News Releases

You Can’t Fight Fascism by Expanding the Police State

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EVAN GREER, evan@fightforthefuture.org, @fightfortheftr

Greer is deputy director of Fight for the Future and recently wrote the piece “You can’t fight fascism by expanding the police state” for Fast Company, which states: “In the coming days and weeks we are likely to see pundits and lawmakers call for things like passing a new domestic terrorism law, expanding mass surveillance programs, increasing funding for the FBI and law enforcement, installing backdoors in encrypted messaging apps, and arming police with more technology like facial recognition and social media monitoring software. …

“This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. Expanding the U.S. government’s already bloated surveillance state will only bring more terror and harm to the same communities that Trump targeted with his racist policies and rhetoric. …

“President-elect Joe Biden has already expressed that he supports the creation of a new domestic terrorism statute. Experts warn that a new law isn’t needed — acts of terrorism are already illegal. Creating a new designation would fail to prevent right-wing attacks while threatening marginalized communities with increased surveillance, prosecution, and harassment for engaging in First Amendment protected activities. In the last few years, top Democrats and Republicans have called for billions of dollars in additional funding for the FBI, and have scuttled attempts to rein in the phone and internet spying programs enabled by the USA Patriot Act, which was rushed through Congress faster than lawmakers could read it in the immediate wake of 9/11.”

Samantha Power’s Yemen Record and Potential for More Disasters at USAID

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NPR reports: “President-elect Joe Biden has nominated former UN Ambassador Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development. Biden also said he was elevating that role — USAID administrator — to be a member of the White House National Security Council.”

The International Rescue Committee has released a statement: “24 million Yemenis at catastrophic humanitarian risk following new U.S. terrorist designations of Ansar Allah, warns IRC.”

DANIEL KOVALIK, dkovalik@outlook.com, @danielmkovalik
Kovalik is the author of No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention To Advance its Economic and Strategic Interests (see on Simon and Schuster’s website.)

He was featured on an accuracy.org news release last month: “Samantha Power’s Role in Yemen Disaster.”

Said Kovalik: “While making her name by penning a Pulitzer-prize award-winning book inveighing against the evils of genocide — A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide — Power went on as Obama’s ambassador to the UN to actually help facilitate quite possibly the greatest slaughter of innocents in modern history.”

Kovalik cites the work of Shireen Al-Adeimi who wrote the piece “How Dare Samantha Power Scrub the Yemen War From Her Memoir,” which states that Power, in her 2019 autobiography, The Edu­ca­tion of an Ide­al­ist, “down­plays her role in the blood­shed that fol­lowed in Libya. … The most strik­ing thing about Power’s mem­oir is her com­plete omis­sion of her role in what became the world’s worst human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis: the ongo­ing U.S. inter­ven­tion in Yemen.”

See past accuracy.org news releases on USAID.

See “Democracy Now” segment from 2014: “Is USAID the New CIA? Agency Secretly Built Cuban Twitter Program to Fuel Anti-Castro Protests.”

Threats of Impeachment, Wagging the Dog as Pompeo and Facebook Join in Targeting Iran

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Journalist Dan Cohen tweets that today’s Facebook “ban on PressTV comes hours before [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo’s speech to lie the U.S. into war with Iran and shortly after Pompeo’s dinner with Israel’s top spy. This isn’t a coincidence.” (See 2018 accuracy.org news release: “Following Assassination Attempt, Facebook Pulled Venezuela Content.” and 2019 “Israel Bombs Palestinians as Twitter Censors Them.”)

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg’s piece “Donald Trump’s parting gift to the world? It may be war with Iran” was just published in The Guardian.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor of law at the University of Illinois. Since the storming of the Capitol, he has been calling for the immediate impeachment and conviction of Trump. See his interview with Dennis Bernstein on Flashpoints the day after the Capitol riot: “Professor Francis Boyle on Why Trump Must Be Removed NOW.

Boyle argues for impeachment as an immediate remedy to address “the seditious storming of the Capitol” as well as to prevent Trump from “further illegal activities, like attacking Iran.” The Trump administration just designated the Cuban government as a state sponsor of terrorism and Yemen’s Ansar Allah as terrorists, prompting the International Rescue Committee to warn the latter puts “24 million Yemenis at catastrophic humanitarian risk.” Said Boyle: “These designations are horrible as it is, but we cannot put anything past Trump, including the possibility of a wag the dog scenario by attacking Iran.”

Boyle stresses that the Democratic leadership should have immediately moved to impeach Trump last week, but instead, “they have been engaging in Kabuki theater.” He adds that any new “terrorism” law would simply be a pretext to have further reductions in civil liberties — “like George W. Bush did with the Patriot Act after 9/11.”
Thirty years ago, as George H. W. Bush began the 1991 attack on Iraq, Boyle drafted the impeachment resolution that Rep. Henry B. González introduced at the time against Bush. George H. W. Bush would later state in his memoirs that impeachment was a concern, writing that if the war “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me,” indicating that the threat of impeachment may have averted a ground war at the time. The Obama administration was also concerned about impeachment over attacking Syria.

Abolish the Electoral College?

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Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties is introducing a bill Monday to abolish the Electoral College.

STEVEN MULROY, smulroy@memphis.edu
Mulroy is Bredesen professor of law at the University of Memphis and author of Rethinking U.S. Election Law.

He said today: “Fair elections should have all votes count the same, avoid encouraging officials to play favorites, and never let someone with fewer votes beat someone with more votes. The Electoral College fails all three of these basic tests. It is an outmoded relic. While abolishing outright would be great and valuable to debate in Congress, a constitutional amendment will be challenging to win. That’s why the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is so crucial. We are 70 percent of the way toward making the Compact effective.”

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would “guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

Trump’s Twitter Suspension Raises Calls for Democratic Accountability

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Following the Capitol Hill riot which delayed Congress certifying the Electoral College results, Donald Trump was banned by Twitter, Facebook and other big tech corporations. Google removed the far-right user-friendly platform Parler from its mobile app store and Apple threatened the same.
 
THOMAS HANNA, tmhanna@democracycollaborative.org, @ThomasMHanna  
    Hanna is director of research at The Democracy Collaborative. He is the author of the book Our Common Wealth: The Return of Public Ownership in the United States.

MICHAEL BRENNAN, mb@democracypolicy.network, @mrbrnn
    Brennan is a research fellow at The Democracy Collaborative and a policy organizer at the Democracy Policy Network.

    Hanna and Brennan recently published an article in Jacobin: “There’s No Solution to Big Tech Without Public Ownership.” They contributed to the report from Common Wealth UK and The Democracy Collaborative as part of the think tanks’ Ownership Futures project: “A Common Platform: Reimagining Data and Platforms.”

    Following the suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter account, Brennan said: “While people may laugh at the absurdity of the Twitter President being put in permanent time-out, it raises a serious question about decision-making. There is an ongoing constitutional crisis occurring within and between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government. Citizens depend on media to communicate events and narratives as they unfold in real-time, but the means of communication have long been unaccountable to users, workers, or governments. What are the implications of platform monopolies’ direct intervention in political conflict?

    “In October, the House Judiciary Committee completed its historic investigation into Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, which included evidence for Google and Apple’s duopoly in mobile app stores. The duos move to bar platforms who do not conform to their standard of free speech, such as Parler, effectively limits the entire social media ecosystem to that decided by the dominant platforms. …

    “The companies face Congressional investigation, antitrust lawsuits, tense political maneuvers, as well as recent major union activity with the formation of the Alphabet Workers Union. But the terms of this debate are still narrowly focused on ‘increasing competition’ rather than a full-scale re-imagination of the platform economy away from surveillance capitalism and toward democratic control.”

Slava Zilber posited that monopolies are now targeting rightwingers because Democrats are now in charge of Congress.

See past Institute for Public Accuracy news releases:

From 2020: “Zoom Censors University Event

2019: “Israel Bombs Palestinians as Twitter Censors Them

2018: “Following Assassination Attempt, Facebook Pulled Venezuela Content

Biden Nominating Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland

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Various media outlets are reporting that Joe Biden will nominate Victoria Nuland for the influential role of under secretary of state for political affairs.

JAMES CARDEN, jamescarden09@gmail.com
Carden is the executive editor of the American Committee for East-West Accord and founding editor thescrum.substack.com. He is also a former adviser to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Commission.

He said today: “Victoria Nuland has had a long and storied career in the foreign service and for a long time was viewed with something like reverence by career officers. Nuland served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO and later was national security adviser to vice president Dick Cheney. After that, Nuland found herself on the ‘outs’ at the State Department during the early Obama years. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had other plans for Nuland, the well-connected wife of the neoconservative publicist Robert Kagan. Clinton, to the astonishment of many of the political appointees in Clinton’s orbit, plucked Nuland from the obscurity of her position at the Naval War College to become Clinton’s spokeswoman.

“This was the road back to influence and Nuland used it, quickly ascending to the position of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. It is from that post that she oversaw U.S. efforts to encourage a street coup in Kiev — going so far as to hand out cookies to anti-government protesters alongside the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. The February 2014 coup, undertaken by an alliance of pro-Western liberalizers and hardline anti-Semitic militants, resulted not in a more peaceful order, but in a civil war (in which both Russia and NATO funded and armed their proxies) that resulted in the loss of over 10,000 lives and the displacement of well over a million people from the Russophone east. After the coup, Nuland became an unwitting symbol of American heavy-handedness in the region when a call between her and Pyatt leaked in which they were seen to be hand-picking personnel for the new government in Ukraine. What would the EU think? ‘Fuck the EU,’ exclaimed Nuland, a diplomat.

“After the coup — violent and unnecessary, given that the deposed Ukrainian leader had agreed to an early peaceful transition at the ballot box, Nuland bragged at a conference sponsored by Chevron that: ‘Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance. … We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.’

“In the years following, we have ‘invested’ a great deal more money into Ukraine — for questionable returns. But the affair has not seemed to have clouded Nuland’s career prospects. Smart, well-connected, and well-liked, she, like many of her fellow neocons, seems to move from strength to strength in this town, never held to account for the damage they’ve caused. After her stint in the State Department ended (she was replaced in the early Trump years by the woefully unqualified neocon operative A. Wess Mitchell), Nuland took up what one can only assume were lucrative positions on the other side of the revolving door at the Center for a New American Security (where she served as CEO), the Boston Consulting Group and the Albright Stonebridge Group (from which, perhaps not coincidentally, her future boss, Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, hails).

“Her views on Russia and European affairs are well known. Less known, however, are her views on America’s role in the Middle East. Let’s hope that changes because in an article in Foreign Affairs earlier this year, Nuland lamented that the U.S., under Trump, ‘made both Putin’s and Assad’s lives easier by neutralizing a shared threat, the Islamic State, or, ISIS.’

“As Biden’s undersecretary of political affairs, Nuland would have immense influence over policy and personnel. Progressives in Congress and their partners in the media, think tank world and among grassroots activists should join forces with the growing caucus of anti-interventionist Republicans on the Hill and vigorously oppose this nomination.”

Can We Make the Electoral College Representative? Two Proposals

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PATRICK ROSENSTIEL, pat@ainsleyshea.com, @NatlPopularVote
Rosenstiel is with NationalPopularVote.com, which advocates for “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” which would “guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Compact ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The Compact is a state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.”

The group states: “Because of these state winner-take-all laws, presidential candidates only pay attention to the concerns of voters in closely divided battleground states. In 2020, 2016, and 2012, a dozen battleground states received 96 percent, 94 percent, and 100 percent of all of the general-election campaign events, respectively. In these three elections, 25 states did not receive even one campaign event, and six additional states received only one. The politically irrelevant spectator states included almost all of the small states, rural states, agricultural states, Southern states, Western states, and Northeastern states.”

JABARI ZAKIYA, jzakiya@gmail.com@jzakiya
Zakiya wrote the piece “The Case for Proportional Allocation of Presidential Electors,” which states: “Currently there are 538 electors distributed among the 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.). To become President, the U.S. Constitution requires a candidate must receive the Electoral College vote of a majority of electors (270), but it doesn’t specify, or mandate, the manner in which electors shall be allocated by the states to candidates. The practice has become to allocate electors on a winner-take-all basis to whichever candidate merely wins a plurality (not even a majority) of the popular vote in each state.” Zakiya presents a proposal for all states to proportionally allocate electors from each state. Currently Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that don’t use winner-take-all to allocate their electors.

WikiLeaks: While Upholding U.S. Government’s Core Arguments, British Judge Rejects Assange Extradition

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KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin@shadowproof.com@kgosztola
Managing editor of Shadowproof, Gosztola reports: “Citing harsh federal prison conditions in the United States, a British district court judge rejected the United States government’s extradition request against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Judge Vanessa Baraitser found Assange suffers from a ‘recurrent depressive disorder.’ Although he functions at a high level, he suffers from autism as well.”

In a detailed Twitter thread, Gosztola wrote this morning: “Judge Baraitser accepted virtually all of [the] allegations against Assange that made this a dangerous case for press freedom. Despite the fact that the request was rejected, there is plenty in this ruling to cause alarm.” See Gosztola’s extensive reporting on Assange’s trial, which he covered in London.

JAMES GOODALE, jcgoodal@debevoise.com
Goodale is a former vice chairman and general counsel of the New York Times and is the author of Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles. His piece on the verdict is expected to be published in The Hill shortly. His prior articles include: “Pentagon Papers lawyer: The indictment of Assange is a snare and a delusion.”

Desmond Tutu: Biden Should Stop Israeli Nuclear Cover-up

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The Guardian just published a piece by Archbishop Desmond Tutu titled “Joe Biden Should End the U.S. Pretence over Israel’s ‘Secret’ Nuclear Weapons: The cover-up has to stop — and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.”

Tutu, a Nobel peace laureate, is a former archbishop of Cape Town and, from 1996 to 2003, was chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The piece states: “Every recent U.S. administration has performed a perverse ritual as it has come into office. All have agreed to undermine U.S. law by signing secret letters stipulating they will not acknowledge something everyone knows: that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Part of the reason for this is to stop people focusing on Israel’s capacity to turn dozens of cities to dust. This failure to face up to the threat posed by Israel’s horrific arsenal gives its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a sense of power and impunity, allowing Israel to dictate terms to others.

“But one other effect of the U.S. administration’s ostrich approach is that it avoids invoking the U.S.’s own laws, which call for an end to taxpayer largesse for nuclear weapons proliferators. …

“Israel in fact is a multiple nuclear weapons proliferator. There is overwhelming evidence that it offered to sell the apartheid regime in South Africa nuclear weapons in the 1970s and even conducted a joint nuclear test. The U.S. government tried to cover up these facts. Additionally, [Israel] has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. …

“Amendments by former Senators Stuart Symington and John Glenn to the Foreign Assistance Act ban U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that acquire nuclear weapons. While president, Jimmy Carter invoked such provisions against India and Pakistan.

“But no president has done so with regard to Israel. Quite the contrary. There has been an oral agreement since President Richard Nixon to accept Israel’s ‘nuclear ambiguity’ — effectively to allow Israel the power that comes with nuclear weapons without the responsibility. And since President Bill Clinton, according to the New Yorker magazine, there have been these secret letters. …

“The incoming Biden administration should forthrightly acknowledge Israel as a leading state sponsor of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and properly implement U.S. law. …

“Israel’s per capita gross domestic product is comparable with that of Britain. Nevertheless, U.S. taxpayer funds to Israel exceed that to any other country. Adjusted for inflation, the publicly known amount over the years is now approaching $300bn. …

“South Africa learned that it could only have real peace and justice by having truth that would lead to reconciliation. But none of those will come unless truth is faced squarely — and there are few truths more critical to face than a nuclear weapons arsenal in the hands of an apartheid government.”

Available for interviews:

GRANT F. SMITH, gsmith@irmep.org, @IRmep
Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. He was featured on an accuracy.org news release last month, “How Biden Could Advance Peace and Save Hundreds of Billions in Funds: Will Biden Finally Acknowledge Israel’s Nukes?

Beyond “Pathetic” Relief Bill: How to Fix Finance

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Commondreams reports: “‘Pathetic’: Congress Passes Covid Relief Bill With Billions in Gifts for the Wealthy, $600 Checks for the Working Class.” David Sirota writes: “Dems refused to seize a rare opportunity to outmaneuver McConnell — now the final COVID relief bill skimps on benefits, provides tax breaks to the rich, and notches a big win for austerity extremism.”

ELLEN BROWN, ellenhbrown@gmail.com, @ellenhbrown
Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of 13 books including the best-selling The Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free.

ScheerPost just publisher her latest piece, “FDR Knew Exactly How to Solve Today’s Unemployment Crisis,” which states: “The National Infrastructure Bank of 2020 can rebuild crumbling infrastructure across America, pushing up long-term growth, not only without driving up taxes or the federal debt, but without hyperinflating the money supply or generating financial asset bubbles. The NIB has growing support across the country from labor leaders, elected officials, and grassroots organizations. It can generate real wealth in the form of upgraded infrastructure and increased employment as well as federal and local taxes and GDP, paying for itself several times over without additional outlays from the federal government. With official unemployment at nearly double what it was a year ago and an economic crisis unlike the U.S. has seen in nearly a century, the NIB can trigger the sort of ‘economic miracle’ the country desperately needs.”

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