Greetings.

International Developments

? 1,057 people in Iraq were killed due to violence in July.

? “Homs arms-depot blast ‘kills dozens‘.” Free Syrian Army takes credit.

? “Syria agrees to allow UN inspectors to search three sites for chemical weapons”.

? “US, Pak Ease Ties; Kerry Hints Drones Could End.” Kerry also hints US forces might “stay in Afghanistan after 2014.”

? CIA role in Benghazi is back in the news.

Money Matters USA

? What Wall Street hath wrought: “An American era of eviction and destruction.”

? “Blackstone Group . . . has . . . spent $5 billion . . . on 30,000 homes”, while “American Homes 4 Rent . . . has spent $3.1 billion on . . . nearly 18,000 homes. It’s big business as “Wall Street firms become landlords in buy-to-rent industry”, thanks to the foreclosure crisis.

? One Goldman Sachs trader involved in “a toxic mortgage deal” was actually found liable “for civil securities fraud.” Jail? Pshaw: A “fine, or worse, a ban from the Wall Street.”

? The Fed “to keep interest rates at zero”.

? Congress passed a student loan bill, tying rates to financial markets.

? The Pentagon will “bear brunt of upcoming budget cuts” as sequestration deepens.

Surveillance Planet

? “An Israeli based internet surveillance company ‘Verint Systems’ is all set to win a contract from Department of Telecommunications of India to assist it with encrypted internet communications . . ..”

? NSA paid “at least £100m to [the UK’s GCHQ] . . . over the last three years”. To their credit, “Some GCHQ staff . . . expressed concern about ‘the morality and ethics of their . . . work, particularly given the level of deception involved.” Is the GCHQ spying on US citizens so the NSA doesn’t have to?

? “3 Shocking Revelations from NSA’s Most Terrifying Program Yet“: “Internet privacy is dead . . ., The security state has trumped the Constitution . . ., The security state’s defenders won’t stop lying.”

? The NY Times: “The Obama administration released narrowly selected and heavily censored documents and sent more officials to testify before Congress . . . in an effort to defend the legality and value of the surveillance of all Americans’ telephone calls. The effort was a failure.” The conclusion: “The program should be halted at least until the public gets a satisfactory accounting.” [cont’d.]

Photo by hlkjgk released under Creative Commons License

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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