Tag Archive: François Hollande

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French prosecutor: 9th suspect in Paris terror attacks being sought

France seeks EU security aid, launches new airstrikes on ISIS
France made an unprecedented demand Tuesday that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group after the attacks in Paris.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 03:33PM

Authorities are seeking a ninth suspect in Friday’s attacks in Paris, a French prosecutor’s spokeswoman told ABC News. The spokeswoman did not reveal any details about the suspect’s identity.

France took unprecedented action Tuesday when it invoked the Mutual-Defense article of the EU Treaty. Now all 28 member nations must help France in its war against ISIS.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France’s EU partners responded positively, and they could help “either by taking part in France’s operations in Syria or Iraq, or by easing the load or providing support for France in other operations.”

“Every country said: I am going to assist, I am going to help,” Drian said.

VIDEO: France carries out raids, names more potential attackers

A major action with heavily armed police is underway Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek amid a manhunt for a suspect of the Paris attacks.

Arriving for talks in Brussels with his EU counterparts, Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos told reporters that the Paris attacks were a game-changer for the bloc.

“This is Sept. 11 for Europe,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande has vowed to forge a united coalition capable of defeating the jihadists at home and abroad. NATO allies were sharing intelligence and working closely with France, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.

Noting that victims of the Paris attacks came from at least 19 nations, Hollande says the international community, led by the U.S. and Russia, must overcome their deep-seated divisions over Syria to destroy IS on its home turf.



file - The French flag flies under the Arc de Triomphe.

file – The French flag flies under the Arc de Triomphe.


The measure, introduced in line with a pledge by President Francois Hollande to make the rich do more to pull France out of crisis, has infuriated business leaders and soccer clubs, which at one point threatened to go on strike.

It was originally designed as a 75 percent tax to be paid by high earners on the part of their incomes exceeding 1 million euros, but the council rejected this, saying 66 percent was the legal maximum for individuals.


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French ‘millionaire’s tax’ ruled legal

Levy on companies paying seven-figure salaries passed by constitutional court despite protests from business and sport
Paris Saint Germain vs Lille OSC 22/12/13

Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action against Lille last week. French football teams had threatened to strike over the tax. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

France’s constitutional council has given the go-ahead to a “millionaire’s tax” to be levied on companies that pay salaries of more than €1m (£830,000) a year.

The measure, which follows a pledge by President François Hollande to make the rich do more to pull France out of crisis, has infuriated business leaders and football clubs, which at one point threatened to go on strike.

It was originally designed as a 75% tax to be paid by high earners on the part of their incomes exceeding €1m, but the council rejected this, saying 66% was the legal maximum for individuals.


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Published time: November 03, 2013 01:01

Thousands of people rallied in the town of Quimper in France’s Brittany region on Saturday calling for a complete end to the controversial “ecotax.” Police fired tear gas after demonstrators hurled stones and iron bars.

Farmers, food sector workers, fishermen, and others attended the protest, voicing concern over continuous layoffs and high taxes in the country.

Some demonstrators reportedly threw stones and iron bars at police as they gathered for speeches before marching into the city. Officers responded by firing tear gas and water cannons.

According to authorities, 10,000 people came out for the event. However, a protest organizer told French media that 30,000 people took part in the rally.

French protesters wore red caps resembling the 17th century revolt against King Louis XIV’s fiscal policies.

Protesters wearing red caps, the symbol of protest in Brittany, throw objects at a barricade held by French riot police during a demonstration to maintain jobs in Quimper, western France, November 2, 2013 (Reuters / Stephane Mahe)

Protesters wearing red caps, the symbol of protest in Brittany, throw objects at a barricade held by French riot police during a demonstration to maintain jobs in Quimper, western France, November 2, 2013 (Reuters / Stephane Mahe)

Demonstrators came out despite the government’s Tuesday decision to “indefinitely suspend” the green tax on heavy goods vehicles transporting over 3.5 tons of commercial goods. The move followed public outrage from farmers and food sector workers in Brittany. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stressed that the move was “a suspension, not a cancelation” of the tax.

As the northernmost region has less rail infrastructure than the rest of France, local businesses and farmers claim they are being unfairly penalized because most goods there have to be transported by road.

Residents of Brittany are angry as layoffs continue in their largely rural region. The majority of cutbacks are focused on the agricultural sector.

“How are we supposed to produce products that are made in France, made in Brittany, with all these taxes? It’s impossible,” a market gardener told France 24.

France is battling high unemployment and increasing taxes. The latest data revealed that at least 3.2 million people are now looking for work in the country.

Meanwhile, Francois Hollande has become the most unpopular French president on record, according to an opinion poll conducted in October. Major complaints against the leader include tax hikes, unemployment, and immigration policy.

Hollande’s approval rating dropped to 26 percent among those questioned in the BVA poll – the lowest level of any French president in the survey’s 32-year history.

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U.S. ready to strike; Syria vows to repel attackers

by Associated Press

Posted on August 27, 2013 at 6:26 AM

Updated today at 12:26 PM

WASHINGTON D.C.(AP) – U.S. forces are now ready to act on any order by President Barack Obama to strike Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy has four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea positioned within range of targets inside Syria, as well as U.S. warplanes in the region, Hagel said in an interview with BBC television during his visit to the southeast Asian nation of Brunei.

Obama asked the Pentagon to give him “all options for all contingencies,” Hagel said, and “we have done that.”

Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday his country would defend itself using “all means available” in case of a U.S. strike, denying his government was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus and challenging Washington to present proof backing up its accusations.

The United Nations said that its team of chemical weapons experts in Syria delayed a second trip to investigate an alleged poison gas attack near Damascus by one day for security reasons.

Walid al-Moallem, speaking at a press conference in Damascus, likened U.S. allegations that President Bashar Assad’s regime was behind a purported poison gas attack to false American charges that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of that country.

“They have a history of lies – Iraq,” he said. Al-Moallem spoke a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was “undeniable” evidence of a large-scale chemical attack likely launched by Assad’s regime.

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France ‘ready to punish’ Syria over gas attack

]The Associated Press

— French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that his country is prepared to take action against those responsible for gassing people in Syria.

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French Mission in Mali ‘Is Not Without Risk’

Photo Gallery: The French Move into Mali

AP/Laure-Anne Maucorps, ECPAD

The German government on Monday unexpectedly offered Paris concrete support as French troops battle Islamist extremists in Mali. Though ruling out a combat role, Germany’s military will provide transport and medical assistance.

French President François Hollande’s rapid decision last week to take an active role in preventing Islamist fighters from pushing into southern Mali caught the international community off guard. Now, however, more and more countries are lining up to support the Paris offensive, which entered its fourth day on Monday.


And Germany, on Monday, unexpectedly became one of them. The government in Berlin has announced that it is prepared to provide cargo planes as well as medical personnel. Andreas Peschke, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, said that Germany did not want to “leave France alone in this difficult hour.”On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that several other allies, including the United States, Britain, Denmark and other countries in Europe, had offered assistance, though none have indicated a willingness to send troops and warplanes. The US has offered communications, transportation and intelligence support. Sources in Copenhagen on Monday told the German news agency DPA that Denmark was considering the provision of active support. Several African countries have pledged to send troops as well.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Sunday once again ruled out the deployment of German troops. “The involvement of a German fighting force is not up for debate,” he said. Still, Berlin has voiced support for the French offensive. “France has acted and that was decisive, correct and deserves our support,” German Defense Minster Thomas de Maizière said on German radio on Monday.

Germany also remains involved in a European Union effort to develop plans for a military training mission to Mali. On Sunday, Westerwelle said: “The development of plans for an EU training mission for the Malian military will continue. Whether and how Germany will participate will be decided when the plans are complete.”



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Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Economic News  –  World News  :  Austerity – Jobs – Rising Costs

  • French leftists are accusing Hollande of signing up to the Merkel-Sarkozy austerity pact. (Photo: philippe leroyer)

Thousands protest against French austerity budget

  1. By Benjamin Fox

BRUSSELS – French President Francois Hollande faced his first serious public backlash after up to 50,000 lined the streets of Paris on Sunday (30 September) in protest against his €37 billion austerity budget.

Organisers of the event, which brought together around 60 left-wing groups, claimed that 50,000 protestors took to the streets to denounce the cuts programme.

“Today is the day the French people launch a movement against the politics of austerity,” said the Front de Gauche president, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished fourth in the Presidential elections.

On Tuesday (2 October) deputies in the National Assembly will debate the fiscal compact, with a number of members from the ruling Socialist and Green parties expected to defy the government’s majority.

French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault accused the protesters of jeopardising the French economy and the stability of the euro. Opposing the fiscal compact would “risk aggravating the crisis”, he said, adding that “the ambiguity of saying ‘non’ is also something that could lead to the end of the euro.”

The protest came days after President Hollande unveiled a package of spending cuts and tax hikes to plug a €37 billion hole in the country’s public finances. The package is supposed to reduce France’s budget deficit to 3 percent in 2013 from 4.5 percent this year, bringing in €30 billion for the treasury.

As expected, the budget included a new 75 percent top tax rate on those earning over €1 million per year, which opponents claim will see thousands of France’s richest people move to the UK and elsewhere for tax purposes. Hollande’s budget has also shied away from making any cuts to government jobs.

The budget includes €25 billion of cuts in government spending alongside a further €20 billion in extra taxes levied on businesses and the rich.

Statistics revealed last week that France’s national debt to GDP ratio had risen to 91 percent of GDP, a level described as “critical” by Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, and which is far higher than the 60% threshold in the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. The country also lost its coveted AAA credit rating in January.

During his election campaign, Hollande had promised to re-open talks on the fiscal compact treaty devised by former President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The treaty, which was agreed at a summit in December 2011, foresees a balanced budget rule for national constitutions.

However, Hollande is now expected to focus on securing a detailed EU growth and jobs plan, including front-loading the use of EU structural funds, project bonds and a youth guarantee scheme.




  1. France adopts ‘combat budget’ for 2013
  2. French tax exiles flock to EU capital
  3. Hollande: ‘€30 billion must be found’

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Economic News  –   Global Economy  :   Activism – Jobs – Austerity – Fiscal Irresponsibility



Published on Sep 29, 2012 by

The Paris Motor Show is normally a chance for Europe’s car makers to unveil their latest models, but this year France’s industrial woes grabbed center stage. Bad economic data just keeps coming for President Hollande and his popularity is nearing Sarkozy-era lows.

Hollande’s campaign slogan was “The change is now”, but many of these auto workers say there’s not that much difference from the Sarkozy era. It’s the same austerity measures, the same unkept promises about protecting jobs and, after a few months of hope, the same discontent with leadership.

Ramin Mazaheri, Press TV, Paris

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Economic News –  World News  :  Fiscal Irresponsibility – Rising Costs – Taxation



  • Avenue Moliere in Brussels – already popular with French expats, but getting more so (Photo: Flikkesteph)

French tax exiles flock to EU capital

27.09.12 @ 13:40

  1. By Andrew Rettman

BRUSSELS – Marc Goldbrenner, a top salesman at Lecobel, a real estate agent in the Belgian and EU capital, says he has two or three meetings a week with French “fiscal exiles” keen to flee President Francois Hollande’s new rich tax.

They are looking at town houses worth €1 million to €2.5 million with high ceilings and parquet floors in the style of George-Eugene Hausmann, a 19th century French architect.

They want to live in a belt of areas already popular with French expats and EU officials – L’Observatoire, Prince d’Orange, Place Brugmann (known as “le petit Paris”), Avenue Molliere, Place du Chatelain, the Jardin du Rois and the Etangs d’Ixelles.

The richest ones are eyeing-up the so-called “Clos du Millairdaires” – a gated compound at the end of Avenue Louise, a leafy boulevard leading from Brussels’ city centre to a huge park.

They also want easy access to the Gare du Midi, a station which runs fast trains to the French capital 23 times a day.

“They are industrialists, company owners, independent people with large inheritances … They like the ambiance here. People walk around. There are nice cafes. They want a lifestyle a bit like Paris,” Goldbrenner told EUobserver on Wednesday (26 September).

One Brussels mayor created a buzz about the whole thing on 10 September when he told Belgian press that Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, has bought a pied-a-terre in the city.

Arnault said it has nothing to do with Hollande’s tax.

But many people do not believe him. Four days after the news broke, thousands of Belgian trade unionists held a march near to his apartment in 5 Avenue d’Hougoumont in the Uccle district, yelling about “tax justice” into megaphones.

Details of the French tax – including a promised 75 percent on incomes of €1 million a year or more – are to be unveiled in Paris on Friday in a new budget designed to meet EU-demanded targets.

The top tax band for Belgian residents is 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the mini-exodus to the doorstep of the EU institutions has political implications.

Member states have not given EU officials the power to set national tax rates. But pro-tax-harmonisation hawks say that unless they do, tax tourism will spoil their efforts to balance the books.

For his part, Lecobel’s Goldbrenner said French interest in Brussels went up the minute that Hollande mentioned the tax in his election campaign.

Suzanne Belgeonne, a manager at Le Lion, another high-end property agent in Brussels, noted: “There is a real movement. Over the past year we’ve seen a lot of French people asking for information about renting or buying in Brussels.”

“It really went up after the French elections [in April],” Anne Monard, the PR manager at the Engel & Volkers agency, added.

The phenomenon is not yet big enough to boost property prices.

“I would be lying if I said I have a line of [French] Rolls Royces waiting outside my door to see me,” Philippe Lienard, who runs the Metropole Properties agency in Brussels, told this website.

And the financial crisis has changed mentalities even in the haute bourgeoisie.

“Five or six years ago, they didn’t really negotiate. Sellers used to say ‘aha, it’s the French!’ and increase their prices. They [French buyers] used to compare things to the market in Paris and think everything here is cheap. But now they do research about the Belgian market before buying anything,” Lecobel’s Goldbrenner noted.

“The French don’t pay whatever you ask these days. They know what things are worth and they can be quite tough,” Jean Cormen, a director at the Victoire real estate agency in Brussels, said.

But people expect more to come as Hollande’s tax bites.

“I think in the next few months we will see a real difference. I know several people back home who are planning to come here and I think it will be good for us,” Sandrine Lagnien, a French expat who runs the Toucan brasserie near Place Brugmann, noted.


  1. Hollande: ‘€30 billion must be found’
  2. Tax commissioner lets rip against Austria and Luxembourg
  3. France exploring tax harmonisation with Germany

Politics and Legislation

Lawmakers: Cantor’s $25k controversial donation may come up this week

By Molly K. Hooper

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) this week may face tough questions from disgruntled rank-and-file GOP lawmakers upset with his $25,000 donation to a group dedicated to ousting incumbents in Congress.

When the House convenes on Monday, it will be the first time that members of the GOP conference will gather since Cantor’s contribution to the anti-incumbent Campaign for Primary Accountability (CPA) became public.

More than a half dozen Republican lawmakers, stunned by the news of Cantor’s donation, agreed to speak with The Hill on the condition of anonymity to vent their frustration without fear of retribution. The lawmakers interviewed included both younger and senior members of the GOP conference.

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Secret Service agents placed on leave amid prostitution allegations, inquiry

By Jeremy Herb

Eleven Secret Service agents were placed on administrative leave Saturday as agency officials investigated allegations they were involved with prostitutes while on assignment in Colombia.

The agents involved were in Cartagena, Colombia ahead of President Obama’s visit there this weekend, where he is attending the Summit of the Americas.

The agents implicated in the alleged prostitution scandal were sent back home.

Secret Service Assistant Director Paul S. Morrissey said they were interviewed in Washington, D.C. on Saturday and placed on administrative leave.

“This is standard procedure and allows us the opportunity to conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation into the allegations,” Morrissey said, in a statement.

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Obama: I’ll be angry if Secret Service took prostitutes to their rooms



Congress poised to hit GSA on spending

By Mike Lillis

Dan Tangherlini, meet Capitol Hill.

Congress returns to Washington next week with its mind on taxes but its sights on another target: the General Services Administration (GSA).

In four separate hearings, lawmakers in both parties and both chambers will have the chance to sound off on a string of scandals that have plagued the relatively obscure agency, particularly its 2010 conference in Las Vegas, which cost taxpayers upwards of $822,000.Appearing before all four panels will be Brian Miller – the GSA Inspector General who sparked the uproar with his report on the Vegas junket – and Tangherlini, a former deputy mayor of D.C. tapped by the White House to head the embattled agency in the wake of the scandal

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Obama: Free-trade pact with Colombia a ‘high standards’ agreement

By Meghashyam Mali

President Obama on Saturday urged U.S. and Latin American business leaders to act on the “enormous opportunity” closer economic ties would bring and defended a free-trade agreement with Colombia as a “win-win” for both nations.

Obama, who is attending the 33-nation Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, addressed executives from the U.S. and Latin American countries.

At the summit, Obama will meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss a wide range of issues, including the free trade deal agreed to by the U.S. and Colombia in October 2011.

In his address, Obama defended the agreement between Colombia and the U.S., saying that it was “an example of a free trade agreement that benefits both sides.”

“It’s a win-win. It has high standards, it’s a high-standards agreement,” Obama said to applause.

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US secret service scandal widens to include military

Five soldiers confined to quarters over claims of inappropriate conduct as 11 secret service members are put on leave

Hotel Caribe

Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, where the secret service agents and soldiers stayed. Photograph: Fernando Vergara/AP

The US secret service says it has put 11 agents on leave while it investigates alleged misconduct before a summit attended by Barack Obama in Colombia, as it emerged that five soldiers are also facing investigation.

The secret service apologised for the distraction the incident had caused at the summit in Cartagena, where Barack Obama is meeting leaders of more than 30 countries.

The US Southern Command announced that five service members, who were assigned to support the secret service and were staying at the same hotel as the agents under investigation, had violated their curfew and may have been involved in inappropriate conduct. The soldiers were confined to their quarters in Colombia and ordered not to have contact with others.

All the alleged activities took place before Obama arrived at the summit on Friday.

The misconduct being investigated involved prostitutes, it has been confirmed. Peter King, chairman of the House homeland security committee, said after he was briefed on the investigation that “close to” all 11 of the agents involved had brought women back to their rooms at a hotel separate from the one where Obama is staying.

The New York Republican representative said the women were “presumed to be prostitutes” but investigators were interviewing the agents.

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Battle of Ideas: Anti-globalist fever grips France ahead of elex

Published on Apr 15, 2012 by

The bitter battle for French votes is intensifying, as Presidential rivals Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, hold Sunday rallies in Paris. The election is just a week away and, with immigration and identity taking centre stage, Tesa Arcilla looks at whether France is witnessing a seismic shift to the right.



IMF urges authorities to consider debt forgiveness to restore growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged governments to consider “bold” interventions to reduce household debt levels and stimulate growth.

IMF urges authorities to consider debt forgiveness to restore growth

In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration set up the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to buy distressed mortgages from banks in exchange for government debt. Photo: GETTY

By , Economics Editor

High levels of household debt restrain consumer spending and delay recoveries, the Bretton Woods institution concluded in an analysis of crises over the past century.

While cutting interest rates and unemployment benefits help, the IMF said the authorities should consider going further with “targeted household debt reduction policies”.

Among its proposals, the fund suggested state-sponsored debt forgiveness plans for the most hard-hit families. Although the policies might initially be expensive, they would be beneficial by reinvigorating consumer spending and helping the economy, the IMF said.

It cited the actions of the US in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression and Iceland after its recent banking collapse.

The Roosevelt administration in the US set up the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to buy distressed mortgages from banks in exchange for government debt. It then restructured the mortgages “to make them more affordable”.

The policy cost 8.4pc of GDP, equivalent to £130bn in the UK this year, but saved 800,000 households from repossession. The US government had made a profit, before inflation, by the time the scheme was run off in 1951.

In Iceland, banks were made to accept reductions in mortgage interest payments of up to 40pc and the most distressed households had a portion of their outstanding debt written off.

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Spain back in recession, says Economy Minister

Spain’s Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, said the country has probably tipped into its second recession since 2009, as government borrowing costs climbed back above 6pc.


Official data for the first three months of this year is not due until April 30, but Mr De Guindos said gross domestic product was likely to have fallen a similar amount to the October-December period of 2011 when it shrank 0.3pc.

“At the moment I see a first quarter with a similar pattern to the last quarter of last year,” he said in an interview published in El Mundo newspaper on Monday.

The Spanish economy has reignited fears over the eurozone debt crisis with investors worried taht Madrid will fail to meet deficit-cutting targets at at time when the economy is tipping into recession.

Mr De Guindos ruled out any Greek-style debt rescue and said there are no plans for new tax increases or budget cuts this year.

He said the country had no “Plan B”, adding: “Spain is not going to ask for a rescue. No intervention will take place.


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Wars and Rumors of War

Commander: Iranian Army among Strongest in World

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian commander stressed the Army’s capability to supply its military needs, and said Iran’s Army is amongst the most powerful forces in the world.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion of Iran’s Army Day (April 17), Commander of the Army’s Western Operation Command General Amir Manouchehr Kazzemi said, “…today, the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran is among the most powerful armed forces of the world.”

“The Army of the Islamic Republic is not all dependent as far as military tools and equipment are concerned, and that is the result of the presence of expert personnel,” Kazzemi stated.

Iran has taken wide strides in designing and manufacturing different types of light, semi-heavy and heavy weapons, military tools and equipment. Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes.

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Israeli TV report shows air force gearing up for Iran attack, says moment of truth is near

‘IAF expects losses, and knows it can’t destroy entire Iranian program’



File: Fighter jet at the Uvda Air Force Base near Eilat. (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
File: Fighter jet at the Uvda Air Force Base near Eilat. (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
A major Israel TV station on Sunday night broadcast a detailed report on how Israel will go about attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities in the event that diplomacy and sanctions fail and Israel decides to carry out a military strike.

The report, screened on the main evening news of Channel 10, was remarkable both in terms of the access granted to the reporter, who said he had spent weeks with the pilots and other personnel he interviewed, and in the fact that his assessments on a strike were cleared by the military censor.

No order to strike is likely to be given before the P5+1 talks with Iran resume in May, the reporter, Alon Ben-David, said. “But the coming summer will not only be hot but tense.”

In the event that negotiations fail and the order is given for Israel to carry out an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, “dozens if not more planes” will take part in the mission: attack and escort jets, tankers for mid-air refueling, electronic warfare planes and rescue helicopters, the report said.

Ben-David said the Israel Air Force “does not have the capacity to destroy the entire Iranian program.” There will be no replication of the decisive strikes on Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 or on Syria in 2007, he said. “The result won’t be definitive.” But, a pilot quoted in the report said, the IAF will have to ensure that it emerges with the necessary result, with “a short and professional” assault.

Ben-David said that if negotiations break down, and Iran moves key parts of its nuclear program underground to its Qom facility, the IAF “is likely to get the order and to set out on the long journey to Iran.”


Articles of Interest

Colonel Douglas Macgregor on Two Failed Wars and Why He Supports Ron Paul for President

Sunday, April 15, 2012 – with Anthony Wile
Col. Douglas Macgregor

The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Colonel (ret) Douglas Macgregor (left).

Introduction: Colonel (ret) Douglas Macgregor is a decorated combat veteran, the author of four books. He is also Executive Vice President of Burke-Macgregor Group LLC, a consulting and intellectual capital brokerage firm based in Reston, Virginia. Macgregor was commissioned in the US Army in 1976 after one year at the Virginia Military Institute and four years at West Point. Macgregor has testified as an expert witness on national security issues before the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Relations Committee. He is a supporter of Ron Paul  (R-Tex) and a spokesperson for veterans’ groups that are organizing marches and demonstrations on behalf of Republican candidate for president, Ron Paul.

Daily Bell: Give us some background on yourself and the US military-industrial complex.

Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Let’s be clear. I think we are spending far more on defense than we need to and that’s been true for a very long time. It’s become a self-perpetuating industry, sometimes referred to as a self-licking ice cream cone. I think it’s a good way to depict the American defense establishment at this point, though. I am by no means anti-defense or anti-defense industry but I think we can extract more for our money and we can do business much better than we are or what we have been doing for a very long time. One of the reasons that I wrote the books on military reform and reorganization is because until you go after the defense system and reorganize it and change it, the defense industry is not going to be changed. The defense industry has organized itself to support the client and it mirrors a very Byzantine, bloated defense establishment that we maintain in the United States.

Unlike many people, I walked away in 1991 from Desert Storm with the view that we had failed strategically to achieve our objective. The generals were, as usual, very timid and reluctant to fight. We assembled this monumental military force designed to take on and defeat the Soviet Armed Forces in Europe and we didn’t use it effectively. We didn’t use it effectively for a whole range of reasons – because we were organized to refight WWII, which was a mistake, but also because the people at the top were very much bureaucrats who had risen through the ranks in peace time and they failed.

The political leadership chose to ignore that failure because they could, and I’m talking about George Bush Sr. and others, who thought they could capitalize on this great strategic achievement, which was not a great strategic achievement politically in the next election. As we know, that did not work. The American people, as usual, were not terribly engaged. They were happy to lead cheers, happy to receive the usual glowing reports regardless of whether or not they were accurate.

And so I walked away from the desert and that experience and we should have taken it more seriously than we did and made fundamental changes in reforms. Again we did not because there was no interest in the senior ranks to do so and no one in Congress was either sufficiently well informed or interested to make any changes. So the result is you have this trillion-dollar defense establishment that is still designed for the most part to maintain large numbers of generals and admirals and headquarters and to feed politicians’ re-election campaign coffers and sustain this bloated defense industry. Again, it’s all linked together but it all begins fundamentally with the nature of this military establishment.

Read Full Interview Here


World Bank chief not appointed ‘on merit’, says Nigerian candidate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian candidate to head the World Bank, said on Monday that the appointment was not being decided on merit and that the US nominee would win.

World Bank chief not appointed 'on merit', says Nigerian candidate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian Finance Minister and a former World Bank managing director, expects the US candidate to win.
“You know this thing is not really being decided on merit,” Ms Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian Finance Minister and a former World Bank managing director, told reporters at a briefing on the country’s 2012 budget.

“It is voting with political weight and shares and therefore the United States will get it.”

The World Bank’s directors meet on Monday to decide who will be the powerful institution’s next chief, with all expectations that the United States will maintain its unbroken lock on the position.

Ms Okonjo-Iweala said that despite the apparent failure of developing nations to have a nominee appointed to the post, her candidacy had helped inject change into the process.


[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

GOP Promises of Lower Gas Costs Belied by Dwindling Supply of World’s Oil

Amy Goodman, Video Report:

“Looking at rising fuel costs, one of the major issues raised by the Republican contenders in the 2012 presidential campaign. Since the beginning of the year, the average of price of a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped 16 percent to more than $3.80. Earlier this week, President Obama partially blamed his Republican rivals, saying one reason for the increase is rumors of war with Iran.”


Donors to conservative super PAC masked by nonprofit

Super PACs are the perceived demons of the 2012 campaign. But a shadowy sideshow that’s gone largely unnoticed is the set of nonprofits affiliated with them, which often provide money to the cash cows — and they don’t have to publicly disclose their donors. Case in point: FreedomWorks for America.


The New York Times: Delegate system gives small states outsize clout at convention

By Michael Cooper

Both Democrats and Republicans have long used formulas that award a state’s delegates based not just on population, but also on party loyalty in previous elections.


France’s Upcoming Election Means Euro Devaluation—and a Pop In Gold

On May 6, France is holding its second round of Presidential elections, where the Socialist François Hollande is fully expected to win.

I’m pretty sure two things will happen immediately following the election: The first is, Carla Bruni will leave Nicolas Sarkozy (because everyone knows that a professional courtesan never stays when the going gets tough for her patron).



10 reasons Wall Street will hit bottom, crash

Commentary: Gambling-addicted banks need a Betty Ford Center

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, Wall Street will crash. Has to. They’re gambling addicts. Dodged the bullet in 2008. But learned nothing. Now killing reforms. Teamed up with the Super Rich, CEOs, lobbyists, and crony politicians. It’s only a matter of time.

Yes, they’ll crash, again. No matter how anemic the recovery. No matter how much more debt they pile on taxpayers. No matter who’s president. Crash.
The Betty Ford Center, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

How do I know Wall Street will hit bottom? First off, most American know somebody who’s trapped in addictive behavior. I got a front-row seat years ago as a professional helping a few hundred addicts, alcoholics and gamblers getting help from the Betty Ford Center and others like it.


The Truth About Gas Prices

Bill Scher, Op-Ed:

Conservatives are betting that a President Obama can’t succeed in talking straight about gas prices the way Candidate Obama did. First, they are exaggerating the price spike itself, saying that under Obama’s presidency, prices have jumped from $1.83 to $3.70 per gallon. That is technically true, but remember, in the summer of 2008 gas was over $4 a gallon. Prices briefly plummeted below $2 per gallon right before Obama’s inauguration because there was this little cataclysmic global economic meltdown that shattered consumer demand.


Four large US banks fail stress tests

Citigroup was one of four large US banks that flunked stress tests aimed at seeing how they would hold up in a new economic crisis, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday.

Three others — Ally, Suntrust and MetLife — also failed the tests, while 15 other large bank holding companies passed the exercise, the Fed said.


Oil price spike on Iran is beyond control: OPEC

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Top exporter Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf producers say surging oil markets are beyond their control and prices could spike higher unless tensions between the West and Iran subside.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri are expected to focus on high oil prices in their addresses to the International Energy Forum gathering of oil ministers and executives on Wednesday, several OPEC sources said.


Wars and Rumors of War

What A War With Iran Really Means: Proceed

By Barry Rubin

It is quite right to be worried and hesitant about entering a war with Iran. War, as recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan show, is a dangerous, bloody, often dirty mess in which things go wrong, civilians are killed inadvertently, your own side loses people, and goals are not necessarily achieved.

Sometimes war is necessary. That was clearly true in Afghanistan in 2001 but less clear regarding Iraq in 2003. What are the goals? How are they to be gained? In what way can a war be brought to an end? How is victory defined? These are all serious issues.


IDF official: Army ready for ground op in Gaza

The current round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups could prompt Israel to launch a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, a senior IDF official said Monday.


Russia says it won’t stop selling weapons to Syria

MOSCOW: Russia has no intention of curtailing military cooperation with Syria despite calls from the West to stop arming President Bashar Assad’s regime, a senior Russian government official said Tuesday.

Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Russia will abide by existing contracts to deliver weapons to Syria despite Assad’s yearlong crackdown on the opposition, during which the UN says over 7,500 people have been killed.


Israel sends air force into Gaza

Gaza has been pounded for a second day by Israel’s air strength. In the worst bombing raid in the region for almost a year at least 15 militants have been killed on the Gaza side. Israel has said the air strikes are in retaliation to the firing of more than 100 rockets from the Palestinian side.


US terror drones kill 30 in southern Somalia

At least 30 people have been killed and a dozen injured in an attack by US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports. The unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab positions in the Dayniile district of south Mogadishu on Tuesday. Sheik Ibrahim Jaabar, a senior al-Shabab official, confirmed the attack, saying the aerial strike caused major damage to the group’s positions.


Hague to be sued for aiding US drone attacks in Pakistan

A rights group and a law firm are set to take legal action against British Foreign Secretary William Hague over his alleged the contribution of intelligence in assisting US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan. The London-based charity Reprieve and the law firm Leigh Day & Co. confirmed on Monday that they will issue formal proceedings at the High Court on behalf of Noor Khan, a Pakistani man whose father was killed by a US strike. The law firm says it has credible evidence that Hague oversaw a policy of passing British intelligence to American forces planning attacks in Pakistan. Lawyers claim that civilian staff at Britain’s electronic listening agency (GCHQ) could be liable as “secondary parties to murder” as they provided “locational intelligence” to the CIA in directing its drone attacks.



Our New ‘Tough Oil’ World

Michael T. Klare, Op-Ed:

“Oil prices are now higher than they have ever been—except for a few frenzied moments before the global economic meltdown of 2008. Many immediate factors are contributing to this surge, including Iran’s threats to block oil shipping in the Persian Gulf, fears of a new Middle Eastern war and turmoil in energy-rich Nigeria. Some of these pressures could ease in the months ahead, providing temporary relief at the gas pump. But the principal cause of higher prices—a fundamental shift in the structure of the oil industry—cannot be reversed, and so oil prices are destined to remain high for a long time to come.”


Senate Rejects Plan to Open Arctic Refuge to Drilling

Sean Cockerham, News Report:

“The Senate on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a sweeping measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling, as well as to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline project. Tuesday’s vote was the first time in four years that the Senate has voted on a measure including ANWR drilling, and it failed miserably. The proposal needed 60 votes to pass; it only received 41 votes in favor, with 57 senators against.”


Why Pennsylvania’s Act 13 May Be the Nation’s Worst Corporate Giveaway

Suvendrini Kakuchi, News Report:

“It’s absolutely crushing of local self-government,” said Ben Price, project director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has helped a handful of local communities-including the city of Pittsburgh-adopt community rights ordinances that elevate the rights of nature and people to block the drilling. “The state has surrendered over 2,000 municipalities to the industry. It’s a complete capitulation of the rights of the people and their right to self-government. They are handing it over to the industry to let them govern us. It is the corporate state. That is how we look at it.”


The shape of things to come

Miami FL (SPX)

When oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico in late April 2010, friends asked George Haller whether he was tracking its movement. That’s because the McGill engineering professor has been working for years on ways to better understand patterns in the seemingly chaotic motion of oceans and air. Meanwhile, colleagues of Josefina Olascoaga in Miami were asking the geophysicist a similar questio ..


Toxic acid release again draws federal investigators

Again drawn by a leak of toxic hydrofluoric acid, federal investigators are back at a Texas oil refinery they examined three years ago. A Center investigation last year found that 50 refineries use the acid despite the availability of safer alternatives.



Think Locally, Occupy Globally: Our Fight Is The World’s – And Vice Versa

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Op-Ed:

We’ve known for a long time that local protest movements carry an international message. The people here in South Africa gave hope and inspiration to the entire world during their own struggle for political freedom. Then, as now, genuine change seemed like an impossible dream. The apartheid regime had enormous wealth and was backed by some of the world’s most powerful corporate interests. The greatest governments in the world, including our own, were more than willing to ignore the regime’s worst human rights abuses in order to benefit from its trade.


Cyber Space

Google’s New ‘Spy’ Policy

Robert Jain, News Report:

Google has also made headlines recently regarding its new privacy policy, which Consumer Watchdog reports is a blatant misnomer, and actually describes the new invasive ways Google wants to gather information about individuals internet usage. Many of these techniques include methods for circumventing the privacy policies of Internet browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Apple’s Safari, which is used on iPhones and iPads around the country


Teenager arrested for comments made on Facebook page

A teenager has been arrested for allegedly making comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan last week.
According to Sky News, Azhar Ahmed of Ravensthorpe (19) posted comments on his profile page, criticizing the level of attention British soldiers who died in a bomb blast received, compared to that received by Afghan civilians killed in the war.


US wins the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer over UK-based website

Sheffield – A 23-year old UK student is to be extradited to the USA to face trial for operating a UK-based website linking to copyright materials.


Vatican confirms second Anonymous hack

A Vatican spokesman on Tuesday downplayed the impact of the hack on the Vatican Radio database, saying the hackers had gained access to an old server “shortly after 2pm” on Monday. Anonymous claimed to have hacked Vatican Radio in protest against the Vatican Radio… in a Pastebin post on Monday. AnonOps Communications, a recognised mouthpiece of the hacktivist collective, published a link to the Pastebin post on Tuesday. Comments on the post called for alleged LulzSec members arrested last week by the FBI and international law enforcement to be freed.



Rense & Dr Blaylock – Radiation What We CAN Do

Uploaded by JRense on Apr 24, 2011

World famous Dr Russell Blaylock gives real advise on how we can protect ourselves from radiation, and a sober assessment of how our governments go for “covering up” the reality.


Speaking Truth About Power

Jim Hightower, Op-Ed:

A willingness to speak truth to power is an essential civic virtue for the well-being of a democratic-republic. Davis became a whistleblower, daring even to call out Gen. David Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who now heads the CIA. Last year, Petraeus had told Congress that the Afghan Taliban’s momentum had been “arrested,” that our progress there was “significant,” and that the mission was “on the right azimuth,” to succeed.


Fed To Take Propaganda To The Schoolroom: Will Teach Grade 8-12 Students About Constitutionality Of… The Fed

Back in September we noted a peculiar RFP by the Fed which sought to become a secret ‘big brother’ to the social media world, and to “monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria.” The Fed’s desired product should be able to “determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document”… “The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube. It should also be able to aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva etc.” Most importantly, the “Listening Platform” should be able to “Handle crisis situations, Continuously monitor conversations, and Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers.”


FBI Urges Coffee Shops To Report Cash-Paying Customers To Authorities

Use of paper money is a terrorist trait — if you don’t want to be considered suspect, the government commands you to use corporate-issued debit and credit cards, rather than its own currency. Via Boing Boing:

According to a set of guidelines sent out by the FBI as part of its Communities Against Terror program, ordinary citizens need to be on the lookout for suspicious characters who follow patterns of behavior of a covert operative.


Classified documents contradict FBI on post-9/11 probe of Saudis, ex-senator says

By Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen
Special to msnbc.com

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired Congress’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has seen two classified FBI documents that he says are at odds with the bureau’s public statements that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis then living in Sarasota, Fla.

“There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents,” Graham said.


Broken Promises: Pensions All Over America Are Being Savagely Cut Or Are Vanishing Completely

How would you feel if you worked for a state or local government for 20 or 30 years only to have your pension slashed dramatically or taken away entirely? Well, this exact scenario is playing out from coast to coast and in the years ahead millions of elderly Americans are going to be affected by broken promises and vanishing pensions.


Bringing Down the Empire: Challenging the Institutions of Domination

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

We have come to the point in our history of our species where an increasing amount of people are asking questions, seeking answers, taking action, and waking up to the realities of our world, to the systems, ideas, institutions and individuals who have dominated, oppressed, controlled, and ensnared humanity in their grip of absolute control. As the resistance to these ideas, institutions, and individuals grows and continues toward taking action – locally, nationally, regionally, and globally – it is now more important than ever for the discussion and understanding of our system to grow in accord. Action must be taken, and is being taken, but information must inform action. Without a more comprehensive, global and expansive understanding of our world, those who resist this system will become increasingly divided, more easily co-opted, and have their efforts often undermined.