Further information at: Not-so-Random Information: Introduction and Table of Contents
- Russia, Ukraine and Western Mainstream Media
- The Secret State and Its Assassination Program
- Assange, WikiLeaks and the NSA
- E.P.A. and Chemical Companies Silencing Scientist
- Revolt, Unite and Conquer
I. Russia, Ukraine and Western Mainstream Media
Distorting Russia: How the American media misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine - “Since the early 2000s, the media have followed a different leader-centric narrative, also consistent with US policy, that devalues multifaceted analysis for a relentless demonization of Putin, with little regard for facts. (Was any Soviet Communist leader after Stalin ever so personally villainized?) If Russia under Yeltsin was presented as having legitimate politics and national interests, we are now made to believe that Putin’s Russia has none at all, at home or abroad—even on its own borders, as in Ukraine….
“Russia today has serious problems and many repugnant Kremlin policies. But anyone relying on mainstream American media will not find there any of their origins or influences in Yeltsin’s Russia or in provocative US policies since the 1990s—only in the ‘autocrat’ Putin who, however authoritarian, in reality lacks such power. Nor is he credited with stabilizing a disintegrating nuclear-armed country, assisting US security pursuits from Afghanistan and Syria to Iran or even with granting amnesty, in December, to more than 1,000 jailed prisoners, including mothers of young children….
“The Sochi Games will soon pass, triumphantly or tragically, but the potentially fateful Ukrainian crisis will not. A new Cold War divide between West and East may now be unfolding, not in Berlin but in the heart of Russia’s historical civilization. The result could be a permanent confrontation fraught with instability and the threat of a hot war far worse than the one in Georgia in 2008. These dangers have been all but ignored in highly selective, partisan and inflammatory US media accounts, which portray the European Union’s ‘Partnership’ proposal benignly as Ukraine’s chance for democracy, prosperity and escape from Russia, thwarted only by a ‘bullying’ Putin and his ‘cronies’ in Kiev.”
II. The Secret State and Its Assassination Program
The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program - “The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.
“According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”
“The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.”
III. Assange, WikiLeaks and the NSA
Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters - “Top-secret documents from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart reveal for the first time how the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom targeted WikiLeaks and other activist groups with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution.
“The efforts – detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls ‘the human network that supports WikiLeaks.’ The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.
“One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google….
“In 2008, not long after WikiLeaks was formed, the U.S. Army prepared a report that identified the organization as an enemy, and plotted how it could be destroyed. The new documents provide a window into how the U.S. and British governments appear to have shared the view that WikiLeaks represented a serious threat, and reveal the controversial measures they were willing to take to combat it.”
IV. E.P.A. and Chemical Companies Silencing Scientist
A Valuable Reputation: After Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him - “In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a signal that a third party might be on the line. Other scientists seemed to remember events differently, he noticed, so he started carrying an audio recorder to meetings. ‘The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia,’ he liked to say, ‘is to keep careful track of your persecutors.’
“Three years earlier, Syngenta, one of the largest agribusinesses in the world, had asked Hayes to conduct experiments on the herbicide atrazine, which is applied to more than half the corn in the United States. Hayes was thirty-one, and he had already published twenty papers on the endocrinology of amphibians. David Wake, a professor in Hayes’s department, said that Hayes ‘may have had the greatest potential of anyone in the field.’ But, when Hayes discovered that atrazine might impede the sexual development of frogs, his dealings with Syngenta became strained, and, in November, 2000, he ended his relationship with the company.
“Hayes continued studying atrazine on his own, and soon he became convinced that Syngenta representatives were following him to conferences around the world. He worried that the company was orchestrating a campaign to destroy his reputation. He complained that whenever he gave public talks there was a stranger in the back of the room, taking notes. On a trip to Washington, D.C., in 2003, he stayed at a different hotel each night. He was still in touch with a few Syngenta scientists and, after noticing that they knew many details about his work and his schedule, he suspected that they were reading his e-mails. To confuse them, he asked a student to write misleading e-mails from his office computer while he was travelling. He sent backup copies of his data and notes to his parents in sealed boxes. In an e-mail to one Syngenta scientist, he wrote that he had ‘risked my reputation, my name . . . some say even my life, for what I thought (and now know) is right.’ A few scientists had previously done experiments that anticipated Hayes’s work, but no one had observed such extreme effects. In another e-mail to Syngenta, he acknowledged that it might appear that he was suffering from a ‘Napoleon complex’ or ‘delusions of grandeur.’…
“Hayes published his atrazine work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a year and a half after quitting the panel. He wrote that what he called ‘hermaphroditism’ was induced in frogs by exposure to atrazine at levels thirty times below what the E.P.A. permits in water. He hypothesized that the chemical could be a factor in the decline in amphibian populations, a phenomenon observed all over the world. In an e-mail sent the day before the publication, he congratulated the students in his lab for taking the ‘ethical stance’ by continuing the work on their own. ‘We (and our principles) have been tested, and I believe we have not only passed but exceeded expectations,’ he wrote. ‘Science is a principle and a process of seeking truth. Truth cannot be purchased and, thus, truth cannot be altered by money. Professorship is not a career, but rather a life’s pursuit. The people with whom I work daily exemplify and remind me of this promise.’”
V. Revolt, Unite and Conquer
Have Americans Lost ALL of Our Constitutional Rights? - “This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right. (This is an updated version of an essay we wrote in February. Since then, it has become apparent that the few rights we thought we had left are largely illusory.)”