Nora Eisenberg

George Herbert Walker Bush and the myth of the 'good' Gulf War

President George Herbert Walker Bush considered the 1991 Gulf War his highest achievement, a signature moment in world history, and for nearly three decades mainstream media have agreed.  On the occasion of his death, they are sticking to the story. The New York Times obituary praised him for the “global coalition” he assembled to “eject Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, sending hundreds of thousands of troops in a triumphant military campaign.”  A Washington Post article on Bush 41’s legacy in the Middle East explains that the World War II fighter pilot “came to view Saddam as similar to Adolf Hitler, a madman who seized neighboring Kuwait and could plunge the world into conflict if he continued into Saudi Arabia.” And thus “Bush rallied together a coalition of nations” to curb the dictator’s power.  Yes, Desert Storm lasted only 43 days with only 148 U.S. fatalities in battle, a third from friendly fire.  But that’s about the only truth in the official history of the late President’s Gulf War. The evidence that has mounted over the years tells a very different story. The Gulf War of Bush the Father was as sinister and destructive as that of his son.

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Here are 10 hard truths about war for Veterans Day - and every other day

Veterans Day, which Americans celebrate on November 11, was originally called Armistice Day, to commemorate the cessation of fighting in the Great War of 1914-1918. In the United States, the idea that this was “the war to end all wars,” (a phrase coined by H.G. Wells in a pamphlet of that name and echoed by Woodrow Wilson with equal earnestness) was challenged by an outspoken and persecuted peace movement, including poor farmers and black Americans conscripted at disproportionate rates.

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Inside America's Dark History of Chemical Warfare

As the Obama administration presses ahead with its mission to punish the Syrian government for its alleged gassing of civilians in suburban Damascus, the particulars of the attack remain unclear. All too clear, though, is the role of the United States as a supplier, supporter and even employer of a wide range of weapons of mass destruction, including sarin gas, resulting in the death and illness of not only those considered our enemies, but our “heroes” too.

The 1960s and 1970s

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Bombshell: Government’s 'Insider Threat Program' Obligates Federal Workers to Spy on Their Colleagues

Once again, the McClatchy company is doing mainstream media’s heavy lifting, exposing the secrets of an increasingly hidden government. In 2003, it was McClatchy alone among the major media groups that questioned the government’s certain claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

On Thursday, the same reporters  involved in the Iraq truth-telling a decade ago exposed the existence of the Obama administration’s program that obligates government workers to spy on their colleagues or face punishment, dismissal, and possibly criminal charges. The Insider Threat Program targets not only national security departments and agencies but most federal bureacracies from the Peace Corps to the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture Departments.

And it’s clear that not only the  disclosure of classified information  constitutes an “internal threat”  and act of espionage, but leaks to the media as well.  “Leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” according to a June 1 Department of Defense planning document for the program, leaked to McClatchy.

The  White House launched the Insider Threat Program’s in October 2011 as it still reeled from the Wikileaks disclosures of hundreds of thousands of documents thought to have been downloaded from classified networks by Private Bradley Manning the year before. The program is evolving, agency to agency, in response to the President’s broad guidelines.  Documents provided by the McClatchy investigation show the varied approaches to the executive mandate. At the DoD, McClatchy reports,  the policy is “zero tolerance”: “Employees must turn themselves and others in for failing to report breaches.”  But it’s the suspicion of potential breaches that must be reported. requiring co-workers to monitor colleagues’ work and lives.   Profiling is encouraged: A co-worker facing a divorce or financial problems is to be watched carefully one training memo states, as these are “indicators” of  an inclination toward espionage.  An extensive Army training document offers hundreds of suspicious behaviors that federal workers must report including working hard and independently: ”repeatedly performing non required work outside of normal duty hours, especially if unaccompanied."

At the Department of Agriculture, “Treason 101” offers an online tutorial in the basics of spying and the Inside Espionage Threat. 
The two-year-old program is now expected to be revved up in the wake of   Edward Snowden’s explosive revelation of the National Security Agency’s  telephone and internet data collection programs. But according to internal security experts and former government officials that the McClatchy team interviewed, the Insider Threat Program will have “grave consequences for the public’s right to know.” It could make it easier for the government to inhibit exposure of unclassified information and illegal programs and thwart legitimate whistleblowing. The program will be used to quell different perspectives, which in the end can hurt national security, they fear. Fearfulness and group think contributed to the prevailing and erroneous CIA judgment that Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction,  warranting invasion.

Again, it was the McClatchy group that distinguished itself among mainstream media for questioning the  veracity of the claims used to justify the 2003 invasion and occupation. And, again,  as the government takes aim at its own citizens as internal threats, it is McClatchy, among the large newspapers and newspaper groups, that keeps the facts coming.

New Study Exposes How Natural Gas Isn't the Clean Fossil Fuel It's Hyped up to Be

This article was published in partnership with

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Major Military Contractor Poisons American Troops, Avoids Accountability

In the spring and summer of 2003, when U.S. troops were guarding cleanup of a neglected water treatment plant in the Basrah oil fields in Qatmat Ali, southern Iraq, they noticed orange dust scattered on the floor and sitting in open sacks. Within weeks, several were suffering nosebleeds, eye irritations, sore throats, and anxiety about the dust's relation to their new maladies.

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Anti-Fracking Protesters Confront Pennsylvania Gov During Kayaking PR Trip on Endangered River

At just after  8 am on Thursday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett got into a blue kayak in Beach Lake, Pa  to begin a 15 mile trip south on the scenic Delaware, the nation's most pristine and ancient river. Some 30 kayakers, friends and associates, including Richard Allan, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources, on the misty morning, part of a two-day promotion of the region's tourism resources. But from start to finish the trip was beset with challenges.

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Successful Anti-Fracking Organization Damascus Citizens for Sustainability Embarks on New Legal Fight to Save Rivers

The citizen group Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS) has filed a public records request to force the Susquehanna River Basin Comission (SRBC), which includes officials from Pennsylvania, New York State, Maryland and the federal government, to show what, if anything, it has been doing to protect regional waters and the general public from the hydrofracking water demands and pollution.

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Have Public Servants Charged with Protecting Drinking Water for 15 Million People Sold Out to the Gas Drilling Industry?

Over the past decade, 34 states have succumbed to the hazardous and largely unregulated hydraulic fracturing (widely known as "fracking") of deep shale formations to extract natural gas. This radical drilling method, blasting its way from Texas and the Rockies, through Louisiana and Arkansas to the east, has wreaked havoc, turning large swathes of the nation sitting above shale formations into industrial zones, degrading landscapes, economies, land values, air quality, and perhaps most importantly, water.

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Why Is Obama Cuddling Up to Karl Rove and His Gas Drilling Friends?

In the days following Tuesday's election, President Obama's first peace offering to hardliners across the aisle was telling: "We've got, I think, broad agreement that we've got terrific natural gas resources in this country," he said. At the same time he was giving the thumbs-up for natural gas drilling, Karl Rove was doing the same, appearing as the keynote speaker at Pittsburgh's David Lawrence Convention Center for the DUG (Developing Unconventional Gas) East Coast conference on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

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