama administration has urged a court to reject a request to disclose thousands of pages of documents from a Justice Department investigation into the torture of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency, including summaries of interviews with about 100 witnesses and documents explaining why in the end no charges were filed.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/us/politics/us-tells-court-that-documents-from-torture-investigation-should-remain-secret.html?ref=world The administration […]

Pentagon magnifies belligerency toward Russia

The Pentagon has developed a range of military options to pressure Russia to correct its violation of a landmark arms control agreement, a senior Defense Department official told Congress on Wednesday. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/us/politics/pentagon-to-press-russia-on-arms-pact-violation.html?ref=world The aim is to persuade Russia to address the Obama administration’s accusation that it has developed a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of […]

Psychologists help devise US torture techniques

The dogs wouldn’t jump. All they had to do to avoid electric shocks was leap over a small barrier, but there they sat in boxes in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania, passive and whining. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/health/architects-of-cia-interrogation-drew-on-psychology-to-induce-helplessness.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 They had previously been given a series of mild shocks and learned they could do nothing to stop […]

President Bush was fully briefed on torture use

Former US President George W Bush was “fully informed” about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says.  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30427211?print=true Speaking to Fox News, Dick Cheney said Mr Bush “knew everything he needed to know” about the programme, and the report was “full of crap”. The CIA has defended its use of methods […]

Human Rights groups call for US torture charges

Human rights groups have called for the prosecution of US officials involved in what a Senate report called the “brutal” CIA interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30407950 Even a top UN human rights envoy said there had been a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level”. The CIA has defended its actions in the years after […]

CIA peddles torture propaganda in NY Times

The Central Intelligence Agency leaked classified material to try to shape the perception that its detention and interrogation program was an effective tool, a Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/us/politics/report-says-cia-used-media-leaks-to-advantage.html?ref=world The report also said that in 2002, a publication, revealed later on Tuesday to be The New York Times, agreed to withhold information about […]

Kerry vows for open-ended US war against ISIL

Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress on Tuesday not to preclude the use of ground forces to fight the Islamic State as lawmakers consider setting limits on the nature and extent of American involvement in the military campaign against the group. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/us/politics/kerry-warns-senate-against-curbs-on-fighting-isis.html?ref=us&_r=0 Mr. Kerry made his request in testimony before an unusual session of […]

Assange: Surveillance a complex weapon of tyranny

It is now a journalistic cliché to remark that George Orwell’s “1984” was “prophetic.” The novel was so prophetic that its prophecies have become modern-day prosaisms. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/opinion/julian-assange-on-living-in-a-surveillance-society.html?smid=tw-share Reading it now is a tedious experience. Against the omniscient marvels of today’s surveillance state, Big Brother’s fixtures — the watchful televisions and hidden microphones — seem quaint, […]

The Ebola motivation: Billions in US spending

President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to pass $6.2 billion in emergency funds to fight the virus, warning, “We cannot beat Ebola without more funding.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/03/us/at-nih-obama-stresses-need-to-keep-funding-fight-against-ebola.html?ref=us Mr. Obama used a visit to the National Institutes of Health to keep a spotlight on the crisis. Scientists there recently published promising results from early clinical trials […]

Hawking warns AI could be end of human race

Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540 He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology […]