Tag Archive: Afghan Forces


Politics and Legislation

“Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout Sentenced to 25 Years; Trial Ignored His Ties to U.S., Dick Cheney

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2012/4/6/merchant_of_death_viktor_bout_sentenced

Judge Napolitano: I Think the President Is Dangerously Close to Totalitarianism

American-Allied Dictatorship Shuts Down Pro-Democracy U.S. Group

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week forced the closure of two non-governmental organizations that promote democracy, mirroring the actions last year of the military-led government in Egypt against the same NGOs.

The first NGO shut down was the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI), followed by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, based in Germany. The UAE did not provide any explanation for the closings.

Both pro-democracy groups had their offices raided and closed in Egypt during 2011. The NDI was created in 1983 and funded through the National Endowment for Democracy.

An official with NDI said the move was disappointing and “arbitrary.” It was pointed out that the NGO had no programs at this time in the UAE, so the closure would have “no serious ramifications for our work.”

On Thursday, the UAE government detained overnight two NDI employees, an American, Patricia David, and a Serb, Slobodan Milic.

On Christmas Day the Obama administration approved $3.5 billion in weapons sales to the UAE royal government, with almost $2 billion going to Lockheed Martin for two Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries, and. $582.5 million going to Raytheon for radar and services.

 

Scott Walker Wages War on Women

Amanda Terkel

Scott Walker Quietly Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law

WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.

The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.

In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers.

SB 202 was sent to Walker on March 29. He had, according to the state constitution, six days to act on the bill. The deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The governor quietly signed the bill into law on Thursday, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, and it is now called Act 219.

Walker’s office did not return repeated requests for comment.

State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), the authors of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, criticized Walker on Thursday for not informing the public of his actions on SB 202.

“We are finally starting to see progress here in Wisconsin, yet like their counterparts across the country, Legislative Republicans want to turn back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace,” said Hansen….

Read Full Article Here

 

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Economy

European stock markets rocked by panic selling as debt crisis reignites

Investors demanding high premiums for holding Italian and Spanish bonds as fears of double-dip recession grow

Europe‘s sovereign debt crisis exploded back into life on Tuesday, with markets across the continent rocked by a wave of panic selling amid renewed fears about the impact of savage austerity measures in Spain and Italy.

The mood of uneasy calm seen across Europe since the Greek bailout in February was shattered as financial markets took fright at evidence of a double-dip recession and growing popular opposition to welfare cuts and tax increases.

Italy and Spain, the euro-zone’s third and fourth biggest economies, were at the centre of the market turmoil, with investors demanding an increasingly high premium for holding their bonds.

“Spain is right in the center of a European storm,” admitted finance minister Luis de Guindos, who declined to rule out an eventual bailout but insisted it could be avoided.

In Italy, Mario Monti’s coalition government is facing growing hostility to reforms of its labor market, while the sheer size of the country’s public debt made it an obvious target for nervous traders. The prospect of Greek voters rejecting austerity and the French electorate denying Nicolas Sarkozy a second term as president was also weighing on the markets.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

U.S. Aid to Israel Equals $4.9 Million a Day for 64 Years

No one can say the U.S. hasn’t been generous towards Israel since it was founded in 1948.
Over a period of 64 years (including the 2013 budget request), the U.S. has given Israel more than $115 billion in military and foreign aid, which averages out to about $4.9 million a day.
American and Israeli officials are currently negotiating a new aid deal that would provide more money for a new missile defense program, Iron Dome. Previous funding requests approved $205 million for the project, and Israel is trying to secure at least that much if not more for future years.
Although some Republicans have tried to portray President Barack Obama as soft on Israel, his budget for Fiscal Year 2013 includes $3.1 billion in military aid for Israel, the most in 13 years.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

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Wars and Rumors of War

U.S. Defines Its Demands for New Round of Talks With Iran

By DAVID E. SANGER and STEVEN ERLANGER

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and its European allies plan to open new negotiations with Iran by demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling of a recently completed nuclear facility deep under a mountain, according to American and European diplomats.

They are also calling for a halt in the production of uranium fuel that is considered just a few steps from bomb grade, and the shipment of existing stockpiles of that fuel out of the country, the diplomats said.

That negotiating position will be the opening move in what President Obama has called Iran’s “last chance” to resolve its nuclear confrontation with the United Nations and the West diplomatically. The hard-line approach would require the country’s military leadership to give up the Fordo enrichment plant outside the holy city of Qum, and with it a huge investment in the one facility that is most hardened against airstrikes.

Read Full Article Here

The US War on Drug Cartels in Mexico Is a Deadly Failure

Mark Karlin, Truthout:

“There is no end game here. The United States is using all its vast powers to do what urban police do in American cities: chase the corner drug dealers out of one area and into another, through the use of temporary intensive ‘enforcement’ – and then chase them back again at a later date…. Meanwhile, in the United States, controlling the demand side appears to be interpreted as throwing people – particularly minority men – in jail for drug offenses, leading to the highest incarceration rate in the world.”

Read Full Article Here

Deal Reached on Contested Afghan Night Raids

Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times News Service:

“Afghanistan and the United States signed an agreement on Sunday on night military raids that would hand responsibility for carrying out the operations to Afghan forces but allow continued American involvement. The agreement clears the way for the two countries to move ahead with a more comprehensive long-term partnership agreement, say Afghan and American officials.”

Read Full Article Here

Nigeria: Fertile Ground for Balkanization

By Nile Bowie
BlacklistedNews.com


While the Sahel security crisis continues to deteriorate following Tuareg rebels’ declaration of an independent state in Mali’s troubled northern territory [1], recent events in Nigeria indicate a potential for increased regional instability. Boko Haram, a Salafist organization seeking to overthrow the secular administration of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has recently killed 38 civilians in a suicide car bomb targeting nearby churches holding Easter services in the northern city of Kaduna [2]. As part of an ongoing campaign of sectarian violence, the group has strived to implement sharia law through the establishment of an Islamic State in northern Nigeria [3]. The group’s belligerent acts of violence claimed more than 500 lives during 2011 [4], prompting President Jonathan to call the current security crisis more dire than that experienced during 1967’s Biafran civil war, adding that jihadi sympathizers have successfully infiltrated his government and security agencies [5].

The group has claimed responsibility for the August 2011 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja [6], and its adoption of sophisticated tactics indicate that Boko Haram is receiving arms and training from abroad. Mainstream outlets can now be seen readying public opinion for an increased presence in Africa under the Right to Protect Doctrine (R2P) by warning of increased terrorist attacks in Europe, following shifts in Islamist activity away from Iraq and Afghanistan, to the “ungoverned spaces” of the Sahel [7]. While the ongoing War on Terror provides the needed justification for the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) to expand its base of operations throughout the Sahel and the troubled regions of east and central Africa, the modus operandi of Boko Haram indicates foreign nurturing in numerous mediums.

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

Overall violence in Iraq has gone down since the last U.S. troops finally withdrew in December, but Washington’s avid support for the emerging dictator in Baghdad has troubling implications for Iraqis.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has demonstrated an increasingly authoritarian rule as he consolidates power over the country’s institutions and security forces. He has marginalized his political opponents through force and coercion, which has stoked sectarian tensions and even threatened a break-up of the nation. And Obama is supporting all of it.

Maliki, a Shiite, ordered the arrest of his Sunni Vice President Hashemi just as the last U.S. troops left Iraq. The U.S. ambassador to Iraq expressed approval in January of this quest to detain Iraq’s vice president on trumped up terrorism charges, despite a virtual consensus that it was a blatant attempt to eliminate a political rival.

Maliki also betrayed an agreement that would have limited his ability to marginalize the Sunnis and turn the military into a sectarian force and ended up arresting hundreds of former Baath Party members on charges that they were involved in a coup plot. Because of the turmoil, Sunni and Kurdish blocs in the Iraqi parliament committed themselves to a boycott, and later threatened secession.

Alaa Mekki, a senior lawmaker with the mostly Sunni Iraqiya bloc, said of the U.S., “Their goal of a united, democratic Iraq is now under threat because of what we describe as the dictatorship attitude.” Angered Kurds and Sunnis say their disenfranchisement has never been greater.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

NAFTA Partners Take Steps to Boost Trilateral Relationship

By Dana Gabriel
BlacklistedNews.com

While bilateral initiatives have dominated North American issues over the last couple of years, the trilateral relationship has suffered. With a series of high-level meetings, the U.S., Canada and Mexico are taking steps to boost the NAFTA partnership. First, the defense ministers met to discuss shared continental security threats. This was followed by a leaders summit which pledged to deepen trade, regulatory, energy and security cooperation. The recent meetings have caused some to once again take notice of the incremental efforts to merge all three countries into a North American Union.

In what was hailed as an historic event, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay, Mexican Secretary of National Defense Guillermo Galvan, and Mexican Secretary of the Navy Mariano Mendoza recently held the Inaugural Meeting of North American Defense Ministers. As part of a framework they agreed to, “ Develop a joint trilateral defense threat assessment for North America to deepen our common understanding of the threats and challenges we face. Explore ways to improve our support to the efforts of civilian public security agencies in countering illicit activities in our respective countries and the hemisphere, such as narcotics trafficking. Explore how we can collaborate to increase the speed and efficiency with which our armed forces support civilian-led responses to disasters. Continue to work together to strengthen hemispheric defense forums.” The ministers also committed to enhancing cooperation in the fight against transnational criminal organizations. The trilateral defense meeting is part of the ongoing efforts to establish a fully integrated North American security perimeter.

Read Full Article Here

 

Goldman Sachs Gets Lousy £25,000 Fine For Manipulating Oil Prices

Posted by

In another example of the two tiered justice system for the globe’s financial elite, Goldman gets a measly £25,000 fine after getting caught manipulating oil prices.

If a Muslim were caught doing this it would be condemned as an act of Financial Terrorism and be responded to with the swift deployment of predator drones and intercontinental  ballistic missiles.

But when the people in the good old boys network get caught they get a fine that was most likely much less than they made off the illegal trades.

But don’t you dare pick up a protest sign and demand accountability for these kind of acts or you just may find yourself beaten and arrested.

You, me and everyone else pay for this kind of crap directly at the gas pump.

Via The ICE Futures  Investment Exchange, here is the full text of the sanctions letter.

 

 

First Man Arrested With Drone Evidence Vows to Fight Case

Court must decide if police are allowed to use drones to help make arrests

Rodney Brossart was arrested in June.

The tiny town of Lakota, N.D., is quickly becoming a key testing ground for the legality of the use of unmanned drones by law enforcement after one of its residents became the first American citizen to be arrested with the help of a Predator surveillance drone.

The bizarre case started when six cows wandered onto Rodney Brossart’s 3,000 acre farm. Brossart, an alleged anti-government “sovereignist,” believed he should have been able to keep the cows, so he and two family members chased police off his land with high powered rifles.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

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Politics and Legislation

 

We Take Care of Our Own: Eric Holder and the End of Rights

Historians of the future, if they are not imprisoned for saying so, will trace the end of America’s democratic experiment to the fearful days immediately after 9/11, what Bruce Springsteen called the days of the empty sky, when frightened, small men named Bush and Cheney made the first decisions to abandon the Constitution in the name of freedom and created a new version of the security state with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret prisons and sanctioned torture by the U.S. government. They proceeded carefully, making sure that lawyers in their employ sanctioned each dark act, much as kings in old Europe used the church to justify their own actions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van-buren/anwar-al-awlaki-killing_b_1322528.html

 

Politicians Won’t Return Ponzi Payoffs

Michael Winship, Moyers & Co.:

“On Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud…. But what most of this week’s stories failed to mention was the large amount of his clients’ cash that was spent on campaign contributions, greasing the corrupt nexus of money and politics for personal gain. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to candidates,  Barack Obama, John McCain, John Boehner and Harry Reid; including Ponzi Payoffs; as well as national fundraising committees for the Republican and Democratic parties.”

http://www.truth-out.org/politicians-wont-return-ponzi-payoffs/1331400527

 

Confusion Surrounds Federal Review of Southern Leg of Keystone XL

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News:

“TransCanada’s decision last week to build the southern half of the rejected Keystone XL has raised a tricky question about who will regulate the project review … The process could be stickier at the federal level. The U.S. State Department was the lead agency on the original Keystone XL because it crossed an international boundary. But so far, no agency has stepped forward to take responsibility for the Gulf Coast Project.”

http://www.truth-out.org/confusion-surrounds-federal-review-southern-leg-keystone-xl/1331398833

 

A Field of Hawks

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Writers Group:

“Unless Ron Paul somehow wins the nomination, it looks as if a vote for the Republican presidential candidate this fall will be a vote for war with Iran. No other conclusion can be drawn from parsing the candidates’ public remarks. Paul, of course, is basically an isolationist who believes it is none of our business if Iran wants to build nuclear weapons…. But Paul has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do.”

http://www.truth-out.org/field-hawks/1331398935

 

No Apocalypse Yet
Will Putin do what the oligarchs fear?

By ISRAEL SHAMIR

If he wants to survive politically, he will have to implement the national agenda, confront the oligarchs, curb the creative class, provide support to those who supported him.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30776.htm

 

Obama Signs Anti-protest Trespass Bill

By RT

US President Barack Obama signed his name to H.R. 347 on Thursday, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events – essentially criminalizing protest in the States.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30774.htm

 

‘War on Terror is War on Liberty’
Farage demands that the UK break treaty with US

By Nigel Farage: EU MP

“No British court has ever been allowed to examine the evidence against Mr Tappin and I believe this Treaty, signed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, needs to be amended and the British government needs to stand up for its own people.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30764.htm

 

Economy

Not So Fast On That Whole Economic Recovery Thing

Not so fast. Those that are publicly declaring that an economic recovery has arrived are ignoring a whole host of numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is in absolutely horrendous shape. The truth is that the health of an economy should not be measured by how well the stock market is doing. Rather, the truth health of an economy should be evaluated by looking at numbers for things like jobs, housing, poverty and debt. Some of the latest economic statistics indicate that unemployment is getting a little bit worse, that the housing market continues to deteriorate, that poverty in America continues to soar and that our debt problem is worse than ever.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/not-so-fast-on-that-whole-economic-recovery-thing

 

TEXT-Moody’s: Greek sovereign credit rating remains at C

Moody’s Investors Service says that it considers Greece

to have defaulted per Moody’s default definitions further to the conclusion of an exchange of EUR177 billion of Greece’s debt that is governed by Greek law for bonds issued by the Greek government, GDP-linked securities, European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) notes. Foreign-law bonds are eligible for the same offer, and Moody’s expects a similar debt exchange to proceed with these bondholders, as well as the holders of state-owned enterprise debt that has been guaranteed by the state, in the coming weeks. The respective securities will enter our default statistics at the tender expiration date, which is was Thursday 8 March for the Greek law bonds and is currently expected to be 23 March for foreign law bonds. Greece’s government bond rating remains unchanged at C, the lowest rating on Moody’s rating scale.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/idUSWNA217120120309

 

Security: UK ‘must plan for euro collapse’

Ministers should draw up plans to deal with a break-up of the eurozone “as a matter of urgency”, a committee of MPs and peers has warned.

The joint committee on the government’s National Security Strategy (NSS) said the full or partial collapse of the single currency was “plausible”.

It said political unrest and a rise in economic migrant numbers could result.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17295461

 

Wall Street up on jobs data, brushes off Greek default

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks advanced on Friday as investors brushed off the technical default by Greece and focused instead on another strong monthly jobs report.

Trading was choppy in late afternoon trade after the International Swaps and Derivatives Association said Greece has triggered an insurance payment on credit default contracts.

Investors took the Greek news largely in stride because the event was widely expected. Still, it is a declaration of default following the biggest sovereign debt-restructuring deal in history, and the specter of trouble in other euro-zone countries remains.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/stock-futures-edge-lower-focus-092318186.html;_ylt=Ar1tpMPx1ZCXLOapElzdCaqiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTNyMnNyMmVwBG1pdANGUCBUb3AgU3RvcnkgTGVmdARwa2cDNGYxODJlZGQtM2NlOC0zZDJlLThlY2MtMTUxYWU5NzcwZTQ4BHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzI3OTQ0YjMwLTZhMzAtMTFlMS1hZmZmLTEzMTljMGYwZTE4NA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

Bernanke Is Giving Us the Recovery He Wants, Not the Recovery We Need

With the latest round of monetary stimulus, the Federal Reserve is boldly going where it has already been. Big, big news from the Federal Reserve. They are considering doing something they are already doing, but calling it something else.

This “new” operation, carried out under the rather gross-sounding moniker of “sterilized quantitative easing,” is just another way to reduce long-term interest rates. The specifics aren’t terribly important — although if you want all the gory details about bond-buying and reverse repos, check out Jon Hilsenrath — but the result should be identical to the so-called “Operation Twist” the Fed did last fall.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bernanke-giving-us-recovery-wants-170846352.html;_ylt=AnYAn2zURi8MrFLRZ_Hep_SiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTRiOGw4a3B0BG1pdANGUCBDb21tZW50YXJ5IGFuZCBBbmFseXNpcwRwa2cDMmQ2YTVlYjMtZGYwYy0zZGU0LWFmNjktMjFkN2EwODU4NTBiBHBvcwMzBHNlYwNNZWRpYVNlY3Rpb25MaXN0BHZlcgNmNmIyODFiMC02OTQxLTExZTEtYmZmYy01NTAxNmVjYTk3MGQ-;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

UPDATE 6-Oil up on jobs data even as dollar rallies

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) – Oil prices rose a third straight day on Friday as data showing rising U.S. employment countered any pressure from a stronger dollar and faded euphoria after Greece’s debt swap deal.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by 227,000 in February, above expectations and marking the third straight month that gains topped 200,000, though the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6-oil-jobs-data-even-170225610.html;_ylt=ArtF491iXjMK0Eqas1EzJrWiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTN0bGRlZWpmBG1pdANOZXdzIFRvcGljIDIEcGtnAzBlMGE5M2UyLTAwMDEtMzJmMy05M2ExLTA1NDk4MDM2ZDllMwRwb3MDMgRzZWMDTWVkaWFTZWN0aW9uTGlzdAR2ZXIDZTA2MzljYTAtNmEwOS0xMWUxLWFlZmYtYjcyZGRjMWIwZDU2;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

PRECIOUS-Gold turns higher on US jobs data, oil gains

By Frank Tang and Amanda Cooper

NEW YORK/LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) – Gold rose above
$1,700 an ounce in heavy trade on Friday, reversing early sharp losses as the metal took heart from gains in crude oil and U.S. equities’ after an encouraging U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.
Bullion, which has taken to following riskier assets, rose in the face of a dollar rally and fading hopes of further U.S. monetary stimulus after U.S. employment grew strongly for a third straight month.
Also lifting the metal was Greece’s averting an immediate default after its bond swap offer to private creditors. Technical buying also helped after prices rebounded off its key 200-day moving average.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/precious-gold-turns-higher-us-165030879.html;_ylt=AmeSDy3YM97ycn01LvBnaVaiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTN0OTRtMzFzBG1pdANOZXdzIFRvcGljIDIEcGtnA2EzYTkxNGFlLTdjMGMtM2ZmOS04ZDE2LTJjYmQ4ZWQwMzI2YgRwb3MDMwRzZWMDTWVkaWFTZWN0aW9uTGlzdAR2ZXIDYTczNjQ0YTAtNmExMy0xMWUxLWI5ZmYtYjAxMDViZmYwZjJj;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

Public-Sector Banks: From Black Sheep to Global Leaders

Once the black sheep of high finance, government owned banks can reassure depositors about the safety of their savings and can help maintain a focus on productive investment in a world in which effective financial regulation remains more of an aspiration than a reality.

http://www.truth-out.org/public-sector-banks-black-sheep-global-leaders/1331147316

 

Welcome to the One Percent Recovery

Mike Konczal, New Deal 2.0:

“As the one percent reap 93 percent of the income gains from the recovery, we’re rapidly returning to pre-New Deal levels of inequality … It’s important to remember that a series of choices were made during the New Deal to react to runaway inequality, including changes to progressive taxation, financial regulation, monetary policy, labor unionization, and the provisioning of public goods and guaranteed social insurance. A battle will be fought over the next decade on all these fronts.”

http://www.truth-out.org/welcome-1-percent-recovery/1331396893

 

Jeffrey Sachs’ Reform Candidacy for World Bank President

Staff, Center for Economic and Policy Research:

“Economist and health expert Jeffrey Sachs’ reported candidacy for World Bank president is welcome news for the two-and-a-half billion people around the world living in poverty, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. ‘If Sachs were to get the job, he would be the first World Bank president with this kind of experience and knowledge of economic development … All of the others have been bankers, politicians, or political appointees.'”

http://www.truth-out.org/mark-weisbrot-jeffrey-sachs-reform-candidacy-world-bank-president/1331311919

 

China posts Feb. trade deficit

For the first time in a year, China recorded a trade deficit of 31.48 billion U.S. dollars in February, as import growth far outpaced exports.

Exports rose 18.4 percent from a year earlier to 114.47 billion U.S. dollars in February, while imports were up 39.6 percent to 145.96 billion U.S. dollars, customs data showed Saturday.

The fast trade expansion was fueled by the lower comparative base for last February, when the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday cut working days from the month and skewed trade data, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said. The week-long holiday fell in January this year.

After seasonal adjustments, the annual growth of exports slowed to 4 percent in February while that of imports was cut down to 9.4 percent.

http://www.china.org.cn/business/2012-03/10/content_24859840.htm

Life in America on Two Dollars a Day
Or Why American Poverty Will Soon Match That of the Third World

By CanSpeccy

The latest poverty statistics that show the number of American families with an income of less than two dollars per person per day more than doubled between 1996 and 201.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30765.htm

 

China to export yuan to BRICS:

China is reportedly to begin extending loans in yuan to BRICS countries in another step towards internationalizing the national currency and diversifying from the US dollar.

http://rt.com/business/news/china-us-dollar-currency-129/

 

Iceland calls its former PM to account for financial crash:

Geir Haarde, whose trial began this week, could face up to two years in jail if convicted over country’s 2008 economic collapse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/09/iceland-former-pm-financial-crash

 

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Set to Default on $5.27 Million GO Bond Payments:

The city, carrying a debt load of more than five times its general-fund budget, will miss $5.27 million in bond payments due March 15 on $51.5 million of bonds issued in 1997.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/harrisburg-pennsylvania-set-to-default-on-5-27-million-go-bond-payments.html

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

The Kazakhstan Massacre: Killing Hope to Benefit US Geopolitical Interests

Steve Horn and Allen Ruff, Truthout: “December 16, 2011, should have been, at minimum, a fairly bright day for the people of Kazakhstan marking the country’s Independence Day and 20th birthday. But rather than being a moment of celebration, it became a day of brutal repression and death, a bloody scene in the regional center of Zhanaozen paralleling those that occurred at the hands of US-supported dictatorial regimes during the uprisings now commonly referred to as the Arab Spring.”

http://www.truth-out.org/kazakhstan-massacre-killing-hope-benefit-us-geopolitical-interests/1331142602

 

Russia says 15,000 foreign “terrorists” in Syria

(Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is battling al Qaeda-backed “terrorists” including at least 15,000 foreign fighters who will seize towns across Syria if government troops withdraw, a Russian diplomat said on Thursday.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/08/us-syria-russia-idUSBRE82714E20120308

 

After a Decade, Afghan Forces Don’t Trust Americans

Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Afghan soldiers and police say the recent burning of Qurans by U.S. personnel has seriously undermined their trust in their American counterparts, suggesting that the decade-long campaign to win hearts and minds has not only failed but also threatens the Obama administration’s exit strategy. ‘We are tired of the Americans here,’ said Mohammad Aziz, 20, a Kabul police officer. ‘We don’t want them to stay because they keep insulting our religion.'”

http://www.truth-out.org/after-decade-afghan-forces-dont-trust-americans/1331392048

 

Fresh barrage of Gaza rockets strike Israel’s south

Iron Dome intercepts a number of rockets over Be’er Sheva on Saturday morning; 12 Palestinians reportedly killed in IAF strikes in Gaza since Friday.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/fresh-barrage-of-gaza-rockets-strike-israel-s-south-1.417622

 

Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran: Leader

TEHRAN – Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says that U.S. President Barack Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran.

The Leader made the remarks during a meeting with the members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.

“Two days ago, we heard that the U.S. president said, ‘We do not think of war against Iran.’ Well, this is good. This is a logical remark. This is an exit from delusion. In addition, he said, ‘We will bring the Iranian people to their knees through sanctions.’ This is a delusion. The exit from delusion in the first part is good, but remaining in delusion in the second part will harm them. When one’s calculations are based on delusion, it is obvious that the planning he makes based on those calculations will end in failure,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/96228-obama-has-partially-left-his-delusions-about-iran-leader

 

The Bloody Road to Damascus
The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State

By James Petras

There is clear and overwhelming evidence that the uprising to overthrow President Assad of Syria is a violent, power grab led by foreign-supported fighters.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30769.htm

 

10 Myths about Iran Driving the Insane Push for War
And Why They’re Dead Wrong

By Jasmin Ramsey

Israeli officials and GOP candidates spout nonsense about Iran. Here’s the truth.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30772.htm

 

Weapons Financed By US Kill Unarmed Palestinians and U.S. Citizens.

By David Elkins

“U.S. weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense make the U.S. complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel’s 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30767.htm

 

Kofi Annan’s calls for talks spark anger:

Syrian opposition activists have angrily rejected calls by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, for dialogue with the government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17312040

 

Assad Tells Kofi Annan He’s Open To ‘Honest Effort To Find Solution’:

 

Assad warned the envoy that dialogue was unlikely to succeed while “armed terrorist groups” remained.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/10/syria-crisis-assad-annan-kofi-homs-idlib-_n_1336534.html?ref=uk

 

Russia threatens to veto U.S. resolution on Syria:

Russia will not support a new U.S.-drafted resolution on Syria because it fails to urge both the government and the rebels to halt violence, said a top Russian diplomat.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2978397.ece

 

No military solution in Syria: EU ministers:

As Qatar called in Cairo for the dispatch of Arab and international peacekeeping troops to Syria, Juppe joined his counterparts in saying that for the EU “military action is not on the agenda.”

http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/syria-politics.fml

 

US officials: Loyal army, inner circle back Assad:

Despite the Obama administration’s predictions that the Syrian government’s days are numbered, recent U.S. intelligence reports suggest President Bashar Assad commands a formidable army that is unlikely to turn on him, an inner circle that has stayed loyal and an elite class that still supports his rule.

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20145482/us-officials-syrian-regime-holding-under-fire

 

Controversy surrounds CNN footage from Syrian activist:

Video footage broadcast by CNN purporting to depict Syrian government violence was staged by the journalist reporting on camera, recent reports have claimed.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/controversy-surrounds-cnn-footage-from-syrian-activist-.aspx?pageID=238&nid=15628&NewsCatID=359

 

If Iran attacked it will launch 11,000 missiles at Israel, US: envoy:

Tehran’s ambassador to Lebanon says Iran has prepared itself to launch about 11,000 missiles at Israel and U.S. bases in the region if they do a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Lebanese media reported.

http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1556104

 

Environmental

 

The Problem With the Environment Is Not Too Many People

Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout:

“We’ve all heard the claim repeatedly: humans pollute, so if we just reduce the number of people – both the number being born and the number immigrating from point A to point B – the despoiling will cease and Eden will be restored. If only it could be so simple…. ‘Too Many People?’ is a clear and convincing challenge to the idea of population control as political necessity.”

http://www.truth-out.org/problem-environment-not-too-many-people/1331163575

 

Fracking Likely Caused Series of Ohio Quakes, Officials Say

Michael Muskal and Neela Banerjee , News Report:

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources issued new regulations for transporting and disposing of brine wastewater, a fracking byproduct, making for the nation’s toughest disposal regulations, state officials said. Though the quake damage was minor – the largest was a 4.0 magnitude – environmental groups questioned whether the state’s safety rules were strong enough to protect the area from disasters they attributed to hydraulic fracturing.

http://www.nationofchange.org/fracking-likely-caused-series-ohio-quakes-officials-say-1331394148

 

Misc

 

New York Times CEO Robinson’s Exit Compensation Package Tops $23 Million

Janet Robinson, the New York Times Co. chief executive officer who was pushed out in December, received an exit package, including stock options and retirement benefits, of $23.7 million.

Robinson gets pension and supplemental retirement income valued at $11.4 million, performance awards of $5.39 million, restricted stock units worth $1.07 million and stock options worth $694,164, according to the company’s proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. She will also earn $4.5 million in consulting fees for this year.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/new-york-times-s-robinson-s-exit-package-tops-23-million.html

 

NSA whistle-blower: Obama “worse than Bush”

Thomas Drake on life inside the National Security Agency and the price of truth telling

Thomas Drake, the whistle-blower whom the Obama administration tried and failed to prosecute for leaking information about waste, fraud and abuse at the National Security Agency, now works at an Apple store in Maryland. In an interview with Salon, Drake laughed about the time he confronted Attorney General Eric Holder at his store while Holder perused the gadgetry on display with his security detail around him. When Drake started asking Holder questions about his case, America’s chief law enforcement officer turned and fled the store.

http://www.salon.com/2012/03/07/nsa_whistle_blower_obama_worse_than_bush/singleton/

 

Mass pro-democracy protest rocks Bahrain

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated on Friday to demand democratic reforms, stepping up pressure on the U.S.-allied government with the biggest protest yet in a year of unrest.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/us-bahrain-protest-idUSBRE8280TI20120309

 

Three Ways to Beat Corporate Giants

Jim Shultz, Op-Ed:

From insurance companies lording over our health care to global conglomerates taking control of our water, corporate giants wield more and more influence over our lives and our environment. So how do we fight back? How do we take on corporate power and actually win? The Democracy Center recently published a new citizen’s resource that looks up close at the strategies that people and communities are using worldwide to successfully tackle corporate giants.

http://www.nationofchange.org/three-ways-beat-corporate-giants-1331390970

 

Don’t Look Away from Bahrain’s Revolution

By Ala’a Shehabi

Over the past year, as cameras turned away, the Bahraini regime carried out some of the worst atrocities in its history.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30773.htm

 

Bahraini forces kill 21-year-old protester in capital Manama:

Activists say the protester, named Fadhel Mirza, was killed on Saturday when regime forces attacked a group of demonstrators struggling to reach Pearl Square.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/230916.html

 

CyberSpace

 

Stratfor: Blood On Their Hands
And it gets worse.

By Khadija Sharife

With their emails, Stratfor appears to advocate for a world where polluters and murderers, circumvent accountability by obtaining information to pre-empt – and in the process destroy – their opposition.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30777.htm

 

The Crime of Truth:
Obama’s Persecution of the Peacemaker

By Chris Floyd

Bradley Manning will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison for the unforgiveable crime of telling the truth to people who don’t want to hear it.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30771.htm

 

The Dirty War on WikiLeaks

By John Pilger

Media smears suggest Swedish complicity in a Washington-driven push to punish Julian Assange.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30770.htm