Links 7/16/13

Please read this appeal from Lambert and donate if you haven’t yet!

Lambert here: My own blog, Corrente, is holding its summer fundraiser. 27 31 45 62 donors have already contributed; that’s about halfway to the goal I’d hoped for. Thanks to you, kind readers, I can now get some new glasses and do what I need to do around the house, which is where I work! No house, no blogging. In case readers don’t know: Blogging is not a sideline for me: It’s my job. It’s what I do. Here’s what Corrente is all about, and a history of some of the campaigns we’ve done, going back to 2003. The PayPal and WePay buttons are in the right hand sidebar. Like NC, Corrente is not part of any political tribe or faction. That makes us unusually dependent on contributions from individual readers. Your help is appreciated, and thanks to Yves (“Donate to Lambert’s Fundraiser…Now!”) for giving me the opportunity to ask for it.

Brazilian man dies after cow falls through his roof on top of him Telegraph

JK Rowling is right – a pen name is a writer’s best friend Telegraph

Volcanic ‘scream’ precedes eruption BBC

Graphene the ‘Miracle Material’ may be Deadly to Humans OilPrice

Gender and Service: A Simple Test Experimental Theology (Lambert)

Contaminated Water has been Leaking into Ocean for Two Years at Fukushima OilPrice

Sexual Favors Spur Glaxo’s $1.5 Billion China Sales, Police Say Bloomberg. Mirabile dictu! One of my favorite lines makes it to a Bloomberg story: “What sexual favors were exchanged for X to have happened?”

China to add tunnel to “world’s biggest” list MacroBusiness

THE MODEST PROPOSAL – Four crises, four policies Yanis Varoufakis, Stuart Holland, and James Galbraith

Quantitative Easing: Can it Be Unwound? Triple Crisis. Note this is a UK-based analysis, where the assets purchased were different (in the US, because the Fed bought MBS as a substantial component of QE, those bonds will amortize due to principal payoffs and people selling homes to move or as a result of death, disability, job loss, etc).

US blocks crackdown on tax avoidance by net firms like Google and Amazon Guardian

The World Left and Turmoil in Egypt Immanuel Wallerstein (Paul Tioxon)

We’re Sorry for Costing David Petraeus $199,999 Gawker (Lambert)

Detainee Begs to Be Charged as Legal Limbo Worsens Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Snowden trapped in Russia – Putin BBC. You heard it here first.

GOP Not Anxious to End John Roberts’ Unilateral Reign Appointing FISA Judges Marcy Wheeler

The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: ‘collect it all’ Glenn Greenwald

Merkel Gets Behind Controversial European Data Protection Reform TechWeekEurope

Surveillance dystopia looms Asia Times

Filibuster talks flag, Senate braces for showdown Associated Press. Lambert: “Should have done in 2009!!!!”

‘TABLOID TWINS’: Both Anthony Weiner And Eliot Spitzer Have Big Leads In A New Poll Clusterstock

Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman:

Nation Throws Hands Up, Tells Black Teenagers To Do Their Best Out There Onion

Getting away with it Economist

Of Criminals and Crackers Counterpunch (Carol B)

Why Did They Let Her on the Zimmerman Jury? Slate (Lambert)

Angela Corey Fires Whistleblower Who Revealed The Withholding Of Evidence From Zimmerman Defense Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Mixed Results in Health Pilot Plan Wall Street Journal

What is the long-term impact of incarcerating juveniles? VoxEU

Birth defects linked to bad water in California’s San Joaquin Valley McClatchy (ginnie nyc)

Bernanke faces grilling over bond buying Financial Times

Did Today’s Retail Sales Whiff Contain A Big Warning About The Housing Market? Clusterstock

Economy skids dangerously close to contraction MarketWatch

Too much profit on Wall Street Financial Times

Why Aren’t Americans Fighting Back? TruthOut

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Jay Schiavone

    I can’t wait to go for a ride through the world’s biggest tunnel. I hope it’s lined with graphene.

  2. Skeptic

    Sexual Favors Spur Glaxo’s $1.5 Billion China Sales, Police Say Bloomberg.

    It ain’t just in China.

    I worked in the loathsome Pharmaceutical Marketing Industry over 25 years ago as a computer programmer. My first job out of school. Within six months, although just involved on the computer end, I could see how immoral, unethical and, in some cases, illegal were the practices. I got out of it as soon as I could.

    Our main job was to maintain a physician database. The information was gleaned from questionnaires sent to physicians by mail. They were sent a check for a measly $5, yes five dollars, for filling out a questionnaire which required at least fifteen minutes of their time. There was an appeal to their sense of social responsibility, the information would be used to develop new products for humanity, etc. Staff used to laugh at how stupid these doctors were.The above was known as Physician Profiling, sound familiar??

    With the info gained, forms were then supplied quarterly to sales reps, aka detail men, to use before they visited a doctor. The doctors never knew their information was used for this purpose. Fraud right there!

    Part of the questionnaire contained questions about size of practice and other non-medical areas. More and more of these questions were being put it to gage personal information about the doctor. Information the sales reps could use to manipulate them. NSA woulda been proud.

    Once this database was built, you could massage it in many different ways. One of the more interesting was to look at High Prescribers of Antidepressants. Some of these docs were way off the charts in their numbers of prescriptions. This indicated possible criminal activity.

    The owner of the company was a sociopath; everyone in the office agreed on that. He used to go on about how easily the doctors could be manipulated. He would also do specialized reports. As for the executives from BIG PHARMA buying his services, he would explain how he would listen closely to them and then produce reports which just played back what they wanted to hear. Sure there was some research but it was all just used to parrot back to the execs what they wanted to hear and get a fat fee.

    This was in the mid-eighties and we were switching all this over to laptops instead of hard copy reports. So, the idea was the sales reps would have instant updating on their laptops when a new series of questionnaires came in. And the personal info on docs was growing.(I would imagine if they could ever get a tiein to credit card databases that would be a big step for sales reps.)

    About two years ago, I was dealing with a resident in a hospital. We were waiting for a test result. I told him some of the above. He looked quite astonished but his response was to tell me “They don’t do that anymore—there are strict rules.” Sure thing. Doctors have Denial Disease; nothing rotten in their Industry.

    After I left the job, I kept a lot of documents and later sent them off to two different governments who I thought might investigate this sleazy, possibly criminal industry. Anonymously of course. Please send me my Whistleblower Award.

    One benefit of all the above for me is that I have a real skeptical attitude toward Medicine and its practicioners. In one case, I refused recommended treatment for a serious condition. This was in regards to the Angioplasty-Stenting-Bypass Racket. As they say, follow the money and you won’t go wrong.

    I would imagine now, twenty-five years later, there are pharma sales reps running around with these databases on their laptops, ipads, etc. and are able to access data on doctors with no supervision or regulation. Maybe at the local bistro to amuse their friends. Or maybe for more nefarious reasons. I have often thought that I would never want to be a doctor for that reason alone, the violation of privacy. Doctors, they are laughing at you all the way to the Bank.

    1. Billy

      “This was in the mid-eighties and we were switching all this over to laptops…”

      Laptops in the mid-80s ? Really ?

      1. Massinissa

        The first laptops were actually made available in 1981. But they REALLY sucked.

        If we are talking about mid 1980s laptops, he may be referring to something like the Dulmont Magnum. Not necessarily this one, mind you, but this is a good enough example for mid 1980s laptops.

        Another example is the Gavilan SC.

        There were literally dozens of laptop types entering the market in the mid 80s, but they were all ugly as shit and pretty limited. And most of the companies went under, with a few big dogs dominating the market.

        1. Binky Bear

          Osbornes were popular among early adopters-my uncle had one. Two floppy drives! CP/M!

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, the first computer I bought in 1985 was a laptop. It was a Toshiba. 7 lbs or so. Laptops were a well established concept by then, even if not all that good by today’s standard.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      To your more important point about overprescribing/overtreating, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves about medicine in the US (that and the pretense that it’s science based, when there is perilous little science behind a lot of what passes for medicine).

      It isn’t just that the doctors are paid on fee for service, although that is a big problem. We have a culture of patients trained to demand miracles and pills and doctors overtreating. When I was in Oz, it was normal for doctors to do the reverse. “Well you might have X, but let’s monitor it. If you do have X, Y will occur. So [call me if you develop Z symptom OR come in in Q months and we’ll look at it again]”. But patient in the US expect to be treated if they feel crappy and don’t like being told that they’d be better off living with it and seeing if this is just temporary or that the cure might be worse than living with the ailment.

      My newest pet peeve is the overprescription of colonoscopies. The US is the only advanced economy to have doctors insist that everyone at 50 have them. Yet colonosciopies THEMSELVES are risky (it turns out in 15% of the cases, the equipement isn’t cleaned properly and you can get all sorts of bad stuff as a result, including hepatitis, PLUS you have the risk of bowel perforation).

      For women, unless you have a family history of cancer or another risk indicator (like Chron’s disease) there’s not good reason to have a colonoscopy much before 60 and even then, a virtual colonoscopy would do (you take the horrible bowel evacuation medicine but get a CAT scan. If they do see polyps, you would need to go in a second time, but you don’t have dangerous and potentially infection-inducing equipment stuffed into you unless there’s a real reason).

      1. psychohistorian

        I totally agree on the colonoscopy over use.

        If you don’t have the medical background that would recommend such, you can “shit on a stick’ once a year and feel confident you are being prudent. If the fecal test is positive then you can look further.

        The PRACTICE of medicine should be all about human health and NOTHING about profit.

  3. Savonarola

    Lambert, thank you for the link to Experimental Theology, something I would never have found and read on my own, but which I find extremely thought provoking. I often bristle at how Christianity, as taught by Christ, is tossed aside when humans go to collect themselves for the purpose. I’m not surprised, but I bristle. This very plainly reminds us and lays out the truth – we are called to only one thing: service. Everything else is a power play.

  4. wunsacon

    >> Sexual Favors Spur Glaxo’s $1.5 Billion China Sales, Police Say Bloomberg. … One of my favorite lines …

    Well, maybe we should play “spot the innuendo”. Oooh, ooh, I found one:

    “The more salesmen, the more penetration of the country”

  5. wunsacon

    Re graphene:
    >> Kane suggests that this news [about graphene] should not have a negative impact on the application of graphene in the future because it is used to create “man-made materials, so we should be able to be clever and make them safer.”

    Oh, yeah? Right. Like that’ll happen. [heard elsewhere: “ship it!”]

    1. optimader

      Re: grapheme

      The grapheme toxicity issues cuts across (no pun intended) all manner of nanoscale materials, both manmade and naturally occurring.
      If you want to be disappointed, search on “crystalline silica”, colloquially known as “Sand”. Insurance companies are denying coverage to processors of silica due to it’s toxic properties (sharp little spikes, think asbestos.
      Ok, now consider plain ‘ol Talc. Say like used in crayolas or baby powder. Crystalline mineral speices co occur in talc deposits, same toxicity issues. I believe now all talc used, in Crayolas at least must be assayed to be amorphous nto crystalline. this can be done by roasting it (very hot say, 2,500F) in a kiln. Not an inexpensive operation. cheap.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          These are disappointing:

          Mr. One Stone: If you keep doing the same thing (like throwing dice, maybe, just because we live in a probabilistic world or just because we gamble a lot), it’s insane to expect different results.

          Stephen Hawking (paraphrasing, again and this time from the documentary, Surviving Progress): We humans, we intelligent humans, deserve another chance. We have to find another hospitable planet…after, um, after, uh, mmmm, we, eh, intellig…uh, intelligent humans are done destroying this planet.

          Forget science gadgets.

          Just consume less.

        2. F. Beard

          Nothing is free.


          Being a natural pessimist, I would never have thought that one could just poke a hole in the ground and get:

          1) Clean water
          2) Natural gas
          3) Oil
          4) Brine
          5) water for heating
          6) water for cooling
          7) etc.

          Yet one can.

          It’s called serendipity, friend, and nature is loaded with it and we’ll never run out of it so long as God is pleased to supply it.

          1. Joe

            “It’s called serendipity, friend, and nature is loaded with it and we’ll never run out of it so long as God is pleased to supply it.”

            This could be one of the most dangerous comments ever posted on this site.

            1. optimader

              …This could be one of the most dangerous comments ever posted on this site…


            2. F. Beard

              Progressives just can’t stay focused on the real problem which is the government-backed counterfeiting cartel, the banks.

              If you were God would you be worried that your creatures were using up stuff you can create easily from nothing OR would you be concerned about their character development, including how just their society is?

              But hey, even an atheist should realize that debt-based, lent-into-existence money (“credit”) is the root cause of the mad, environment destroying rat-race the world is trapped in.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

                That’s how it took the Aztec gods 5 times to create us humans.

                Here, maybe human character development can be restarted as well, by having new forms of humans created, again and again – and easily too – from nothing.

              2. optimader

                I usually don’t play make believe, but if I were “God” there would not be anything so trivial as money, resource depletion or for that matter this absurd corporeal sack of flesh and odd bits offal all floating in blood that is the life support system we use to transport our brains around.

                If I were “God” if you cut your arm, butterflys would flitter out with some clever theme music in the background.

                I wont even go into the streamlining I would put into effect when it comes to human procreation. I mean jeeze, what was he thinking on that one anyway?

          2. optimader

            For any of those specified items I can give you a list of adverse unintended consequences that accumulate with scale of development(exploitation). Not saying resources shouldn’t be developed, the notion that it is done without consequences is a bit autistic IMO. File under: Free electricity from nuke plants

   God is pleased to supply it.. = ..Allah willing.. = a distressing justification for many
            Indeed, nothing is free.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Just a reminder – CO2 is good for plants and deserts are coming back to life again…I think, I believe someone mentioned it not too long ago.

  6. D. Mathews

    Economist: “That’s why I suspect that a legal system making it harder for the likes of Mr Zimmerman to get away with it would be a system of even more outrageous racial inequity.”

    Me: We need to go beyond the “system”.

    Robin D.G. Kelley: “Let’s be clear: the Trayvon Martin’s of the world never had that right because the “ground” was never considered theirs to stand on. Unless black people could magically produce some official documentation proving that they are not burglars, rapists, drug dealers, pimps or prostitutes, intruders, they are assumed to be ‘up to no good.'”

    I realize there may seem to be irony in my statement followed by a quote from an article entitled “How the System Worked”, but I think you get the gist of my point.

    1. b2020

      Both Economist and Kelley have it right – see Turley’s article as well. It will not help the Martins of the future if the criminal justice system is corrupted further.

      In any case, Kelley’s article is a must read for not just the section you quote. The observation regarding drone signature strikes as racist is especially important, and the closing statement nails it.

      1. D. Mathews

        This is where I find justice was not served:
        If he ignored the operator’s advice/words and went after him, doesn’t that carry a lot of weight in the decision of guilty or not, and what charge as well?
        Dan Abrams: It may, but legally the only thing that should matter is what happened the moment Trayvon was shot. If Martin was beating Zimmerman and Zimmerman reasonably believed he was about to get beaten some more, then as a legal matter it should be not guilty.

  7. tongorad

    George Zimmerman Juror B37 Hates Media, Called Trayvon ‘A Boy of Color’

    During questioning, she referred multiple times to “riots” in Sanford after Trayvon Martin was killed. “I knew there was rioting, but I guess [the authorities] had it pretty well organized,” she says at one point. In fact, despite a great deal of salivating anticipation by the media both before and after the trial, there were no riots in Sanford, Florida.

    – She referred to the killing of Trayvon Martin as “an unfortunate incident that happened.”

    – Asked by George Zimmerman’s attorney to describe Trayvon Martin, she said, “He was a boy of color.”

    1. spooz

      Daily Show’s John Oliver slams Florida after the verdict:

      “Okay Florida, just because you’re shaped like some combination of a gun and a dick doesn’t mean you have to act like one”
      he also points out that African-American Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in jail in Florida for firing a gun into the air after invoking the “Stand Your Ground” defense during a confrontation with her husband.

    2. jane Doe

      Juror B37

      Stating the defendant went to far, but adding he’s a good man she would have dinner with.

      The first pat of that paraphrase, by the way, means she didn’t understand the law and admits she found it confusing. As did the rest of the jury:

      This site had up an article by Talk Left yesterday. If you go to that site, their discussion of the above is very different. Defending what amounts to bad jury deliberations as good because they like the outcome.


    3. neo-realist

      Ladies and Gentlemen, your keynote speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

    4. Klassy!

      You know, until I had read what this juror had to say I was agnostic about the decision. I did not follow the trial but did catch the questioning about whose voice was on the 911 call. I felt that there was enough reasonable doubt created in the cross examination about this piece of evidence to preclude a murder conviction.
      I did deplore the idea of anyone being convicted before trial. I assumed the jury selection process eliminated those types and the sort that were bent on finding him innocent. I am not sure why I would think this, not having great faith in our justice system. Anyway, I was wrong. This woman has no shame– a book deal lined up to boot.

    5. Bev

      I cannot verify the following. It needs more sourcing/investigation.


      this is an aside, which I think explains a lot about Obama’s actions being so similar to Bush’s. Also, I remember a report about Chicago public utilities people alarmed and wondering what the Bush people were mapping/doing around all their utilities departments and asking more questions about Chicago’s infrastructure than anyone every had…

      Did Cheney blackmail Sen. Obama?

      Saturday, July 13, 2013
      Was Obama blackmailed? Was Cheney in charge?

      We’ve spoken before about NSA whistleblower Russell Tice. Remember when he said this?

      Now here’s the big one. I haven’t given you any names. This was is summer of 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with, with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, DC. That’s who they went after. And that’s the president of the United States now.


      Now, back to the point at hand which follows…which can only be repaired/corrected if the above is corrected.

      And, please more reporters double, triple check the following report which has the potential, only if true, to disengage more conservatives from the extreme right and help all of us recover our Democracy, economy, rights, justice, law, judiciary, journalism.

      Double source please:

      Duped: Judicial Watch Hoaxes Media on Zimmerman Trial

      OIA Docs GOP Travel, Not “Justice Department”

      By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor

      GOP Bills Smear Campaign as “Research”

      There was a smell about the Zimmerman case. We wondered why the Federalist Society, known for orchestrating the 2000 stolen election, crushing 9/11 investigations and lawsuits and acting as the primary proponents of government spying were so interested in the killing of a 17 year old in Florida.

      Veterans Today has caught the GOP, Judicial Watch and the Heritage Foundation falsifying, redacting and misrepresenting government documents to rig a murder trial, to smear the Justice Department and forward a “police state” agenda.

      There is no doubt that the fraud exposed below, one intended to foment racial strife and and violence was also intended to rig the Zimmerman trial to ensure a “not guilty” verdict.

      What Florida resident, serving on a jury, would convict someone when told the Justice Department had sent down agents to start riots and protests? Problem is, there were no “Justice Department” agents, only GOP staffers bilking taxpayers into footing the bill for “dirty tricks.”

      This is the link to the documents the media says prove the Justice Department was involved in orchestrating protests to interfere with the Zimmerman murder trial:

      There is no doubt jurors were exposed to this fraud, one that should have led to a mistrial or even now, a “set aside verdict.” Then again, why would an American political party, one in rapid decline, expose themselves to criminal prosecution.

      Toward that end, it would be nice if the General Accounting Office would actually do their job for a change without having to be forced through endless civil suits.


      What a cursory read will show is that these were redacted, not by those issuing the documents, however.

      What Judicial Watch failed to redact was that the travel they are saying was the Justice Department was actually the Congressional Research Service, travel done at the request of the Republican majority in the House.

      This is the same group that has tried to use their own travel, their own documents to attack Attorney General Holder.

      More than that, documents show that staffers were on Republican Party business, and met with Republican National Committee leaders, not as stated on the vouchers, clear evidence of fraud, but to plan attacks on the administration using their own falsified docs as “proof.”


      The two groups found to have planned this fraud are the Heritage Foundation, an extremist “pro-police state” think tank and “Judicial Watch,” a misnamed GOP front group.

      Billing political travel is a felony.

      Working for a political party while on the US Government payroll is also a felony.

      Organizing these felonies is “conspiracy,” also a felony.


      The Federalist Society was formed to create legal precedents to allow government assassinations, rigged elections, false flag terrorism and to erode the rights of American citizens.

      The Zimmerman trial is classic.

      The “Castle Doctrine,” the policy enacted in many states that allows an individual to defend their homes or lives without requiring “flight,” was overturned by the Zimmerman “not guilty” decision.

      More simply put, if you are shopping, being followed by an armed stranger who follows you to your car in a lonely areas of a parking lot, you, prior to “Zimmerman” had the right to feel both “accosted” and “menaced.”

      Now, if you confront a stalker, a robber or even a mob hitman, he can claim self defense even if he has cornered you and has threatened your life.



      NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military Officers

      Whistleblower Says Spy Agency Targeting Top American Leaders

      NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frogs Post (the website of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds):

      Tice: Okay. They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial. But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after U.S. international–U.S. companies that that do international business, you know, business around the world. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff.


      So, I think the entire political, economic spectrum can get behind the following bill:

      Come Saturday Morning: Reclaiming Our LIBERT-E

      By: Phoenix Woman Saturday July 6, 2013

      Democratic United States Representative John Conyers and his Republican colleague Justin Amash don’t agree on a lot of things. But they are, like most of us, united in being aghast at all the government snooping being done to us, for us, against us, and on everyone else in the world. Unlike most of us, they’re in a position to do something about it — or at the very least shame those Beltway officials who would perpetuate this snooping.

      To that end, they’ve introduced H.R. 2399, the “Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email Act,” or the LIBERT-E Act for short.

      Here’s how it would work:

      The first reform, in Section 2 of the LIBERT-E Act, modifies access to certain records for foreign intelligence and terrorism investigations. Specifically, Section 2 would amend Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to prevent the mass collection of records that are not explicitly relevant to an authorized foreign intelligence investigation, terrorism investigation, or covert intelligence activities.

      Presently, to obtain a court order under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the government only needs to show that the records are “relevant” to an investigation. News reports suggest, however, that the government’s view of what is “relevant” includes the records of every telephone call. Section 2 of the LIBERT-E Act would raise the relevancy standard for the government to one requiring “specific and articulable” facts on a given investigation. In addition, Section 2 mandates that for any records to be collected they must be material to the investigation and pertain only to the individual under investigation.

      Simply put, the government should be required to show that the records it seeks are in fact material to a particular concern.

      The second set of reforms that the LIBERT-E Act puts into place deals with transparency. For too long, a secretive FISA court has essentially rubber-stamped all of the NSA’s surveillance requests. Section 3 of the LIBERT-E Act requires the Attorney General to make available to the public unclassified summaries of significant decisions by the FISA court, within 180 days of Congress receiving them. At the Congressional level, Section 3 also mandates that the Attorney General makes all information provided to the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees available to every Member of Congress. Both of these measures will take the entirety of the decision-making process out of the backroom and provide needed public, as well as Congressional, oversight.

      Sounds good to me. Of course, that’s probably why you’re only hearing about this now, from this blog post — because it’s such a good idea that no TV news program would touch it.

      Let’s see if we can spread the word and do an end run around the censorship.


      1. Bev

        Needed to provide a link from washingtonsblog article above to source cited–Sible Edmonds and her :

        Podcast Show #112: NSA Whistleblower Goes on Record -Reveals New Information & Names Culprits!

        Wednesday, 19. June 2013

        The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Russ Tice

        In this bombshell episode of the Boiling Frogs Post Podcast Show NSA whistleblower Russ Tice joins us to go on record for the first time with new revelations and the names of official culprits involved in the NSA’s illegal practices. Mr. Tice explains in detail how the National Security Agency targets, sucks-in, stores and analyzes illegally obtained content from the masses in the United States. He contradicts officials and the mainstream media on the status of the NSA’s Utah facility, which is already operating and “On-Line.” He reveals the NSA as a Deep State that targets and wiretaps US political candidates for its own purposes. We discuss the latest controversies involving the NSA, PRISM, Edward Snowden, and the spins and lies that are being floated by the US mainstream and pseudo-alternative media. Do NOT miss this revelatory interview. – See more at:

        – See more at:


        Newest post:

        NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Offers More Details on the Wiretapping of Senator Feinstein

        Tuesday, 16. July 2013 by Sibel Edmonds

        A Rogue NSA with Leverage & the Power of Blackmail

        Peter B. Collins interviews NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice on the wiretapping of Senator Feinstein’s offices, homes and family, and how NSA used other surveillance methods on Feinstein. Mr. Tice responds to questions about evidence for his disclosures, and his motive for revealing them now, and recaps the story of his appearance with Feinstein and Sen. Orrin Hatch on CNN’s Larry King show, where the senators defended the programs that Tice knew were also monitoring them.

        Listen to the interview by Peter B. Collins: Click Here
        – See more at:


        The EyeOpener Report- Compromised: How the National Security State Blackmails the Government

        Wednesday, 26. June 2013

        BFP VideoWhile the world watches every twist and turn in the unfolding Edward Snowden drama, the story becomes less and less about the information he revealed and more and more about an international manhunt. But if the issues of PRISM and spying on China and GCHQ’s spying at the G20 are falling off the radar, then how much further off the radar is the story of Russell Tice?

        Join us for this week’s EyeOpener Report to examine political blackmail-from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, to Ruppert Murdoch’s hacking scandal, the latest revelations by NSA whistleblower Russ Tice and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and the role of the US media as gatekeeper for these government illegalities by censorship and or well-designed misdirection.

        – See more at:

        1. Bev


          Was The Fiery Death Of Journalist Michael Hastings Connected To Atlanta Security Firm Called Endgame?

          July 1, 2013

          Was The Fiery Death Of Journalist Michael Hastings Connected To Atlanta Security Firm Called Endgame?

          At the time of his death in a fiery car crash on June 18, journalist Michael Hastings was working on a story about alleged Anonymous leader Barrett Brown. Currently under federal indictment on charges related to computer hacking, Brown is the journalist who first reported on a shadowy private security firm in Atlanta called Endgame.

          The Web site reports that Hastings was planning to interview Brown in late June and had announced to his followers, “Get ready for your mind to be blown.”

          A Hastings/Brown interview almost certainly would have included questions about Brown’s research on “black hat” private security firms that work with the official U.S. intelligence community. Some of these outfits also have powerful ties to corporate America via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Primary among such firms is Endgame, which is based on the seventh floor of the former Biltmore Hotel building in Atlanta.

          Before the interview could take place, Hastings was killed when his car exploded, with the engine blown some sixty feet from the wreckage on a Los Angeles street. Were individuals connected to Endgame and the U.S.Chamber–fearing possible exposure in government-sponsored wrongdoing–involved in Michael Hastings’ death?

          We don’t have a solid answer to that question? But a report last week from Alabama attorney Jill Simpson and election-integrity specialist Jim March presents perhaps the most disturbing revelations yet about Endgame and similar private security firms. The report, dated June 24, 2013, is titled “Black Hat Versus White Hat: The Other Side of the Snowden/Hastings/Barrett Brown Cases.”

          Here is how March summarizes the report in a piece at OpEd News:

          This is a look into the world of the private contractors that work in alliance with the official US intelligence community and appear to be state-sanctioned to commit crimes. We focus on one of these shady contractors, Endgame–an Atlanta GA corporation that both Barrett Brown and Michael Hastings were looking at. We show who they are, what they do, what their founders did before, who funds them and who they are connected to. We even filmed and photographed their building and lobby.

          Simpson is best known as a former Republican operative who became a whistleblower in the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. March is on the board of directors of and is a former board member for the Southern Arizona chapter of the ACLU.

          They note the ominous meanings behind the term “Endgame” and provide background on the firm’s early days. snip

          The final moves in a chess game are called the “endgame.” It has come to the attention of American whistleblowers and election integrity specialists that the CIA, NSA and White House have designed the ultimate final “endgame” for the free world as we know it–with a group of computer “security specialists.”

      2. Bev

        Shorter? Needed to provide a link from washingtonsblog article above to source cited–Sible Edmonds and her :

        Podcast Show #112: NSA Whistleblower Goes on Record -Reveals New Information & Names Culprits!

        The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Russ Tice


        Newest post:

        NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Offers More Details on the Wiretapping of Senator Feinstein

        Tuesday, 16. July 2013 by Sibel Edmonds

        A Rogue NSA with Leverage & the Power of Blackmail

        Peter B. Collins interviews NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice on the wiretapping of Senator Feinstein’s offices, homes and family, and how NSA used other surveillance methods on Feinstein.


        The EyeOpener Report- Compromised: How the National Security State Blackmails the Government


        Join us for this week’s EyeOpener Report to examine political blackmail-from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, to Ruppert Murdoch’s hacking scandal, the latest revelations by NSA whistleblower Russ Tice and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and the role of the US media as gatekeeper for these government illegalities by censorship and or well-designed misdirection.

      3. spooz

        I love the picture of Dexter with that look in his eye, reading the Miami Star headlined “Zimmerman Not Guilty” in the Veterans Today story. Washingtons Blog seems to be down right now.

  8. rich

    Swiss Bank Leaker: ‘Money Is Easy to Hide’

    It was the most spectacular bank data leak of recent years: In 2008, former HSBC employee Hervé Falciani disappeared with the information of some 130,000 customers. He tells SPIEGEL he wants to help Europe hunt down its tax dodgers and expose a broken system.

    SPIEGEL: The accusations you have leveled are against the banking system. Why did you work in that field at all?

    Falciani: I grew up in Monaco, and in that environment going into the financial sector was the obvious choice. When I was young, I thought banks were there to protect the assets of people who had justified concerns, because of their experiences under communism for example. At HSBC, I quickly learned they are there for something else entirely.

    SPIEGEL: And what is that?

    Falciani: Banks such as HSBC have created a system for making themselves rich at the expense of society, by assisting in tax evasion and money laundering.

    1. Susan the other

      +100. So to cross-reference today’s stuff with illegal laundries: Can lone rangers like Spitzer expose this world of scam? If we did not have shadow banking, undetectable laundries, and bribed regulators would we be in this mess? Maybe simply because our accounting doesn’t (will never) balance – so consider: If the accounting doesn’t balance, shouldn’t it be out of balance in favor of the poorest equally with the richest? We should have a new ism. Let’s combine conservatism (sustainability) with Liberalism (equality). Conservative-Liberalism. Or the Green/Blue Party; or the Ambidex Party. Forget Red. That’s bloodshed.

  9. optimader

    Consider migrating the “Search This Blog” search engine from Google to duckduckgo. I’ve been using it several months now with no issues

      1. optimader

        Good stuff..
        BH is one of those artists , like McKinley Morganfeld (Muddy Waters) best appreciated (IMO) late at night in a recliner just when the brain is starting to unwind into that unconscious ether..
        Aural Opiate

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are kidding yourself if you think DuckDuckGo protects you.

      Your SEARCH is hidden (what search terms you used). But when you click through to a site, the NSA goons see that. So let’s say you search on “HIV symptoms” and then you click through to some articles that discuss HIV. The security state knows you are looking into that matter. You’ve not done an effective job of keeping your interests secret.

      I’d rather have readers understand that they are at risk than offer false protection.

      If you want to browse anonymously, get a completely separate laptop or mobile device that you bought for cash, and use it for browsing ONLY (absolutely NO email use!) using public hot spots (and not from your house even if your neighbors have open WiFi hot spots, too chancy). Tor does not protect you, you are basically waving a big red flag at the NSA to take interest in you (unless we can arrange a “start using Tor” movement and get at least 2-3% of the public using Tor. If it becomes common enough you get a wildebeest phenomenon of protection of being in a herd, but we aren’t there).

      1. optimader

        Actually Yves..
        I was thinking more in terms of being protected from Google, which I suspect a more competent entity (as in potential to misuse my search information) than the NSA..

        1. optimader

          I have a higher level of anonymity that most as I have A VPN. I also have a philosophical case of the Ass for Google.
          I think it will (explicitly) morph into an evil entity and I prefer to do as little to support them as possible.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          The CIA invests in cutting edge technology via In-Q-Tel.

          It’s sufficiently good at picking technology that it funded the company that provided the technology for what is now Google Earth.

          Notice that there are 5 search engine companies on the list of companies they’ve invested in. Just because we’ve been told by Google that it’s the bee’s knees in search does not mean it necessarily is. In fact, I think Google has gotten to be pretty sucky since it started prioritizing much more for recency.

          And these are just the things we know about. The DoD has a monster black ops budget. It literally has trillions of dollars it pretends it can’t account for.

          All it needs is raw data. The security state is hoovering up raw data. Having Google do some interpretation and screening might be convenient, but I’d be surprised if the government weren’t on at least a par with Google in its analytical capabilities. Remember, it also collaborates heavily with Israel, and there academics and scientists are much more revered than entreprenuers are here.

          Here are other ways to do site specific searches, most of which do not involve using Google:

          1. AbyNormal

            WoW Yves…makeuseof is almost as cool as U! THANX!!

            “Mrs. Lindsay – “You certainly look cool.” – Yogi Berra – “Thanks, you don’t look so hot yourself.””

    1. neo-realist

      I don’t believe Zimmerman will have any regrets unless or until he actually pays a price existing day to day in the real world, e.g., physical assaults, and denial of service at fast food restaurants.

    2. Cynthia

      From the get-go, the police said there was no case. It wasn’t until the media ran with big mouth Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson along with Obama’s creepy “if I had a son, he’d look just like Treyvon” statement that this thing got out of hand. Thankfully the jury saw through all this mess.

      It’s a shame Treyvon Martin was killed, but justice was done here. The prosecution simply failed to come anywhere close to proving its case.

      1. Susan the other

        Zimmerman was a stalker. Stalking is a crime. It is an obsessive, criminal, vigilante behavior which leads, always, to violence. Stalking privileges have traditionally been legally limited to law enforcement and the military. But now, because Zimmerman can do it, we can all do it. Yay! Libertarians for Zimmerman!

        1. Lambert Strether

          Is Zimmerman really a stalker? I always thought stalking was sustained over time and focused on one person. Not a single episode and focused on a class of persons. Stalking ≠ following.

        2. Jess

          With all due respect, Zimmerman followed Martin but that does not make him a stalker, especially the legal sense. Anti-stalking statutes require evidence of a pattern of harassing activities — excessive and unwanted phone calls and presents, following on a regular or continuous basis, showing up uninvited at home, work, school, etc., esp. after being asked/warned not to do so.

          Confronting Martin after being told not to do so by the police dispatcher? Definitely wrong behavior by Zimmerman. But merely following to see where he was going and what he might be doing? Not stalking and not illegal. I myself, on occasion, have followed someone a short distance because something about the person or the situation indicated that they might be up to no good. You see someone walking up and down rows of cars in a parking lot, you naturally suspect that he might be looking for a car to steal or break into. I’ve even followed a few guys whom my internal radar indicated might be following a particular woman — in a store, parking lot, even a public street.

          I’m a pretty big guy and for seven years I worked in various forms of security which often leads you to develop a sort of modified “cop sense”, an eye for telltale behavior signs. Once in a Blockbuster I noticed a guy who seemed to be following a woman. I made eye contact with her and she immediately came up to me and stood close, as if we were together. I asked if the guy was following her and she said yes so I approached the guy, and told him to leave the store. Evidently he felt guilty because he didn’t argue or talk to the store staff, he just left.

          1. neo-realist

            And what made Trayvon so dangerous and suspicious that he had to be followed besides his dark skin? Concealing and carrying Sucrose bullets?

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Barfights that lead to fatalities often produce murder indictments and convictions. Zimmerman pursuing and harassing Martin is more akin to taunting in a bar, IMHO, than stalking.

            The idea that Zimmerman stirred something up and then freaked out when a skinny, slight kid went after him (if we are to believe that) does not leave the prosecution devoid of viable legal theories. But this looks like the prosecution never had its heart in this case. The jury selection was ridiculous (see the link on the juror who was considering a book deal, she pretty much said she’d never convict anyone), the prosecution allowed Martin to be the one put on trial, and failed to dispute Zimmerman’s self defense claim (which given his lack of any injuries was pretty strained).

            1. fairleft

              Z following Martin (what harassment?) was legal and was finished and Z was near his car when Martin, instead of going to his very nearby home, came back to where Zimmerman was standing. Z says Martin confronted him, but whoever spoke angrily first (Speculative verbal openers: “Why are you following me?!” “What are you doing out in the rain?!”) none of that is illegal. The escalation of speech into violence and Z’s actual and reasonable perceptions at the moment before he fired his gun are all that matters legally in this case. Z says Martin started things, punching him in the nose, getting on top of him, hitting him repeatedly and bashing his head into the concrete. The evidence supports Z’s narrative about the physical confrontation, beyond a reasonable doubt imho. The prosecution’s burden was to prove beyond a reasonable doubt almost the opposite, that at the time he fired his gun Z did not reasonably feel he was under threat of serious injury of death. There was never a case here, and the entire prosecution was a political show trial. And, yeah, Jeralyn Merritt at is where it’s at.

              1. Bridget

                And the damnedest thing is, it was almost entirely the state’s evidence that made the case for Zimmerman’s defense. The prosecution(?) not only introduced Sean Hannity’s interview of Zimmerman’s version of events, they also called Zimmerman’s best friend to the stand to repeat Zimmerman’s version of events. This friend had already written a book about Zimmerman entitled: “Defending Our Friend: The Most Hated Man in America”. I was gobsmacked. Kept thinking….maybe I missed something. Maybe the prosecution rested already and this is the defense case. But noooooo. I still can’t believe that I saw what I saw.

      2. curlydan

        “justice was done here”…I wish that were a cruel, heartless joke. The law and resulting verdict have helped acquit Zimmerman, but that’s not justice. That’s just a result that we’d like to label justice if our civics classes in school weren’t so full of propaganda.

        Many of the articles in the links (Counterpunch and the Onion and some others in teh comments) explore the result beyond the banalities and technicalities of the law and reinforce that young black men in this country are in the same position they’ve always been in: helpless, targeted, subjugated.

        1. fairleft

          Young black men have a legitimate and righteous beef with the prejudiced way society and especially the police and ‘justice’ system generally treat them. But here the evidence shows a young black man, perhaps angry that another man was illegitimately but not illegally following him, punched that guy, jumped on top of him and beat his head against the sidewalk. That’s a terrible test case for advancing young black men’s cause.

          1. skippy

            Indubitably… if both were armed… it would have been a nothingburger w/works~

            skippy… weaponized authority… the system works…

          2. curlydan

            The “evidence” also shows that if you’re young, black, and male, you’re not welcome in any neighborhool in America except a black “ghetto”.

  10. subgenius

    I have a question –

    There is all this stuff about Snowden being “trapped” by his lack of documents. I was under the impression that having a passport only came (reasonably close) to allowing you re-entry to the granting nation, and allowed entry to others based on their acceptance of it (ie many countries don’t let you in just because you have a passpoirt – see “visas”….)


    I haven’t been able to find ANY ref. to a LEGAL REQUIREMENT to needing a passport to travel…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Please read what Putin said.

      It’s not the lack of documents. I indicated in an earlier post that countries can waive that, I know personally of people who flew into a country without a passport and were let in after a few hours of interrogation and verification.

      Putin flagged that the US intends to force any plane carrying Snowden to land. Did you miss what happened to Evo Morales’ plane???

      Pretty much any normal route to South America from Russia involves flying over the US or some of its allies. The Morales incident says you should assume America’s allies are all stooges and will refuse to allow a plane suspected of carrying Snowden over their airspace.

      In addition, in the US, if a plane goes off course meaningfully and fails to respond to queries, jets are scrambled within 20 minutes (the assumption is that the plane lost air pressure, the pilots are passed out or dead and therefore the plane is gonna crash. The reason that didn’t happen on 9/11 was that Norad had been stepped down, supposedly for an exercise of some sort).

      So even if Snowden flew on a commercial jet (which unlike passenger and official planes don’t require approval to fly over a country’s airspace), I’m willing to bet a large amount of money that a BS story will be made up that the plane was off course and not responding and it will be forced down.

      1. subgenius

        Hi Yves,

        Thanks for the response.

        I was meaning more to question the ever-present meme of “paperwork = permission” and whether there is any actual codified legal basis for it in this specific case. I know little about this area (other than what I have gleaned as an expat myself).

        In terms of his transit, I was thinking more in terms of avoiding the whole airspace issue by eg taking shipping lines – Russia to Cuba…seems a candidate. Or maybe across the Pacific from Vladivostok.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For me, and I am a Luddite, actually a member of S.O.U.L., heart solutions are preferred over brain solutions…less side effects.

      1. jrs

        What you mean NSA-glasses (oops sorry I forgot they prefer to go under the name of their susidiary “google”) are not the solution to all our problems?

        You think you weild the power, but they’ve got all the backdoors …

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is a reason why MMTers are screaming infrastructure projects as they erupt.

          First, it was more roads until we run into non-Roman concrete and green house gas, and Jevon’s paradoxical traffic jams.

          Now, it’s stimulating the economy with spending on information highway – give everyone access…so they can be tracked. Give everyone credit cards, so they can be, again, tracked.



          How about this:

          No science gadgets
          Share we have
          Consume less

  11. charles sereno

    Davidus Petraeus — Sic transit gloria
    I’ve been fruitlessly awaiting a comment so that I could add a low-life NC reply. Doesn’t matter, I’m replying to myself: Davidus is still getting compensated for 50X his two cents worth!

    1. wunsacon

      What a monster payout for what seems like no work. How can these speaking fees not be considered bribes, arranged via alleged teaching institutions for motivations yet-to-be researched and discovered?

  12. Susan the other

    Varoufakis. A Modest Proposal. I confess I skipped it all to Policy #4 and then just scanned it for my favorite words. My take: ESSP ( emergency social solidarity program) is too limited to “emergency” economic situations that are not adequately defined (intentionally). All basic needs should always be covered and can always be covered by some agreed-upon accounting protocol. It shouldn’t be an emergency program; it should be global policy. Because “growth” is yesterday in terms of obfuscated profit and loss. Today we are looking for sustainability. It is now a profit/schmofit world. So of course the funds are there. As they should be.

  13. jrs

    Re: “Why aren’t Americans fighting back”? But maybe they do. There have been protests two nights in a row over the Zimmerman trial. They have been absolutely MAJOR – whole freeways shut down. In the day, the workday goes on as normal, in the night – protests.

    But what can protesting a jury possibly accomplish? Directly? Nothing! The courts are the system by which we decide guilt and innocense from a legal perspective period. And I don’t think there is likely to be a better system – so I defend the jury system. But I think the protests are intended to protest something much larger (including things like cop brutality against minorities for instance etc. – I’d bet cops kill more than vigilantees).

    But where is the fight back based on *class*? Yes, I know all the Marxists promise it don’t they, I’m not sure it will ever happen. Even while we fight racial battles the ground is sold out from under us economically (and minorities are hurt as well and perhaps hurt the most). While protests happen nightly the TPP is negotiated, sovereignty sold, the border is armed with drones, jobs are outsourced. I’m just not sure there is any precedence or context whatsoever for class based rebellion in the U.S. especially without the only thing that ever made it possible – a union movement. Yes the middle class (not proletarian) led rebellion of OWS may be the best we’ll get. The lack of rebellion about so many things in the U.S. makes me very very sad.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When people are sad, and we are lucky to have these options, they can bury themselves in sports or pop music. Reading and TV watching are also nice therapies.

      As for social issues diverting economic ones, my belief is that almost all issues are economic in origin. You give GDP sharing a chance, a lot of those issues will go away.

      1. hunkerdown

        People whose basic needs are satisfied don’t need to fight over scraps and don’t need to join identity movements to fight over scraps. The very thought of “You win fair and square. Buy you a beer?” and the explorations of commonality that might ensue in the subsequent conversations soil the pants of those who make their living off ginned-up discontent.

    2. RanDomino

      Marxists always put the cart before the horse. What causes real change is organization based on small, collective groups, of only a few dozen people, joined together into larger organizations. But technocrats and would-be managers have no faith in the ability of people to self-organize, especially since it leaves no place for them to give orders and feel self-important (and skim a little off the top). They will whine about the lack of fighting-back, but won’t do the hard face-to-face work of organizing. But they will take credit and try to take control.

  14. Hugh

    If an African American named LeShawn Jackson, had called the police about these punk white kids in his neighborhood, had pursued a white Christopher Martin, despite being told not to, and had ended up shooting and killing the white Chris who had just been out buying snacks at the local convenient store, do you think the result would be the same? Would you feel the same way about it? Would you interpret the actions of those involved exactly the same way?

    It is those subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, shifts in interpretation which are the essence of racism. The unconscious desire to read benign intentions or doubt into one scenario and not to do so in the other.

    Still I find it encouraging that so many could not get past the fact that if George Zimmerman had simply done as he had been told, if he had not stalked Trayvon Martin, Martin would be alive today.

    I don’t think the defense did such a good job but that prosecutors, as often happens in high profile cases, did such a bad job. They could have shown that Zimmerman had an agenda. Like many, Zimmerman was not a complete racist. He split African Americans into “good blacks”, those who wore suits, drove cars, and some of whom he looked on as friends, and “bad blacks”, like Martin who was teenaged, wearing a hoody and out at night on foot. Or to put it another way, Zimmerman profiled African Americans, and Martin fell on the wrong side of his profile. On what other basis would Zimmerman follow Martin who had done nothing except that per Zimmerman’s profile he was inherently suspicious?

    There is also the issue of Zimmerman’s gun. You have to ask yourself would Zimmerman have been so given to pursuing anyone meeting his profiles if he had not been armed? Indeed if he had not been armed would he have continued following Martin even after the police told him not to? Would he have gotten out of his car? I would say that it was precisely because he was armed that Zimmerman felt comfortable initiating the encounter with Martin, despite a police warning not to, and pursuing a potential confrontaion with him. The only one acting suspiciously and creepily here was Zimmerman himself. The only person who had a right to stand and defend himself was the dead Trayvon Martin.

    It was not a masterful defense but ongoing racism which got Zimmerman off and convicted Martin of being the wrong kind of black.

    1. charles sereno

      “You have to ask yourself would Zimmerman have been so given to pursuing anyone meeting his profiles if he had not been armed?” (Hugh)
      If only that question was on our SAT, we’d all be proud geniuses!

    2. Jessica

      ” Like many, Zimmerman was not a complete racist. He split African Americans into “good blacks”, those who wore suits, drove cars, and some of whom he looked on as friends, and “bad blacks”, like Martin who was teenaged, wearing a hoody and out at night on foot.”

      That sounds like he was profiling by class.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Snowden trapped in Russia – Putin

    According to news reports, Putin is alleged to have said: “Such a present for us. Merry Christmas!” He just can’t resist gloating in public. It’s not hard to figure out why.

    I found it odd that Snowden invited a Russian politician named Vyacheslav Nikonov to attend his public conference. He also reportedly met privately with Nikonov. After googling his name I learned that he is the grandson of Vyacheslav Molotov. Molotov was Stalin’s protege who negotiated the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. His interesting family history aside, Nikonov’s own area of expertise is as an American political expert. Due to his educational and political background it’s practically a guarantee that he has current contacts within Russian intelligence agencies. While Snowden has publicly maintained that he is a loyal citizen who has not hurt the United States, in private with Nikonov his story changes…..

    “I’ve said all I knew and I will not harm the United States in the future,” Snowden said, according to Nikonov. (via CNN:

    This statement can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. Though I’ve already gone on record stating that I think the Russians are working him. They are not going to unquestionably accept this statement at face value. Nor will anybody in the United States government. Greenwald has probably helped to foster the notion that Snowden knows more then he is letting on. As more time goes by the Russians will become more willing to pressure him to find out the exact details.

    Putin has made it quite clear that they don’t care what happens to him. The only value that Snowden has is what he can give them. When Snowden landed in Russia he should’ve been thinking about this moment. Probably the worst thing he can do is try to maintain an aura of false bravado. It is not going to get him anywhere except for a plane ride straight back to the United States. That trip will likely happen only after the Russians have broken him and included copies of his interrogation tapes along with his person.

    That’s nothing less then what I would expect the heirs of the KGB to do.

    1. Andrew Watts

      This will probably upset those people in the land of gumdrops and lollipops, but another huge mistake that Snowden could make is handing over enough intelligence to get out of Russia, only to try seeking asylum in another country. He’s probably safer by voluntarily staying in Russia. The Russians can protect him and they’ve never handed over a defector.

      Who wants to bet that this is Obama’s worst case scenario?

    2. charles sereno

      “While Snowden has publicly maintained that he is a loyal citizen who has not hurt the United States, in private with Nikonov his story changes…..
      “I’ve said all I knew and I will not harm the United States in the future,” Snowden said, according to Nikonov.” (Andrew Watts)

      Based on a reported statement by Nikonov, you assert that “in private with Nikonov [Snowden’s] story changes…” Truly, a remarkable feat. Alarms ringing at the NSA!

      1. Andrew Watts

        It’s just a theory. Everything I write should be taken with a truckload of salt.

    3. Jackrabbit

      It seemed to me that Putin was being sarcastic when he made the “Merry Christmas” remark.

      Look, the Russians already gain implicitly from Snowden’s embarrassing revelations and from appearing to respect human rights more than the US(!) Forcibly extracting info would only make them look like the bad guys -AND- would deter future Snowdens.

      No one really knows what, if anything, Snowden might have provided to the Chinese or Russians but we have indications that Snowden wants to be judicious in what is released. Furthermore, he gave up a comfortable life to do what he thought was right, so I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

      Those who paint Snowden as a traitor with no real evidence just want to attack him and spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).

      1. Andrew Watts

        The Russians will get everything they want from him one way or another. They probably don’t even care if it’s voluntary or involuntary. As Putin ominously warned; “It’s his life, his fate.”

        As I’ve said before about Snowden’s predicament, “..this is no longer about doing the right thing. This is purely about survival. Just about anything can be justified when it comes to that.”.

        That’s hardly an attack against his character.

    4. enemy of my enemy

      Let’s hope Snowden gives Russia the blueprint. Russians are doing yeoman work on i2p, and when they’ve put the finishing touches on it they’ll need lots of Western dissenters on it, since it’s the NSA killer.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Hindu, every god has manifestations.

      So, too, are our 0.01% – the 4 Estates are just one 0.01% god, who, thanks to our taxpayer funded gene research, and only who, has the wherewithal to afford the $1 billion/year expense needed to live like an immortal.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Maybe the Chinese tunnel is a fake.

    How do you tell a fake Ming blue and white? By its perfection.

    So too can you tell a fake Chinese GDP stat – by its perfection…7.5% this year.

    When you are so good at faking everything, it’d be a waste not to apply it to your national priorities.

  17. Hugh

    The more Varoufakis and Galbraith seek to get down to the fundamentals of the European crisis the more they come into conflict with the status quo they are trying to preserve.

    As Michael Hudson says, debts that can’t be repaid won’t be. Yet Varoufakis and Galbraith continue to look for ways for this to happen. Mostly this involves selling lots of bonds to the ECB, markets, and various European programs.

    To recapitalize problem banks, they want to use the Ponzi of the ESM to make good the bad loans of German and French banks. They want the sovereign debt, or at least that amounting to 60% of GDP, so-called Maastricht compliant debt, refinanced via the ECB into lower rate bonds. And they want to stimulate growth via euro program investment. However, you have to wonder what the amounts of this stimulus would be and how stimulative (and addressing the needs of the people) it would be seeing as these investments would have to turn a profit and this profit would be used to pay back the investment loans.

    As usual, little or none of this will make it officially to the table for discussion, let alone be enacted. All of it remains beside the point of what continue to be the core problems of a euro-centered Europe:

    1. Lack of a strong central bank
    2. An insolvent but highly predatory banking sector
    3. Lack of a fiscal and debt union
    4. Mercantilist euro-internal trade patterns
    5. Completely corrupt elite political classes
    6. A ruling class of the kleptocratic rich

  18. barrisj

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), one of the more vocal groups on top of NSA spying and who has been in the forefront promoting “digital freedom”, has now brought a coalition of orgs. together and are suing NSA in Federal court for 1st Amendment violations.
    The Unitarian Church, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Calguns Foundation, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, People for the American Way, and TechFreedom all are filing under class-action status. Read about it here:

    Unitarian Church, Gun Groups Join EFF to Sue NSA Over Illegal Surveillance
    Broad Coalition of Organizations Team Up for Freedom of Association Lawsuit

  19. Alaskan "Chena" Dawn

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Yves Smith!

    And thanks also to one of your “followers”–Doktor Buzzo, who RT’d this Tweet.

    Also, thanks to Mr. Bill Burr for his RT, which reached literally over a couple hundred thousand “followers.”

    As a result of your Friday evening Tweet regarding “Dogs Used As Drug Mules,” a Twitter account that was literally set up less than 24 hours BEFORE your Retweet, was able to reach approximately 300,000 “followers.”

    The original Tweet was apparently modified (a MT) along the way when words like “horrifying” were added. [Appropriately so, I’d say.]

    As a matter of fact, I received email noticies of RTs, MTs, and “mentions” throughout the weekend.

    Again, thanks! ;-)

  20. AbyNormal


    Up, black, striped and unmasked like the chasuble
    At a funeral mass, the skunk’s tail
    Paraded the skunk. Night after night
    I expected her like a visitor.

    The refrigerator whinnied into silence.
    My desk light softened beyond the verandah.
    Small oranges loomed in the orange tree.
    I began to be tense as a voyeur.

    After eleven years i was composing
    Love-letters again, broaching the ‘wife’
    Like a stored cask, as if its slender vowel
    Had mutated into the night earth and air

    Of California. The beautiful, useless
    Tang of eucalyptus spelt your absence.
    The aftermath of a mouthful of wine
    Was like inhaling you off a cold pillow.

    And there she was, the intent and glamorous,
    Ordinary, mysterious skunk,
    Mythologized, demythologized,
    Snuffing the boards five feet beyond me.

    It all came back to me last night, stirred
    By the sootfall of your things at bedtime,
    Your head-down, tail-up hunt in a bottom drawer
    For the black plunge-line nightdress.
    The Skunk / Seamus Heaney

  21. Alaskan "Chena" Dawn

    I have a question regarding Hugh’s comment about the Trayvon Martin case.

    Are there any attorneys who blog at this site, please?


  22. Glenn Condell

    ‘New Trade Minister Richard Marles has confirmed Australia will not sign the agreement if it includes a so-called Investor State Disputes Settlement clause that would allow companies who believed an Australian law had harmed their ability to invest to take their dispute to an supra-national body with the power to overrule Australian laws.

    But the opposition has indicated it would be prepared to consider such a clause.’

  23. Boston Scrod

    “Surveillance dystopia looms” from the Asia Times was a good read in and of itself, but I am particularly grateful for the fact that this article introduced me to this perceptive quotation:

    But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long since done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home… The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was to become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

    Those curious to know the author of these words should read the article.

  24. Kim Kaufman

    Re Zimmerman

    Amy Goodman has done reports for two days about Zimmerman. It turns out the prosecutor, Angela Corey, was also the prosecutor of the woman who shot warning shots into the air to stop her husband from abusing her – and got 20 years. She was black. One wonders if Ms. Corey is a bad prosecutor or maybe she got her desired results in both cases. It is Florida after all.

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