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Good Morning!

July, 2012 by joanneleon
If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.

~Howard Zinn

Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
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Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes

It seemed like a simple enough idea for an iPhone app: Send users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America’s many undeclared wars. But Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store — and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter.

It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.

Begley is confused. Drones+ doesn’t present grisly images of corpses left in the aftermath of the strikes. It just tells users when a strike has occurred, going off a publicly available database of strikes compiled by the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles media accounts of the strikes.

Efforts to Relieve Dam Continue in Mississippi

BATON ROUGE, La. — Emergency crews continued on Friday to relieve pressure on a rain-weakened earthen dam in Mississippi that the authorities down river in Louisiana fear could fail, possibly flooding thousands of homes in a southeastern Louisiana already battered by Hurricane Isaac.

As the remnants of the hurricane weakened into a tropical depression and moved north into Arkansas, officials in Louisiana found the bodies of a man and woman in Plaquemines Parish inside a flooded house, The Associated Press reported.

Area volunteers go south to help those hit by Isaac

Seven years after helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, Janice Winston, 59, of Mount Airy, is back in Louisiana, helping people cope with Hurricane Isaac.

Newly enlisted volunteer Kirsten Heininger, 22, of Mullica Hill, is in Lucedale, Miss., staffing an emergency shelter for those forced out of their homes.

Winston and Heininger are two of the 27 volunteers deployed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross (SEPA) to help residents of four Southern states deal with the flooding caused by Isaac.

Montreal Student Strike Continues after Classes Forced to Reopen

Student protests broke out on college campuses in Montreal for the second day in a row on Tuesday following the enforcement of a winter make-up term at all Quebec universities that were hit by student strikes earlier this year. As striking students marched through classrooms, banged on desks, and blew horns, Montreal police were called in and ultimately detained up to 21 protesters.

To make up for classes missed during last term's widespread student strike, Quebec students were required to return to class early this week in accordance with the contentious Bill 78. The bill, now known as the "anti-protest law," was passed earlier this year, spawning mass protests and Canada's largest act of civil disobedience.

This week's protesters were attempting to blockade classes at the University of Montreal and the University of Quebec at Montreal in a bid to continue their strike.

Correspondence and collusion between the New York Times and the CIA
Mark Mazzetti's emails with the CIA expose the degradation of journalism that has lost the imperative to be a check to power

The rightwing transparency group, Judicial Watch, released Tuesday a new batch of documents showing how eagerly the Obama administration shoveled information to Hollywood film-makers about the Bin Laden raid. Obama officials did so to enable the production of a politically beneficial pre-election film about that "heroic" killing, even as administration lawyers insisted to federal courts and media outlets that no disclosure was permissible because the raid was classified.

Thanks to prior disclosures from Judicial Watch of documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, this is old news. That's what the Obama administration chronically does: it manipulates secrecy powers to prevent accountability in a court of law, while leaking at will about the same programs in order to glorify the president.

Amazon tribe massacre alleged in Venezuela - Village of 80 people was firebombed from the air, say activists, by illegal gold miners based in neighbouring Brazil

A massacre of up to 80 Yanomami Indians has taken place in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas, according to claims emerging from the region, prompting the government to send in investigators.

Blame is being placed on illegal garimpeiro miners who cross the border from Brazil to prospect for gold and have clashed violently with Amazon tribes before. According to local testimonies an armed group flew over in a helicopter, opening fire with guns and launching explosives into Irotatheri settlement in the High Ocamo area. The village was home to about 80 people and only three had been accounted for as survivors, according to people from a neighbouring village and indigenous rights activists.

The claims were presented to local authorities in Puerto Ayacucho, the capital of Amazonas state on Monday, asking for an immediate investigation of the site where the alleged killing took place, and for the expulsion of the garimpeiros. The event would have taken place during the first two weeks of July but due to the remoteness of the village it is only now been made public.

5 Australian Soldiers Die in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Five Australian soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan within hours of one another on Wednesday and Thursday, three of them at the hands of a turncoat Afghan soldier, making it the deadliest period in a decade of fighting here for one of the United States’ staunchest allies.

Two soldiers died when their UH-1 Huey helicopter crashed in the Baghran district of Helmand Province on Thursday morning, NATO officials said. They said they did not know what caused the crash, which left other soldiers injured as well.

Three other soldiers were killed on Wednesday night when an Afghan soldier turned his gun on them in Oruzgan Province [ ... ] The attack happened at a fuel depot when a member of the Afghan National Army shot the Australians and then fled the base, coalition officials said. The international force command said that the motive was unclear and that it was investigating.

The fact that New Zealand has already decided to pull out must be increasing the pressure too.
Afghanistan. Should we pull the pin?

With news that five Australians have been killed in two separate incidents over recent days in Afghanistan the question of just what is the purpose of the mission in that troubled country is again being asked. The latest fatalities brings the total of Australian deaths to 38, seven of whom have been killed by Afghan soldiers in what are called 'green on blue' killings.

Member for McMillan in the Federal Parliament Russell Broadbent says the shooting of three Australians by an Afghan Army soldier does put enormous pressure on Australia's decision makers.
He says while he would personally favour all the 1500 Australian's returning home immediately, the nation and its armed forces are in a partnership to help rebuild Afghanistan.

In the UK:
Afghanistan: the hard lessons of history

Critics of the war claim that, given we’ve announced our departure to ‘the enemy’, it’s hard to construct a more futile reason for British soldiers to die or get hurt than in the current Afghan war.

NATO insists it must press on though, to get the Afghan army in the best shape possible before it leaves.

Right or wrong on both sides, what we can surely all agree on is that something very weird is happening in the UK now, just as it is in the US and to other NATO players. The deaths and horrifying injuries of young British soldiers go on and on and on and yet cause scarcely a murmur here at home.

McClatchy contributor Austin Tice may be held by Syrians

Statements in recent days by Czech diplomats, information from Syrian rebel supporters and reports from people inside Syria indicate that the 31-year-old Houston native, who contributed to McClatchy, The Washington Post and CBS News, was detained by Syrian government forces near the Damascus suburb of Daraya, his last known location.

The U.S. State Department says the Syrian government has not responded to inquiries about Tice that were made through official channels and that U.S. diplomats were “working through our Czech protecting power in Syria to get more information on his welfare and whereabouts.” A Syrian official in the United States declined to comment Thursday.

Blog Posts of Interest

Justice Department Ends Investigation Into Bush-Era Torture, With No Charges by David Dayen on FDL News

Fear-Mongering Over New IAEA Iran Report Falls Flat by Jim White on

Donovan - Mellow Yellow


We are ready for some serious change. We are ready to take up the tools of a free and analytic press to peacefully undermine the stranglehold of the kleptocrats on our battered democracy. We are ready to expose and publicize their greed, lies and illegal machinations and hold their enablers in government and the media to account. Are you in?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
 ~ Margaret Mead

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