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Top Ten Govt Things to Be Afraid of for Halloween

By: Friday October 31, 2014 10:31 am

The government’s main function these days is to promote fear among Americans. Fear is good for our current way of life, allowing your opinion and votes to be manipulated, and to make sure you’ll go along with any terrible things the government wishes to do to you (surveillance, wars, detentions, quarantines, shredding of the bill of rights…)

So, in honor of Halloween, our scariest holiday other than election day, here is the Official Government-Approved List of Fears:

1) ISIS (they’re everywhere!)

2) Ebola (it’s everywhere!)

3) Al Qaeda (still around)

4) People who tell you not to be afraid (they’re working for the terrorists)

5) Something (as in “If you see SOMETHING, say something…”)

6) For Kids: Your hippie parents and Occupy-creepy older siblings (be sure and report them to the nearest friendly neighborhood Homeland Security personnel, they’ll give you candies!)

7) That Leatherface guy with the chainsaw and Twisty clown from the TV (they may be ISIS)

8) The thing under your bed (could be an ISIS thing, and you’re not imagining it, we believe you)

9) The Boogie-man as you choose to believe in him/her as a higher power (he has ebola and is a Muslim)

10) People who are not like you based on skin color, preferences, religion, politics and everything else all the time everywhere forever, just to be on the safe side!

Citizens remember, fear is your only protection against the forces of whatever, evil, so just stay afraid and you’ll be safe!

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Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon

Iraq’s Sunnis Won’t Fight ISIS for U.S.

By: Friday October 31, 2014 7:11 am

There have been secret negotiations between various Sunni Muslim armed factions, via Arab and Iraqi Kurdish intermediaries, for the past three months.

Iraq’s Sunnis won’t fight ISIS for the U.S. says NIQASH, a non-profit media organization operating out of Berlin. Without Sunni support, America’s war in Iraq cannot succeed. Here’s why.

Negotiations Fail

According to NIQASH, a source at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said there have been secret negotiations between various Sunni Muslim armed factions, via Arab and Iraqi Kurdish intermediaries, for the past three months. At the request of U.S. diplomats and military personnel, Shia officials from the Iraqi government have also been meeting with the leaders of these groups in Erbil, Kurdistan and Amman, Jordan.

At the same time General John Allen, the Obama’s appointed coordinator of U.S. efforts in Iraq, has been trying to contact the Sunni tribal leaders he worked with in Anbar during the previous war’s “Awakening.” “But it was surprising,” a NIQASH source reported, “Most of General Allen’s former allies refused to cooperate with us. And some of them are actually now living outside of Iraq because of the Iraqi government’s policies.”

Oops. With some irony, America’s failure to secure the 2006 Awakening caused those Sunnis sympathetic to America’s aims to flee Shia persecution. Those “good guys” are thus not available in 2014 to help out America in the current war.

ISIS and the Sunnis

When ISIS first took control of Sunni areas in western Iraq, anger towards the Shia government in Baghdad caused many to see them as liberators from the Iraqi army. The army, along with paramilitary police from the Interior Ministry, had engaged in a multi-year campaign of beating, imprisoning and arresting Sunnis, to the point where many felt that Baghdad was occupying, not governing, the Sunni majority areas. For the Sunnis and ISIS, the Baghdad government was a common enemy, and a marriage of convenience formed.

Recent events in Baghdad do little to assuage Sunni fears. A recent report suggests the new Iraqi Prime Minister may nominate a Shia Badr Militia leader as Interior Minister. Since the Shias took control of Iraq following the American invasion of 2003, the Interior Ministry, which controls the police and the prisons, has been a prime tool of repression and punishment.

Still, cracks in the ISIS-Sunni relationship have started to form. Many of the Sunni groups, especially those led by former Baathists, are largely secular in nature, seeing their Sunni ties more as broadly cultural than strictly religious. ISIS’ requests to pledge allegiance to its cause, coupled with demands to implement Sharia law, have created friction. Some internecine fighting has taken place. The U.S. has sought to exploit these issues to break the indigenous Sunnis away from ISIS, and ultimately to turn the Sunnis into American proxy boots on the ground as was done with the Kurds.

America’s problem is that most Sunnis are fearful about cooperating via America with the Shia government in Baghdad. They fear history will repeat itself and the Americans and the Shia government will betray them, exactly as they betrayed them only a few years ago when the Awakening movement collapsed. Quite a pickle.

Sorry America

The Sunnis seem to be choosing a middle ground, one which does not serve America’s interests.

According to a 1920s Revolution Brigades (Sunni militia) leader, various militias came to the decision “not to support the international coalition against ISIS. They also decided not to cooperate with ISIS either. If the [Iraqi] army or the [Shia] militias attack [Sunni] areas they control though, they will fight both groups.”

“We are against the acts of the hardline Islamic State. And we are also against bombed cars exploding randomly in Baghdad,” Abu Samir al-Jumaili, one of the Sunni Mujahideen Army’s leaders in the Anbar province, told NIQASH. “However we are also opposed to the government’s sectarian policies against Sunnis… In 2006 we cooperated with the government to expel al Qaeda from Sunni cities but the government did not keep its end of the bargain. They chased our leaders and arrested us… The ISIS group are terrorists but so are the Shia militias.”

History is a Witch

There is no way America can succeed in its goals in Iraq– repel ISIS and keep the country together– without the active participation of the Sunnis. It is very unlikely that that will happen. American strategy rests on the assumption that the Sunnis can be bribed and coerced into breaking with ISIS, no matter the shape of things in Baghdad. That’s hard to imagine. As with al Qaeda in Iraq during the American occupation years, the Islamic State is Sunni muscle against a Shia government that, left to its own devices, would continue to marginalize, if not simply slaughter, them. Starting in 2006, U.S. officials did indeed bribe and coerce some Sunni tribal leaders into accepting arms and payments in return for fighting insurgent outfits, including al-Qaeda. That deal, then called the Anbar Awakening, came with assurances that the United States would always stand by them.

America didn’t stand. Instead, it turned the program over to the Shia government and headed for the door marked exit. The Shias promptly reneged on the deal.

Once bitten, twice shy, so why, only a few years later, would the Sunnis go for what seems to be essentially the same bad deal? It appears they will not, and that by itself suggests the current Iraq war will end much the same as the previous one. It is foolish for America to expect otherwise.

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Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Terry

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Arrested While Trying to Attend David Petraeus Event in New York

By: Friday October 31, 2014 1:04 am

Ray McGovern who was arrested by NYPD and stopped from attending event with General Petraeus.

Former CIA analyst and activist Ray McGovern was arrested as he attempted to attend an event in New York City featuring former CIA director and retired military general, David Petraeus. He was charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

At 92nd Street Y, which describes itself as a “world-class cultural and community center,” Petraeus was to appear with John Nagl, who recently wrote a book, Knife Fights about being an army tank commander in the Gulf War of 1991. Neoconservative commentator Max Boot was to join them as well.

Activists from World Can’t Wait, the Granny Peace Brigade, Brooklyn for Peace and a chapter of Veterans for Peace called on people to protest. Some tickets, which cost $45 each, were bought so people could attend the event and potentially participate in a question and answer portion of the event.

World Can’t Wait activist Stephanie Rugoff said a guard stopped McGovern. “Ray, you’re not going in,” the guard said.

McGovern, who is 74 years-old, told the guards something to the effect that the Bill of Rights gave him the right to go into the event. McGovern had a ticket too. But the guards would not let him pass and soon New York police officers surrounded him.

Richard Marini, also an activist with World Can’t Wait, approached the entrance to the 92nd Street Y Center and saw McGovern, who is 74-years-old, being apprehended.

According to Marini, his arms were twisted tightly behind his back and he was in immense pain while they were dragging him to the police car. He was squeezed into the back of a patrol car and taken to the 67th Street station.

Rugoff heard him screaming. He was shouting about how they were hurting his shoulder. He asked the officers to stop twisting it so they did not aggravate his shoulder and possibly re-injure it.

“I had a ticket as well,” Marini explained. “They recognized me as well and called me by my name, my first name. They seemed to know who people were.”

All of this happened just before 7:30 pm, when the event had been scheduled to start. Although Marini had stood up in a previous event and interrupted conversation, he said he planned to wait until the question and answer session to engage in any kind of protest. That was McGovern’s plan too.

In Leak Prosecution, Attorneys Demand to Know if Government Has ‘Agreement’ with Reporter James Risen

By: Thursday October 30, 2014 4:33 pm

(update below) Attorneys for former CIA officer and whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling are demanding evidence of any “understandings” or “agreements” between the United States and James Risen, a New York Times reporter, for testimony in the case. The demand comes after Attorney General Eric Holder made comments yesterday at the Washington Ideas Forum about whistleblowers and [...]

U.S. Postal Service Spying on Americans Without Oversight

By: Thursday October 30, 2014 8:00 am

The United States Postal Service disclosed it approved nearly 50,000 requests, called “mail covers,” last year alone from law enforcement to secretly monitor the snail mail of Americans. An audit shows the surveillance program is more extensive than widely known and that oversight protecting Americans is lax: 21 percent of the covers examined were approved [...]

Did US Government Invoke “State Secrets” in Defamation Case Because Anti-Iran Organization Is Engaged in Graymail?

By: Wednesday October 29, 2014 6:33 pm

Attorneys for a business owner, who claims his company, Enterprises Shipping and Trading SA, was defamed by an anti-Iran advocacy group, are imploring a federal judge to not allow the United States government to invoke the state secrets privilege without making their reasons for doing so public. They suggest to the judge that the organization [...]

The Stories of Some of the Eighty-Nine People Killed by Chicago Police in the Past Five Years

By: Wednesday October 29, 2014 12:34 pm

The Chicago Police Department shot over three hundred people in the past five years. In that same time span, 89 people were killed, and a grassroots organization led by youth of color in Chicago is calling attention to the stories of eleven of the individuals who were killed and also one who survived. The organization, [...]

Homeless Guy’s Sign, Four Blocks from Koch Brothers’ Apartment

By: Wednesday October 29, 2014 8:52 am

There’s a homeless man I see from time to time near where I live. He sometimes begs for money. Sometimes people give him food, sometimes he forages in the trash. There’s his sign, written on the lid of an old cooler. In America’s richest city, four blocks from where the Koch Brothers live, in a [...]

The FBI & Impersonating the Press to Catch a Bomb Threat Suspect

By: Tuesday October 28, 2014 6:25 pm

Both the Associated Press and Seattle Times are outraged that the FBI impersonated the Seattle Times in order to transmit malware to a bomb threat suspect so his location would be revealed. In June 2007, the FBI used a software tool called a “computer and Internet Protocol address verifier” or CIPAV. The agency sent a [...]

Guantanamo Prisoner’s Attorneys Argue Government Appeal to Stop Release of Forced-Feeding Videos Would Fail

By: Tuesday October 28, 2014 11:45 am

Attorneys for a Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abu Wa’el Dhiab, who has pursued a lawsuit against the United States government’s forced-feeding of prisoners, have asserted a federal court has all the authority it needs to release videos of Dhiab being force-fed and forcibly removed from his cell. The attorneys maintain the government is “seeking secrecy to [...]

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