July 8, 2013 archive
Jul 08 2013
Jul 08 2013
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
Click on images to enlarge.
July 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 176 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1951, Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.
The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, but later Gallicised to Lutèce. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.
The collapse of the Roman empire and the 5th-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of “Paris” towards the end of the Roman occupation.
The Paris region was under full control of the Germanic Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century. Repeated invasions forced Parisians to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité; one of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was sacked and held ransom, probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris was elected king of France by feudal lords, and the end of the Carolingian empire came in 987, when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more.
Jul 08 2013
Daniel Ellsberg–the legend behind the pentagon papers–speaks about Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and the necessary business of government whistleblowing in this Buzzsaw interview. Mr. Ellsberg discusses the government’s war on constitutional rights, information, and the media, plus if there is a worthy case for impeaching President Obama (at least, any more than there was for Bush…), as well as his own experience being persecuted by the Nixon administration.
Mr. Ellsberg speaks freely and gives an uncensored or edited account of the nation with Tyrel Ventura and Sean Stone on Buzzsaw.
Slideshow: Six Whistleblowers Charged Under the Espionage Act
by John Light and Lauren Feeney, Moyers & Company
he Obama administration has been carrying out an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, particularly on those who have divulged information that relates to national security. The Espionage Act, enacted during the first World War to punish Americans who aided the enemy, had only been used three times in its history to try government officials accused of leaking classified information – until the Obama administration. Since 2009, the administration has used the act to prosecute six government officials. Meet the whistleblowers.
The Price of Truth, Whistleblowers and the Espionage Act
by Thierry Meyssan, Global Research
While the international press plays up the information leaked by Edward Snowden as a revelation concerning the PRISM surveillance program, feigning to have discovered what everyone should already have known for a long time, Thierry Meyssan is particularly curious about the meaning of this rebellion.
From this perspective, he attaches more importance to the case of General Cartwright, who has also been indicted for espionage.
Are American public servants, civilian or military, who face a minimum of 30 years in prison for revealing U.S. state secrets to the press, “whistleblowers” exercising power in a democratic system or are they “resistors to oppression” at the hands of a military-police dictatorship? The answer to this question does not depend on our own political opinions, but on the nature of the U.S. government. The answer completely changes if we focus on the case of Bradley Manning, the young leftist Wikileaks soldier, or if we consider that of General Cartwright, military adviser to President Obama, indicted Thursday, 27 June 2013, for spying.
Here, a look back is needed to understand how one shifts from “espionage” in favor of a foreign power to “disloyalty” to a criminal organization that employs you.
Obama’s Crackdown on Whistleblowers
by Tim Shorrock, The Nation
The NSA Four reveal how a toxic mix of cronyism and fraud blinded the agency before 9/11.
In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. Since 2009, it has employed the World War I-era Espionage Act a record six times to prosecute government officials suspected of leaking classified information. The latest example is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer serving a thirty-month term in federal prison for publicly identifying an intelligence operative involved in torture. It’s a pattern: the whistleblowers are punished, sometimes severely, while the perpetrators of the crimes they expose remain free.
The hypocrisy is best illustrated in the case of four whistleblowers from the National Security Agency: Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis. Falsely accused of leaking in 2007, they have endured years of legal harassment for exposing the waste and fraud behind a multibillion-dollar contract for a system called Trailblazer, which was supposed to “revolutionize” the way the NSA produced signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the digital age. Instead, it was canceled in 2006 and remains one of the worst failures in US intelligence history. But the money spent on this privatization scheme, like so much at the NSA, remains a state secret.
h/t Aigeanta at Voices on the Square for the news links.