Tag Archive: Kofi Annan


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VOA News

UN Orders Syria Humanitarian Aid Access

The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.

The United Nations Security Council votes on resolution on humanitarian aid for Syria at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 22, 2014.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution on Syria’s humanitarian crisis, demanding that both sides in the conflict provide immediate access to deliver essential aid to millions of people in desperate need.

The 15-member council united on Syria for the first time Saturday. Russia and China — which have shielded Syria’s government throughout the country’s three-year-long civil war — voted in favor of the resolution.

Saturday’s vote does not threaten sanctions. Russia insisted that this reference be dropped from the original Western- and Arab-backed text. But it does express the council’s intent to take “further steps” in the case of non-compliance.

The resolution demands immediate cross-border aid access and condemns rights abuses by the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.

It also insists that all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians and stop the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas — including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote that the resolution should not have been necessary, because “humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law.”

The U.N. chief said it is “profoundly shocking … that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the newly adopted resolution could be “a “hinge-point in the tortured three years” of the crisis. He called it “a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.”

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UN humanitarian chief demands Syria aid access by reuters
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos calls for unlimited aid access to Syria’s worst hit areas.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Amos said she had spoken to Syrian government representatives but they’d asked for more time.

SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF, VALERIE AMOS, SAYING:

“However,the government have agreed to a limited assessment exercise to be conducted by U.N. agencies and the Syrian authorities, which would give us some information about what is happening in the country.”

Meanwhile, amateur videos from Syria posted on to a social media website – which Reuters cannot independently verify – purportedly reveal fresh fighting amid reports that 31 people were killed.

This burning car is reportedly in the Asheera neighbourhood of Homs while this amateur Homs footage shows smoke billowing from buildings amid sounds of heavy gunfire.

This footage, apparently from Damascus, purports to show a group of protesters chanting anti-regime slogans outside the captal’s Russian embassy.

The resumption of the heavy shelling follows a few days of relative calm during which Amos visited Homs and said part of the city had been completely destroyed.

UN and Arab League evnoy Kofi Annan is due to arrive in Damascus on Saturday to try to calm the year-old conflict.

Sunita Rappai, Reuters
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By Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press July 11, 2012

ISTANBUL – The Syrian ambassador to Iraq has defected and is on his way to Turkey, the most senior diplomat to abandon President Bashar Assad during the 16-month-old uprising, a Syrian opposition figure said Wednesday.

Nawaf Fares, a former provincial governor, would be the second prominent Syrian to break with the regime in less than a week. Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, an Assad confidant and son of a former defence minister, fled Syria last week, buoying Western powers and anti-regime activists, who expressed hope that other high-ranking defections would follow.

Appointed to the Baghdad post four years ago, Fares was the first Syrian ambassador to Iraq in 26 years. Like Tlass, he is a member of the privileged Sunni elite in a regime dominated by Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

“It’s certain. Fares has defected. He declared his defection. … He’s moving toward Turkey,” said Khaled Khoja, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council who is based in Istanbul. Asked for details, Khoja said the information came from his own sources on the ground in Iraq.

There was no immediate confirmation from either Iraq or Syria. An operator who answered the phone at the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad said there was nobody at the embassy. When asked if the ambassador is currently in Iraq, the operator said he did not know.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. had no confirmation of the defection as of Wednesday afternoon. But he said recent high-level defections from the Assad regime were “a welcome development.”

“That is an indication of the fact that support for Assad is crumbling,” Carney said.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that if true, Fares would be the first senior diplomat from the regime to defect.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh also said he could not confirm whether Fares had defected.

Thousands of soldiers, most of them low-level conscripts, have deserted and joined the rebels. But despite the latest high-profile defections, Assad’s regime has largely held together in the face of the uprising — particularly compared with the swift hemorrhaging of Moammar Gadhafi’s inner circle in Libya in 2011.

The conflict in Syria has defied every international attempt to bring peace. Although the Assad government’s crackdown has turned the Syrian president into an international pariah, he still has the support of strong allies such as Russia, Iran and China.

A prominent Syrian opposition leader said Wednesday during a visit to Moscow that Russia’s resistance to international intervention in the conflict was bringing misery and “suffering” to the violence-torn country.

Two Syrian opposition delegations visited Moscow this week, raising hopes that Russia could be pushed to accept the ouster of Assad. But Syrian National Council head Abdelbaset Sieda said he saw “no change” in Moscow’s stance after meeting with officials including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The Syrian people are suffering because of Russia, because of the position it has taken, because of its veto in the U.N. Security Council,” Sieda said at a news conference. “The current regime uses Russian weapons against its own people.”

Activists estimate 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising began, and as the conflict continues, the rebellion appears to be getting more and more radicalized and violent, making any peaceful resolution or transfer of power a long-shot.

International envoy Kofi Annan urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to send a message to the Syrian government and the opposition that there will be “consequences” if they don’t comply with demands for an immediate cease-fire, a U.N. diplomat said.

Russia and China, veto-wielding council members, have blocked repeated attempts by the United States and its European allies to even threaten “consequences” — a diplomatic code word for sanctions.

The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because Annan’s videoconference briefing from Geneva was at a closed session, said the council should insist on implementation of its resolutions, which included a strong endorsement of his six-point peace plan.

That plan calls for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons from populated areas by the Syrian government, to be followed by an opposition cessation of hostilities.

The U.N. sent a 300-strong unarmed observer mission for 90 days to oversee the cease-fire and monitor implementation of the Annan plan. But it was forced to withdraw from key conflict areas because of escalating fighting and the council must decide what to do about extending its mandate, which expires on July 20.

Another U.N. diplomat said U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the council the observers should remain and the U.N. should decide on their deployment. A third diplomat said the peacekeeping department plans to temporarily withdraw half of the 300-member mission, on 48-hour standby to return if conditions change.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because Annan spoke behind closed doors.

Annan also said Wednesday that Assad has discussed the possibility of forming a transitional Syrian government. An international conference in Geneva last month proposed having a transitional framework.

Annan said the Syrian leader during recent talks in Damascus “did offer a name” of someone who could serve as an interlocutor for the regime as it explores ways of forming a transitional government with the opposition. Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, told reporters in Geneva that he was now considering the person whom Assad proposed, but he did not identify who it is.

He spoke Wednesday after a videoconference session with the U.N. Security Council in New York.

Also Wednesday, a Greek Orthodox priest said a group of Christians trapped in the besieged, bombed-out Syrian city of Homs has been evacuated after a deal between the army and rebels. The priest, Maximos al-Jamal, said 63 people were taken out to safety over the past 24 hours.

Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Syria’s population, say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people. They are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Muslim groups.

Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, has a substantial Christian population and has been one of the hardest-hit regions during the uprising. Rebels control several neighbourhoods, which has sparked several rounds of intense attacks by government troops over the past months.

Syrian Christians have largely stuck by Assad, fearing the strength of Islamist hard-liners in the uprising against his rule.

“I stayed inside Hamidiyeh to protect the churches from looting. I saved 14 icons from the St. George church which has been destroyed,” said Jihad Akhras, who was among those who were evacuated Wednesday.

He said the situation inside Hamidiyeh and Bistan al-Diwan was “tragic” with barely enough food for those who remain trapped there.

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Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad contributed to this report.

Syrian Ambassador Defects, Encourages Followers

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

Syrian ambassador to Iraq defects and encourages others to follow suit.

Published on Jul 8, 2012 by

The UN’s special envoy to Syria says international peace efforts have not succeeded, partly as a result of divisions between world powers. This comes a day after US Secretary of State Clinton said Russia and China will pay a price for allegedly supporting Assad. Patrick Henningsen, a Mideast analyst and editor at infowars.com, believes Syria is being used by the US as a proxy to start a war with Iran.

West seeks to distort Geneva accord on Syria: Russia

Press TV

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks in Moscow on July 3, 2012.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks in Moscow on July 3, 2012.
Russia says the US and its Western allies are seeking to “distort” the agreement reached last weekend in Geneva on a plan for a political transition to end the ongoing conflict in Syria.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the accord based on proposals by UN envoy Kofi Annan was an “important step” but Western countries had already made statements that contradict what was agreed in Geneva.

“Unfortunately… some Western participants have started in their public statements to distort the agreements that were reached” in Geneva, Lavrov said during a news conference.

The participants of the Geneva meeting agreed that the transitional governing body in Syria “could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent,” Annan said at a press conference after the meeting.

“These (Geneva) agreements are not there to be interpreted. They mean exactly what is said in the communique and we need to follow the agreements that were made,” Lavrov added.

Lavrov comments come after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that Washington did not see any role for President Assad in the new government, even though there was no explicit call for him to step down.

The foreign ministers of Russia, China, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby, and the secretary of state of the United States attended the meeting on the situation in Syria at the United Nations office in Geneva on June 30.

PG/JR/IS

Politics and Legislation

Top Obama Fundraiser Accused Of Fraud

A major fundraiser for the re-election campaign of US President Barack Obama has been accused of fraud and dodging creditors, a report says.

As Bloomberg runs reports revealing New York City is the top source of donations for both the Obama and Romney campaigns news surfaces that one of Obama’s top donors and fundraisers, the New York based Abaka Assongba, has been accused of fraud.

According to reports, Abaka is accused of defrauding a Swiss businessman of $650,000 after engaging him in an email scam and then using that money to buy a multi-million dollar home in Florida.

Accompanying the fraud charges against Abaka are other embarrassments for the Obama campaign, including revalatoins of a 2004 eviction for owing $5,000 in back rent and another court case where she was ordered to pay $10,000 for back rent and damage.

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Man whose WMD lies led to 100,000 deaths confesses all

Defector tells how US officials ‘sexed up’ his fictions to make the case for 2003 invasion

A man whose lies helped to make the case for invading Iraq – starting a nine-year war costing more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of pounds – will come clean in his first British television interview tomorrow.

“Curveball”, the Iraqi defector who fabricated claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, smiles as he confirms how he made the whole thing up. It was a confidence trick that changed the course of history, with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi’s lies used to justify the Iraq war.

He tries to defend his actions: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

The chemical engineer claimed to have overseen the building of a mobile biological laboratory when he sought political asylum in Germany in 1999. His lies were presented as “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence” by Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, when making the case for war at the UN Security Council in February 2003.

But Mr Janabi, speaking in a two-part series, Modern Spies, starting tomorrow on BBC2, says none of it was true. When it is put to him “we went to war in Iraq on a lie. And that lie was your lie”, he simply replies: “Yes.”

US officials “sexed up” Mr Janabi’s drawings of mobile biological weapons labs to make them more presentable, admits Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, General Powell’s former chief of staff. “I brought the White House team in to do the graphics,” he says, adding how “intelligence was being worked to fit around the policy”.

As for his former boss: “I don’t see any way on this earth that Secretary Powell doesn’t feel almost a rage about Curveball and the way he was used in regards to that intelligence.”

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Economy

Stockton, Calif., Could Become Nation’s Biggest Municipal Bankruptcy

Stockton, Calif. is quite at home on lists of dubious distinctions.

This Northern California city has been variously listed as the city with the second-highest home-foreclosure rate of a major U.S. metropolis, the second-highest violent crime rate in California, and two times the frontrunner of Forbes magazine’s “America’s Most Miserable Cities.”

Now Stockton is hoping to avoid its next bleak title, that of biggest municipality in U.S. history to enter bankruptcy.

After Heyday, Payday

Eighty miles east of San Francisco and home to nearly 300,000 people, Stockton has cycled through decades of city-planning booms and crime-ridden busts.

These days many residents are just doing what they can to stay safe and survive. Unemployment in the city tops 16 percent. Foreclosures are at an all-time high. Homeless shelters are out of beds. The police force has shrunk 25 percent and this year’s homicide total may surpass last year’s record high of 58.

In the early 2000s, after years of decline, Stockton began pouring money into revitalization projects. Developers built residential subdivisions, a theater complex, sports arena, waterfront walkway and marina.

City coffers bulged on the resulting property tax increases, and city employee contracts ballooned. One month of city employment meant eligibility for full retiree health care. Today, the city’s long-term health care liability totals more than $400 million. There are 94 pensions each worth at least $100,000 annually.

“Stockton overcommitted to long-term obligations that even under the best of times the city could not afford. So if there was not a recession, the city would have been having the conversation we’re having in four or five years,” said City Manager Bob Deis in a recent Time magazine interview.

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Eurozone unemployment hits 15-year high

By Michael Millar

LONDON (SHARECAST) – Unemployment across the countries that use the euro hit a 15-year high of 10.8 per cent in February.

Figures from the European Commission’s official statistics agency, eurostat, showed unemployment was up from 10.7% in January and compared to 10.0% in February 2011.

The figures laid bare the vast economic differences between 17 countries using the euro.

Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.2%), the Netherlands (4.9%), Luxembourg (5.2%) and Germany (5.7%).

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Will the US dollar fall to the Chinese Yuan?

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Apr 3, 2012

Over the years the US dollar has become weaker and weaker, and it seems the Chinese Yuan is getting stronger and stronger. In a few years China’s GDP is believed to surpass the US GDP making it the strongest in the world. Recently at the BRICS annual meeting, the five fastest growing countries decided to ditch the dollar and use their own currencies in mutual trade putting the buck almighty in jeopardy. Michael T. Snyder, founder of TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com, joins us to discuss what the future holds for the US dollar.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Pentagon activates missile defenses for North Korean launch

The Pentagon recently activated its global missile shield in anticipation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile, according to defense officials.

The measures include stepped-up electronic monitoring, deployment of missile interceptor ships, and activation of radar networks to areas near the Korean peninsula and western Pacific.

Three interceptor ships near Japan and the Philippines, as well as U.S.-based interceptors, are ready to shoot down the North Korean missile if space-, land-, and sea-based sensors determine its flight path is targeted at the United States or U.S. allies, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Obama administration will regard any launch by North Korea as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions regardless of whether the North Koreans claim the rocket test is for space launch purposes, the officials said. The technology and rocketry used for a space launch is nearly identical to that used with ballistic missiles that carry a warhead, they said.

Also, because the payload or warhead of the test launch cannot be determined prior to launch, the Obama administration decided to activate the missile defense system.

According to U.S. officials, current intelligence assessments indicate the North Korean missile will be launched from a base called Tongchang-ri, located on a west coast peninsula north of Pyongyang between April 12 and April 15…..

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US draws up plans for nuclear drones

Technology is designed to increase flying time ‘from days to months’, along with power available for weapons systems

Nick Fielding

American scientists have drawn up plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered drones capable of flying over remote regions of the world for months on end without refuelling.

The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency – and defence contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time “from days to months” while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia.

“It’s pretty terrifying prospect,” said Chris Coles of Drone Wars UK, which campaigns against the increasing use of drones for both military and civilian purposes. “Drones are much less safe than other aircraft and tend to crash a lot. There is a major push by this industry to increase the use of drones and both the public and government are struggling to keep up with the implications.”

The highly sensitive research into what is termed “ultra-persistence technologies” set out to solve three problems associated with drones: insufficient “hang time” over a potential target; lack of power for running sophisticated surveillance and weapons systems; and lack of communications capacity.

The Sandia-Northrop Grumman team looked at numerous different power systems for large- and medium-sized drones before settling on a nuclear solution. Northrop Grumman is known to have patented a drone equipped with a helium-cooled nuclear reactor as long ago as 1986, and has previously worked on nuclear projects with the US air force research laboratory. Designs for nuclear-powered aircraft are known to go back as far as the 1950s.

The research team found that the nuclear drones were able to provide far more surveillance time and intelligence information per mission compared to other technologies, and also to reduce the considerable costs of support systems – eliminating the need, for example, for forward bases and fuel supplies in remote and possibly hostile areas.

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U.S. Joins Effort to Equip and Pay Rebels in Syria

By STEVEN LEE MYERS

ISTANBUL — The United States and dozens of other countries moved closer on Sunday to direct intervention in the fighting in Syria, with Arab nations pledging $100 million to pay opposition fighters and the Obama administration agreeing to send communications equipment to help rebels organize and evade Syria’s military, according to participants gathered here.

The moves reflected a growing consensus, at least among the officials who met here this weekend under the rubric “Friends of Syria,” that mediation efforts by the United Nations peace envoy, Kofi Annan, were failing to halt the violence that is heading into its second year in Syria and that more forceful action was needed.

With Russia and China blocking United Nations measures that could open the way for military action, the countries lined up against the government of President Bashar al-Assad sought to bolster Syria’s beleaguered opposition through means that seemed to stretch the definition of humanitarian assistance and blur the line between so-called lethal and nonlethal support.

There remains no agreement on arming the rebels, as countries like Saudi Arabia and some members of Congress have called for, largely because of the uncertainty regarding who exactly would receive the arms.

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Articles of Interest

Lawyer for soldier accused of Afghan slaughter: ‘almost complete information blackout’

Madison Ruppert

John Henry Browne, the attorney for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the man accused of single-handedly massacring 17 Afghan villagers, is now accusing the United States government of “an almost complete information blackout” which is blocking him from preparing a proper defense for Bales.

Browne alleges that he and his legal team has been prevented from being able to interview the witnesses to the tragic incident as well as the injured civilians in southern Afghanistan.

“We were expecting a lot more cooperation. The prosecutors in this case promised us a lot of cooperation which we’re just not getting,” Browne said to reporters in Seattle, Washington.

“We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client,” he added.

38-year-old Bales allegedly strolled out of his base in Kandahar, a southern Afghan province, without being stopped or questioned, early on March 11, after which he conducted a merciless, calculated assault on two villages killing 17 civilians, including women and children.

However, this case has been rife with inconsistencies and unanswered questions, especially surrounding the possibility of multiple soldiers being involved in the tragic killings.

Indeed, an Afghan parliamentary probe concluded that there were 15-20 U.S. soldiers involved in the murders. This finding was seemingly contradicted by a report from AP which cited alleged statements from two officials who did not participate in the probe and the U.S. government has claimed that only Bales was involved from day one.

Furthermore, child witnesses provided accounts to a journalist for Australia’s SBS Dateline which completely contradict the U.S.’s official account.

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Colombia: 8 Israelis suspected of drug trafficking

Local media reports claim Israeli ‘former military men’ also suspected of money laundering, exploitation of minors. Suspects deny allegations: ‘We’re legit businessmen’

Eight Israelis were arrested in Colombia on suspicion of drug trafficking, money laundering and exploitation of minors, the country’s chief prosecutor told local media outlets on Tuesday.

The suspects, who were described in the reports as “former military men,” reside in the city of Taganga. According to one of the reports, they are suspected of sexually exploiting teenage girls.

As part of a separate investigation, the suspects are also being questioned about their ties to a local drug trafficking ring.

The chief prosecutor noted that the Israeli men were under surveillance during the past year, after arousing the suspicion of local police officers and community leaders.

One of the reports claimed that police obtained tape recordings, some in Hebrew, which might incriminate the suspects.

The suspects denied the allegations, claiming that they were legitimate businessmen.

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Who is Kofi Annan? The United Nations “Peacekeeper” Handpicked by the CIA

by Thierry Meyssan

Although Kofi Annan’s track record at the UN is an indisputable success in terms of management and efficiency, he has been sharply criticized for his political shortcomings. As Secretary General, he aspired to bring the Organization into line with the unipolar world and the globalization of U.S. hegemony. He called into question the ideological foundations of the UN and undermined its ability to prevent conflicts. Notwithstanding, he is today in charge of resolving the Syrian crisis.

Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize, Kofi Annan, has been designated by Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El Arabi as joint special envoy to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. With Annan’s extraordinary experience and shiny brand image, his appointment was welcomed by all.

What does this top international official really represent? Who propelled him to the highest-ranking positions? What were his political choices, and what are his current commitments? These questions are met with a discreet silence, as if his previous functions were in themselves a guarantee of neutrality.
Handpicked and trained by the Ford Foundation and the CIA

His former colleagues praise him for his thoughtfulness, his intelligence and subtlety. A very charismatic personality, Kofi Annan left a strong imprint behind him because he did not behave simply as the “secretary” of the UN, but more like its “general,” by taking initiatives that revivified an organization that was mired in bureaucracy. All that is known and has been repeated ad nauseam. His exceptional professional qualities earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, although this honor in theory should have been bestowed for personal political commitment, not a management career.

Kofi and his twin sister Efua Atta were born on 8 April 1938, into an aristocratic family of the British colony of the Gold Coast. His father was the tribal chief of the Fante people and the elected governor of Asante province. Although he opposed British rule, he was a faithful servant of the Crown. With other notables, he took part in the first decolonization movement, but looked upon the revolutionary fervor of Kwame Nkrumah with suspicion and anxiety.

In any event, Nkrumah’s efforts led to the independence of the country in 1957 under the name of Ghana. Kofi was then 19 years old. Though not involved in the revolution, he became vice-president of the new National Student Association. It was then that he was spotted by a headhunter from the Ford Foundation who incorporated him into a program for “young leaders.” From there, he was invited to follow a summer course at Harvard University. Having noticed his enthusiasm for the United States, the Ford Foundation offered to sponsor his complete studies, first in economics at Macalester College in Minnesota, followed by international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

After the Second World War, the Ford Foundation, created by famous industrialist Henry Ford, became an unofficial instrument of U.S. foreign policy, providing a respectable facade for the activities of the CIA [1].

Kofi Annan’s overseas study period (1959-1961) coincided with the most difficult years of the African-American civil rights movement (the start of Martin Luther King’s Birmingham campaign). He saw it as an extension of the decolonization he had witnessed in Ghana, but once again did not get involved.

Impressed with Annan’s academic achievements and political discretion, his U.S. mentors opened for him the doors of the World Health Organization, where he landed his first job. After three years at WHO headquarters in Geneva, he was appointed to the Economic Commission for Africa based in Addis Ababa. However, not sufficiently qualified to pursue a career at the UN, he returned to the United States to take up management studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1971-1972). He then attempted a comeback in his home country as director of tourism development, but found himself perpetually at odds with the military government of General Acheampong; he gave up and returned to the United Nations in 1976.

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James Murdoch quits BSkyB to save hacking scandal damage

Published on Apr 3, 2012 by Euronews

http://www.euronews.com/ James Murdoch has quit as chairman of British pay-TV group BSkyB.

Rupert Murdoch’s son has been under fire for his handling of the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World newspaper that has convulsed the Murdoch’s media empire.

James Murdoch is stepping down just weeks before a government report is published into reporting practices at the News of the World.

In a statement he said his resignation was to help distance BSkyB from the scandal: “I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation.”

Murdoch added he was “determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company.”

The 39-year-old is a previous chairman of News International, News Corp’s British newspaper arm that was the publisher of the News of the World tabloid at the heart of the scandal before it was shut down last year.

The British TV regulator is investigating whether BSkyB is a “fit and proper” owner of a broadcast licence given its close relationship with Murdoch and the wider problems at Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns 39-percent of the TV company.

Murdoch, who was previously chief executive of BSkyB, was dealt a heavy blow last November when more than 40 percent of the company’s independent shareholders failed to back his re-election as chairman.

Politics and Legislation

Campaign Spending Shows Political Ties, Self-Dealing

Kim Barker, Al Shaw, ProPublica:

“Our analysis found that more than $306 million has been spent so far by major super PACs and the five leading presidential candidates. In some cases, payees serve both candidates and the super PACs aligned with them, raising the specter that groups may be working together in ways that violate the rules, campaign finance experts said. We also found instances in which overseers of some political action committees directed hefty fees to their own companies, a legal form of self-dealing.”

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US House of Representatives Approves Plan to Destroy
Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps

By Patrick Martin

The US House of Representatives has adopted a budget resolution that calls for privatization of Medicare and the elimination of Medicaid, food stamps and many other federal entitlement benefits. The resolution is part of a bipartisan campaign to slash spending on social programs.

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US Anti-terrorism Law Curbs Free Speech and Activist Work, Court Told

By Paul Harris in New York

A group political activists and journalists has launched a legal challenge to stop an American law they say allows the US military to arrest civilians anywhere in the world and detain them without trial as accused supporters of terrorism.

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Economy

Break Up the Big Banks, Says the Dallas Fed

Robert Reich, Op-Ed:

Wall Street’s increasing power remains “difficult to control because they have the lawyers and the money to resist the pressures of federal regulation.” The Dodd-Frank act that was supposed to control Wall Street “leaves TBTF [too big to fail] entrenched.” The Dallas Fed goes on to argue that the Fed’s easy money policy can’t be much help to the U.S. economy as long as Wall Street is “still clogged with toxic assets accumulated in the boom years.

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Department of Energy Knew of Solyndra Risks, Former FBI Agent Finds

Ronnie Greene, News Analysis:

“The Department of Energy was fully aware of the risks in backing Solyndra Inc., a start-up company that pocketed a half-billion dollar DOE loan but never turned a penny in profit before shutting its doors, concludes a former FBI agent hired to examine the company’s books. The expert’s report, filed this week in Solyndra’s voluminous bankruptcy case in California  , could embolden critics who say the government ignored financial red flags in supporting the solar panel maker with President Obama’s maiden green energy loan in 2009.”

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While White House Emphasizes Easing Student Debt Burden, Fed Contractors Play Hardball

Marian Wang, News Analysis:

“Under Education Department contracts, collection companies “rehabilitate” a defaulted loan by getting a borrower to make nine payments in 10 months. If they succeed, they reap a jackpot: a commission equal to as much as 16 percent of the entire loan amount, or $3,200 on a $20,000 loan. These companies receive that fee only if borrowers make a minimum payment of 0.75 percent to 1.25 percent of the loan each month, depending on its size.”

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Bank Of America CEO Gets $7.5 Million Pay Package After The Bank Lost More Than Half Its Stock Value

Pat Garofalo, News Report:

“The Wall Street Journal noted this week that that CEO pay lagged behind profits and productivity last year, mirroring a trend that has been occurring with workers’ wages for decades. But even that slight modicum of moderation regarding executive compensation evidently didn’t extend to Bank of America, which gave CEO Brian Moynihan a $7.5 million pay package — six times as much as he made in 2010 — following a year in which the company’s stock plummeted.”

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Wars and Rumors of War

Assad remarks give little hope of peace

By AGENCIES

BAGHDAD: Bashar Assad’s remarks on a UN-Arab plan yesterday gave little hope of peace as the Syrian tyrant called for an end to “terrorist acts” by foreign powers.

“It’s not surprising, but it’s discouraging and disappointing,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Arab leaders, meanwhile, urged a peaceful end to the bloodshed through “serious national dialogue,” at a landmark summit in the Iraqi capital yesterday.

They approved a resolution calling on the “Syrian government and all opposition factions to deal positively with the envoy (Kofi Annan) by starting serious national dialogue.”

Arab leaders said the plan should be implemented “immediately and completely.”

It said “the massacre committed by the Syrian forces against civilians in Baba Amro … can be considered crimes (against) humanity.”

Read Full Article Here

Israel Shields Public From Risks of War With Iran

Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service:

“The message that Iran is too weak to threaten an effective counterattack is contradicted by one of Israel’s leading experts on Iranian missiles and the head of its missile defense program for nearly a decade, who says Iranian missiles are capable of doing significant damage to Israeli targets.”

Read Full Article Here

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Environmental

EPA Climate Proposal Could Limit Coal’s future, at Least in U.S.

Renee Schoof, News Report:

The rules require future power plants to keep their emissions of heat-trapping gases under a limit. Most natural gas plants would meet the standard easily, but coal-fired plants would have to reduce emissions by about half. The equipment to capture and store those emissions underground isn’t commercially viable. “This is not a sudden death for the coal industry by any means,” said David Pumphrey of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a center-right research center.

Read Full Article

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Activism

Fault Lines: History of an occupation Part 1

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 21, 2012

Fault Lines tells the definitive history of Occupy Wall Street from its early days through the movement’s rapid spread up to the brutal crackdown by state authorities.

Fault Lines: Occupy Wall Street: Surviving the Winter Part 2

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 27, 2012

Fault Lines follows key Occupy organisers through the winter as they continue to build a movement even after violent evictions across the country.

On the News With Thom Hartmann: Anti-Austerity Strikes Halted Business in Spain Yesterday, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Supreme Court now deciding the fate of Obamacare, the recall vote of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is set, new oil subsidies sail through Congress, natural gas platform disaster continues to unfold in the North Sea, Egyptian courts censor Internet pornography, and more.

Read Transcripts Here

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Articles of Interest

Russian Proton-M Puts Military Satellite into Orbit

Russia’s Space Forces launched a Proton-M carrier rocket with a Cosmos class military satellite on board on Friday, spokesman Lt. Col. Alexey Zolotukhin said.

Read Full Article Here

Japan orders SDF to intercept DPRK rocket if necessary

China.org.cn

Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka officially ordered the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to intercept a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) rocket launch if necessary on Friday.

Tanaka issued the order after he told SDF on Tuesday to take preparatory measures against the DPRK rocket launch.

Japan and other countries see the rocket launch as a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test, Xinhua reported.

Read Full Article Here

All Parties Ignore the One Way to Reduce Health Care Costs: Single-Payer

David U. Himmelstein MD and Steffie Woolhandler MD, MPH, Truthout:

“Both parties studiously avoid the one health-reform solution that – unlike computers – would actually save money while sparing patients: single-payer, nonprofit national health insurance. Research shows that single-payer reform could save about $380 billion annually that’s currently wasted on insurers’ overhead and the unnecessary paperwork (and screen-work) they inflict on hospitals, doctors and patients.”

Read Full Article Here

CWA Union Teams Up With Free Press, Consumer Groups to Oppose Telecom Deregulation

Mike Elk, In These Times:

“The Communications Workers of America union has been criticized by progressive consumers groups like Free Press for its positions on net neutrality and the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger. Now, though, CWA is teaming up with groups like Free Press to fight two big bills that they say would deregulate the telecommunications industry, help build telecom monopolies and lead to telecom job losses.”

Read Full Article Here

Exclusive: Soros’ son strikes out on his own

(Hmmmm, Can anyone say Restructuring and SEC?)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

By Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The upheaval within billionaire investor George Soros’ firm continues as one of his sons is separating some of his personal fortune to manage it himself.

Jonathan Soros, who stepped down in September from day-to-day management of Soros Fund Management LLC, plans to hire at least one of his father’s key employees, say two people familiar with the situation.

The two sources said Soros’ son intends to set up his own family office – something the Soros Fund converted to last year – with the help of David Kulsar, currently chief risk officer for the Soros Fund.

“Jonathan wants to manage some of his own money so the (Soros Fund) family office has made that accommodation for him,” said a source familiar with the situation but who was not authorized to discuss the matter.

Jonathan Soros, who was a law clerk for a federal judge before joining with his brother Robert in 2002 to oversee the management of Soros Fund, did not return calls or emails seeking comment. He currently is a senior fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank group in New York.

Kulsar, who also did not return a phone call seeking comment, worked in risk management for John Meriweather’s JWM Partners before joining the Soros Fund. Meriweather founded Long-Term Capital Management, the hedge fund whose collapse in 1999 sparked fears of a financial crisis.


Read Full Article Here

Politics and Legislation

Virginia State Senate Passes Bill Forbidding Indefinite Detention of Americans

After Virginia legislators pass a law forbidding infinite detention of US Citizens, worries arise Governor McDonnell could try to sabotage the anti-NDAA law

CNN Reports On California’s Eugenics History & How They Assisted The Nazis Eugenics Program

Bill would create partnership between NSA and U.S. corporations

Speaking at a policy debate Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation, a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned that a bill currently being considered by the House Select Committee on Intelligence would intertwine the National Security Agency (NSA) with corporate America, exposing vast amounts of private civilian data to unprecedented levels of monitoring, all in the name of “cybersecurity.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/07/bill-would-create-partnership-between-nsa-and-u-s-corporations/

 

The Hill: ACLU warns of expanded spying powers in new GOP cybersecurity legislation

By Brendan Sasso

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is warning that a cybersecurity bill from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and other Republicans would give spy agencies unprecedented powers to snoop through people’s personal information.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/215323-aclu-warns-of-expanded-spy-powers-in-gop-cybersecurity-bill

 

Los Angeles Times: Labor unions rethinking their role in politics

By Matea Gold and Melanie Mason

The influential AFL-CIO almost certainly will endorse Obama for reelection, but many unions are increasingly financing their own efforts instead of writing large checks to the Democratic Party and its candidates.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-labor-endorse-20120311,0,374934.story

 

Economy

 

20 Economic Statistics To Use To Wake Sheeple Up From Their Entertainment-Induced Comas

Just like during the Great Depression, Wall Street is having one of the greatest bull runs in history at the expense of the masses and here are the statistics to prove it.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/20-economic-statistics-to-use-to-wake-sheeple-up-from-their-entertainment-induced-comas

 

No Jobs For Americans

By Paul Craig Roberts

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 227,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs were created by the economy during February. Is the government’s claim true?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30780.htm

 

“The banks and the governments are simply zombies only interested in survival.”

Source: Gold Seek

The government is preparing to package and sell foreclosed homes. We do not know what discount to the current market there will be but you can guess it will be 20% or more. This event will cause home prices to trend lower dependent on whether the houses are put up for sale or rented. These homes will only be available to big buyers such as hedge funds and others with enormous amounts of capital. It is expected that the homes will be sold in lots of 5,000 to 10,000 and the minimum bid would be $1 billion.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/%E2%80%9CThe_banks_and_the_governments_are_simply_zombies_only_interested_in_survival.%E2%80%9D/18406/0/38/38/Y/M.html

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

US state department – we have no intention of leaving Uganda

Posted by Phantom Report

US military interest in central Africa, much like US military interests in various areas around the world, is multi-faceted. Uganda, for example, has played an increasingly central role in US counter-terrorism efforts, particularly in the United States’ attempts to destroy the Somali militant group Al Shabab. In June of last year, the Pentagon approved plans to send $45m worth of military equipment to Uganda and Burundi.

On Wednesday, Angelo Izama, an award-winning Ugandan journalist who specializes in security issues in central Africa, said the US is running a “multi-country intervention with a small number of troops” with a mission that isn’t entirely humanitarian in nature.

http://www.phantomreport.com/us-state-department-we-have-no-intention-of-leaving-uganda

 

Israeli Weapons Found In Syria Among Rebels

 

Evidence of War Lies Public Pre-War This Time

Source: Washingtons Blog

By leading anti-war activist David Swanson, author of Day Break and War Is A Lie, who runs the websites DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org (formerly AfterDowningStreet.org)

When President George W. Bush was pretending to want to avoid a war on Iraq while constantly pushing laughably bad propaganda to get that war going, we had a feeling he was lying. After all, he was a Republican. But it was after the war was raging away that we came upon things like the Downing Street Minutes and the White House Memo.

Now President Barack Obama is pretending to want to avoid a war on Iran and to want Israel not to start one, while constantly pushing laughably bad propaganda to get that war going. We might suspect a lack of sincerity, given the insistence that Iran put an end to a program that the U.S. government simultaneously says there is no evidence exists, given the increase in free weapons for Israel to $3.1 billion next year, given the ongoing protection of Israel at the U.N. from any accountability for crimes, given the embrace of sanctions highly unlikely to lead to anything other than greater prospects of war, and given Obama’s refusal to take openly illegal war “off the table.” We might suspect that peace was not the ultimate goal, except of course that Obama is a Democrat.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Evidence_of_War_Lies_Public_Pre-War_This_Time/18386/0/38/38/Y/M.html

 

The Hill: US soldier detained after shootings of Afghan civilians

By Meghashyam Mali

A U.S. soldier was detained in Afghanistan under suspicion of opening fire on Afghan civilians on Sunday, an incident that could inflame anti-American anger in the country.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/215329-us-soldier-detained-after-opening-fire-on-afghan-civilians

 

Annan ‘optimistic’ after talks with Syrian president:

Annan says he remains optimistic following a second round of talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Annan said the talks had resulted in “concrete proposals”.

http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201203/3450783.htm

 

Attack on Iran? ‘Doubts Israel capable of launching war’

RT talks to Iran’s deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on whether Israel’s threats will turn into action and what could be the implications of it.

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 11, 2012

With tensions between Iran and Israel intensifying RT talks to Iran’s deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on whether Israel’s threats will turn into action and what could be the implications of it.

 

US, Allies Begin Talk of Potential Military Intervention in Syria

A move to intervene militarily has no legal basis and could potentially escalate the conflict

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/10/us-allies-begin-talk-of-potential-military-intervention-in-syria/

 

Environmental

 

New Los Angeles radiation tests Highest Radiation Levels Since Fukushima Disaster Recorded in Los Angeles

By Alex Thomas
IntelHub

A March 6th test of a HEPA filter recorded radiation levels 668% or 6.68 times the normal background radiation levels. This test took place 43 days after initial tests and shows a 130% increase since January 22nd.

“The California Highway Patrol considers anything over three times background, 300% of background above, a trigger level to a hazardous materials situation,” reported the EnviroReporter.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/New_Los_Angeles_radiation_tests_Highest_Radiation_Levels_Since_Fukushima_Disaster_Recorded_in_Los_Angeles/18397/0/38/38/Y/M.html

 

Japanese leaders silent on meltdown

Just four hours after a tsunami swept into the Fukushima nuclear power plant a year ago, Japan’s leaders knew the damage was so severe that the reactors could melt down, but they kept their knowledge secret for months.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10791214

 

Are honey bees headed towards extinction?

We have all heard about several animal species becoming extinct, even in the modern world, humans have seen whole generations of some animals disappear. Will bees become one of them?

Some experts believe that the bees could be about to die and at least one third of our food depends on pollination of flowering plants. Einstein once said: “If the bees disappear, mankind would have only 4 more years of life”.

Over 3 million colonies of bees have died in the USA since 2006 and over a thousand millions of bees have died in this period in the world.

http://www.newspakistan.pk/2012/03/12/Are-honey-bees-headed-towards-extinction/

 

Misc

 

Why you should avoid filling up your gas tank with ethanol-laced fuel

By Jonathan Benson,

(NaturalNews) New guidelines recently put forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for automobile fuel could spell disaster for your car’s engine. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that the EPA is set to approve E15 automobile fuel, or fuel that contains up to 15 percent ethanol, which is so damaging to car engines that many car manufacturers have put out warnings that using it will void car warranties. For many years now, the federal government has been incrementally…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035205_ethanol_gasoline_engines.html

 

FBI in the process of creating a system for monitoring all conversations on social networking sites

By J. D. Heyes,

(NaturalNews) If you’re a regular reader of NaturalNews, you’re already well aware of the fact that government, the courts and private industry have all essentially disregarded the intent and meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment privacy protections in the age of information technology. It seems that you give up your right to be “secure” in your “persons, houses, papers, and effects” if you dare to use a social media network or virtually any other information exchange system. The…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035207_FBI_surveillance_social_networking.html

 

65-year-old California ‘milk man’ subjected to extreme torture, hypothermia, raw sewage in LA County jail

By Mike Adams,

(NaturalNews) NaturalNews exclusive report, please credit with link. NaturalNews can now report that 65-year-old senior citizen James Stewart, a raw milk farmer with no criminal history, was nearly tortured to death in the LA County jail this past week. He survived a “week of torturous Hell” at the hands of LA County jail keepers who subjected him to starvation, sleep deprivation, hypothermia, loss of blood circulation to extremities, verbal intimidation, involuntary medical testing and even subjected…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035208_James_Stewart_torture_county_jail.html

 

The British 2012 Olympic Warzone

There are more British troops being deployed to the 2012 Olympic Games than have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

 

John Nichols | Tens of Thousands Rally in Wisconsin for Labor Rights and Democracy

John Nichols, Op-Ed:

As the state prepares for a recall election that could remove Walker from the governorship — along with his lieutenant governor and four Republican state senators — tens of thousands of union activists and their supporters rallied once more Saturday at the state Capitol in Madison. It was an epic turnout, estimated by Governor Walker’s Department of Administration at 35,000 and by organizers at closer to 60,000.

http://www.nationofchange.org/tens-thousands-rally-wisconsin-labor-rights-and-democracy-1331484460

 

The War On WikiLeaks Is Now Trial By Media In Sweden

By John Pilger

Like the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on Iran and Syria require a steady drip-effect on readers’ and viewers’ consciousness. This is the essence of a propaganda that rarely speaks its name.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30770.htm

 

US military unveils non-lethal heat ray weapon

Two styles of US Marine Corps trucks are seen carrying the Active Denial System, March 9th, 2012, at the US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. The non-lethal weapon projects a strong electromagnetic beam up to 1000-meters. The beam creates heat so uncomfortable the natural response is to flee

A sensation of unbearable, sudden heat seems to come out of nowhere — this wave, a strong electromagnetic beam, is the latest non-lethal weapon unveiled by the US military this week.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-military-unveils-non-lethal-ray-weapon.html

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