Over the weekend, the British surveillance agency GCHQ -- the most extremist and invasive in the West -- bathed its futuristic headquarters with rainbow-colored lights "as a symbol of the intelligence agency's commitment to diversity" and to express solidarity with "International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia." GCHQ's public affairs office proudly distributed the above photograph to media outlets. Referring to Alan Turing, the closeted-and-oppressed gay World War II British code-breaker just memorialized by an Oscar-nominated feature film, Prime Minister David Cameron's office celebrated GCHQ's inspirational lights: read more
But there were two big ideas they had that actually go to the heart of what my book is all about and what our current crisis is all about. One is, you can't be a representative republic and an empire in the same moment. If you're gonna be meddling all over the world, if you're gonna be going after the resources of the whole world, if you're gonna be exploiting people all around the world in the name of saving them -- if you're gonna go the route of Rome -- you're gonna crush the republic, which is what Rome was at its finest moment. And this was true of every society that they had seen. read more
After only one hour of floor debate, and no allowed amendments, the House of Representatives today passed legislation that seeks to address the NSA's controversial surveillance of American communications. However, opponents believe it may give brand new authorization to the U.S. government to conduct domestic dragnets.
The USA Freedom Act was approved in a 338-88 vote, with approximately equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans voting against. The bill's supporters say it will disallow bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata, in which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has regularly ordered phone companies to turn over such data. The Obama administration claims such collection is authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, which is set to expire June 1. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently held that Section 215 does not provide such authorization. read more
In the first part of a wide-ranging, seven-part discussion about Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer's new book, "They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies are Destroying Democracy," Scheer says the U.S. government and private industry have merged to turn the Internet into a massive machine for simultaneously selling to and spying on Americans.
Scheer tells Hedges that NSA whistleblower Edward "Snowden provided this incredibly invaluable educational service to say there is no private sector, that the private and the government are merged." read more
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept: The Israeli group Breaking the Silence issued a report this morning containing testimony from Israeli soldiers about the savagery and criminality committed by the Israeli military during the attack on Gaza last summer. The Independent has a good article describing the report's findings: "The Israeli military deliberately pounded civilian areas in the Gaza Strip with incessant fire of inaccurate ordinance" and "was at best indifferent about casualties among the Palestinian population." At best. This should surprise nobody who paid any attention to the brutal Israeli destruction of Gaza or, for that matter, countless Israeli attacks before that. The U.N. has said that 7 out of 10 people killed by the Israelis were civilians, "including 1,462 civilians, among them 495 children and 253 women"; video of Israelis killing four Gazan boys as they played on a beach sickened anyone decent. read more