How the FBI Hacked Twitter: The answer begins with Russiagate

Lee Smith

Tablet Magazine | January 05, 2023

AFTER journalist Matt Taibbi published the first batch of internal Twitter documents known as the Twitter files, he tweeted that the company’s deputy general counsel, James Baker, was vetting them.

“The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved,” Taibbi wrote. That apparently included even Twitter’s new boss, Elon Musk, who added that Baker may have deleted some of the files he was supposed to be reviewing.

Baker had been the top lawyer at the FBI when it interfered in the 2016 presidential election. News that he might have been burying evidence of the spy service’s use of a social media company to interfere with the 2020 election, is rightly setting off alarm bells.

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Peru coup: CIA agent turned US ambassador met with defense minister day before president overthrown

The US ambassador in Peru, Lisa Kenna, worked for the CIA for 9 years, as well as the Pentagon. One day before the coup against elected left-wing President Pedro Castillo, Kenna met with Peru’s defense minister, who then ordered the military to turn against Castillo.

Ben Norton

Multipolarista | December 14, 2022

The US ambassador in Peru, a veteran CIA agent named Lisa Kenna, met with the country’s defense minister just one day before democratically elected left-wing President Pedro Castillo was overthrown in a coup d’etat and imprisoned without trial.

Peru’s defense minister, a retired brigadier general, ordered the military to turn against Castillo.

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How Organized Crime Plays a Key Role in the Ukrainian Conflict

John P Ruehl

Countercurrents Collective | December 20, 2022

On November 1, the deputy director of Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation downplayed remarks made on October 30 by an agency official, who warned of Western weapons bound for Ukraine being smuggled into Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Nonetheless, the affair generated significant attention and reflected previous concerns expressed by European authorities over Ukraine’s vulnerability to organized crime and the repercussions for the continent.

Organized crime emerged as a potent force in Ukraine after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Criminal groups exploited flawed economic privatization measures to amass significant economic power, while the collapse of the Soviet security state allowed armed criminal factions to replace government authority and entrench themselves permanently.

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Americans Unhappy And Wary With Their Country’s Course, Leaders And Future

 Countercurrents Collective | December 19, 2022

Most of the U.S. citizens are unhappy with the course of their country, their leaders, and the future, finds a new poll.

A report by USA Today (Unhappy new year? Poll finds Americans wary of the nation’s course, its leaders and its future ahead of 2023, Dec 19, 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/12/18/poll-inflation-future-leaders-americans/10903538002/) said:

Americans are braced for an unhappy new year.

Two-thirds of respondents in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll say the country has gotten off on the wrong track, and they express little confidence in either political party or any branch of government to effectively address the challenges they see ahead.

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End the U.S. empire!

Eric Zuesse

Currently, the U.S. has exactly 900 military bases in foreign countries, in addition to the 749 bases inside the U.S. itself. The U.S. Government minimizes and tries to hide this reality from the public. Furthermore, although the U.S. is officially estimated to spend around 36% of the entire world’s military expenditures, the actual figure is around 50% of the world’s military expenditures, and the added approximately 14% is being paid-out through federal U.S. Departments other than the ‘Defense’ Department, so as to make the total U.S. figure appear to be only 36% of the global total. Moreover: on November 15th, the U.S. Department of ‘Defense’ announced that “The results of the fifth annual DOD [Department Of Defense] wide financial audit will be a disclaimer of opinion for DOD” and used other such obtuse phraseology, so that the reality that — as one of the very few published news-reports that was based on it headlined optimistically — “Defense Department fails another audit, but makes progress”, and it opened:

The Defense Department has failed its fifth-ever audit, unable to account for more than half of its assets, but the effort is being viewed as a “teachable moment,” according to its chief financial officer. 

After 1,600 auditors combed through DOD’s $3.5 trillion in assets and $3.7 trillion in liabilities, officials found that the department couldn’t account for about 61 percent of its assets, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord told reporters on Tuesday.

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China the Change Agent – Patreon Q&A #3

Michael Hudson | December 12, 2022

Each quarter, Patreon Plus supporters can ask Michael questions. Here is a transcript of the most recent one, just in time for our next Q&A this Thursday. Please support Michael’s work via his Patreon page.

Karl Fitzgerald: Alright, let’s get into it. We’ve got lots of good questions. Welcome, everyone. My name is Karl Fitzgerald. I’ve been Michael’s webmaster for over a decade now and yes, we’re so lucky to have Michael Hudson with us today. We’ve all read his books. We’ve all seen his whirlwind approach to unveiling the reality of economics so yes, Michael, great to have you here. I wanted to start off with just a nice easy one. I’m sure you could answer this in your sleep but for you, what are some of the guiding principles that listeners should really grasp in terms of just how rigged our economic system is today? What’s the handful of principles that you think are a useful barometer for people to grasp just how off-kilter our economic system is?

Michael Hudson: I’ve been working on a vocabulary to describe these principles. There are a number of seemingly opposing forces at work. I think we should call the inflation, The Biden Inflation, because the inflation that we’re seeing is almost entirely the result of Biden’s inaugurating a new 20- to 30-year cold war with Russia. He’s announced that it’s going to take 20 or 30 years. He said Ukraine is only the opening. His sanctioning of Russian oil, gas and food is pushed up by inflation by about at least 10% from Europe all the way to the United States. So, on the one hand, this inflation that people are saying is the problem has led the Federal Reserve to say, “Well, there’s a cure to that Biden inflation. Let’s have a depression and lower wage rates. If only we have more unemployment, we can cure the inflation.”

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U.S.: College workers ride the national wave of union organizing

Mark Gruenberg

People’s World | December 14, 2022

Graduate student workers at Boston University are only a few of the many college workers across the country riding a tsunami wave of unionization sweeping across the country. | BU Graduate Workers United

NEW YORK and BOSTON —Exploited college workers—part-time faculty at New York’s New School and grad student workers at Boston University—are using unionization to achieve, or seek, gains on the job. Next month, grad student workers at Yale may join them.

All three groups—the 2,600 part-timers at the New School and 1,400 at the allied Parsons School of Design, the 3,200 grad student workers at Boston University and the 4,000 teaching assistants at most departments at Yale—are part of the growing movement of exploited, underpaid and overworked college workers nationwide.

Like colleagues in other occupations, at other universities and at other firms, including warehouse workers, retail workers, Amazon workers, Starbucks baristas and port truckers—the three campus groups are youthful, fed up with corporate and capitalist exploitation of their labor and respond by one of two ways: Unionizing, or leaving for other jobs.

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Let’s Be Clear: If WW3 Happens It Will Be The Result Of Choices Made By The US Empire

Caitlin Johnstone

The commander of the US nuclear arsenal has stated unequivocally that the war in Ukraine is just a warmup exercise for a much larger conflict that’s already in the mail.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports:

The commander that oversees US nuclear forces delivered an ominous warning at a naval conference last week by calling the war in Ukraine a “warmup” for the “big one” that is to come.

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”

Richard’s warning came after the US released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which reaffirms that the US doctrine allows for the first use of nuclear weapons. The review says that the purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to “deter strategic attacks, assure allies and partners, and achieve US objectives if deterrence fails.”

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‘Milk Was Still Steaming, We Just Walked Out’: Scenes from a Summer of Strikes in a South Carolina Starbucks

Aneil Tripathi

Labor Notes | August 22, 2022

The Anderson Starbucks’ new manager (center, on phone) somehow interpreted this march on the boss on August 1 as a kidnapping. A video (from which this is a still) shows that she got up and left, pushing past one worker as they all stood motionless. Later she called the police. Photo: Starbucks Workers United

Starbucks barista was Aneil Tripathi’s first job, at 17. Now 19 and a shift supervisor, he helped organize a union in his store in Anderson, South Carolina. He and his co-workers, whom Starbucks calls “partners,” have been on strike twice this summer—an experience Tripathi calls emotional and fun.

Since the Starbucks Workers United campaign launched last fall, workers have won union authorization elections at 220 stores, and struck at least 60. The company has retaliated harshly—closing some stores, firing dozens of union leaders, claiming interference by the National Labor Relations Board, and calling for a moratorium on mail-in elections.

Starbucks also barred union stores from receiving long-awaited benefits to be implemented August 1, provoking several strikes.

Jonah Furman from Labor Notes spoke with Tripathi about the joys of the picket line, Starbucks’ retaliation, and how a store manager got so rattled by a collective action that she accused the workers of kidnapping her. This text has been condensed and edited for clarity. –Editors

We had our vote count May 31. I remember everything because I was so excited. I was expecting maybe two or three no votes, but we were the first unanimous store in the South.

It was fine for a week. We were proud. We were wearing our Starbucks Workers United shirts; we put up a sign saying “Welcome to your unionized I-85 Starbucks.”

Our store manager said. “You can’t wear those shirts, it’s against Starbucks dress code.” I said, “That’s illegal. Under the National Labor Relations Act we’re allowed to wear union apparel.” She says, “I’m just telling you what I was told. The next person to wear one will be written up.”

So we stopped wearing them for a while; we were unsure of the write-up process. I said, “What do you think of a direct action?” We went on strike June 10.

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The UK’s Decision to Extradite Assange Shows Why The US/UK’s Freedom Lectures Are a Farce

The Assange persecution is the greatest threat to Western press freedoms in years. It is also a shining monument to the fraud of American and British self-depictions.

Glenn Greenwald | June 17, 2022

People protest with t-shirts and easter eggs at Largo di Torre Argentina to demand Julian Assange’s freedom against extradition, on April 11, 2022 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Simona Granati – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The eleven-year persecution of Julian Assange was extended and escalated on Friday morning. The British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the U.S.’s extradition request to send Julian Assange to Virginia to stand trial on eighteen felony charges under the 1917 Espionage Act and other statutes in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents showing widespread corruption, deceit, and war crimes by American and British authorities along with their close dictatorial allies in the Middle East.

This decision is unsurprising — it has been obvious for years that the U.S. and UK are determined to destroy Assange as punishment for his journalism exposing their crimes — yet it nonetheless further highlights the utter sham of American and British sermons about freedom, democracy and a free press. Those performative self-glorifying spectacles are constantly deployed to justify these two countries’ interference in and attacks on other nations, and to allow their citizens to feel a sense of superiority about the nature of their governments. After all, if the U.S. and UK stand for freedom and against tyranny, who could possibly oppose their wars and interventions in the name of advancing such lofty goals and noble values?

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