(I've been watching Thom Hartmann today on "Free Speech TV" for his commentary on the Pope's speech to the U.S. Congress and it is a "WOW" of a program. Thom is running the bulk of the Pope's speech (as is Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now"). Go watch it. And don't miss the star turn of 5-year-old Sophie Cruz who tells the Pope how important his support is to improve U.S. immigration policy towards U.S. born children whose parents are being deported. I think I hear a chorus of Joan Baez's "Deportee" playing somewhere.)
If you think the stock market movements are free of outsider machinations . . . you need to get a clue.
The first essay below provides a good one.
And if you're bored by or think that Wall Street's doings don't affect your life, move on to the second essay. That one - which reminds me of the incredibly extra-legal and totally unbelievable in light of their prior wrongdoings, influence of the much-touted, over-hyped (Thanks! "Meet the Press," etc.) current-day TV stars, Dick and Liz (Cheney) - will surely awaken your most visceral responses. After reading the linked article found here, it's apparent that the whole apparatus must be flushed. Like the gob it is.
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
September 23, 2015
Eric Hunsader of Nanex Tweets the Early A.M. Trades in Stock Futures
We may have just gotten our answer to the puzzling question of why we can put a man on the moon but the Securities and Exchange Commission can’t create a consolidated tape of our markets for forensic auditing purposes: a consolidated tape would tell us just who it is that is messing around with stock futures in the middle of the night as well as creating flash crashes during the trading day.
We thought it was very peculiar that prior to the opening of the U.S. stock market this morning, futures on the Standard and Poor’s 500 index had staged a miraculous rally on the heels of distressing manufacturing news out of China last night.
According to the preliminary Caixin/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which was released last evening, manufacturing activity in China dropped to 47.0 in September, the worst reading since the financial crisis in 2009. Readings below 50 signal that manufacturing is contracting.
As that news was released, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped by a sharp 140 points and the S&P 500 futures went into a steep decline. (See S&P E-Mini futures chart below.)
But as market data expert Eric Hunsader of Nanex noted in the Tweet above, a bull raid occurred in the futures market between the minutes of 4:47 and 4:48 a.m. this morning, pumping stock futures higher.
No such bull raid occurred in Asian markets: China’s Shanghai Composite Index closed down 2.19 percent on the scary manufacturing data, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 2.26 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 1.96 percent.
Stocks have been especially jittery about economic growth in China since Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen cited China and emerging markets at her press conference on September 17 as factoring into the concerns that resulted in the Fed maintaining its zero bound interest rate policy when it met last week.
Given the bearish tone to the U.S. equity markets, one has to imagine that hedge funds and high frequency traders – who are now effectively holding the markets hostage – would be more inclined to be conducting bear raids in the middle of the night rather than bull raids.
Even Stephen Blyth, CEO of the Harvard Management Company which manages Harvard’s $37.6 billion endowment, expressed caution about this market in a letter he released this month. Blyth used words such as “frothy” and “illiquid” to describe markets and indicated Harvard is considering hiring managers “with demonstrable investment expertise” to short the market as well as those who would be buying on the long side of the market.
“We are proceeding with caution in several areas of the portfolio: many of our absolute return managers are accumulating increasing amounts of cash; we are being careful about not over-committing into illiquid investments in potentially frothy markets, while still ensuring we will be involved if market dislocations arise; and we are being particularly discriminating about underwriting and return assumptions given current valuations. In addition, we have renewed focus on identifying public equity managers with demonstrable investment expertise on both the long and short sides of the market.
And we are concentrating on investment opportunities with idiosyncratic features that still offer value creation, such as the life science laboratory space, and the retail sector where transformation continues at rapid pace. We are executing on these themes through a variety of instruments, including equity, debt, private securities and real assets. More broadly, across HMC we are developing new platforms, fund relationships and internal capabilities that will give us greater flexibility to respond to the changing market environment.”
S&P 500 E-Mini Futures Contract, September 22 and September 23 (Courtesy of CNBC)
Enforced disappearances took place in violation of treaties the U.S. is bound to follow. Victims of torture have a right to reparations or remedies for the treatment they suffered.
By Kevin Gosztola | "Shadowproof"
September 23, 2015
Amnesty International USA urged the inspector general for the Justice Department to investigate why the department has failed to examine human rights violations documented in the Senate report on CIA torture.
In a letter dated September 21 [PDF], AIUSA alleges the Justice Department failed to review evidence regarding the department’s role in human rights violations, which were committed by the CIA.
AIUSA also maintains the Justice Department gave contradictory statements about its handling of the report produced by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. This has enabled the Justice Department to evade public accountability and conceal institutional failures.
A redacted version of the executive summary from the more than 6,000-page report was released last December.
“Nine months have passed since the publication of the Senate Committee summary and the Senate’s transmittal of the full report to the Justice Department,” the letter notes. “In that time, the Justice Department has provided inconsistent accounts of its review of the full Senate report to the public, Congress, and a U.S. court. It has apparently failed to review the report. It has not established a process for assessing any new evidence of criminal wrongdoing that the full report provides.”
This has occurred in spite of the fact the Justice Department is supposed to enforce laws, identify any misconduct by federal officials, and investigate and prosecute crimes, such as torture.
In 2009, a Justice Department investigation led by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham investigated not only the CIA’s destruction of videotapes but also whether federal laws were violated during interrogations of “specific detainees at overseas locations.”
The investigation led to only two “full criminal investigations,” which were both closed in 2012. No person was charged, and the Justice Department has refused to make public any specific details about the scope of investigations.
AIUSA asserts the Senate report “provides evidence of numerous human rights violations that characterized the CIA’s secret detention program. It adds to evidence of human rights violations collected by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations over more than a decade.”
The torture report includes “significant new information relating to the commission of serious federal crimes, including torture, homicide, conspiracy, and sexual assault.”
Whether previous investigations were adequate, AIUSA argues the Justice Department should have reviewed the Senate torture report, assessed evidence, and established a process for reopening investigations and launching new inquiries into rights violations.
Specifically, as AIUSA highlights, the Senate committee determined at least 119 detainees had been in CIA custody. The Justice Department’s “preliminary review” by Durham only counted 101 detainees, some who actually were discovered to have never been detained by the CIA. So, “at least 18 detainees were apparently not even considered by the Justice Department’s prior review.”
“If the Justice Department was not aware of these cases, its failure to reopen and expand its review suggests a failure to fulfill its responsibilities,” AIUSA writes. “These were 18 people some or all of whom would appear to have been at minimum subjected to enforced disappearance, a crime under international law, as well as possibly to other detention conditions and interrogation methods that violated the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
The report detailed instances where forced “rectal feeding,” “rectal hydration,” and rectal exams “with excessive force” were used against detainees. There were threats of execution and sexual assault. None of these “techniques” were ever authorized by the Justice Department.
The CIA also employed “authorized techniques” in ways that were not approved by the Justice Department. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was subject to waterboarding that was ten minutes longer than approved and was followed up by the “use of a horizontal stress position” never approved by CIA headquarters. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashir was made to stand with “his hands affixed over his head” for about two and a half days, despite the fact that the Justice Department had determined hands could not be “raised above the head for a period” over two hours.
Significantly, the Senate torture report demonstrates the Office of Legal Counsel provided “assertions about the state of the law,” which were what the officials wanted the law to be. Officials like then-Attorney General John Ashcroft were involved in helping protect military and intelligence officials from being charged with violating the Geneva Conventions. In other words, they conspired to coverup torture.
Yet, in the past nine months, the Justice Department has made contradictory statements about what it has done with the torture report.
The department told a court in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit it has never opened a copy of the report and it sat in a locker, which the Senate committee provided. But, on June 23, the Justice Department claimed to the "Miami Herald" that investigators had “reviewed the Senate Committee’s full report and did not find any new information they had not previously considered in reaching their determination.”
When the Justice Department wants to prevent parts or all of the Senate torture report from seeing the light of day, it claims it has not touched the report. But, when questioned by press or asked by Congress members to explain why the Justice Department seems to care little about the report’s contents, the department suggests a number of people dropped what they were doing and made time to look over what the Senate committee uncovered.
Since the entire report remains classified, the Justice Department is able to get away with refusing to reopen investigations. It can continue to grant immunity to officials who were involved in torture. It can avoid having to face accountability for complicity in CIA torture.
But the U.S. is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and has an obligation to thoroughly investigate torture, which occurred at the hands of CIA interrogators, and the role of high-ranking officials in authorizing and covering up torture.
Enforced disappearances took place in violation of treaties the U.S. is bound to follow. Victims of torture have a right to reparations or remedies for the treatment they suffered.
Finally, AIUSA concludes, “There is a collective and individual right to the truth about human rights violations such as those committed during the CIA-operated secret detention program.”
There are thousands of people behind the U.S. "wall of official silence" just waiting to come forward and tell their stories of horrific strife, permanent job loss and unending retribution from officials entrusted to obey the law.
Code Red: High-Profile Government Whistleblowers Join Forces To Combat Surveillance, Promote Privacy
The project will build bridges between the technology, media, legal and policy worlds and will become a strategic hub for the many activists working in this arena.
By acTVism | September 23, 2015
In this video "acTVism Munich" brings into light what privacy means for the indivdual and society, i.e, why it is an essential ingredient for democracy & economy. Following high-profile whistleblowers provide their views on the issue of privacy in this video:
Former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency.
Thomas Andrews Drake: Former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower.
Annie Machon: Former MI5 intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time, to help him blow the whistle about alleged criminality within the intelligence agencies.
Simon Davies: A privacy advocate and academic based in London UK. He was one of the first campaigners in the field of international privacy advocacy, founding the watchdog organization Privacy International in 1990 and subsequently working in emerging areas of privacy such as electronic visual surveillance, identity systems, border security, encryption policy and biometrics.
Elizabeth Murray: Served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
Caroline Hunt: A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) whistleblower.
In late 2014, a group of the world’s most renowned privacy activists, whistleblowers, technologists and legal experts joined forces to work on the development of a global initiative to fight surveillance.
Led by privacy veteran Simon Davies and former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon, the project has developed into the Code Red initiative. Its aim is to create the next evolutionary step in the growing movement to curb excessive government power.
The project will build bridges between the technology, media, legal and policy worlds and will become a strategic hub for the many activists working in this arena. Code Red will also create a clearing house for information in the anti-surveillance movement and will support whistleblowers and sources.
For more (information) visit: www.codered.is
'Using Sept. 11 as a justification for an unnecessary war, torture, drone strikes and civilian casualties compounds my grief and is wrong-minded and counterproductive.'
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams | September 23, 2015
In Maine, a lone voice of protest at a small-town 9/11 ceremony has raised questions about how some mourn, and others exploit, the legacy of that day.
Jamie Roux, whose father, James M. Roux, was one of the doomed passengers of 9/11’s United Airlines Flight 17, was arrested on Sept. 11, 2015 for interrupting a remembrance ceremony in Freeport, Maine.
The event—not unlike countless others that were held around the country that day—featured wreath-laying, a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” the town’s own “flag ladies,” and a number of speakers who shared tales of military bravery in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that followed 9/11.
Though local media reports, here and here, painted Roux as a heckler who was detained and charged with disorderly conduct after resisting arrest, he says he was there to raise concerns about the U.S. military’s exploitation of 9/11 victims.
“On Sept. 11, 2015, I went to the Freeport Fire Station for the end of a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, which I had seen advertised on Facebook. I expected to see a ‘display of interesting Freeport Flag Ladies memorabilia and refreshments.’ I saw instead a program of military force,” Roux wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.
“To me, the ceremony was a painful example of my father’s murder being exploited to advance partisan, political and disturbing policies,” he said.
“Using Sept. 11 as a justification for an unnecessary war, torture, drone strikes and civilian casualties that followed compounds my grief and is wrong-minded and counterproductive,” Roux added.
You can read Jamie Roux’s complete statement published today below:
"On Sept. 8, 2001, I lost track of time while swimming in Casco Bay. I showed up two hours late for lunch with my dad. He was embarking on a new chapter in his life. We both knew that we wouldn’t see each other for a while, and I could tell this made him sad.
After lunch, my father dropped me off at a friend’s house, and I hugged him for the last time across the center console of a car. A lawyer, musician, outdoorsman and proud veteran with a legendary sense of humor, he boarded a plane three days later, on Sept. 11, 2001.
Terrorists hijacked the plane, cut his life short and were responsible for the deaths of many innocent people and heroic first responders. All of America suffered a loss that day, but those of us for whom the loss was the most personal may experience Sept. 11 each year differently from our fellow Americans.
On Sept. 11, 2015, I was arrested for speaking up during a public 9/11 remembrance in Freeport. I was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and thrown in jail. I have since been painted in the news and on social media in a way that is not who I am.
I am a pacifist and a patriot. I most love about America the very things that the terrorists hate: our diversity; our freedoms of religion, speech and association; our protections and tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities and of different lifestyles.
Many other countries offer those same protections, some even more zealously and successfully than the United States, but they are not targets of such hatred and so many terrorist attacks. To me, this is the product of a foreign policy of force and hubris more than of moral leadership.
I wish that the suffering wrought by the terrorists had ended in 2001. After Sept. 11, we rushed to invade Iraq before getting conclusive, reliable evidence of weapons of mass destruction. I believe that the invasion was out of a need of some for a post-9/11 “win” in the Middle East, to protect our access to oil and to enforce colonially imposed national boundaries.
These polices are contrary to the exceptional principles upon which our country was founded. They have not worked, have led to the death and dislocation of millions of people and have caused many to hate us. Using Sept. 11 as a justification for an unnecessary war, torture, drone strikes and civilian casualties that followed compounds my grief and is wrong-minded and counterproductive.
On Sept. 11, 2015, I went to the Freeport Fire Station for the end of a 9/11 remembrance ceremony, which I had seen advertised on Facebook. I expected to see a “display of interesting Freeport Flag Ladies memorabilia and refreshments.” I saw instead a program of military force.
The guest speaker I saw, dressed in his military uniform, spoke about the policies of Ronald Reagan. I saw no representation of peaceful views. To me, the ceremony was a painful example of my father’s murder being exploited to advance partisan, political and disturbing policies.
I reacted to what I saw as the conduct of some to exploit 9/11 victims, promoting an aggressive foreign policy that is contrary to my most core values and that I believe can only lead to more murder and mayhem, as well as to a deeply troubling cultural ideology that celebrates and rewards such aggression.
I admire and have nothing but gratitude for the brave first responders, many of them police, who risked and sacrificed so much on Sept. 11 and after. But I am disillusioned that the statements of local police quoted in one newspaper did not accurately portray my peaceable entry into the ceremony or the way I was forcibly removed.
I respect the rights of all at the ceremony to express their views in the right setting. I am not like the abortion clinic protesters whose violent language is intended to keep people from exercising their constitutional rights (although I would like the same speech protections they get).
I am disturbed, however, that this public event, on public property, with forced student attendance, presented only one side and promoted certain political views, rather than simply remembering the lives and mourning the loss of so many innocents.
America’s strength is in its openness and freedoms. We do not need to beat the countries, or individuals, we disagree with into submission. If we become complacent with war and scared to act peacefully, we will continue to live in terror."
New US-Trained Rebels In Syria Gave Their Weapons To Al-Qaeda
Reports out of Syria suggest that the group immediately took its weapons and vehicles to al-Qaeda territory and turned them all over to them.
US Targets Bolivia With Secret Drug Indictments Against Evo Morales’ Government
Hillary Clinton once accused Evo Morales of paranoia and “fear-mongering,” but, as "The Huffington Post" pointed out, “The DEA was, in fact, out to get him.”
Where There Were Massacres There Are Now Power Plants
In the United States it's hard to imagine admiring an attorney general. The words call to mind people like Eric Holder, Michael Mukasey, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Janet Reno, and Edwin Meese. There were those who fantasized that Barack Obama would not prevent an attorney general from prosecuting top officials for torture, but the idea of a U.S. attorney general prosecuting a U.S. president for war/genocide doesn't even enter the realm of fantasy (in part, because Americans don't even think of what the U.S. military does in the Middle East in those terms). For a lesson in daring to imagine equality before the law, we can turn our eyes toward Guatemala. Here's a country suffering under the Monroe Doctrine since the dawn of time, a place where the United States engaged in human experimentation giving syphilis to unwitting victims during the time that U.S. lawyers were prosecuting Nazis in Nuremberg. Guatemala had a relatively decent government in 1954 when the CIA overthrew it. U.S. destruction has been unremitting in Guatemala, with the U.S. government backing dictators, killers, and torturers, including during the 1980s and 1990s, a period from which Guatemala is still trying to recover.
Kremlin Promises ‘Counter-Steps’ In Reply to US Deploying Nuclear Weapons to Germany
The planned deployment of the latest US nuclear bombs at the Buchel Air Base in Germany would disrupt the strategic balance of forces in Europe and could force a reaction from Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary has stated.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Jews
While Corbyn’s success represents a hugely popular shift within British political thinking, the orchestrated Jewish campaign against him is there to suggest that once again, Jews set themselves against the people they dwell upon.
The vastly growing popularity of Jeremy Corbyn amongst Brits can be easily explained. Following decades of cultural Marxist, divisive Identiterian politics and Zionist-Neocon domination within the British Left, Corbyn brings along a refreshing ideological alternative. Corbyn seems to re-unite the Brits. He cares for the weak. He opposes interventionist wars. He represents the return of the good old left as opposed to New Labour’s affinity with big money, choseness and exceptionalism. He cares for the students and the youth. He thinks about the future and promises to undo the damage created by Blair and Cameron. But as Britain sees the rise of a hugely popular ideological movement, many Jewish institutions see Corbyn as an arch enemy. They would prefer to see him gone and have used nearly every trick in the book to discredit him.
Threatening Jeremy Corbyn
An unnamed senior UK general threatened Corbyn with mutiny if as future prime minister he tried downgrading Britain’s military. More on what he said below.
Western societies are too decadent to fix, morally depraved, corrupt and debauched - waging endless wars or supporting them, betraying their own people to divert maximum resources for turning one country after another to rubble, to enrich powerful elites more than ever, popular interests be damned.
Vicious Islamophobia persists. Donald Trump is comfortable with removing millions of Muslims from America. Ben Carson told NBC’s "Meet the Press" he “absolutely would not agree (to) put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” Their faith and values aren’t “consistent with the Constitution,” he claimed.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) spokesman Ibrahim Hooper blasted Carson, saying his comments were “beyond the pale and he should withdraw.”
CAIR director Nihad Asad said they “disqualif(y) him from being a president.” Keith Ellison was the first elected Muslim congressional member.
He expressed outrage, saying “(e)very American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating acts of religious bigotry. It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear-mongering to benefit their campaigns.”
Even Republican hardliner Senator Lindsey Graham called for an apology. Damage control from Carson’s campaign spokesman alone followed.
Following Trump’s Islamophobic remarks, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee blasted him, saying “(t)hese bigoted comments incite violence and hate crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, including Arab-Americans.”
“The Republican Party leadership has stood idly by while many of its candidates continue to spew xenophobic hatred towards Arab-Americans and perpetuate Islamophobia.”
“The Republican Party cannot realistically represent the United States and lead a diverse society when many of their presidential candidates blatantly ostracize American citizens because of their different religious beliefs and national origins.”
Until JFK’s 1960 election, only Protestants had a chance to become president. During Jim Crow years, African-Americans couldn’t sit at the same lunch counter as whites. Now one resides in the White House (no pun intended).
America’s war on Islam bears full responsibility for disturbing hate-mongering and vilification of one of the world’s great religions.
Lunatics in high positions are the root cause of endless conflicts and institutionalized inequality in most societies - notably Western ones claiming unjustifiable high-mindedness.
On September 20, Britain’s "Sunday Times" headlined “Corbyn Hit by Mutiny on Airstrikes,” saying “wholesale dismay” in parliament followed his election as Labour party leader.
“A senior serving general (speaking on condition of anonymity) said the armed forces would take ‘direct action’ to stop a Corbyn government from downgrading them…”
“There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny.”
“Feelings are running very high within the armed forces. You would see a major break in convention with senior generals directly and publicly challenging Corbyn over” his opposition to NATO and nuclear weapons, as well as “any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.”
“The Army just wouldn’t stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardize the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that. You can’t put a maverick in charge of a country’s security.”
Corbyn’s spokesman said he declined to comment on remarks made anonymously. They show what he’s up against as opposition leader - let alone if he runs for prime minister in the next general election and wins.