Tag Archive: Afghan civilians


Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

New York Times headline corrected

A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.”

The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit.” MSF says the US “repeatedly and precisely” hit the hospital.

Morever, the aid group explained that the “bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck.” That is to say, the US persisted in bombing a hospital that it explicitly knew before and during the attack was a hospital.

If you read US corporate media coverage of this incident, however, US culpability would likely not be evident. Instead, readers would learn that a hospital was bombed in Afghanistan, and that people died. Who exactly carried out the bombing would not be clear.

cnn us air attack

“Air Attacks Kill at Least 19 at Afghanistan Hospital; US Investigating,” wrote CNN (9/3/15). Who carried out those attacks? Never asked is who else could possibly have bombed the hospital. What other air forces are attacking Kunduz? Did the bombs magically fall from the sky? CNN provides no answer.

“Aerial bombardments blew apart a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the battleground Afghan city of Kunduz about the time of a US airstrike” CNN said. The blowing apart of the hospital just appears to be a temporal coincidence.

fox us investigate airstrike

Fox News‘ headline (10/3/15) reads “US Officials Investigate Airstrike in Afghanistan That Killed at Least 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital.”

The New York Times completely rewrote and changed the title of its report on the bombing seven times. Early on October 3, the Times published an article headlined “Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 9.” Minutes later, it changed the headline to “Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan.” Two hours after, it became “Afghan Hospital Hit by Airstrike, Pentagon Says.” Then “US Investigates After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” before finalizing as “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital.”

The over 20 versions of the article published in the Times‘ website can be seen at the website NewsDiffs, which monitors edits to pieces published in large new outlets. Because the Times changed the web URL for the article when changing the headlines, there are three separate entries on NewsDiffs.

newsdiffs nyt us bombs afghan hospital

Not one of the five New York Times headlines indicated that the US was responsible for the bombing. The final title, “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” which was published in print, fails to acknowledge that it was the US who dropped those bombs, which explains why it is blamed.

The New York Times‘ other story (10/4/15), “Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital,” was also substantially edited and rewritten numerous times. It’s likewise full of weasel words and quotes from the US government.

The Washington Post (10/4/15) also changed headlines and URLs for its reporting, making it difficult to track. It did choose a title acknowledging the US role in the attack, but attributed it to MSF, writing, “Doctors Without Borders Says US Airstrike Hit Hospital in Afghanistan; at Least 19 Dead.”

AP headlined an article (10/4/15) updating the death toll, “Doctors Without Borders Leaves Afghan City After Airstrike.” The piece says, “A deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people, as the US and Afghan governments vowed to get to the bottom of the carnage.” Not mentioned is that the US government is responsible for the carnage.

Ambiguous, misleading and even downright dishonest language abounds throughout the coverage. US media spin the story to reflect positively on the culprit; they report that the US is investigating the atrocity, while failing to acknowledge that the US itself is responsible for the atrocity.

This technique is very reminiscent of the loaded language police departments use to downplay police brutality—language that is often repeated verbatim by journalists who just uncritically quote government press releases.

Not all media were as biased in the interest of the Pentagon, however. Even some US news outlets were clear and honest in their reporting.

slate us airstrike

Slate (10/3/15) was one of the few publications to report without the equivocation. “US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Kills at Least 19,” it said. The next day, Slate (10/4/15) followed up with the piece “Doctors Without Borders Says US May Have Committed War Crime.”

US: We Accidentally Bombed Hospital to Kill Taliban

After the attack, MSF released a statement saying “All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces”—that is to say, NATO.

As details became clearer, the media narrative began to shift from one of obfuscation or even denial of the US bombing to one of apologism and justification. When it was obvious that the US and NATO were responsible for killing and wounding scores of people at a hospital, the US and Afghan governments began to fall back on the “human shields” excuse.

A Washington Post article (10/4/15) first titled “Afghan Official: Hospital in Airstrike Was ‘a Taliban Base,’” and subsequently changed to “Afghan Response to Hospital Bombing Is Muted, Even Sympathetic,” quotes Afghan government officials who claimed the “hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there.” Yet MSF’s aforementioned statement makes it clear that the US “repeatedly and precisely” bombed the hospital, not the surrounding areas, which were “left mostly untouched.”

The aid organization also explicitly denied fighters ever being anywhere inside the hospital compound.

In a statement titled “MSF Response to Spurious Claims That Kunduz Hospital Was ‘A Taliban Base,’” the aid organization wrote:

MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as “collateral damage.”

There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.

MSF also made it clear that its hospital “is the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan,” and that its “doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.”

Despite MSF’s explicit denial of the allegations, US media continued to reiterate the claims of US and Afghan government officials.

Anonymous US military officials told Fox News (10/3/15) they “regret the loss” of scores of innocent lives, but “say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.”

But wait, which was it? Was the bombing an accidental incident of “collateral damage,” as the government claimed at first, and as the media reverberated? Or was it a deliberate attack on the Taliban, who were supposedly firing from the hospital? It can’t be both; the two explanations contradict each other.

The fact that, when MSF’s points—and not just those of the US and Afghan governments—are considered, the human shields argument does not withstand close scrutiny aside, a blatant contradiction emerges in this narrative. The answer to this critical question remains unknown; the government, and the media that so obediently echoes it, do not clarify.

MSF's Kunduz hospital on fire, after being bombed by the US/NATO Photo: MSF

Striking, too, are the similarities to US reporting on Israeli airstrikes. In order to justify bombing hospitals in Gaza, the US-backed Israeli government often claims Palestinian militants use the medical facilities as bases. Israel’s military—which has itself used human shields many times—then says it is justified to bomb hospitals, UN shelters and other civilians areas.

US ally and NATO member Turkey borrowed Israel’s hasbara (public relations) tactic and claimed the same about leftist Kurdish militants in order to justify its killing of Kurdish civilians.

The Wall Street Journal (10/4/15) boldly steered clear of any posturing and openly justified the US bombing of the hospital. The unsigned editorial justified the mass killing of MSF aid workers by shifting the blame onto the Taliban insurgents. It even brought up the specter of Hamas, writing, “Like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terrorists hide near civilians. These Taliban tactics put the medical personnel and patients at risk.” The piece waxes poetic, and hagiographic; in a moment of undiluted American exceptionalism on blast, the Journal claimed that “no force in the history of warfare has done more to avoid civilian casualties than the American military.”

Remove references to the US and the Taliban in such media coverage, replace it with blanks, and you have a template media can use any time a US ally bombs civilians—A Guide to Defending War Crimes Committed by US Allies: “[Ally] did not actually want to bomb [civilian area], but [enemy] forced it to.”

Double Standards

When US enemies like Russia carry out airstrikes, all nuance is thrown out the window; US media drop their standards and gleefully accuse the enemies of war crimes. Yet when the US and NATO carry out airstrikes, journalists suddenly have a newfound skepticism. Their language immediately becomes ambiguous, their writing unclear; murky passages written in the passive voice are ubiquitous.

Official international bodies have not minced words about the bombing, nevertheless. The UN says the US attack on the Kunduz hospital was “inexcusable and possibly even criminal” (Australia’s ABC, 10/4/15). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein remarked, “If established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

Wounded MSF staff after the US/NATO bombing of its Kunduz hospital Photo: MSF

MSF said the attack “constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law.” The aid group called the bombing a “war crime” and “a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

The humanitarian organization is demanding an investigation “by an independent international body,” not by the US, noting that “relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (Intercept, 10/3/15) pointed out the hypocrisy of the US warning about civilian casualties of Russian airstrikes while it bombs scores of doctors and patients in Afghanistan, a country it has militarily occupied for close to 15 years.

When Russia denies killing civilians in its airstrikes on Syria, US media are suddenly skeptical and thorough; yet when the US government makes the same claims, journalists just recycle its press releases.

Is the job of the media to just uncritically report what favored governments say? Or is it supposed to examine the truth of official claims? If it is supposed to be the latter, US media have abysmally failed in their duties in reporting on the US bombing of MSF’s Kunduz hospital.


Ben Norton is a freelance journalist and writer. His website can be found at BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

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Fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike on October 3, 2015 © MSF

Yves Daccord Retweeted MSF International

Tragic news. please accept our condolences for the killing of your colleagues & patients in .

Yves Daccord added,

 

  • 19:56 GMT

    The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement extending condolences to the families and colleges of those killed and injured in the bombing.

 

WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers & health facilities

WHO calls on all govts & military officers to observe their obligations under intl law, ensure protection of health serv in conflict

Read More Here

Politics and Legislation

 

Groups Attempt to Influence Supreme Court on

 

Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times News Service:

“Justice Clarence Thomas likens all the outside political pressure that the Supreme Court is facing over its review of the Obama administration’s sweeping health care law to the distraction faced by a free-throw shooter confronted with fans waving wildly behind the basket…. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has helped lead opposition to the health care law, has been hosting moot court sessions to prepare lawyers involved in the case.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8084-groups-attempt-to-influence-supreme-court-on-health-care

 

Cash-for-access scandal leaves David Cameron’s UK government reeling

 

By msnbc.com and news services

LONDON — The government of British Prime Minister David Cameron was reeling on Monday after a video emerged showing his Conservative Party’s top fundraiser claiming to offer access to senior politicians in exchange for large donations.

In a sting operation, The Sunday Times (the newspaper operates behind a paywall) secretly videotaped fundraiser Peter Cruddas discussing donations. The film showed him telling undercover reporters: “200 grand ($317,000), 250 is premier league … it’ll be awesome for your business.”…..

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/26/10863431-cash-for-access-scandal-leaves-david-camerons-uk-government-reeling

 

 

Economy

 

Loan Forgiveness Good for the Economy, and Maybe Fannie and Freddie Mac Too

 

By Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica:

“New analyses by mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have added an explosive new dimension to one of the most politically charged debates about the housing crisis: Whether to reduce the amount of money beleaguered homeowners owe on their mortgages. Their conclusion: Such loan forgiveness wouldn’t just help keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes, it would also save Freddie and Fannie money. That, in turn, would help taxpayers, who bailed out the companies at a cost of more than $150 billion and are still on the hook for future losses.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8085-loan-forgiveness-good-for-the-economy-and-maybe-for-fannie-and-freddie-mac-too

Wall Street gold rush in foreclosed homes

Investors seeking higher yields are drawn to foreclosures because the rental market is red hot. But the heated competition for foreclosed homes is reminiscent of the frothy expectations that seem to accompany each new Wall Street investing craze.

http://profit.ndtv.com/News/Article/wall-street-gold-rush-in-foreclosed-homes-300450

 

Feds say Wells Fargo won’t turn over documents

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Federal securities regulators are asking a federal court to order Wells Fargo & Co. to turn over documents in an investigation of the bank’s sale of $60 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement Friday that Wells Fargo agreed to produce the documents under subpoenas dating to September of 2011, but the bank has failed to hand over much of the requested material.

The agency has asked U.S. District Court in San Francisco to order the nation’s largest mortgage lender to turn over the paperwork. The SEC is investigating possible fraud in the bank’s sale of securities that were made up of multiple mortgage loans between September 2006 and early 2008.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-03/D9TN1VM00.htm

 

Big Banks Continue to Suck at the Government Teat With Never-Ending Stealth Bailouts

 

WashingtonsBlog

Open-Ended Bailouts Are Continuing

We’ve previously documented the fact that bailouts of the big banks are continued in stealth mode up to the present day.

True, the banks claim they’ve repaid the Tarp bailout funds … but nearly half of the banks “repaid” such bailout funds by borrowing from other government bailout funds (and the rest could only repay money by fudging their accounting and using stealth bailouts which are are a little harder to detect).

Indeed, the government has decided on perpetual bailouts for the too big to fail banks.

Some of the ongoing stealth bailouts include:….

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/big-banks-continue-to-suck-at-the-government-teat-with-never-ending-stealth-bailouts.html

 

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

The Dangerous Mess in Syria Grows Murkier

 

By Eric Margolis

March 25, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Syria’s murky, multi-level conflict continues to grow worse. So does public confusion here in the west as the US, British and some European media keep depicting Syria’s civil war as a simple passion play pitting the evil Asad regime in Damascus against mostly unarmed democratic protestors.

We saw this same one-dimensional, deceptive reporting recently in Libya that was designed to support foreign intervention. It’s as incomplete today about Syria as it was in Libya which, by the way, is turning into a dangerous mess.

My assessment based on reliable primary sources in Washington, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon:

Support for the Asad family’s Ba’ath regime, now in power for 41 years, is clearly slipping. But important sections of the armed forces, the 17 intelligence and security agencies, the powerful Alawai minority, most Syrian Christians, tribal elements and much of the commercial middle and upper class still back the Asad’s. In spite of intense western efforts to overthrow him, Bashar Asad, a mild-mannered former eye specialist, is still hanging on….

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30908.htm

 

Robert Bales – Lone Nut or Scapegoat?
What are the Americans hiding?

 

By Justin Raimondo

March 25, 2012 “Antiwar” – The murder of 17 Afghan civilians – most of them children – by staff sergeant Robert Bales may be far worse than we think at present. The semi-official story, as related by our compliant news media, is that a formerly model soldier went bananas under the pressure of war-related injuries, financial problems at home, and the all-purpose PTSD explanation for military misbehavior, whereupon he decided – at 3 am in the morning, after drinking with his army buddies – to walk the couple of miles to an Afghan village, shoot 16 people sleeping in their beds, pile the bodies atop a funeral pyre and set the whole thing alight.

How did he get out of the base at 3 am unchallenged and without anyone’s knowledge? How did he manage to do so much damage alone? These questions automatically register in the minimally critical mind – unless, of course, you’re an American reporter, who is quite used to accepting what our government tells us without question. On the other hand, without clear evidence of another – darker – scenario, all one can do is engage in problematic speculation. That problem has been solved, however, because evidence of an alternative explanation is now coming to light which throws the whole “lone nut” theory into question.

A few days before Bales went postal, there was a bomb attack on a US convoy in which a friend of Bales’s lost a leg: Bales’s lawyer has been detailing his client’s anger at this incident, implying it precipitated the murder spree. There are indications, however, that this is not the whole story. One local resident relates how the Americans paid a visit to the village where the killings took place and threatened residents with retaliation:….

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30906.htm

 

Robots Kill, But the Blood Is on Our Hands

 

By David Swanson

March 25, 2012 “Information Clearing House” —In her spare time, between non-stop peace activism and leading international exchanges, Medea Benjamin has somehow managed to write the best book yet on the most inhuman form of war yet. The book is called Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

Even if you’ve been reading everything you could about drones, attending peace conferences, and protesting in the lobbies of drone companies like General Atomics, you will learn a great deal from this book. In fact, I’m willing to bet that even if you “pilot” drones from a desk for a living, you will learn a great deal from this book. And if you have not been paying attention to drones, then you really need to read this book.

Many Americans first heard about “unmanned aerial vehicles” as weapons when Colin Powell told the United Nations in 2003 that Iraq might use them to attack the United States. This turned out to be a projection as well as a lie. It was, of course, the United States that used drones, among other weapons, to attack Iraq for nine years, and the U.S. drones are still in the skies of Iraq today, as well in the skies of many other countries.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30912.htm

 

US Plans No Charges Over Deadly November Strike in Pakistan

 

The United States military has decided that no service members will face disciplinary charges for their involvement in a NATO airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, an accident that plunged relations between the two countries to new depths and has greatly complicated the allied mission in Afghanistan.

An American investigation in December found fault with both American and Pakistani troops for the deadly exchange of fire, but noted that the Pakistanis fired first from two border posts that were not on coalition maps, and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops. Pakistan has rejected these conclusions and ascribed most of the blame to the American forces.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8087-us-plans-no-charges-over-deadly-november-strike-in-pakistan

 

UK Mercenaries tackle Somalia

 

March 25, 2012

Why send in conventional military units when you can deploy mercenaries into Africa to carry out special operations, commit atrocities and confiscate natural resources all off the books….

http://www.phantomreport.com/uk-mercenaries-tackle-somalia

 

U.S. pays Afghans $50K per shooting death

March 25, 2012

The United States has paid $50,000 in compensation for each Afghan killed in the shooting spree attributed to a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan official and a community elder said Sunday…..

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57404080/u.s-pays-afghans-$50k-per-shooting-death/

 

Report: Israeli soldiers scour Iran for nukes

 

Israel using permanent base in northern Iraq to launch intelligence missions in Iran in search of nuclear evidence, Western intelligence sources say.

Israel is using a permanent base in Iraqi Kurdistan to launch cross-border intelligence missions in an attempt to find “smoking gun” evidence that Iran is building a nuclear warhead, the Sunday Times reported Sunday.

According to Western intelligence sources, Israel has used sensitive equipment during its covert operations to monitor the radioactivity and magnitude of explosives tests. It was also reported that Israeli special forces used Black Hawk helicopters to carry commandos disguised as members of the Iranian military and using Iranian military vehicles……

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4207265,00.html

 

Leader of Mali military coup trained in U.S.

 

March 25, 2012

The leader of a military coup in the West African country of Mali received military training in the United States on “several” occasions, a U.S. defense official said Friday.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/leader-of-mali-military-coup-trained-in-us/2012/03/23/gIQAS7Q6WS_story.html?wprss=rss_national-security

 

Japan wants missile shield against N.Korean rockets

 

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 23, 2012

North Korea has announced it will launch a rocket next month, which will put a satellite into orbit. But the U.S. and its allies see the plans as counter to international diplomatic efforts to deal with the reclusive state’s nuclear programme – and are worried the technology could be used to develop long range missiles in the future. It could also potentially violate UN Security Council resolutions, and threatens last month’s deal between North Korea and the Washington. Under this, Pyonyang was to freeze its uranium weapons program and its long-range missile activities – in return for American food aid. Japan’s has responded by deploying its own missile defense system to shoot down any rocket threatening its territory. For more on this, RT talks to Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford, from London.

 

 

Drug lords targeted by Fast and Furious were FBI informants

 

March 25, 2012

When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fast-furious-20120322,0,3334424.story

 

Attacking Iran will spell Israel’s end: Cleric

 

A senior Iranian cleric says the Israeli threats of a military strike on Iran are mere “psychological warfare” as Tel Aviv fully understands any such venture would lead to its “total annihilation”.

“There has been some talk in the media for some time of a military move [against Iran] by the Zionist regime [of Israel] in particular; these menacing murmurs are nothing but psychological warfare,” Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said on Monday.

Last year during a period, foreign media created hype about a war [against Tehran] and anyone who paid attention to these media felt the US would attack Iran the following day,” he said.

The senior Iranian cleric, who is a member of the presiding board of the Assembly of Experts, said Israeli officials know that a military offensive against Iran would mean the complete annihilation of the Zionist regime

“We are not aggressors but our response to aggressors will be devastatingly crushing.”

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/233265.html

 

Iran nukes: How would the world know?

 

By Pam Benson

American officials are adamant. The U.S. will respond – possibly with military force – if Iran crosses a red line and decides to actually make nuclear weapons.

But will the U.S. know with an degree of certainty that a line has been crossed?

The decision itself to push ahead really comes down to one person, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Clapper told a Senate hearing recently that any decision would be based on “the supreme leader’s world view and the extent to which he thinks that would benefit the state of Iran or, conversely, not benefit.”

Clapper was referring to Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the supreme leader of Iran.

“It’s Khameini, period, full stop, end of sentence,” agreed Kenneth Pollack, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution.

But trying to read one person’s mind is no easy thing, observed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently, noting how Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was misread by U.S. intelligence.

“People sometimes say and do things that are at variance with what one might expect,” the secretary of state said. “It’s still quite bewildering to me why Saddam Hussein wanted everyone to believe that he had chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons of mass destruction when apparently he did not…..

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/26/iran-nukes-how-would-the-world-know/

 

South Korea warns it may shoot down North Korean rocket

 

Fears over suspected missile test overshadow international nuclear security summit in Seoul

South Korea has warned it might shoot down a North Korean rocket if it passes over its territory, as worries about what Washington calls a long-range missile test overshadowed an international nuclear security summit.

“We are studying measures such as tracking and shooting down [parts] of a North Korean missile in case they stray out of their normal trajectory” and violate South Korean territory, said Yoon Won-shik, a spokesman at the South’s defence ministry.

He called the launch “a very reckless, provocative act” that undermines peace on the Korean peninsula.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/26/south-korea-shoot-down-north-korea-rocket?newsfeed=true

 

 

Articles of Interest

 

Incarceration Nation

 

By Fareed Zakaria

March 25, 2012 “TIME.com” — Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik. “Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”

Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and ­Britain – with a rate among the ­highest – has 153.

This wide gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world is relatively recent. In 1980 the U.S.’s prison population was about 150 per 100,000 adults. It has more than quadrupled since then. So something has happened in the past 30 years to push millions of Americans into prison.

That something, of course, is the war on drugs. Drug convictions went from 15 inmates per 100,000 adults in 1980 to 148 in 1996, an almost tenfold increase. More than half of America’s federal inmates today are in prison on drug convictions. In 2009 alone, 1.66 million Americans were arrested on drug charges, more than were arrested on assault or larceny charges. And 4 of 5 of those arrests were simply for possession.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30910.htm

 

Hill Poll: Voters expect personal views to decide health case

 

By Sam Baker

Half of likely voters want the Supreme Court to overturn President Obama’s healthcare law, according to The Hill’s latest poll.

Just 42 percent said the court should uphold the law, with 50 percent saying it should be struck down.

A majority of both men and women want the law voided. By a 52-percent-to-39-percent margin women are more opposed to it than men, who oppose it 48 percent to 45 percent, a difference that matches the poll’s 3-point margin of error.

http://thehill.com/polls/218005-hill-poll-voters-expect-justices-personal-beliefs-to-decide-health-case

 

IRS takes heat from both GOP, Dems over Tea Party groups’ tax-exempt status

 

By Bernie Becker

The Revenue Service is taking heat from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for its oversight of certain groups engaging in political activity, in particular Tea Party organizations seeking tax-exempt status.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/217987-irs-takes-heat-from-gop-dems-over-tea-party-groups-tax-exempt-status

 

Japan tsunami ‘Ghost Ship’ haunts Canada coast

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

 

R2P: Imperial Conquest by Another Name

 

Uploaded by GlobalResearchTV

As the world recovers from one humanitarian peace bombing in Libya, and braces for another possible intervention in Syria, many are now asking how it is that the so-called liberal left have become cheerleaders for the very wars of aggression they once pretended to deride. As long-time investigate reporter Pepe Escobar explains, an obscure international doctrine called Responsibility To Protect or R2P has been the main tool for shaping this new paradigm for the continuation of NATO’s imperial power grabs around the world.

 

Politics and Legislation

Republican leaders racking up ‘yes’ votes on Rep. Ryan’s budget

By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman

Conservative House Republicans on Thursday said they support the 2013 budget resolution, leaving GOP leaders increasingly confident they will be able to pass the measure on the floor next week.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/217693-gop-leaders-racking-up-yes-votes-on-ryan-budget

Kony resolution catches on in Senate

By Carlo Munoz

Much like the viral video that reintroduced the world to the atrocities committed by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, a Senate resolution condemning his actions is rapidly gaining support on Capitol Hill.

Introduced by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the resolution calls upon the Obama administration to increase assistance to the Ugandan military’s efforts to take out Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

Lawmakers have been falling all over themselves to sign on as co-sponsors to the Coons-Inhofe resolution. By Thursday, 37 senators had signed on.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/217719-kony-resolution-picks-up-steam-in-senate-

Senate to vote on bill killing oil tax breaks

By Andrew Restuccia

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled a procedural vote Monday on legislation to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies.

A Senate Democratic aide told The Hill that Reid filed cloture on the bill, authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), on Thursday, setting up a procedural vote on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

The legislation faces major hurdles to passage, but will nonetheless rally many Senate Democrats, who have made killing the tax breaks a top political priority amid soaring gas prices.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/217701-senate-slated-to-vote-on-bill-killing-oil-tax-breaks-monday

Senate passes House GOP’s JOBS Act

By Josiah Ryan

The Senate on Thursday passed an amended version of House Republicans’ Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a bill supporters say would generate jobs by easing capital formation regulations for small companies.

The legislation, which soared through the House earlier in March, 390-23, survived fierce opposition in the Senate from powerful Democrats including Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and several attempts to gut and replace many of its key provisions through the amendment process.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/217621-senate-clears-house-gop-jobs-act-

New counter terrorism guidelines permit data on U.S. citizens to be held longer

By Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima

The Obama administration has approved guidelines that allow counter terrorism officials to lengthen the period of time they retain information about U.S. residents, even if they have no known connection to terrorism.

The changes allow the National Counter terrorism Center (NCTC), the intelligence community’s clearinghouse for terrorism data, to keep information for up to five years. Previously, the center was required to promptly destroy — generally within 180 days — any information about U.S. citizens or residents unless a connection to terrorism was evident.

The new guidelines, which were approved Thursday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have been in the works for more than a year, officials said.

The guidelines have prompted concern from civil liberties advocates…….

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/new-counterterrorism-guidelines-would-permit-data-on-us-citizens-to-be-held-longer/2012/03/21/gIQAFLm7TS_story.html

Chinese Security Chief Lost Power Struggle in Coup

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of CPC attends the opening session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 5. A suddenly announced ideological training session is the latest sign that things are changing in Beijing.

…….On March 15, Zhou’s handpicked successor to head the PLAC, Bo Xilai, was placed under house arrest by the Central Guard Bureau, the agency responsible for the security of the CCP’s top leaders. Many bloggers assumed Zhou has now suffered Bo’s fate.

“The PLAC will be holding a massive training course for over 3,300 secretaries. Don’t you guys think there’s something fishy about it? Perhaps Zhou Yongkang is in trouble now,” wrote a blogger.

“It looks like Zhou Yongkang has been arrested. The PLAC wants its people to pledge their loyalty,” wrote one blogger.

Another blogger wrote, “It looks like the Party secretary of the PLAC is a goner, and Party officials have to realign the formation.”

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1925/119/Chinese_Security_Chief_Lost_Power_Struggle_in_Coup.html

Federal Judge Okays Flag Desecration

By toddstarnes

A federal judge has declared Missouri’s flag desecration law is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson issued a permanent injunction in the case of Frank Snider, who was arrested in 2009 for cutting up an American flag and throwing it into the street.

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/federal-judge-okays-flag-desecration.html?utm_source=Todd+Starnes+Website&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4af0db1143-STARNES_RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

Economy

Southern leg of Keystone pipeline a ‘priority,’ Obama says

Amid criticism he isn’t doing enough to beat back rising gas prices, President Obama Thursday said he is calling on his administration “to cut through red tape, break through bureaucratic hurdles,” and make the Southern leg of the controversial Keystone pipeline “a priority.” Mr. Obama’s stop in Cushing was part of a four-state, two-day tour in which the president touted his [corpora-terrorist overlords’] energy policies. Standing next to the giant TransCanada pipes that will make up the Southern leg of the Keystone pipeline, Mr. Obama sought to remind voters that he’s not opposed to domestic oil drilling

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57402437-503544/southern-leg-of-keystone-pipeline-a-priority-obama-says/

Saudi Arabia And China Team Up To Build A Gigantic New Oil Refinery – Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Petrodollar?

The largest oil exporter in the Middle East has teamed up with the second largest consumer of oil in the world (China) to build a gigantic new oil refinery and the mainstream media in the United States has barely even noticed it. This mammoth new refinery is scheduled to be fully operational in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu by 2014. Over the past several years, China has sought to aggressively expand trade with Saudi Arabia, and China now actually imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States does. In February, China imported 1.39 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia. That was 39 percent higher than last February. So why is this important? Well, back in 1973 the United States and Saudi Arabia agreed that all oil sold by Saudi Arabia would be denominated in U.S. dollars. This petrodollar system was adopted by almost the entire world and it has had great benefits for the U.S. economy. But if China becomes Saudi Arabia’s most important trading partner, then why should Saudi Arabia continue to only sell oil in U.S. dollars? And if the petrodollar system collapses, what is that going to mean for the U.S. economy?…..

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/saudi-arabia-and-china-team-up-to-build-a-gigantic-new-oil-refinery-is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-the-petrodollar

Dangerous and Bizarre Obama Nominee for World Bank Prez
This looks like major trouble.

President Obama has nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim for the position of President of the World Bank. All bets were on Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs even thought he was the man, as countries around the world were lining up behind him.

However, President Obama out of the blue nominates Kim. It should be noted that Kim has zero financial background, which in itself may not be bad, since it means he is not a regime bankster. But, his credentials suggest that Obama sees some kind of global social health program along the lines of Obamacare, with the World Bank as a key player.

Kim has been a Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. What’s “Social Medicine”. Wikipedia explains it well:

The field of social medicine seeks to:

understand how social and economic conditions impact health, disease and the practice of medicine and foster conditions in which this understanding can lead to a healthier society.

Translation: It’s about central planning for the medical industry.

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/03/dangerous-and-bizarre-obama-nominee-for.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+economicpolicyjournal%2FYZSb+%28EconomicPolicyJournal.com%29

Wars and Rumors of War

Ex-FBI informant on terror traps:

‘There is no real hunt. It’s fixed’

Craig Monteilh says he did not balk when his FBI handlers gave him the OK to have sex with the Muslim women his undercover operation was targeting. Nor, at the time, did he shy away from recording their pillow talk. “They said, if it would enhance the intelligence, go ahead and have sex. So I did,” Monteilh told the Guardian as he described his year as a confidential FBI informant sent on a secret mission to infiltrate southern Californian mosques. It is an astonishing admission that goes to the heart of the intelligence surveillance of Muslim communities in America in the years after 9/11. While police and FBI leaders have insisted they are acting to defend America from a terrorist attack, civil liberties groups have insisted they have repeatedly gone too far and treated an entire religious group as suspicious.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/20/fbi-informant

U.S. Sergeant Faces 17 Counts of Murder in Afghan Killings

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged on Friday with 17 counts of murder and various other charges, including attempted murder, in connection with the March 11 shooting deaths of Afghan civilians, a senior United States official said on Thursday. Sergeant Bales, who is 38 and had been serving his fourth combat tour overseas, is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He is accused of walking away from his remote base in southern Afghanistan and killing 16 17 civilians in a nighttime ambush…

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/23/us/us-sergeant-facing-murder-charges-over-afghan-killing.html?_r=1

Afghan villagers told they would pay for bomb days ahead of massacre of 16

Residents of an Afghan village near where an American soldier is alleged to have killed 16 civilians are convinced that the slayings were in retaliation for a roadside bomb attack on US forces in the same area a few days earlier. In accounts to The Associated Press and to Afghan government officials, the residents allege that US troops lined up men from the village of Mokhoyan against a wall after the bombing on either March 7 or 8, and told them they would pay a price for the attack.

http://video.theaustralian.com.au/embed/2211758652/Friends-of-US-soldier-react-to-Afghanistan-massacre-allegat?player=narrow

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/afghan-villagers-told-they-would-pay-for-bomb-days-ahead-of-massacre-of-16/story-e6frg6so-1226305886039

Environmental

Poland’s Monsanto action lays 1000s of dead bees on Govt steps

By Rady Ananda
Food Freedom

On March 15, over 1,500 beekeepers and their allies marched thru the streets of Warsaw, depositing thousands of dead bees on the steps of the Ministry of Agriculture, in protest of genetically modified foods and their requisite pesticides which are killing bees, moths and other agriculturally-beneficial insects around the globe.

Later that day the Minister of Agriculture, Marek Sawicki, announced plans to ban MON810, which has become ineffective at deterring pests in the US.

GM crops and the pesticides used with them have led to a host of problems (itemized here), including the development of new pathogens. One is associated with spontaneous abortion in cattle and another is responsible for massive methane foaming on manure lagoons which explode, killing thousands of animals in the US since 2001.

The Polish Beekeepers Association organized the protest, joining forces with International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) and the Coalition for a GMO Free Poland. Targeting Monsanto’s MON810 GM corn in particular, they also called for a complete ban on all GM crops and harmful pesticides……

http://foodfreedomgroup.com/2012/03/22/319/

Cyber Space

Sarkozy: Jail those who browse terror websites

By RAPHAEL SATTER

PARIS

France’s president proposed a sweeping new law Thursday that would jail those who visit extremist web sites — one of several tough new measures floated in the wake of a murderous shooting spree.

The proposed rules, unveiled by Nicolas Sarkozy after the death of an Islamist fanatic wanted for a horrifying series of execution-style murders, have alarmed journalists and legal experts, who say they risk pulling the plug on free expression.

Sarkozy argued that it was time to treat those who browse extremist websites the same way as those who consume child pornography.

“Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison,” he told a campaign rally in Strasbourg, in eastern France. “What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too.”……

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-03/D9TLMR9G1.htm

Activism

Paramilitary-Style Police Detain And Search Individuals From Occupy Miami

Summary of post by James Cox

Members of Occupy Miami were leaving to do a march and a rally, when multiple trucks and cars filled with paramilitary SWAT-looking officers, with military weaponry pulled. According to reports, these ‘paramilitary-looking’ police officers drew their weapons on the occupiers and rounded them up, along with tenants of the apartment complex, and put them on the ground… These officers were in full riot gear and had assault rifles, tactical gear and shotguns. They were also accompanied by FBI agents and the City of Miami police.

http://freedividual.com/2012/03/13/para-military-style-police-detain-and-search-individuals-from-occupy-miami/

Dozens arrested in Vermont Yankee protest

Scores of protesters were arrested at the corporate headquarters of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant Thursday, the first day of the plant’s operation after the expiration of its 40-year license. A heavy police presence and ropes blocked off access to the offices in Brattleboro. The arrests were made calmly and without any confrontation, with obvious signs that protesters and police had worked out the logistics beforehand. A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 gathered in a downtown Brattleboro park before they marched the 3 1/2 miles to the headquarters.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/22/dozens-arrested-in-vermont-yankee-protest/

Radiation

The Rage Against Radiation

by Zen Gardner

The outrage against nuclear power is totally under reported. Naturally. Who in the corporate media would want to fight corporate interests in a corporately controlled world?

The amazing video below is the soul of conscious Japan revealed and well worth the full watch. It’s extremely powerful, lucid, comprehensive, consciously aware and emotionally moving.

All the right stuff.

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1927/859/The_Rage_Against_Radiation.html

Misc

Marine facing dismissal over Obama criticism

The Marine Corps on Wednesday notified a sergeant who has been openly critical of President Barack Obama that he is violating Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities and that he faces dismissal. Camp Pendleton Marine Sgt. Gary Stein started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. He declared a few weeks ago that he would not follow the unlawful orders of the commander in chief. Stein stated that he would not follow orders from the president if those orders included detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57402088/marine-facing-dismissal-over-obama-criticism/

Politics and Legislation

Republicans shift from McCain on war

By Jeremy Herb and Carlo Munoz

Many Republicans are hesitant to align with Sen. John McCain’s aggressive stances on Afghanistan and Syria.

Facing a public that’s become increasingly war weary after a decade of conflict, most Republicans have not backed McCain’s call for action in Syria.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/216525-republicans-shift-away-from-mccain-on-war-policy-in-afghanistan-syria

Schumer bill would create ‘passenger advocates’ to help with TSA disputes

By Pete Kasperowicz

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Friday that they would soon introduce legislation to create “passenger advocates” to help people who may be “inappropriately treated” by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/216539-schumer-bill-would-create-airport-passenger-advocates-to-help-with-tsa-disputes

Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!

CONTRIBUTOR: Chris Kitze. Hattip: A BIN reader.

This article may be freely reproduced in its entirety provided a link is provided back to the original BIN story. This Executive Order was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov web site on Friday, March 16, 2012, under the name National Defense Resources Preparedness. In a nutshell, it’s the…

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1906/406/Obama_Executive_Order:_Peacetime_Martial_Law.html

RFID Chip Implants – Hidden Secret In Obamacare – Coming 3/23/13

CONTRIBUTOR: John Rolls.

Polidics.com Reporting News the Main Media Refuses to Touch… by Mr. Carrington – May 26, 2011 On Sunday March 21, 2010 the Senate Healthcare bill HR3200 was passed and signed into law the following Tuesday. Like I said before, there are a legion of horrible and just plain evil aspects to this bill…

http://polidics.com/news/another-hidden-secret-in-obamacare-rfid-chip-implants.html

Economy

Spanish town plans to pay debts by growing marijuana

RASQUERA, Spain (Reuters) – A small town in northeastern Spain, believes it has found a novel way to pay of its debt: cultivating cannabis.

Tucked in the hills of one of Spain’s most picturesque regions, the Catalonian village of Rasquera has agreed to rent out land to grow marijuana, an enterprise the local authorities say will allow them to pay off their 1.3 million euro (1 million pound) debt in two years.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/spanish-town-wants-grow-cannabis-pay-off-debt-131654270.html

Dems see ‘ammunition’ against Wall Street in Goldman resignation

By Peter Schroeder

Democrats have co-opted a fiery resignation letter from a Goldman Sachs employee to argue for rigid rules on the financial sector.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/216545–dems-see-ammunition-against-wall-street-in-goldman-resignation-

Prediction: Crisis From Food Prices And Social Unrest In 2013

CONTRIBUTOR: BARRACUDA.

Via www.economonitor.com

The people at NECSI sent me the following interesting blurb on the relationship between the rise in food prices and social unrest:

necsi.edu/research/social/foodvideos.html.

These videos illustrate the correlation between increasing costs of food and worldwide food riots, especially from 2000 until the present day. Both prices and riots peaked in 2008 and 2011 after a brief drop in 2009. This month, NECSI is publishing the results of its food prices update, in which the institute extends its food price model to January 2012, entering no modifications to the model and continuing to use its dynamics.

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1907/053/Prediction:_Crisis_From_Food_Prices_And_Social_Unrest_In_2013.html

Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

(Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/18/us-korea-north-missile-idUSBRE82H02U20120318

Wars and Rumors of War

Report: US sent detainees to Afghan prisons known for torture despite moratorium

A report released Saturday by two rights groups says the U.S. sent some detainees to Afghan prisons where torture was found despite an announced moratorium on such moves. The report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the New York-based Open Society Institute suggests that Afghanistan’s international allies are still failing to ensure that people captured on the battlefield are treated humanely despite a massive reform program in recent months.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/report-us-sent-detainees-afghan-prisons-known-torture-185849142.html

Syrian Rebels are Foreign-backed Terrorists

Latest terrorist attack in Damascus illustrates illegitimacy of both Syria’s rebels & the UN/NATO backing them.

By Tony Cartalucci

A twin terrorist bombing in the Syrian capital of Damascus, allegedly targeting government buildings, ripped through a Christian neighborhood killing an estimated 27, mostly civilians. A third bomb exploded, killing only the driver of the car it was placed in, in what was apparently an attempted triple suicide bombing. CBS News reports (1) that after other similar attacks, U.S. officials suggest Al Qaeda terrorists “may be” amongst the Syrian rebels.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Syrian_Rebels_are_Foreign-backed_Terrorists/18499/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Panetta Confirms US Involvement in Potential Israeli War on Iran ‘Obviously’ the US Would Take Action

Confirming what has always been the implicit way in which the US is going to get sucked into its next major war, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed that the US would definitely involve itself in a war on Iran if Israel decided to launch one.

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/16/panetta-confirms-us-involvement-in-potential-israeli-war-on-iran/

Banking group pressured to cut Iran ties

By Kevin Bogardus

Lawmakers will push forward with legislation targeting a worldwide banking cooperative despite its decision to stop doing business with some Iranian banks.

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/216547-banking-group-pressured-to-cut-iran-ties

Tensions over Syria could slow legislation to normalize Russia, U.S. trade relations

By Vicki Needham

Rising tensions between the United States and Russia over the violence in Syria could slow legislation to expand trade relations between the two nations.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/216549-tensions-over-syria-could-slow-legislation-to-normalize-russia-us-trade-relations

Gulf widens between US and a more volatile Karzai

By Rod Nordland, Alissa J. Rubin and Matthew Rosenberg

Ever since the Koran-burning episode on Feb. 20, the relationship between the United States and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has lurched from one crisis to another.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/world/asia/gulf-widens-between-us-and-an-increasingly-hostile-karzai.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Lieberman: War with Iran a global nightmare

During official visit to China, foreign minister says ‘united international front’ can convince Tehran to abandon nuclear ambitions

“If, god forbid, a war with breaks out with Iran, it will be a nightmare. Everyone will be involved, including the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia,” Avigdor Lieberman told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily during an official visit to China.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4204402,00.html

Environmental

Honeybee die-offs linked to insecticide, study says

A newly published study draws a stronger link between mass die-offs of honeybees and an insecticide widely used on corn. The study sheds more light on the worrisome phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees play a critical role in the pollination of crops, and thus a threat to bee colonies can potentially affect entire ecosystems. The latest study, conducted by Italian researchers at the University of Padova and published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, focuses on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/17/10735129-honeybee-die-offs-linked-to-insecticide-study-says

Activism

Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park

Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it. Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago… At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/arrests-made-as-protesters-mark-occupy-wall-streets-six-month-anniversary/

Occupy protest anniversary ends with police sweep

Protesters chanted and cheered down Wall Street to mark six months of the Occupy movement, ending the day with a police confrontation and numerous arrests at the park where the demonstrations against economic inequality began. Police declared Zuccotti Park closed Saturday night, and more than 100 officers swept through the excited crowd. At least one person was injured during the sweep, police said.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-17/occupy-wall-street/53595282/1

Cyber Space

UK teenager arrested for anti-war Facebook post

A British teenager has been arrested and is expected to appear in a UK court after he posted about the injustice of the occupation of Afghanistan on his Facebook page. Following the deaths of six UK soldiers in Afghanistan earlier this month, Azhar Ahmed from Ravensthorpe left his comment on the social networking site in order to indicate the hypocrisy of praising the UK soldiers, while thousands of Afghan civilians killed at the hand of Western troops who have occupied the country for over ten years claiming to protect the civilians.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/232192.html

 

State department seeking to turn social media users into global government spies

By J. D. Heyes,
(NaturalNews) In an ongoing effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in these unstable times, a top State Department official has proposed using social media as a way to keep track of the world’s most destructive devices. Rose Gottemoeller, acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, sees the concept as just another way to keep atomic bombs out of the hands of terrorists and under the control of responsible governments and regimes. As such, Gottmoeller says she wants ordinary…

 

 

Misc

Government takes 92-year-old woman’s money after believing she died

A 92-year-old woman from Port Angeles, Washington revealed Friday afternoon that she had lost thousands of dollars due to her bank and the government believing she was dead, according to KOMO-TV.?

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Govt-mistakenly-declares-woman-dead-takes-her-money-142949255.html?tab=video&c=y

Exposed: Lobbyist Who Helped Kill California Pot Legalization Ballot Measure is Getting Rich Off Drug War

Ethan A. Huff, News Report:

After the Obama Administration enacted its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Lovell reportedly got busy sending notices to police agencies alerting them about “important opportunities” to generate more federal grants. These opportunities included $2.2 million in funding for implementing a “Marijuana Suppression Program,” and more than $7.5 million for a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035277_John_Lovell_California_marijuana_legalization.html

http://www.nationofchange.org/exposed-lobbyist-who-helped-kill-california-pot-legalization-ballot-measure-getting-rich-drug-war-13

Federal Regulator is Using Seriously Flawed Study to Deny Homeowners Mortgage Aid

Pat Garofalo, News Report:

Goodman cited several problems with the study, including that it did not factor in bank incentives from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and underestimated the number of homeowners severely underwater by not using city level housing data. She said that it the study was done correctly, “it will be clear that forgiveness is the better solution for the bulk of the two-thirds of their book of business without mortgage insurance.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/federal-regulator-using-seriously-flawed-study-deny-homeowners-mortgage-aid-1332086225

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to run for Australian Senate

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is planning to run for election to the Australian Senate. Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, is on bail awaiting a British court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. He strongly denies the claims, saying they are politically motivated and linked to the activities of WikiLeaks, which has published thousands of confidential documents on the internet. The whistle-blowing website said it appeared that Mr Assange’s current legal situation did not rule him out of running for Australia’s upper house.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9150013/WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-to-run-for-Australian-Senate.html

Is America preparing for an unprecedented crisis reminiscent of WWII?

by The Extinction Protocol

March 19, 2012 – WASHINGTON – The following excerpt is from a Executive Order signed by U.S. President Obama on March 16, 2012. The Executive Order coordinates and mobilizes all national resources, technological and industrial, under Federal auspicies in the event of a national emergency. This sounds like a major preparatory step before a crisis eerily reminiscent of WWII. An excerpt from the document reads: “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States. Each resource department shall act, as necessary and appropriate, upon requests for special priorities assistance, as defined by section 801(l) of this order, in a time frame consistent with the urgency of the need at hand. This is to help foster cooperation between the defense and commercial sectors for research and development and for acquisition of materials, services, components, and equipment to enhance industrial base efficiency and responsiveness.  In situations where there are competing program requirements for limited resources, the resource department shall consult with the Secretary who made the required determination under section 202 of this order. Such Secretary shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements to prioritize on the basis of operational urgency. In situations involving more than one Secretary making such a required determination under section 202 of this order, the Secretaries shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements should receive priority on the basis of operational urgency.” –The White House

http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/is-america-preparing-for-an-unprecedented-crisis-reminiscent-of-wwii/