February 15, 2011

Having read a few of Peter Dale Scott’s earlier books, I was looking forward to his new work, American War Machine. I was not disappointed. Published by Roman & Littlefield in late 2010, this book examines a wide-ranging number of covert U.S. operations since World War II and, among other things, demonstrates that many of these operations were intimately connected with, and dependent on, illicit drug trafficking.

Scott previously defined concepts such as deep events, deep politics and the deep state to refer to covert mechanisms that facilitate the strategies of the politically minded rich, a group otherwise referred to as the overworld. Deep events, which Scott defines as those that are “systematically ignored or falsified in the mainstream media and public consciousness,” can be seen as sharing certain features, such as cover-up of evidence and irresoluble controversy over what happened.

February 13, 2011

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said Lord Acton, the 19th century British historian. This statement describes best dictatorships where power is lodged in the hands of one person, usually a deified Pharaoh. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is one.

When Mubarak assumed power in 1981 after the assassination of Anwar El Sadat, he was particularly keen to announce that he hated corruption, loathed despotism and encouraged hard work. Good start, it really sounded promising. However, after 30 years in office, before his resignation on Feb. 11, the man’s family’s fortune is estimated as potentially $70 billion. He was willingly surrounded by a handful of the most corrupt businesspersons in the country, if not in the world; tipped off by the most-hated, steel industry monopolizer, cold-blooded vote-rigger Ahmed Ezz; and was shelled by an evilly sophisticated, brutally repressive, extremely unpopular police force.

February 4, 2011

The tragedy at the World Trade Center (WTC) on Sept. 11, 2001, continues to affect many thousands of first responders who sacrificed their own health while restoring lower Manhattan and attempting to recover survivors and victims' remains.

Recently, H.R. 847, otherwise known as the James Zadroga Bill, was signed by President Obama in an effort to provide services and compensation for those whose health was compromised through exposure to the toxic dust and gases at Ground Zero. However, these first responders also need help to understand how their illnesses originated so that improvements in treatment can be made.

December 25, 2010

File this one under: “You can’t make this stuff up.”

According to Greg Miller at the Washington Post: “The Central intelligence Agency (CIA) has launched a task force to assess the impact of the exposure of thousands of US diplomatic cables and military files by WikiLeaks. Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it's mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: WTF.”

December 10, 2010

At a time when the U.S. military is relying increasingly on unmanned aerial vehicles -- also known as UAVs or "drones" -- ever deeper connections between the drone industry and the Hoosier state have become apparent.

Newly uncovered documents show that an Indianapolis-based manufacturer of lithium-ion battery systems, EnerDel, has two multimillion dollar contracts with the U.S. Navy to develop batteries for minidrones.

November 24, 2010

One of Indiana's largest educational institutions is connected to a controversial trend in modern warfare, as Purdue University's Research Park is home to a West Lafayette company that receives millions of dollars in U.S. military funding for the development of robotic technology for remote-controlled attacks, along with flying surveillance, which is promoted as the future of domestic law enforcement.

Several sites in Indiana host the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, commonly known as "drones," which have been variously described as the United States' best response to global terrorism and as an illegal and counterproductive approach to military and law enforcement challenges.

November 19, 2010

Just after Sept. 11, 2001, many governments began investigations into possible insider trading related to the terrorist attacks of that day. Such investigations were initiated by the governments of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and others. Although the investigators were clearly concerned about insider trading, and considerable evidence did exist, none of the investigations resulted in a single indictment. That’s because the people identified as having been involved in the suspect trades were seen as unlikely to have been associated with those alleged to have committed the 9/11 crimes.

October 31, 2010

Two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Barry Sanders told a Bloomington audience that one morning, as he awoke, two questions came to mind: How much pollution does the military produce? How much pollution does the U.S. military produce in a year, month or day? As an ordinary citizen, not a military expert, he set about trying to answer these questions.

Sanders said he felt complicit in the military’s pollution since it was taxpayers’ money that funds the military. What drove his quest was the assumption that “an informed citizenry is a much more powerful collection of people than those who care little or not at all.”

CBS correspondent has spent seven years covering Middle East wars

October 17, 2010

CBS chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan's talk at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Oct. 12, 2010, was a fascinating exploration of war reporting, as well as an intriguing insight into the possibilities of her future CBS News foreign affairs reportage.

Logan spoke to a full house and kept the audience rapt throughout. Her appearance was sponsored by the IU School of Journalism.

October 16, 2010

Photojournalist Adam Reynolds was happy to see the FedEx truck pull up recently. He'd been anxiously awaiting the return of the tools of his trade -- camera, laptop and iPod -- that were confiscated by Yemen authorities in April.

The Bloomington native and another freelance journalist, Heather Murdock, were deported at the end of April from the country located at the tip of the Saudi Arabian peninsula. The official reason for their expulsion was that they were traveling without permits. "We wanted to visit southern Yemen to interview members of the secessionist Southern Movement," Reynolds said. "And there was no way the government would have permitted that."

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