Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Thursday, July 31, 2014

FreedomWorks, a private-sector political entity, influences the Federal Congress

"Leaked Memo: Top Tea Party Group Says It Forced Mitch McConnell To Oppose the Stimulus
FreedomWorks' president writes that the GOP senator's "uwillingness to lead" forced his group to "shut down every phone line in the Leader's offices."
2014-07-31 by Andy Kroll for "Mother Jones" [http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/mitch-mcconnell-freedomworks-stimulus-senate-obama]:
As he seeks another six years in office, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has touted his reputation as a true conservative and an unwavering opponent of President Barack Obama. But a newly leaked document written by one of the most prominent figures in the tea party movement claims that McConnell wasn't a strong conservative leader initially when Obama proposed his anti-recession stimulus package—and that McConnell only ended up opposing this signature Obama initiative because a leading tea party group leaned on him to do so.
Mother Jones recently obtained a trove of emails, memos, financial records, and fundraising documents written by officials and financial backers of FreedomWorks, a national tea party group. These records contain a May 2009 memo written by FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe and addressed to the group's board of directors. The memo presented FreedomWorks' efforts to combat the Obama administration, just as the new president was settling in and responding to the economic crisis under way. In the document, Kibbe credited FreedomWorks—which has been funded by corporations, wealthy individuals, and grassroots donors—for "fomenting the tea party movement."
The memo noted that FreedomWorks was doing all it could to battle Obama's $787 billion stimulus package, which was intended to jump-start the US economy. But Kibbe reported in his memo that not all Republican leaders in Congress were willing to block the stimulus bill. Mitch McConnell was apparently one of those wavering Republicans. Here's what Kibbe's memo said:
[begin excerpt]
Early in the stimulus battle, we learned that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was learning towards letting Senate Republicans 'vote their conscience,' code words for an unwillingness to lead. Our campaign team was able, with just several hours notice, to mobilize a grassroots firestorm that systematically shut down every phone line in the Leader's offices, both in Washington, DC, and in Kentucky. This unreported story resulted in a very strong Senate Republican Leadership position opposing the trillion-dollar stimulus bill and a surprisingly unified opposition in the Senate.
[end excerpt]
In Kibbe's telling, McConnell was prepared to let the 40 Senate Republicans under his leadership vote as each preferred to do, possibly permitting some GOPers to support Obama's stimulus at this moment of economic peril. Only when FreedomWorks muscled McConnell, Kibbe was claiming, did the minority leader change course and insist that all Senate GOPers vote no.
Was Kibbe telling the truth? Neither McConnell nor FreedomWorks responded to requests for comment. But Kibbe's account contradicts the conventional narrative that McConnell from the start wanted Senate Republicans to oppose the stimulus package—and it undermines McConnell's contention (which he deploys regularly on the campaign trail these days) that he has been a consistent conservative opponent of Obama. In the end, the stimulus bill passed 60 to 38. All but three Senate Republicans voted no.
Kibbe's boast that McConnell only tried to block the stimulus because of pressure from FreedomWorks will likely not improve relations between the group and the senator. In recent years, FreedomWorks has attacked McConnell as a Washington insider who buddies up with DC lobbyists. In a bid to oust McConnell, FreedomWorks backed his 2014 primary opponent, businessman Matt Bevin, who failed spectacularly. The ongoing clash between McConnell and FreedomWorks is one of several fronts in the continuing civil war within the GOP—and the Kibbe memo shows that FreedomWorks considered McConnell a RINO who needed whipping even before the tea party began.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Georgia Police stifle Human Rights gathering targeting WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation)

WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) is responsible to aiding and training fascist death squads across the Americas, targeting journalists, human rights advocates, labor union organizers, and "leftist" political organizers. See Fascism in the Republic of Honduras [link].

"Police Deny Street Permit for Annual Vigil at Fort Benning, Georgia"CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK IN GEORGIA;
2014-07-23 from "SOA Watch" [www.soaw.org]:
Columbus, Georgia - The Columbus Police Department, continuing its history of antagonizing the movement to close the US military training camp known as the SOA/WHINSEC (School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), has this year placed unjust, unsafe and unconstitutional restrictions on the annual SOA Watch Vigil, essentially attempting to shut down the peaceful protest at the main gates of Fort Benning.
In a letter to grassroots solidarity group SOA Watch, Police Chief Ricky Boren explained that the thousands expected at this year's Vigil, the group's 25th, would have to somehow limit themselves to no more than 200 and stay on sidewalks five feet back from the street. The permit for the stage and sound, which has for years lifted up the voices of those targeted by the infamous military training school, like Padre Melo from Honduras, who's been threatened since speaking out against the SOA graduate-led coup in 2009, was also denied.
Nevertheless, SOA Watch pledges to return to Ft. Benning, hold the annual vigil, and continue its nonviolent tradition of protecting family-friendly, safe and legal protest. In response to police chief Boren, the human rights group writes, "we have responsibilities and freedoms under our constitution to peacefully assemble and to speak truth to power."
"This year, more than any other, we are called to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Latin America, 25 years after SOA graduates committed the brutal massacre at the University of Central America," said veteran and founder Father Roy Bourgeois. He continued, "When our military training continues to target communities, forcing the unaccompanied migration of thousands of refugee children, we must speak out. It is no surprise that when the stakes are this high, our movement is faced with political attacks on our constitutional rights."
The Columbus Police Department has a history of active opposition to SOA Watch's right to free speech, including harassment and intimidation by plainclothes officers, low-flying helicopters used to disrupt the solemn vigil, changing insurance requirements in a last-minute effort to target SOA Watch, and more. In 2001, the city tried to stop the protest in court; in 2002, police conducted mass warrantless searches of all participants, for which SOA Watch filed suit. In both cases, federal courts vindicated the movement's constitutional right to free speech and assembly.
Thousands of human rights activists have gathered every November for the demonstration since the first anniversary of the 1989 SOA graduate-led massacre of 16-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos and six Jesuit priests at the University of Central America in El Salvador. The November Vigil commemorates those who have been killed by SOA/WHINSEC graduates, and calls for the closure of the institute, which perpetuates coups, torture, extrajudicial killings, and human rights abuses in the face of social and political problems. The SOA/WHINSEC made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released SOA training manuals that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Among its graduates are at least 11 dictators as well as leaders of infamous Central American death squads. Currently, SOA graduates are linked to the Honduran military coup and the repression campaign against social movements there, among other humanitarian crises.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Republican Party leader in USA Congress proposes refugee children be indoctrinated in slave-labor "Americanization" camps

2014-07-21 from KCTV 7 News [http://kctv7.com/michele-bachmann-suggests-labor-camps-for-immigrant-children/]:
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has offered up a new solution to the humanitarian crisis along the US/ Mexico border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children are currently being detained. And now she’s calling on President Barack Obama to help push forward a bipartisan effort to see her idea become a reality.
bachmanBachmann’s plan? Send those children to labor camps, which she warmly refers to as “Americanization Facilities,” with the goal of having them pay off their past, present, and future care expenses, while assimilating them into American culture. And in exchange for that labor, the children would be fast-tracked on a path to citizenship.
During an interview with Minnesota’s Twin Cities News Talk, Bachmann revealed her plan while addressing the border crisis. “I’m calling on all of us, Obama and Congress and everyone, to chip in and build special new facilities… `Americanization’ facilities, if you will. And we’d send these kids to these facilities, in Arizona and Texas and wherever else. And we’d get private sector business leaders to locate to those facilities and give these children low-risk jobs to do. And they’d learn about the American way of life, earn their keep, and everyone wins in the end.”
Conservative radio host Jason Lewis asked Bachmann about the camps, and what life might be like for the children sent to them. “Well, we’d of course want these facilities to be ideal, you know, for the children to work and learn. They’d spend half of their day working, and the other half learning what every child should learn, and that’s English, you know, English and American history. And as soon as they learn English with some degree of fluency, they can attend local schools, maybe with a voucher program, or something like that. And then they could work when they aren’t in school.”
“I think this is a great way to bring businesses into the Texas and Arizona areas, and maybe other states struggling with low employment opportunities, thanks mostly to Obama’s policies,” Bachmann continued. “Once these kids grow up, they’d leave a big gap of new job opportunities, and that’s what this is all about. It’s about opportunity, not just for these kids but for the American people. It helps the businesses, and if we can raise fifty-thousand God-fearing, English-speaking Americans, who understand real American values, then I’d say it’s a job well done.”
Some have voiced concerns with Bachmann’s plan, however. “She wants to create Republican indoctrination camps and force these poor children into lives of indentured servitude,” posits documentarian and activist Jose Antonio Vargas. “She’s talking about labor camps where we raise an army of future Republican voters, and work them like slaves until they get old enough to possibly deport, if it comes to that. No one should be taking anything this woman says seriously.”

Friday, July 11, 2014


Benton Harbor, a town in Michigan under an executive dictatorship [link]

Petitioning Berrien County Michael Sepic stop the corruption: We demand justice in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and the resignation of Berrien County, Michigan Prosecutor Michael Sepic.
Petition by Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO)
It is hard to believe that in the year 2014, we have a county in Michigan with a legal system this antiquated and racist.  What is even harder to believe is that no one at the State or National level is taking action to remedy the situation.
We cannot run society for the privileged and allow a significant proportion of the population to be marginalized. It impacts the quality of life for all of us. If we have throw away people, a justice system which tolerates injustice is doomed  to collapse.   

Text of petition -
To: Berrien County Michael Sepic stop the corruption, Prosecutor Michael Sepic,
We demand justice in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and the resignation of Berrien County, Michigan, Prosecutor Michael Sepic. FREE REV PINKNEY! STOP THE CORRUPTION!
Sincerely,  [Your name]

Lack of Evidence for a Crime to have been Committed, No Crime Was Committed -
We must stop Berrien County Judge Sterling Schrock and Mike Sepic.
There is absolutely no evidence that a crime was even committed. Judge Sterling Schrock and Prosecutor are gunning for Rev Pinkney in the kangaroo court in Berrien County (Illegally passing judgment and executing judgment is a kangaroo court.
This Judge Schrock is so one-sided, he is about to tip-over. He trying at hard as possible to rush this trial, hoping the all white jury will convict Rev Pinkney. This is the judge on the case.
We are appealing the case to the State Court of Appeals. We filed on July 9, 2014, seeking leave to appeal the denial of his motion to quash, the bind over, which was improper. We must stop the corruption in Berrien County.

Corrupt Judge Charlie LaSata said no evidence is need to go to trial -
On July 3, 2014 Judge Charlie LaSate stated no evidence is needed to go to trial. The Prosecutor Mike Sepic presented at the preliminary examination
no evidence that Rev Pinkney did anything wrong. There were no testimony that anyone saw Rev Pinkney do anything wrong. there were no confession. The handwriting expert could not testify Rev Pinkney did anything wrong. It was simply no evidence, but Judge LaSate refuse to quash bind over.
We the people must stop corruption. Please send out my petition for your friends and family to sign.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pattern of cyber-attacks against "leftist" populist news journals

2014-07-08 from "Common Dreams" [commondreams.org]:
I’m not paranoid. And I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
But sometimes the evidence just keeps piling up and makes you realize that ‘they’ really are out to get you.
We’ve been sabotaged.
Over the past year the Common Dreams website has been facing repeated malicious breaches and massive, coordinated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from unknown perpetrators. These attacks cause our servers to repeatedly overload and crash—often taking us many hours to get back on-line.
Eventually we get the website stabilized and all the pieces working again. And, for a couple months, all runs smoothly.
Until the next attacks begin…
Over time a clear pattern has emerged: they hit us when it hurts most.
Our non-profit media funding model is built much like National Public Radio’s fundraising campaigns: several times a year set a realistic goal; be aggressive for a couple weeks until the goal is met and then leave people alone: no more fundraising until it’s time for the next campaign.
We are now in the midst of our Mid-Year campaign. And, ‘they’ are back. We have been knocked offline repeatedly at the worst possible time for our fundraising.
Before last week, the last two extended attacks came during our Spring 2014 and Winter 2014 campaigns. And... we fell well short of our goals in both campaigns.
Why are we telling our readers about this only now?
We didn’t want to encourage the perps. We didn’t want to let them know they were succeeding in causing us real harm. We didn’t want them to know we had no way to stop them.
But now we think we will soon have a defense against these attacks. Our website platform was built in 2007—light years ago for the internet—and has vulnerabilities that left us defenseless.
Over the next couple weeks we will be relaunching our website on a brand-new platform that will give us protection against the kind of attacks we have been facing.
But for now, we must make our Mid-Year goal. Falling short for a third consecutive campaign could be a fatal blow to us.
Tonight, we are still $32,000 shy of meeting our goal. Can you help us get there?
We can't do it without you!
Gratefully,[signed] Craig Brown for the whole Common Dreams team

P.S. Our online donations are processed by a very secure third party vendor which was not part of the DDoS attacks on our website. Your donations are safe, tax-deductible and deeply appreciated. If we are knocked offline when you try to donate, checks can be sent to: Common Dreams, PO Box 443, Portland, ME 04112 USA.

P.P.S. Our investigative news team is working on a series of articles on other ways Common Dreams and other progressive news sites are being actively sabotaged. Coming soon… stay tuned.

US Military study social media trends for use against democracy campaigns

"US military studied how to influence Twitter users in Darpa-funded research"
2014-07-08 by Ben Quinn and James Ball from "theguardian.com" [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/darpa-social-networks-research-twitter-influence-studies]:
• Defense Department spent millions to research social networks
• Studies focused on Occupy and Middle East protests
• Projects also analysed memes, celebrities and disinformation

The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to Facebook’s controversial experiment into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.
Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense’s military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet’s largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.
While some elements of the multi-million dollar project might raise a wry smile – research has included analysis of the tweets of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, in an attempt to understand influence on Twitter – others have resulted in the buildup of massive datasets of tweets and additional types social media posts.
Several of the DoD-funded studies went further than merely monitoring what users were communicating on their own, instead messaging unwitting participants in order to track and study how they responded.
Shortly before the Facebook controversy erupted, Darpa published a lengthy list of the projects funded under its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, including links to actual papers and abstracts.
The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behaviour (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit.
Darpa, established in 1958, is responsible for technological research for the US military. Its notable successes have included no less than Arpanet, the precursor to today's internet, and numerous other innovations, including onion routing, which powers anonymising technologies like Tor. However, thanks to some of its more esoteric projects, which have included thought-controlled robot arms, city-wide surveillance programs and exo-skeletons, the agency has also become the subject of many conspiracy theories, and a staple in programmes like the X-Files.
Unveiled in 2011, the SMISC program was regarded as a bid by the US military to become better at both detecting and conducting propaganda campaigns on social media.
On the webpage where it has published links to the papers, Darpa states the general goal of the SMISC program is “to develop a new science of social networks built on an emerging technology base".
“Through the program, Darpa seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information."
However, papers leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate that US and British intelligence agencies have been deeply engaged in planning ways to covertly use social media for purposes of propaganda and deception.
Documents prepared by NSA and Britain's GCHQ (and previously published by the Intercept as well as NBC News) revealed aspects of some of these programs. They included a unit engaged in “discrediting” the agency’s enemies with false information spread online.
Earlier this year, the Associated Press also revealed the clandestine creation by USAid of a Twitter-like, Cuban communications network to undermine the Havana government. The network, built with secret shell companies and financed through a foreign bank, lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers. It sought to evade Cuba's stranglehold on the internet with a primitive social media platform.
Of the funding provided by Darpa, $8.9m has been channeled through IBM to a range of academic researchers and others. A further $9.6m has gone through academic hubs like Georgia Tech and Indiana University.
Facebook, the world’s biggest social networking site, has apologised for the study, which involved secret psychological tests on nearly 700,000 users in 2012, and prompted outrage from users and experts alike, being “poorly communicated” to the public.
The experiment, which resulted in a scientific paper published in the March issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hid “a small percentage” of emotional words from peoples’ news feeds, without their knowledge, to test what effect that had on the statuses or “likes” that they then posted or reacted to.
However, it appears that Facebook was involved in at least one other military-funded social media research project, according to the records recently published by Darpa.
The research was carried by Xuanhuai Wang, an engineering manager at Facebook, as well as Yi Chang, a lead scientist at Yahoo labs, and others based at the Universities of Michigan and Southern California.
The project, which related to how users understood and consumed information on Twitter, at one point analysed the tweets, retweets and other interactions spawned by Lady Gaga (described as “the most popular elite user on Twitter”) and Justin Bieber (“who is extremely popular among teenagers”).
Other studies looked further afield. One, "On the Study of Social Interactions on Twitter", which was carried out by the University of South California, collected tweets from 2,400 Twitter users who had identified themselves as residing in the Middle East. It analysed how often they had interactions with other users and how these were spread.
Several studies related to the automatic assessment of how well different people in social networks knew one another, through analysing frequency, tone and type of interaction between different users. Such research could have applications in the automated analysis of bulk surveillance metadata, including the controversial collection of US citizens’ phone metadata revealed by Snowden.
Studies which received military funding channeled through IBM included one called "Modeling User Attitude toward Controversial Topics in Online Social Media", which analysed Twitter users’ opinions on fracking.
Discussing the applicability of their research, the study’s authors stated: “For example, a government campaign on Twitter supporting vaccination can engage with followers who are more likely to take certain action (eg spreading a campaign message) based on their opinions.”
“As another example, when anti-government messages are spread in social media, government would want to spread counter messages to balance that effort and hence identify people who are more likely to spread such counter messages based on their opinions.”
A similarly titled-project out of the University of Southern California, "The Role of Social Media in the Discussion of Controversial Topics", studied the behaviour of Twitter users posting about a 2012 vote in California on measures such as raising taxes, genetically modified organisms and the death penalty.
“Our findings suggest Twitter is primarily used for spreading information to like-minded people rather than debating issues,” the authors wrote in their paper on the project.
A study at Georgia Tech, "Cues to Deception in Social Media Communications", involved an in-laboratory experiment using an experimental social media platform, "FaceFriend", and 61 paid participants. While past research had investigated “written deception” in communications such as email, the study expanded this into social media, and the researchers concluded: “Breaking news stories and world events – for example, the Arab Spring – are heavily represented in social media, making them susceptible topics for influence attempts via deception.”
Several of the DoD-funded projects went further than simple observation, instead engaging directly with social media users and analysing their responses.
One of multiple studies looking into how to spread messages on the networks, titled “Who Will Retweet This? Automatically Identifying and Engaging Strangers on Twitter to Spread Information” did just this.
The researchers explained: “Since everyone is potentially an influencer on social media and is capable of spreading information, our work aims to identify and engage the right people at the right time on social media to help propagate information when needed.”
In the paper, which included data gathered through actively engaging 3,761 people on Twitter around the topics of public safety and bird flu, the researchers added: “Unlike existing work, which often uses only social network properties, our feature set includes personality traits that may influence one’s retweeting behaviour.”
In a statement, Darpa defended its funding of the research as essential to US defense interests.
“Social media is changing the way people inform themselves, share ideas, and organize themselves into interest groups, including some that aim to harm the United States,” said a spokesman. “Darpa supports academic research that seeks to understand some of these dynamics through analyses of publicly available discussions conducted on social media platforms.”
Sources said that data was from public streams in social networks, and was collected and stored by academics at institutions conducting the research, not by Darpa itself.
The Guardian approached a number of individuals involved in research, asking them for their views on why they believed the US military may be interested in funding research of this type, and asking about the extent to which consent was sought from people whose social media posts were recorded and analysed.
Among those who replied, Emilio Ferrara, who was involved in the research paper on "The Digital Evolution of Occupy Wall St", said: “According to federal regulations of human experimentation, for studies that don’t affect the environment of online users, and whereas one can freely gather online data – say, from the public Twitter feed – there is no requirement of informed consent. This is the framework under which our Twitter study was carried out; moreover, all our studies on Twitter look into aggregate collective phenomena and never at the individual level.”
A colleague, Dr Filippo Menczer, added: “In our lab we study all aspects of the diffusion of information in social media.
“This work has broad applications as we strive to understand fundamental mechanism of social communication, such as how ideas and ‘memes’ compete for our attention, how they sometimes go viral, etc.”