U.S. delays release of study on 1953 Iran coup

AP, December 19

The State Department is delaying the release of a volume from its U.S. foreign relations history that deals with the CIA-backed overthrow of an Iranian prime minister in the 1950s out of concern that publication could undermine nuclear diplomacy with the Islamic republic.

The decision was made at a September meeting of […]

Billion Dollar Surveillance Blimp to Launch over Maryland

The Intercept, By Dan Froomkin, December 17

In just a few days, the Army will launch the first of two massive blimps over Maryland, the last gasp of an 18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project intended to use giant airships to defend against cruise missiles.

And while the blimps may never stave off a barrage of enemy […]

Obama announces U.S. to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama announced the United States would restore diplomatic relations it severed with Cuba more than 50 years ago, drawing resistance from lawmakers opposed to reconciling with the communist-run island.

After 18 months of secret talks facilitated by the Vatican and Canada, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed by phone on […]

New surgeon general approved despite remarks on guns, contraception

Los Angeles Times, By Melissa Healy, December 15

Overruling the objections of gun-rights advocates, the U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy, a British-born, American-educated internal medicine specialist, to become the 19th surgeon general of the United States.

The 51-43 vote makes Murthy, a 37-year-old graduate of Harvard University and Yale University Medical School, […]

Federal ‘Cromnibus’ spending bill also effectively ends U.S. ban on medical marijuana

Raw Story, By Arturo Garcia, December 16

The newly-passed $1.1 trillion federal spending bill also includes a bipartisan provision that signals the end of the federal ban on medical marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The provision bars federal agents from raiding medical marijuana retailers in the 32 states and the District of Columbia where […]

United Nations vote on death penalty moratorium puts US in awkward spot

The General Assembly has passed four resolutions on an execution moratorium, with the US increasingly isolated for use

Al Jazeera, By Natasja Sheriff, December 17

New York — The United Nations General Assembly is expected on Thursday to vote once again on a draft resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, with the […]

Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking by

TruthDig/Common Dreams, By Dennis Kucinich, December 16

Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s […]

US co-opted Cuba’s hip-hop scene to spark change

By Desmond Butler, Michael Weissenstein, Laura Wides-Munoz & Andrea Rodriguez, December 11

Havana – For more than two years, a U.S. agency secretly infiltrated Cuba’s underground hip-hop movement, recruiting unwitting rappers to spark a youth movement against the government, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The idea was to use Cuban musicians “to […]

2003 CIA cable casts doubt on claim linking Iraq to 9/11

CNN, By Gabe LaMonica, December 12

A recently released CIA cable casts heavy doubt on a key claim used by the Bush administration to justify the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

It discounts intelligence that said Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 ringleaders, met with an Iraqi official in the Czech Republic a few months […]

‘Hundreds’ more UK troops to be sent to Iraq – Michael Fallon

Hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the New Year, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.

BBC, December 13

The deployment – to help train local forces – will be in the “very low hundreds” but could also include a small protection force of combat-ready soldiers, he said.

About 50 UK troops […]

Washington march: Civil rights protest over US police killings

BBC, December 13

Thousands of people have marched through the US capital, Washington DC, to protest against the recent killings of unarmed black people by police.

Relatives of Michael Brown, shot dead in the Missouri town of Ferguson, and Eric Garner, who died being restrained in New York, were among them.

Both died after encountering […]

Report: Sony Pictures Is Using Its Own Cyber-Attacks to Keep Leaked Files From Spreading

Slate, By Lily Hay Newman, December 11

Sony Pictures has been dealing with a terrible hack since late November, but the company is taking a stand and counterhacking to keep its leaked files, which include five unreleased movies, from spreading across torrent sites.

Two sources told Recode that Sony is using hundreds of computers in […]

The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind

New York Times, By Binyamin Appelbaum, December 11

Annapolis, MD — Frank Walsh still pays dues to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but more than four years have passed since his name was called at the union hall where the few available jobs are distributed. Mr. Walsh, his wife and two children live on […]

U.S. court reverses fund managers’ insider trading convictions

Reuters, By Nate Raymond & Emily Flitter, December 10

A U.S. appeals court dealt federal prosecutors a blow in their crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street on Wednesday, overturning the convictions of two former hedge fund managers charged with making illegal trades in technology stocks.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New […]

Like Canada’s Harper Government, Obama Administration Muzzling Its Scientists

DeSmogBlog, By Steve Horn, December 12

In recent years, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come under fire for disallowing scientists working for the Canadian government to speak directly to the press.

An article published in August by The New Republic said “Harper’s antagonism toward climate-change experts in his government may sound familiar to […]

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