AlterNet: By Pepe Escobar. Here comes Obama & Co, with Guns and Missiles,

About to be Blazing in Syria. The "responsibility to protect" (R2P) doctrine invoked to legitimize the 2011 war on Libya has just transmogrified into "responsibility to attack" (R2A) Syria. Just because the Obama administration says so. On Sunday, the White House said it had "very little doubt" that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry ramped it up to "undeniable" and accused Assad of "moral obscenity". So when the US bombed Fallujah with white phosphorus in late 2004, it was just taking the moral high ground. So when the US bombed Fallujah with white phosphorus in late 2004 it was just taking the moral high ground. And when the US bombed Fallujah with white prosphorus in late 2004 it was just taking the moral high ground. And when the US helped Saddam Hussein to gas Iranians in 1988 it was also taking the moral high ground. The Obama administration has ruled that Assad allowed UN chemical weapons inspectors into Syria, and to celebrate their arrival unleashed a chemical weapons attack mostly against women and children only 15 kilometers away from the inspectors' hotel. If you don't believe it, you subscribe to a conspiracy theory. Evidence? Who cares about evidence? Assad's offer of access for the inspectors came "too" late". Anyway, the UN team is only mandated to determine whether chemical weapons were deployed, but not by whom, according to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's spokesman. As far as the Obama administration and UK Prime Minister David "of Arabia" Cameron are concerned, supported by a barrage of corporate media missiles, that's irrelevant, Obama's "red line" has been crossed by Assad, period. Washington and London are in no-holds-barred mode to dismiss any facts contradicting the decision. Newspeak, of the R2A kind rules. If this all looks like Iraq 2.0 that's because it is. Time to fix the facts around the policy all over again. Time for weapons of mass deception, all over again. The Saudi-Israeli axis of fun. The window of opportunity for war is now. Assad's forces were winning from Qusayr to Homs, pounding "rebel" remnants out of the periphery of Damascus, deploying around Der'ah to counterpunch CIA-trained "rebels" with advanced weapons crossing the Syrian- Jordanian border, and organizing a push to expel "rebels" and jihadis from suburbs of Aleppo. Now, Israel and Saudi Arabia are so excited because they are getting exactly what they dream just by good ol' Wag the Dog methods. Tel Aviv has even telegraphed how it wants it: this Monday, the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper headlined with "On the Way to Attack" and even printed the ideal Order of Battle. Months ago, even AMAN, the Intelligence Directorate of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) concluded that assad was not a fool to cross Obama's chemical weapon "red line". So they came up with the concept of "two entwined red lines", the second line being the Syrian government "losing control of its chemical weapons depots and production sites". AMAN then proposed different strategies to Washington, from a no-fly zone to actually seizing the weapons implying a ground attack.

AlterNet, By Alex Kane: 4 Reasons America's Still Fubding the Egyptian Military

As they Slaughter Their Own People. As the Egyptian military brutally cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood over the last week, the question coursing through the U.S. media was what America's response would be. Would the U.S. only curb economic aid? Or would the U.S. just take symbolic steps? We've gotten some answers, but the overall response towards the Egyptian military coup and violence remains unclear. The U.S. has reportedly curbed some economic aid, though that's only a fraction of the overall cash the U.S. gives to Egypt. The Obama administration announced a largely symbolic step in the wake of the killing of hundreds of people: the cancellation of joint military exercises. AS for the more important question of what the U.S. would do about its $1.3 billion in annual military aid given to the Egyptian armed forces, the picture is muddled. Yesterday, The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin reported that the Obama administration had secretly suspended a portion of U.S. military aid in response to the Egyptian military takeover, according to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Rogin reported that no aid be given to a government that came to power by way of a coup. So the U.S. is acting as if the Egyptian military's take over was a coup, which it was, while not publically saying so. But the White House today denied the report. "We are reviewing all of our assistance to Egypt. No policy decisions have been made at this point regarding the remaining assistance," a National Security Council spokeswoman told Yahoo! News. And even if Rogin's report was true, the key word is "temporary." The U.S. may have decided to suspend the aid for now, but it's likely that assistance would continue once the Egyptian military provides some democratic window dressing. Additionally, the reported suspension of aid only applies to the $525 million that has yet to be disbursed this year, a small fraction of the overall $1.3 billion the U.S. gives to the Egyptian military annually. So it's business as usual. The U.S. continues to fund the Egyptian military while its killing opponents of the coup and Islamists. Why is that? Here are 4 reasons why America funds the Egyptian military. 1. Israel. The flow of U.S. aid to Egypt began in 1979, when the Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed. The treaty, which ended years of acrimony between the two countries and barred any chance of a new war breaking out between them, has been kept stable because of U.S. aid to Egypt. As Harvard professor Stephen Walt has written, "the current level of U.S. aid to Egypt. As Harvard professor Stephen Walt has written, "the current level of U.S. aid to Egypt and Israel is a bribe dating back to the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Egypt got the money as a reward for making peace and realigning with the West." The benefits to both countries were great. Egypt got to build up its military and focus internally. Israel had the most powerful military in the region taken off the table as a threat as it continued to colonize the West Bank and Gaza. And more recently, Israel and Egypt have worked hand in hand to contain the threat posed to Israel from Hamas, the Islamist group that governs Gaza.   

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog. Happy Labor Day, Lousy Wage Jobs Are Back!

The good news this Labor Day: Jobs are returning. The bad news this Labor Day: Most of them pay lousy wages and low if non-existent benefits. The trend toward lousy wages began before the Great Recession. according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, weak wage growth between 2000 and 2007, combined with wage losses for most workers since the, means that the bottom 60 percent of working Americans are earning less than now than thirteen years ago. This is also part of the explanation for why the percent of Americans living below the poverty line has been increasing even as the economy has started to recover, from 12.3 percent in 2006 to around 12 percent this year. More than 35 million Americans now live below the poverty line. Many of them have jobs. The problem is these jobs just don't pay enough to lift their families out of poverty. But wait a minute. Over this same period, productivity has grown by nearly 25 percent. That means the typical American worker is now producing a quarter more output than he or she did in 2000. So if wages have flattened or declined for the bottom 60 percent, yet productivity has increased, where have the gains gone? Mostly, to corporations and the very rich. All of which gives some context to the strikes in recent weeks at fast-food chain stores, such as McDonalds, where workers are demanding a raise to $15-an -hour from their current pay of $8 to $10 an hour. And the demonstrations and walkouts at Walmart stores, whose workers are also demanding better pay. The average Walmart employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart's employees work less than 28 hours per week and don't qualify for benefits. Few of these workers are teenagers. Most have to support their families. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median age of fast-food workers is over 28, and women, who comprise two-thirds of the industry, are over 32. The median age of big-box retail workers is over 30. These workers typically bring in half their family's earnings. They deserve a raise. At the very least, the minimum wage should be increased from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.50 and to $15 in areas of the country with a higher cost of living. Had the federal minimum simply kept up with inflation from the late 1960s, it would already be well over $10 today. Contrary to the predictable pontifications of conservative pundits, such a raise won't cause many low-wage workers to lose their jobs. Unlike industrial jobs, these sorts of retail service jobs can't be outsourced abroad. Nor are they likely to be replaced by automated machinery and computers. The service these workers provide is personal and direct: Someone has to be on hand to help customers and dole out the burgers. And don't believe critics who say any wage gains these workers receive will be passed on to consumers in higher prices. Big-box retailers and fast-food chains have to compete intensely for consumers. They have no choice but to keep their prices low.  


AlterNet: By Alex Kane: 4 Cases of the U.S. Sheltering Vicious Criminals that Reveal Total Hypocracy on Snowden!

Russia's decision early this month to grant National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden temporary asylum in the country has led to a chorus of U.S. officials and media personalities denouncing Vladimir Putin. "Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife," said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on August 2. "Putin is acting like a schoolyard bully." David Satter of the conservative publication National Review used the occasion to write that "Russia, unlike the U.S. has no rule of law." But the cries for Russia to grant the request to extradite Snowden to face certain imprisonment and harsh punishment has exposed U.S. hypocrisy. There have been a number of cases in recent years when countries asked the U.S. to extradite suspected criminals back to their countries. But when it comes to those who committed crimes in the service of U.S. policy, America refuses those requests. As the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald pointed out in a recent column, the U.S. shelters a number of people who are accused of crimes more heinous than Snowden's even if the country making the request has an extradition treaty with America, which Russia does not have. Here are four egregious cases where the U.S. has refused extradition requests. 1. Robert Lady. After the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks, the Bush administration granted the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to snatch people off the streets and whisk them to other countries for interrogation and torture. With the help of 54 countries, CIA operatives around the world implemented what was known as Bush's "extraordinary rendition" program. Robert Lady is one of those operatives. In 2000, Lady arrived in Milan, Italy to become the CIA's station chief. Three years later, he oversaw an operation that would become one of the CIA's station chief. Three years later, he oversaw an operation that would become one of the CIA's worst debacles in recent history. Lady and his team of operatives began working with Italian intelligence agents on the case of Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric and former member of a banned Islamist group who had successfully sought asylum in Italy. The U.S. and Italy were gathering intelligence on him because they suspected he had ties to terrorism. But higher-ups at the CIA pressured Lady to spurn his partnership with Italian intelligence and strike out on his own, though Lady tried to convince the CIA that wasn't a good idea. In 2003, CIA operatives led by Lady kidnapped Omar off the streets of Milan. They whisked the cleric off to Egypt where he faced harsh interrogation and torture. As  Amnesty International noted, Omar said that Egyptian security forces hung him "head down , feet up. hands tied behind my back, feet also tied together, and I was exposed to electric shocks all over my body." He was beaten on his genitals with a stick and kept in a rat-and cockroach-infested cell that reached extreme temperatures. Omar was released in April 2004 only to be re-arrested after telling friends about his ordeal, and was kept in solitary confinement. He was finally released for good in 2007.

AlterNet: By Lindsey Abrams: Frackers Sued for Causing Earthquakes!

It's becoming something of a pattern: A quiet town with no history of fault line activity signs a contract with natural gas drillers, Suddenly, it's beset by minor earthquakes. In Youngstown, Ohio, a recent study linked a spate of over 100 earthquakes to the process used to dispose of waste-water from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In Greenbrier, Arkansas, there weren't hundreds of small earthquakes, but thousands. A study done in the region also linked their occurence to the arrival in town of waste-water disposal wells. As soon as the Arkansas Oil and Gas commission shut down the wells, the quakes stopped. The residents are suing. According to Reuters, over a dozen residents of Greenbriar have five federal lawsuites against the drillers, marking the first legal attempt to link earthquakes to waste-water wells: The first of the suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Eastern Arkansas, is scheduled to go to trial before Judge J. Leon Holmes next March, though the parties have been engaged in settlement talks, according to the court docket. The Arkansas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners, an oil and gas industry group, acknowledges that scientists found a possible connection between the disposal wells and the spate of minor quakes in and around Greenbrier. But J. Kelly Robbins, the group's executive vice president, said the companies had no way of knowing of any such link before wastewater injection began, and he said the operators shut the wells down when questions were raised. Other civil lawsuits have been raised against natural gas companies in the U.S., about 40 since 2009, but most of those focused on the health and environmental consequences, and none have made it to trial. And if these new suits succeed, Reuters points out, they won't just target fracking, as wastewater injection wells are used in other types of drilling as well. The U.S. Geological Survey suspects only a small number of the nation's injection wells of causing earthquakes, and position of the companies being sued seems to be that 1) they couldn't have predicted the quakes, 2) once they found out about the connection, they took the necessary action to stop them from occurring in the future, 3) in any case, the drilling brought billions of investment dollars into Arkansas ad boosted the state's natural gas production. "It's  something that happened, we addressed it and developed some rules to keep it from happening again and everyone has moved on," Lawrence Bengal, the director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, told Reuters. In other words, sometimes consequences just can't be avoided.


By Tony Cartalucci: "Doctors" Behind Syrian Chemical Weapons Claims are Aiding Terrorists!

The "evidence" upon which the West is propping up its narrative of the Syrian government using chemical weapons against large numbers of civilians hinges so far entirely on claims made by "Doctors Without Borders." In the New York Times article, "Signs of Chemical Attack Detailed by Aid Group," it is reported: An international aid group said Saturday that medical centers it supported near the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus received more than 3,000 patients showing symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic nerve agents on the morning of the reported attack. Of those, 355 died, said the group, Doctors Without Borders. The statement is the first issued by an international organization working in Syria about the attack on Wednesday in the suburbs northeast of Damascus, the capital. While it is often described by the Western media as "independent," nothing could be further from the truth. To begin with, Doctors Without Borders is fully funded by the very same corporate financier behind Wall Street and London's collective foreign policy, including regime change in Syria and neighboring Iran. Doctors Without Borders' own annual report includes as financial donors, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, and a myriad of other corporate-financier interests. Doctors Without Borders also features bankers upon its Board of Advisers including Elizabeth Beshel Robinson of Goldman Sachs. Complicating further Doctors Without Borders so-called "independ" and "aid" claims is the fact that their medical facilities are set up in terrorist held regions of Syria, especially along Syria's northern border with NATO member Turkey. In an interview with NPR, Doctors Without Borders' Stephen Cornish revealed the nature of his organization's involvement in the Syrian conflict, where he explains that aid is being sent to regions outside of the Syrian government's involvement in the Syrian conflict, where he explains that aid is being sent to regions outside of the Syrian government's control, and that his organization is in fact setting up facilities in these areas. Cornish admits: Over the past months, we've had a surgery that was opened inside a cave. We've had another that was opened inside a cave. We've had another that was opened in a chicken farm, a third one in a house. And these structures, we've tried to outfit them as best we can with enough modern technology and with full medical teams. They originally were dealing mainly with combatant injuries and people who were, civilians who were directly affected by the conflict. In other words, the Wall Street-funded organization is providing support for militants armed and funded by the West and its regional allies, most of whom are revealed to be foreign fighters, affiliated with or directly belonging to Al Qaeda and its defacto political wing, the Muslim Brotherhood. This so-called "international aid" organization is in actuality yet another cog in the covert military machine being turned against Syria and serves as a role as a medical battalion. The "hospitals" in Damascus being supported by Doctors Without Borders are in areas now under threat of being retaken by government forces, and it's these facilities that the Western media is drawing on for "evidence" that first, a chemical attack took place, and second, that it was the government who carried it out.     

By William Engdahl: Syria gas attack story has wiff of Saudi war propaganda!

The reports of massive chemical attacks in Syria might become the "red line" for the US for active military intervention. But even rudimentary analysis of the story shows it too early to believe its credibility. The Middle Eastern newspaper, Al Arabiya, reports that "At least 1,300 people have been killed in a nerve gas attack on Syria's Ghouta region, leading opposition figure George Sabra said on Wednesday" The paper went on to claim that the Government of President Bashar al Assad was responsible for the attacks. If confirmed it could be the "red line" that US President Obama previously stated would tip the US into active military intervention in Syria, using No Fly Zones and active military steps to depose Assad. That in turn could erupt into a conflagration across the Middle East and a Super Power confrontation with Russia and China and Iran on one side, and the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar on the opposite side. Not a happy prospect for world peace at all. Therefore the story is worth analyzing carefully. When we do, several things jump out as suspicious. First the newspaper breaking the story was Al Arabiya, initially saying that at least 500 people have been killed, according to activists. From there it got picked up by major international media. Making the story more fishy by the minute were reports from different media of the alleged number of dead that changed by the minute, 635 then to 800 by USA Today and 1,300 by Rupert Murdoch's Sky News. Al Arabiya, the origin if the story, is not neutral in the Syrian conflict. It was set up in 2002 by the Saudi Royal Family in Dubai. It is majority-owned by the Saudi broadcaster, Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC). Saudi Arabia is a major financial backer of the attempt to topple Syria's government. That is a matter of record, So on first glance Saudi-owned media reporting such an inflammatory anti-Assad allegation might be taken with a dose of salt. When we examine the printed content of the story, it gets more suspicious still. First they cite "activists at the at the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council said regime fighter planes were flying over the area after the bombardment, accusing the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical agents." This is doubtful on many levels. First we can imagine that anti-government "activists" fighting Assad's forces would not be exactly neutral. The story gets even murkier. Further in the text of the article we read that the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of people were killed, including children, in a fierce bombardment." Now the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has been the source of every news report negative against the Syrian Assad government since the war began in 2011. More curious about the humanitarian-sounding SOHR is the fact, as uncovered by investigative journalists, that it consists of a sole Syrian refugee who has lived in London for the past 13 years named Rami Abdul Rahman, a Syrian refugee who has lived in London for the past 13 years named Rami Abdul Rahman, a Syrian Sunni muslim who owns a clothing shop and is running a Twitter page from his home. Partly owing to a very friendly profile story on the BBC, he gained mainstream media credibility. He is anything but unbiased.

Michael Snyder: 22 Reasons Why Starting World War 3 In The Middle East Is A Really Bad Idea!

Economic Collapse. August 29, 2013. USS Barry (DDG) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile March 29, 2011, in the Mediterranean Sea while operating in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. While most of the country is obsessing over Miley Cyrus, the Obama administration is preparing a military attack against Syria which has the potential of starting World War 3. In fact, it is being reported that cruise missile strikes could begin "as early as Thursday". The Obama administration is pledging that the strikes will be "limited", but what happens when the Syrians fight back? What happens if they sink a U.S. naval vessel or they have agents start hitting targets inside the United States? Then we would have a full-blown war on our hands. And what happens if the Syrians decide to retaliate by hitting Israel? If Syrian missiles start raining down on Tel Aviv, Israel will be extremely tempted to retaliate by hitting Israel? If Syrian missiles start raining down on Tel Aviv, Israel will be extremely tempted to absolutely flatten Damascus, and they are more than capable of doing precisely that. And of course Hezbollah and Iran are not likely to just sit idly by as their close ally Syria is battered into oblivion. We are looking at a scenario where the entire Middle East could be set aflame, and that might only be just the beginning. Russia and China are sternly warning the U.S. government not to get involved in Syria, and by starting a war with Syria we will do an extraordinary amount of damage to our relationships with those two superpowers. Could this be the beginning of a chain of events that could eventually lead to a massive global conflict with Russia and China on one side and the United States on the other? Of course it will not happen immediately, but I fear that what is happening now is setting the stage for some really bad things. The following are 22 reasons why starting World War 3 in the Middle East is a really bad idea. #1 The American people are overwhelmingly against going to war with Syria. Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says. About 60 percent of Americans
surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act. #2 At this point, a war in Syria is even more unpopular with the American people than Congress is. #3 The Obama administration has not gotten approval to go to war with Syria from Congress as the U.S. Constitution requires. #4 The United States does not have the approval of the United Nations to attack Syria and it is not going to be getting it. #5 Syria has said that it will use " all means available" to defend itself if the United States attacks. Would that include terror attacks in the United States itself? #6 Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem made the following statement on Tuesday. "We have two options: either to surrender, or to defend ourselves with the means at our disposal. The second choice is the best: we will defend ourselves." #7 Russia has just sent their most advanced anti-ship missiles to Syria. What do you think would happen if images of sinking U.S. naval vessels were to come flashing across television screens? #8 When the United States attacks Syria, there is a good chance that Syria will attack Israel. Just check out what one Syrian official said recently. A member of the Syrian Ba'ath national council Halef al-Muftah, until recently the Syrian propaganda minister's aide, said on Monday that Damascus views Israel as "behind the aggression and therefore it will come under fire" should Syria be attacked by the United States.


By David Swanson: Lying About Syria, and the Lying Liars Who Lie about the Lying!

"U.S. prepares for possible retaliatory strike against Syria," announces a Los Angeles Times headline, even though Syria has not attacked the United States or any of its occupied territories or imperial forces and has no intention to do so. Quoth the article: "the president made no decisions, but the high -level talks came as the Pentagon acknowledged it was moving U.S. forces into position in the region." Forgive me, but who the SNAFU made that decision? Does the commander in chief have any say in this? Does he get to make speeches explaining how wrong it would be to attack Syria, meet with top military officials who leave the meeting to prepare for attacks on Syria, and go down in history as having been uninvolved in, if not opposed to, his own policies? Threatening to attack Syria, and moving ships into position to do it, are significant, and illegal, and immoral actions. The president can claim not to have decided to push the button, but he can't pretend that all preparations to do so just happen like the weather. Or he couldn't if newspapers reported news. Yes, illegal. Read the U.N.  Charter: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." "The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for all contingencies involve defending the United States? Do any of them involve peace-making? If not, is it really accurate to talk about "all" contingencies? In fact, Chuck Hagel only has that "responsibility" because Obama instructed him to provide, not all options, but all military options. Syrian rebels understand that under all possible U.S. policies, faking chemical weapons attacks can get them guns, while shifting to nonviolent resistance can only get them as ignored as Bahrain. (Ba-who?) "Obama also called British Prime Minister David Cameron," says the LA Times, "to talk over the developments in Syria. The two are 'united' in their opposition to the use of chemical weapons, the White House said in a statement issued after the call." Well, except for white phosphorus and napalm. Those are good chemical weapons, and the United States government is against 'bad' chemical weapons, so really your newspaper isn't lying to you at all. What did Obama say to CNN on Thursday? "The notion that the U.S. can somehow solve what is a sectarian, complex problem inside of Syria sometimes is overstated." Ya think? CNN's Chris Cuomo, son of Mario pushed for war: "But delay can be deadly, right, Mr. President?" Obama replied that he was still verifying the latest chemical weapons horseshit. Cuomo brushed that aside: "There's strong proof they used them already, though, in the past." Obama didn't reply to that lie, but spouted some vacuous rhetoric. Cuomo, his thirst for dead Syrian flesh perhaps getting a bit frustrated, reached for the standard John McCainism, Senator McCain, Cuomo said, thinks U. S. "credibility" is lost if Syria is not attacked. And if the U.S. government were to suddenly claim not to be an institution of mass-murder, and to act on that, then how would its credibility be? Obama, undeterred, went right on preaching against what he was about to do.

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News: Depleted Uranium weapons:

Why shouldn't it be a war crime to poison civilians with radiation? "Depleted Uranium weapons: "Depleted Uranium (DU) is a very dense, inexpensive, easy-to-shape metal which provides excellent protection against conventional munitions. The same qualities that make depleted Uranium excellent defensive armor turn lethal when used as offensive munitions." U.S. Army training film. An anonymous phone call to the Florida Dept. of Emergency Management alerted airport officials that there was an open 55-gallon drum full of old airplane parts made with depleted Uranium near a fence in a scrap section of the Opa-locka Executive Airport near Miami, Florida. The first thing everyone did was panic. They evacuated that part of the airport and established a 150' radius "hot zone" around the suspect drum. They called the local fire and rescue team and called the state and federal environmental protection agencies, and all that calling brought the media in for a one-day story that played on the major TV networks and other media, with headline language like "Uranium scare forces evacuation" and "found exposed" and "hazmat crews on the scene." "It's a radioactive substance no one wants to be exposed to, it can affect your bodily functions," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Arnold Piedrahita told CBS News. That was July 25, and by the end of the day, the most interesting part of the news was a report, only in USA Today, that from the start the 55-gallon drum was labeled "depleted Uranium" containing U-238, a radioactive isotope of Uranium that remains radioactive for billions of years. Properly handled and contained, DU is not all that dangerous, as the emergency teams soon concluded. And the DU in the drum was in solid form, DU is far greater threat to humans as liquid, dust, or aerosol, forms far more common in combat zones. The Opa-locka DU turned out to be an integrated element of airplane parts decades old, dating from the time when the heavy metal, about 68% denser than lead was commonly used in airplanes for counterweights. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas dropped this practice in the 1980s. Once officials understood the problem, they reduced the "hot zone" to a five-foot radius, and pictures show firefighters chatting within arm's length of the drum. And the story dropped out of the news without further clarification. Only one news report among those sampled, by PressTV, connected the unnecessary American disregard for its genocidal use of DU weapons in Iraq and elsewhere, poisoning civilian populations for generations to come. Suppose that for more than 20 years, a nation uses weapons that it knows are not only a threat to its own soldiers, but will cause civilian casualties for at least a generation. Would such a nation be a serial war criminal? Military experimentation with depleted Uranium began in the 1950's with the goal of developing an effective anti-tank weapon to use against Soviet tanks. As a dense, heavy metal that sharpens itself as it penetrates a hard surface, DU had the added military virtue of igniting spontaneously and burning at temperatures of 3,000 to 6,000 Degrees C.  

By Stephen Lendman: False Flag Chemical Weapons Attack on Syria. Pretext for All Out War?

False flags are an integral part of covert US military-intelligence ops: " a deliberate gross distortions of the truth used especially as a propaganda tactic. " Official stories are false. They're contrary to reality. They turn truth on its head. They point fingers the wrong way. They're pretexts for militarism, wars, mass killing and destruction, occupations, domestic repression, and other extremist national security state measures. Wednesday's Ghouta incident raises disturbing questions. It was clear anti-Syrian provocation. No evidence suggests Assad's involvement. Clear analysis shows he'd have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Syrian insurgents used chemical weapons numerous times before. Clear evidence proves it. Media scoundrels suppressed it. They substituted lies for truth. They do it every time. It's standard practice. On August 23, Russia Today headlined "Materials implicating Syrian govt in chemical attack prepared before incident-Russia." According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich: We're getting more new evidence that this criminal act was of a provocative nature.""In particular, there are reports circulating on the Internet, in particular that the materials of the incident and accusations against the government troops had been posted for several hours before the so-called attack. Thus, it was a pre-planned action."It reflects "another anti-Syrian propaganda wave. Calls for force "heard from EU capitals are unacceptable." Assad demonstrated a "constructive approach." He did so by letting UN experts investigate sites of previous chemical weapon attacks. Insurgents don't display a similar cooperative willingness, Lukashevich added. "This directly impedes the objective investigation of allegations of possible cases of chemical weapons use in Syria, which is called for by a number of countries and which the Russian side supports." On August 23, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) headlined "Two phone calls affirm the use of chemical weapons in Homs by terrorists," saying: "A phone call between a terrorist affiliated to the so-called 'Shuhada al-Bayada Battalion' in Homs and his boss who was called Adulbasit from Saudi Arabia uncovered that terrorists used the chemical weapons in Deir Ballba in Homs countryside." "During a phone call broadcast on the Syrian TV Channel, the terrorist said that his group which comprises 200 terrorists escaped from al-Bayadah to al-Daar al-Kabera through a tunnel, adding that they needed to buy weapons to attack the City of Homs." "The Saudi financier who was present in Cairo asked the Syrian terrorists about details on his group and the way they will receive the money, admitting his support to terrorists in Daraa and Damascus Countryside, in turn the Syrian terrorist told him that one of the achievements of his 'Battalion' was the use of chemical weapons in Deir Ballba." "In the same context, another phone call reveled the cooperation between tow terrorist groups to bring two bottles of Sarin Gas from Barzeh neighborhood in Damascus." All indications suggest insurgents' responsibility for Wednesday's incident. Was America complicit? Was Israel? Were key NATO allies and/or rogue regional partners?     


By Global Research: The Crisis in Syria. Lebanon and Egypt: The Plan to Devide and Conquer the Middle East

and why all roads lead to Tehran. Western media has accused the Syrian government of launching a chemical attack in an area east of Damascus that killed hundreds of civilians. It is the same accusation they had on Saddam Hussein who allegedly ordered a chemical attack in the town of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan, a Kurdish territory killing more than 3000 people and more than 7000 injured. U.S. President George H.W. Bush used the incident to justify an invasion when he said "The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured." Many doubts surfaced including a former Central Intelligence Agency senior political analyst and professor at the Army War College, Stephen C. Pelletiere who wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times in 2003 called 'A War Crime or an Act of War?, he said: This much about gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target. US media is receiving reports from the Western backed rebels that accuse Assad for the atrocities committed by his government. They are using the information to justify an invasion of Syria. However, RT news reported that there was evidence the attack was pre-planned according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich who said "We're getting more new evidence that this criminal act was of a provocative nature," he stressed. "In particular, there are reports circulating on the Internet, in particular that the materials of the incident and accusations against government troops had been posted for several hours before the so-called attack. Thus, it was a pre-planned action." Ironically, the Kurds who Saddam Hussein was accused of murdering are targeted by the same rebels in the north of Syria by Al-Nusra front group and the Free Syrian Army. RT news and other international news outlets reported that more than 450 Kurdish people including women and children were killed in the village of Tal Abyad near the Turkish border. Western governments and their media outlets accuse the Assad government of a chemical attack that allegedly killed hundreds of people, but the claim was made by the Western -backed rebels. Russia says the evidence suggests that the weapons were fired from Rebel-held territory. Last March, The US and Israel claimed that Syrian forces launched a chemical attack in the al-Assal village. located north from the city of Aleppo. A Russian-led investigation declared militants were behind the attack. The U.S., Israel and now France want to invade Syria and remove President Assad and divide Syria into several small territories. They are interested in the Balkanization of Syria, the same method that was used to break up Yugoslavia in the 1990's. The rebels are supported and have been trained by the West to start a war against Syria.

By Ted Rall: The Failure of Tahrir Square 2011: Not a Revolution, Just a Useless Protest!

Two years ago, when I was in the Occupy movement, my comrades and I argued about revolution. Was revolution necessary? What is it? The split that destroyed our movement, as it did the Left during the Sixties, pitted revolutionaries against reformists. The most frustrating part of the debate, however, wasn't ideological. It was linguistic. Even on the Left, few Americans know what revolution is: the violent overthrow of the ruling classes. In a revolution, everything, beginning with the power structure, changes. The Tahrir Square encampments that led to the ouster of Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak were a huge influence on Occupy. But we couldn't agree about what they meant. was Tahir a "revolution"? No doubt, the 2011 Arab Spring was a powerful mass movement. Everyone agreed about that. For reformists, people who want to fix the system rather than replace it, Tahrir Square was a perfect example to emulate: a peaceful people-power transition that changed things for the better without shedding blood. Cut-and-paste the same phenomenon from Cairo to the United States, convince millions of peaceful demonstrators to camp out in American cities to demand change and you'd get similarly dramatic results, reformist Occupiers urged. "Egypt had a peaceful revolution," they said. Revolutionaries--people who want to get rid of the existing system and start from scratch, countered that the Arab Spring uprisings were not revolutions at all and were thus insufficient. "Tunisia and Egypt," I said, "were merely personnel changes." The system, the way society, politics and the economy are organized, remained unchanged. As recent events prove, the resignation of a president does not a revolution make. In all the ways that matter, post-Mubarak Egypt remains the same. Those who were rich before are still rich, the same-old poor are the brand-new poor. Egypt's generals, awash in billions of barely-audited  American tax dollars and high-tech military hardware, continue to call the shots. Egypt's military brass is a canny lot. Corrupt and autocratic, they tack left and right along with the winds on the dusty streets. When Tahrir got big, they called back their rapists
of demonstrators and told Hosni it was time to take a powder. When Mohammed Morsi won the election, they golf-clapped until Mo's numbers fell. Then it was his turn to varnish into house arrest. The crowds in Tahrir cheered as fighter jets streaked overhead. Applauding their own oppressors. Fools. The proles get their concessions. The figurehead performer everyone thinks runs the show, the big star who plays Mr. President on TV, gets fired after he turns stale. Yet, no matter how chaotic the politics, regardless of how much blood flows, spilled by projectiles made in the U.S.A., the real bosses, the military. their business cronies, the publishers and owners of state media outlets, remain in charge. Which now is plain as day. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew Morsi in a coup that dare not speak its name in Western countries, whose quaint 20th century human rights laws would otherwise require the severing of lucrative weapons contracts that benefit major campaign donors, has apparently gotten so caught up in the serious business of slaughtering members of the Muslim Brotherhood that he's completely forgotten to pat lip service to restoring democracy.    

AllterNet: By Noam Chomsky: We Have the Means to End Civilization as We Know It:

How Revolutionary Pacifism Can Preserve the Species. The following is the text of a lecture given by Chomsky upon being awarded the Sydney Peace Prize, November 1, 2011. It remains one of the most powerful and persuasive arguments for recognizing the dangers that modern, industrialized warfare pose to the future of humankind. As we all know, the United Nations was founded "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The words can only elicit deep regret when we consider how we have acted to fulfill that aspiration, though there have been a few significant successes, notably in Europe. For centuries, Europe had been the most violent place on earth, with murderous and destructive internal conflicts and the forging of a culture of war that enabled Europe to conquer most of the world, shocking the victims, who were hardly pacifists, but were "appalled by the all-destructive fury of European warfare," in the words of British military historian Geoffrey Parker. And it enabled Europe to impose on its conquests what Adam Smith called "the savage injustice of the Europeans," England in the lead, as he did not fail to emphasize. The global conquest took a particularly horrifying form in what is sometimes called "the Anglosphere," England and its offshoots, settler-colonial societies in which the indigenous societies were devastated and their people
dispersed or exterminated. But since 1945 Europe has become internally the most peaceful and in many ways most humane region of the earth, which is the source of some its current travail, an important topic that I will have to put aside. In scholarship, this dramatic transition is often attributed to the thesis of the "democratic peace": democracies do not go to war with one another. Not to be overlooked, however, is that Europeans came to realize that the next time they indulge in their favorite pastime of slaughtering one another, the game will be over: civilization has developed means of destruction that can only be used against those too weak to retaliate in kind, a large part of the appalling history of the post-World War II years. It is not that the threat has ended. US-Soviet confrontations came painfully close to virtually terminal nuclear war in ways that are shattering to contemplate, when we inspect them closely. And the threat of nuclear war remains all too ominously alive, a matter to which I will briefly return. Can we proceed to at least limit the scourge of war? One answer is given by absolute pacifists, including people I respect though I have never felt able to go beyond that. A somewhat more persuasive stand, I think, is that the pacifist thinker and social activist A.J. Muste, one of the great figures of 20th century America, in my opinion: what he called "revolutionary pacifism." Muste disdained the search fir peace without justice. He urged that "one must be a revolutionary before one can be a pacifist", by which he meant that we must cease to "acquiesce so easily in evil in evil conditions," and must deal "honestly and adequately with this ninety percent of our problem", the violence on which the present system is based, and all the evil, material and spiritual, this entails for the masses of men throughout the world."


Kurt Nimmo: Infowars.com: Obama and Cameron Chat About Murdering Syrians!

Despite an obvious lack of evidence the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical attack outside of Damascus earlier this week, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have reached an understanding that a "serious response" aimed at the government of Bashar al-Assad and his military is in order. Barack Obama pressured to act on Syria: Obama and Cameron spent 40 minutes on the telephone Saturday. According to reports, the pair decided the Syrian government is "almost certainly responsible for the assault that is believed to have killed as many as 1,400 people in Damascus in the middle of last week," the Guardian reported on Saturday. "The prime minister and President Obama are both gravely concerned by the attack that took place in Damascus on Wednesday and the increasing signs that this was a significant chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime against its own people," a spokesman for No. 10 Downing Street told the newspaper. "The UN security council has called for immediate access for UN investigators on the ground in Damascus. The fact that President Assad has failed to co-operate with the UN suggests that the regime has something to hide." "They reiterated that significant use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community and both have tasked officials to examine all the options. They agreed that it is vital that the world upholds the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community and both have tasked officials to examine all the options. They agreed that it is vital that the world upholds the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and deters further outrages. They agreed to keep in close contact on the issue." British officials are attempting to head off  any reasoned opposition to a military attack by floating a now common canard used to deflect criticism when the United States, Britain, France and other nations prepare to engage in state-sponsored terrorism. "I know that some people in the world would like to say that this is some kind of conspiracy brought about by the opposition in Syria," said the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, on Thursday. "I think the chances of that are vanishingly small and so we do believe that this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime." Probable action includes missile strikes and the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria, according to The Mirror. The United States has stationed F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missiles in Jordan in preparation for inevitable attacks. Military action is now imminent. On Monday, defense bosses from the United Kingdom, France and other nations will meet in Amman, Jordan, to discuss military options, according to the Independent. Earlier in the week, the New York Times and the rest of the establishment media admitted there is scant evidence Syria perpetuated the attack, but over the last few days the media has reached a consensus reminiscent of the propaganda blitz in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq that Syria is responsible despite as paucity of evidence. "Clearly, the United States, France and Britain want public opinion on their side for stepped up intervention in Syria. They've decided to declare Assad and the Syrian military guilty of using a weapon of mass destruction, writes Stephen Gowans. "But the conviction of guilt, as is evident through the statements of politicians and reporting of newspapers, rests on no sound evidentiary basis, indeed, on no evidence at all." 

By Ewen MacAskill, Guardian UK: Snowden Files: NSA Paid Millions to Cover Prism Compliance Costs

for Tech Companies. Top-secret files show first evidence of financial relationship. Prism companies include Google and Yahoo, says NSA. Costs were incurred after 2011 Fisa court ruling. The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency's activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian. The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court. The October 2011 judgment, which was declassified on Wednesday by the Obama administration, found that the NSA's inability to separate purely domestic communications from foreign traffic violated the fourth amendment. While the ruling did not concern the Prism program directly, documents passed to the Guardian by whistle-blower Edward Snowden describe the problems the decision created for the agency and the efforts required to bring operations into compliance. The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA. The intelligence agency requires the Fisa court to sign annual "certifications" that provide the legal framework for surveillance operations. But in the wake of the court judgement these were only being renewed on a temporary basis while the agency worked on a solution to the processes that had been ruled illegal. An NSA newsletter entry, marked top secret and dated December 2012, discloses the huge costs this entailed. "Last year's problems resulted in multiple extensions to the certifications' expiration dates which costs this entailed. "Last year's problems resulted in multiple extensions to the certifications' expiration dates which cost millions of dollars for Prism providers to implement each successive extension costs covered by Special Source Operations," it says. An NSA newsletter entry dated December 2012 disclosing the costs of new certification demands. Special Source Operations, described by Snowden as the "crown jewel" of the NSA, handles all surveillance programs, such as Prism, that rely on "corporate partnerships" with telecoms and internet providers to access communications data. The disclosure that taxpayers' money was used to cover the companies' compliance costs raises new questions over the relationship between Silicon Valley and the NSA. Since the existence of the program was first revealed by the Guardian and the Washington Post on June 6, the companies have repeatedly denied all knowledge of it and insisted they only hand over user data in response to specific legal requests from the authorities. An earlier newsletter, which is undated, states that the Prism providers were all given new certifications within days of the Fisa court ruling. "All Prism providers, except Yahoo and Google, were successfully transitioned to the new certifications. We expect Yahoo and Google to complete transitioning to the new certifications. We expect Yahoo and Google to complete transitioning by Friday 6 October."     

By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK: Snowden: UK Government Now Leaking Documents About Itself!

The NSA whistle-blower says: 'I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent' The Independent this morning published an article, which it repeatedly "documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden" disclosing that "Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies." This is the first time the Independent has published any revelations purportedly from the NSA documents, and it's the type of disclosure which journalists working directly with NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden have thus far avoided. That leads to the obvious question: who is the source for this disclosure? Snowden this morning said he wants it to be clear that he was not the source for the Independent, stating: I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with, have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger. People at all levels of society up to and including the President of the United States have recognized the contribution of these careful disclosures to a necessary public debate, and we are proud of this record. "It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post's disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others. The UK government should explain the reasoning behind this decision to disclose information to the Independent and attributing it to others. The UK government should explain the reasoning behind this decision to disclose information that, were it released by a private citizen, they would argue is a criminal act." In other words: right as there is a major scandal over the UK's abusive and lawless exploitation of its Terrorism Act, with public opinion against the use of the Terrorism law to detain David Miranda, and right as the UK government wants but that has never happened before. That is why Snowden is making clear: despite the Independent's attempt to make it appears that it is so, he is not their source for that disclosure. Who, then, is? The US government itself has constantly used this tactic: aggressively targeting those who disclose embarrassing or incriminating information about the government in the name of protecting the sanctity of classified information, while simultaneously leaking classified information prolifically when doing so advances their political interests. One other matter about the Independent article: it strongly suggests that there is some agreement in place to restrict the Guardian ongoing reporting about the NSA documents. Speaking for myself, let me make one thing clear: I'm not aware of, nor subject to, any agreement that imposes any limitations of any kind on the reporting that I am doing on these documents. I would never agree to any such limitations. As I've made repeatedly clear, bullying tactics of the kind we saw this week will not deter my reporting of those I'm working with in any way. I'm working hard on numerous new and significant NSA stories and intend to publish them the moment they are ready.  


By Zerio Hedge: US Has "Strong Indications" Assad Used Chemical Weapons,

Russia Says Rebel False Flag. The US is back at it again. For a while it seemed as if the Egyptian situation would promptly escalate to all out war, and necessitate the US "liberation" of this or that interest or ideology and certainly putting the Suez canal under US-controlled lock-down until following a series of epically bungled missteps, Obama and John Kerry managed to alienate the Saudis and the Israelis who are firmly behind the new military counter-coup government in Egypt, while the US still has to admit a coup ever happened. Which means only Plan B for middle-east escalation remains: Syria. Sure enough, this morning we woke up to the horrible news that hundreds of people had died following the use of nerve gas in an area close to Damascus in an attack that the "democratic" media, and the Qatari mercenaries, scrambled to pin on the Assad regime. Just like in June the US "found" Assad had used chemical weapons, only for the UN and Russia to accuse the US of fabricating the data, and for the chemical weapon warehouse of the rebels to be uncovered shortly thereafter, which meant the Syria narrative would have to be put on hiatus for a few months: after all the lies were getting perilously close to those used by Bush in the Iraqi WMD fiasco. Well, the administration appears certain enough time has passed by and has relaunched the old "blame Assad" plot-line, with the WSJ reporting minutes ago that the US "sees strong indications" that Syria's government used chemical weapons in the attacks. What those are is unclear as the US does not actually have presence on the ground, and neither have any UN inspectors have been able to investigate. But why not go for round two of the false flag fabrication: maybe this time it will fly? Syrian authorities denied using chemical weapons in their renewed offensive on Wednesday, accusing
the opposition of fabricating claims or staging gas attacks themselves. "These claims are categorically false and completely baseless and are part of the filthy media war waged by some countries against Syria," a spokesman for Syria's armed forces said. U.S. officials disagreed on Wednesday. "There are strong indications there was a chemical weapons attack, clearly by the government," a senior administration official said. "But we do need to do our due diligence and get all the facts and determine what steps need to be taken." The United Nations Security Council, in an emergency meeting in New York, backed calls for a prompt investigation of the allegations, which came just days after a U.N. team arrived in Damascus to look into earlier claims of chemical-weapons use by both sides. In other words, the US had its mind made up already not only before the investigation, but mere hours after the news broke. The allegations, if verified, would represent the largest use of chemical weapons since the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein attacked Kurdish and Iranian citizens with them in the late 1980s. Oh yes, remember all those Iraqi WMDs that were supposedly hiding in every bar and alley that served as the basis for "humanitarian" intervention and the liberation of the enslaved Iraqi oil wells? We do. Oh yes, remember all those Iraqi WMDs that were supposedly hiding in every bar and alley that served as the basis for "humanitarian" intervention and the liberation of the Iraqi oil wells? We do.  

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment: How to Create a Dictatorship!

How to turn a democracy into a STASI authoritarian state in 10 easy steps: 1. Misuse the concept of a Top Secret government document, say, the date of D-Day and extend classification to trillions of mundane documents a year. 2. Classify all government crimes and violations of the Constitution as secret. 3. Create a class of 4.5 million privileged individuals, many of them corporate employees, with access to classified documents but allege it is illegal for the public to see leaked classified documents. 4. Spy on the public in violation of the Constitution. 5. Classify environmental activists as terrorists while allowing Big Coal and Big Oil to pollute and destroy the planet. 6. Share info gained from NSA spying on public with DEA, FBI, local law enforcement to protect pharmaceuticals & liquor industry from competition from pot, or protect polluters from activists. 7. Falsify to judges and defense attorneys how allegedly incriminating info was discovered. 8 Lie and deny to Congress you are spying on the public. 9. Criminalize the revelation of government crimes and spying as Espionage. 10. Further criminalize whistle blowing as "Terrorism", have compradors arrest innocent people, detain them, and confiscate personal effects with no cause or warrant i.e. David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald. Presto, what looks like a democracy is really an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations, data-basing the activities of 312 million innocent citizens and actively helping destroy the planer while forestalling climate activism.

By Wolf Richter, Testosterone Pit.com: German Government Warns Key Entities

Not To Use Windows 8 Links The NSA. According to leaked internal documents from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) that Die Zeit obtained, IT experts figured out that Windows 8, the touch-screen enabled, super-duper but sales challenged Microsoft operating system is outright dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a built-in backdoor. Keys to that backdoor are likely accessible to the NSA, and in an unintended ironic twist, perhaps even to the Chinese. The backdoor is called "Trusted Computing," developed and promoted by the Trusted Computing Group, founded a decade ago by the all-American tech companies AMD, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Wave Systems. Its core element is a chip, the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and an operating system designed for it, such as Windows 8. Trusted Computing Group has developed the specifications of how the chip and operating systems work together. Its purpose is Digital Rights Management and computer security. The system decides what so had been legally obtained and would be allowed to run on the computer, and what software, such as illegal copies and Trojans, should be disabled. The whole process would be governed by Windows, and through remote access, by Microsoft. Now there is a new specifications out, TPM 2.0 is activated by default when the computer boots up. The user cannot turn it off. Microsoft decides what software can run on the computer, and the user cannot influence it in any way. Windows governs TPM 2.0. And what Microsoft does remotely is not visible to the user. In short, users of Window 8 with TPM 2.0 surrender control over their machines the moment they turn it on for the first time. It would be easy for Microsoft or chip manufacturers to pass the backdoor keys to the NSA and allow it to control those computers. NO, Microsoft would never do that, we protest. Alas, Microsoft , as we have learned from the constant flow of revelations, informs the US government of security holes in its products well before it issues fixes so that government agencies take advantage of the holes and get what they are looking for. Experts at the BSI, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Federal Administration warned unequivocally against using computers with Windows 8 and TPM 2.0. One of the documents from early 2012 lamented, "Due to the loss of full sovereignty over the information technology, the security objectives of 'confidentiality' and 'integrity' can no longer be guaranteed." Elsewhere, the document warns, "This can have significant consequences on the IT security of the Federal Administration," And it concludes, "The use of 'Trusted Computing' technology in this form is unacceptable for the Federal Administration and for operators of critical infrastructure." Another document claims that Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 is "already" no longer usable. But Windows 7 can "be operated safely until 2020." After that other solutions would have to be found for the IT systems of the Administration. The documents also show that the German government tried to influence the formation of the TPM 2.0 specifications, a common practice in processes that take years and have many stakeholders, but was rebuffed. Others have gotten what they wanted, Die Zeit wrote. The NSA for example. At one of the last meetings between the TCG and various stakeholders, someone dropped the line, "The NSA agrees."