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Oxdown Diaries

Ukraine Tipping

By: Saturday January 31, 2015 5:00 pm

Pretty much everything about Ukraine is murky and unreliable these days, and that’s before you take into consideration any of the meddling by outside powers playing carelessly with their Slavic pawns. Viewed in their darkest light, the events of the past 20 months (and the past 20 years) reflect an East-West death spiral that is now accelerating, and from which none of the engaged parties show any desire to disengage.

My Big Fat Greek Debt

By: Friday January 30, 2015 7:00 pm

Alexis Tsipras is the newly elected Prime Minister of Greece since 26 January 2015. One of the young leftwing radicals of the Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras is sweeping away the age of austerity. He made good on his promises to voters in a startling fashion:

One by one they were rolled back, blitzkrieg-style, mercilessly, ruthlessly, with rat-a-tat efficiency. First the barricades came down outside the Greek parliament. Then it was announced that privatisation schemes would be halted and pensions reinstated. And then came the news of the reintroduction of the €751 monthly minimum wage. And all before Greece’s new prime minister had got his first cabinet meeting under way. {more}

CIA Tried to Give Iraq Nuclear Plans, Just Like Iran

By: Friday January 30, 2015 5:00 pm

If you’ve followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen’s book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a nuclear bomb.

The CIA then proposed to do exactly the same for Iraq, using the same former Russian scientist to make the delivery. How do I know this? Well, Marcy Wheeler has kindly put all the evidence from the Sterling trial online, including this cable. Read the following paragraph:

When Shock and Awe Turns 12

By: Thursday January 29, 2015 6:30 pm

Shock and Awe is having a troubled adolescence. The U.S. government is killing children with flying robot death planes, keeping troops in 175 countries, actively using “special” forces in 150 countries, asking us to ignore what it’s done to Libya so that we’ll support more wars, going silent on Yemen as the supposed model of a country that U.S. warmaking improved rather than ruined, turning down an offer from North Korea to halt nuclear tests, continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in sight and no longer any pretense of Congressional or United Nations approval, oscillating on the question of starting a war on Iran (and inviting a foreign leader to give Congress its marching orders), actively antagonizing Russia and sending troops to Ukraine, building new nukes, proposing to enlarge the world’s largest military budget next year, and avoiding all accountability for such horrors as human experimentation at Guantanamo.

Mining & Fracking Whirl: 27 Jan 2015

By: Tuesday January 27, 2015 6:00 pm

“Dirty Water, Dirty Money: Coal Ash and the Attack on North Carolina’s Courts”

*Worldwide. It’s now 3 minutes ’til Doomsday, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Due to human-caused climate change.

*Worldwide. Ocean warming is accelerating rapidly as “more than 90 percent of human induced planetary warming goes into the oceans. Alarming charts and other info at the link. Update: Auklets are dying in unprecedented numbers from AK to CA. Update: Ice “disappearing at a truly astonishing rate in Austfonna”, Norway—very far north. Update: Melting glaciers predicted to contribute 48 million metric tons of organic carbon into the oceans by 2050, and nobody’s sure of the impact (see “Australia” below).

The Invisible Man: Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistleblower

By: Tuesday January 27, 2015 4:00 pm

The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling — after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower.

Sterling’s indictment four years ago received fleeting news coverage that recited the government’s charges. From the outset, the Justice Department portrayed him as bitter and vengeful — with the classic trash-the-whistleblower word “disgruntled” thrown in — all of which the mainline media dutifully recounted without any other perspective.

How Torture Wins In the US Marketplace of Ideas

By: Tuesday January 27, 2015 2:00 pm

How did this happen? How did actions considered morally repugnant and war crimes in World War II, become acceptable now? And by Christians, goddamnit! Who made this happen, who let this happen, who helped it happen? And finally, is there a way to change this opinion?

“We murdered some folks” in Guantanamo

By: Sunday January 25, 2015 4:00 pm

Murder at Camp Delta is a new book by Joseph Hickman, a former guard at Guantanamo. It’s neither fiction nor speculation. When President Obama says “We tortured some folks,” Hickman provides at least three cases — in addition to many others we know about from secret sites around the world — in which the statement needs to be modified to “We murdered some folks.” Of course, murder is supposed to be acceptable in war (and in whatever you call what Obama does with drones) while torture is supposed to be, or used to be, a scandal. But what about tortures to death? What about deadly human experimentation? Does that have a Nazi enough ring to disturb anyone?

Your Home Is Your Prison: How to Lock Down Your Neighborhood, Your Country & You

By: Sunday January 25, 2015 9:00 am

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here. [Note for TomDispatch Readers: Today, the first TD special offer of the New Year accompanies Maya Schenwar’s striking report on how the prison experience is spreading in this country. Schenwar’s new book, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We [...]

Federal Court Order: Explosive DOT-111 “Bomb Train” Oil Tank Cars Can Continue to Roll

By: Saturday January 24, 2015 12:00 pm

A U.S. federal court has ordered a halt in proceedings until May in a case centering around oil-by-rail tankers pitting the Sierra Club and ForestEthics against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). As a result, potentially explosive DOT-111 oil tank cars, dubbed “bomb trains” by activists, can continue to roll through towns and cities across the U.S. indefinitely.

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