Tag Archive: President Barack Obama


CIA Wanted ‘Torture’ Cage for Secret Prison: Official

 

By RANDY KREIDER

A Polish official says that prosecutors have a construction order that proves the CIA wanted a cage for terror suspects built at a secret ‘black site’ prison inside Poland……………………

 

……….This week Gazeta Wyborcza reported that the prosecutor’s office also allegedly has a signed order from Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, the then-head of Polish intelligence, authorizing the creation of the black site. A source told the paper that the agreement has a space intended for an American signature, but that the Americans did not sign the document “because they do not want to sign documents inconsistent with their own Constitution and international law.”

 

Siemiatkowski did not confirm or deny the existence of the agreement, but said he could not discuss anything he might have signed because it would be classified………………

 

……………ABC News previously revealed the location of another CIA prison at a former riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2006, President Bush acknowledged that the U.S. had used “black site” prisons in foreign countries, and said many of the suspects who had been detained there were then moved to Guantanamo Bay. While denying that the U.S. employed torture, he said that the U.S. had used an “alternative set of procedures” to interrogate prisoners. ……………

 

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Politics and Legislation

Twenty-Two States File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Back Off Citizens United

Ian Millhiser
Think Progress / News Report
“While Citizens United enjoys strong support among Republican officials (and among the five Republican justices responsible for it), few Americans share this view.”

Twenty-two states joined an amicus brief that will be filed today in the Supreme Court by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) calling for the Supreme Court to back off its election-buying decision in Citizens United. The brief, which supports the state of Montana’s effort to preserve its ban on corporate money in elections, argues that state elections present an even greater risk than federal elections of being corrupted by corporate money — and thus states should be allowed to restrict such money even if the justice cling to their idiosyncratic belief that federal bans on corporate election spending are unconstitutional.

Sadly, the states’ brief only highlights the partisan impact of Citizens United. Of the 22 states that joined the brief, only three — Idaho, Washington and Utah — have Republican attorneys general. Additionally, top Republican elected officials and lobbying organizations, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, previously filed briefs calling for the justices to redouble their commitment to corporate influence on elections.

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The Swing Vote: Why Independents Will Decide the 2012 Election

Published on May 19, 2012 by

“In the past four years, two and a half million people have left the Democratic and Republican parties,” explains Linda Killian, author of the new book The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents. Not only are these voters sick of the two dominant parties, Killian believes they are increasingly determining electoral outcomes. “They voted for Barack Obama, they voted for the Democrats in 2006, [but] they swung 19 points in voting for the Republicans in 2010.”

Killian sat down with Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie to examine what makes a swing voter, their growing importance, and if their socially tolerant and fiscally responsible viewpoints should buoy libertarians.

Runs about 6.40 minutes

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Josh Swain.

Visit http://www.reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.

Talk to Al Jazeera – Ali Salim el-Beidh: Separating South Yemen

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Is it possible for a united Yemen to move towards a new future or will the forces that are advocating a division of the country win in the end?

Ali Salim el Beidh, the leader of the separatist movement in South Yemen, is the man now considered one of the most important figures in this respect.

Obama, NATO leaders chart path out of Afghanistan

President Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai met Sunday at the NATO summit in Chicago to discuss the transition of power in Afghanistan.

By NBC News and news services

Updated 6:22 p.m. ET: CHICAGO — President Barack Obama on Sunday pressed world leaders to help implement a strategy for post-2014 Afghanistan after U.S. troops leave, a transition that Afghan President Hamid Karzai said will mark the day that his war-torn country is “no longer a burden” on the rest of the world.

Obama and Karzai met on the sidelines of the NATO summit on Sunday to discuss Afghanistan’s post-conflict future. After the meeting, Obama told reporters that the two-day summit would focus on Afghanistan’s move to peace and stability after a decade of war.

“We still have a lot of work to do and there will be great challenges ahead,” Obama said. “The loss of life continues in Afghanistan and there will be hard days ahead.”

Standing next to Obama, Karzai reaffirmed his commitment to the transition timetable process, which he said will lead to a time when Afghanistan “is no longer a burden on the shoulder of our friends in the international community, on the shoulders of the United States and other allies.”

Karzai also thanked Americans for the help that their “taxpayer money” has done in Afghanistan.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during their meeting at the NATO summit in Chicago on Sunday.

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Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban

Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy. “Disconcerting and dangerous,” says Shank.

  Michael Hastings BuzzFeed Staff

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

In a little noticed press release earlier in the week — buried beneath the other high-profile issues in the $642 billion defense bill, including indefinite detention and a prohibition on gay marriage at military installations — Thornberry

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‘Election silence’ prevails in Egypt as final countdown to landmark voting starts

Monday, 21 May 2012

Egypt’s 13 presidential candidates are prohibited from any public activities that can influence the voters’ decisions during the two days of ‘election silence’. (File photo)

Egypt’s 13 presidential candidates are prohibited from any public activities that can influence the voters’ decisions during the two days of ‘election silence’. (File photo)

By Al Arabiya with Agencies

Egypt started a ban on all activities of presidential campaigning dubbed “election silence” on Monday that will last for two days before the landmark voting kicks off on May 23-24.

According to the rules laid by the Supreme Presidential Election Commission, candidates are prohibited from any public activities that can influence the voters’ decisions before casting their ballots in the first presidential poll that follows the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Media platforms are also subject to the ban. They are prohibited from airing any publicity advertisements for presidential candidates or conducting any interviews with them.

A runoff for the landmark polls will be held on June 16-17 if no single candidate wins an absolute majority. The country’s next president will be formally named on June 21.

The main contenders in the elections are former Arab League chief Amr Moussa; Islamist Abdul Muniem Abul Fotouh; Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi; last prime minister of Mubarak’s era Ahmed Shafiq and leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi.

Sketchy polls taken by a government-funded think tank and the cabinet’s research division show Mursi trailing behind moderate Islamist Abul Fotouh, Mussa, Shafiq and Sabbahi.

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Denmark to start labeling goods made in illegal Israeli settlements

Israel says it is being singled out since special labels are not applied to products made in dozens of other places where territorial conflicts exist. (Reuters)

Israel says it is being singled out since special labels are not applied to products made in dozens of other places where territorial conflicts exist. (Reuters)

By Sara Ghasemilee
Al Arabiya

It should be crystal clear to Danish consumers if a product they are about to purchase was made in an Israeli settlement, the foreign ministry announced earlier this week.

Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal wants to introduce a labeling system for all goods imported from West Bank settlements “which are illegal according to international law.”

“This is a step that will clearly demonstrate to consumers that these products are produced under conditions that, not only a Danish government, but European governments in general do not approve of. And so it is up to consumers whether they want to purchase the goods or not,” Soevndal said to Danish newspaper Politiken.

The labeling system will be offered to Danish supermarkets and they will be free to decide if they want to implement it or not. But Soevndal said he was confident that businesses will want to partake in the system and referred to Great Britain which implemented a similar arrangement “with great success.” Soevndal also has a firm belief that the settlement issue causes so much resentment that consumers will change their behavior.

“I am convinced that the labeling will have a very significant and direct impact on imports, but exactly how much is impossible to guess,” he said.

The Danish labeling initiative comes at a time when the European Union has agreed to tighten the monitoring of the trade agreement with Israel, which exempts goods produced in the Jewish state from customs duty.

With a better identification of the origin of the goods and improved documentation at customs, the EU is attempting to make sure that manufacturers producing the goods in illegal settlements do not profit from the duty-free agreement.

“Our intention is to ensure that the trade agreement with Israel is not being used to smuggle settlement products,” said Soevndal.

Soevdal added that the new Danish labeling system should be viewed in relation to the EU aim of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians “that is being made increasingly difficult to obtain due to settlements.”

“Therefore, we hope to show the Palestinians a world that is actually concerned that these illegal settlements should not be allowed to continue,” said Soevndal.

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Iranian MP accuses Revolutionary Guards of interfering in election

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have been accused of tampering with recent parliamentary election results. (Reuters)

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have been accused of tampering with recent parliamentary election results. (Reuters)

By Najah Mohamed Ali
Al Arabiya

Iranian veteran conservative MP Ali Motahari accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of interfering in the results of the latest parliamentary elections amid retaliation threats by IRGC senior officials.

IRGC General Ramadan Sharif, was quoted in a statement posted on the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency as saying the military body is, and will always be, committed to the teachings of the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini and will therefore never interfere in legislative elections.

The IRGC, the statement added, did not influence in any way the results of the March 2 elections, which witnessed a major victory for the supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, some of whom are IRGC members.

IRGC members were infuriated by the accusations Motahari, one of Iran’s most daring and independent MPs, hurled at them in the parliament session held Sunday and threatened to take the MP to court if he does not withdraw his “allegations.”

Motahari, who called for the questioning and possible impeachment of the president, also accused Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his brother-in-law and chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei of spreading vice among the youth and creating the suitable environment for indecent behavior.

“I suggest that you open nightclubs to satisfy the sexual desires of the youth,” he once said, addressing Ahmadinejad.

Al Arabiya News Channel and AlArabiya.net ran on March 3 reports stressing that the ninth parliamentary elections since the 1979 revolution have witnessed a wide range of violations such as rigging and vote buying in the capital Tehran and other Iranian cities.

Those violations, reports explained, were committed by various political powers but especially by the IRGC and the IRGC-affiliated volunteer militia the Basij.

According to an Al Arabiya report, IRGC and Basij members toured the streets on their bikes, paid money to pedestrians, and told them to vote for the IRGC list.

Large numbers of villagers were also transferred to big cities to give the impression that the turnout was high in the elections described by several opposition figures inside and outside Iran as a “farce.”

Several of those involved in paying money were arrested in several cities only to be released later after IRGC interfered.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Is This Who We Are As A Nation?

Article image
Dennis Kucinich
NationofChange / Statement
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310, authorizes a total of $642.7 billion.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement detailing why he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act.

“The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310, authorizes a total of $642.7 billion.  According to Congressional Quarterly, defense spending is expected to constitute nearly 60% of all federal discretionary spending this year. This expensive piece of legislation is a bad investment. It doubles down on war as an economic engine at a time when our domestic economy desperately needs attention.

“H.R. 4310 includes language that paves the way for war with Iran. It specifically calls for aggressive deployment of our armed services to begin ‘credible, visible preparations for a military option.’ It directs the Secretary of Defense to pre-position the U.S. Armed Forces in key locations in the Middle East in order to threaten Iran. It specifically authorizes actions ‘including military action if required.’ I strongly supported an amendment by Representative John Conyers, Jr. that clarified that nothing in the underlying bill authorizes war with Iran.  The acceptance of that amendment was a critical victory, but the bill still prepares for war, making war more likely.

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Economy

India’s plummeting rupee raises concern

Published on May 19, 2012 by

The Indian rupee, losing its value since last year, has now hit an all-time low against the US dollar.

The currency has lost more than 20 per cent since 2011, contributing to a slow down of India’s GDP growth and a widening of its fiscal deficit.

Critics blame the government’s indecision in introducing financial reforms as the main cause for the rupee’s current crisis.

A greatly devalued rupee means a ballooning import bill, as India buys about 80 per cent of its oil from abroad.

India’s vulnerability to the eurozone crisis is also pushing the rupee downward.

Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri reports from New Delhi.

Ireland ‘may need’ second bailout

Deutsche Bank said today Ireland's bailed-out banks may need as much as ?4 billion more to deal with loan losses.Deutsche Bank said today Ireland’s bailed-out banks may need as much as ?4 billion more to deal with loan losses.

Ireland’s bailed-out banks may need as much as €4 billion more loan loss provisions than assumed in stress tests last year, which could “tip the balance in favor” of the country requiring a second aid program, Deutsche Bank said in a report today.

“A new, even modest, increase in capital requirements could deter sovereign investor participation and tip the balance in favor of the sovereign requiring a second loan program,” said Deutsche Bank analysts David Lock and Jason Napier.

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Argentina turns to dogs to hunt disappearing dollars

Published on May 19, 2012 by

In Argentina, the government is using dogs to sniff out US dollars.

As part of a crack down on tax evasion, money laundering and cash being sent overseas,  restrictions are being imposed on foreign currency.

Those restrictions have made the dollar, seen as a refuge from double-digit inflation, increasing difficult to find on the streets of the Argentine capital.

In an effort to curb the smuggling of millions in US dollars to neighbouring Uruguay, the government of Cristina Kirchner, the Argentinian president, has employed dogs to snif out the currency.

Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman reports from Buenos Aires.

Will The European Union Destroy Itself Just To Save The Euro?

Submitted by Tyler Durden
David McWilliams (of Punk Economics) begins his latest excellent discussion by conjuring Clint Eastwood and noting that when it comes to the Fiscal Compact in Europe “they are pissing down our backs and telling us that it is raining”. The Fiscal Compact will NOT strengthen the Euro but in fact by cementing the austerity agenda into law it will make the political environment even more unstable. The Irishman goes on to discuss why Europe is imploding as he insightfully notes that “financial panics do not cause the destruction of wealth, financial panics merely tell you the extent to which wealth has been destroyed by reckless speculation“. The realization that current account deficits and not budget deficits were always the problem in Europe which leaves the fiscal compact akin to a doctor prescribing chemotherapy for heart disease.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Mafia suspected in Italy school blast

Published on May 19, 2012 by

A bomb blast outside a school in the south Italian city of Brindisi has killed a teenage girl and injured seven other people.

Two of those caught in the blast are suffering from severe burns.

Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports.

Syrian security forces set off Damascus bombs blamed on al-Qaida – defectors

Attacks were beyond our abilities, says rebel leader, as officers who fled describe regime plots before blasts

Car bombs explode in Damascus

The scene of the deadly blast outside the so-called Palestinian branch intelligence headquarters on 10 May. Photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA

Military defectors in northern Syria have denounced claims that al-Qaida was behind a series of deadly bombings in Damascus, contradicting the UN secretary general’s assessment that the terror group is taking a lead in the insurgency.

The defectors were speaking before Ban Ki-moon’s claim on Thursday that al-Qaida was responsible for a deadly blast outside one of Syria’s top intelligence services on 10 May, which reportedly killed 55 people and wounded 372.

“A few days ago there was a huge, serious, massive terrorist attack. I believe that there must be al-Qaida behind it,” Ban said at the UN headquarters in New York. “This has created again very serious problems.”

The defectors, interviewed by the Guardian in villages in the Jisr al-Shughour and Jabal al-Zawiya areas this week, alleged that Syrian security forces had caused many of the blasts.

Nine defectors, some of them officers who had fled recently, relayed first-hand accounts of plots they had witnessed being planned or executed that were later blamed on “armed gangs” or al-Qaida.

All have provided details of the plots they say took place and are willing to provide testimonies to international investigators. They say they are reluctant to put their names to their allegations, fearing reprisals against their families.

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Arrested Protester Charges Mistreatment After Police Raid Apartment

Lawyers Deny Group Was Plotting To Make Molotov Cocktails, Only Beer

Darrin Annussek, who was detained by police, talks with the media Friday. (CBS)

Darrin Annussek, who was detained by police, talks with the media Friday. (CBS)

CHICAGO (CBS) — As dignitaries arrive for the NATO Summit in Chicago, protesters and police are making news for an arrest controversy earlier this week in Bridgeport.

For the first time, as CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports, one of the nine protesters scooped up by police in a controversial raid says he was mistreated and his civil rights violated.

Darrin Annussek says he walked to Chicago from Philadelphia to participate in Occupy protests, only to be seized by police in a raid on an apartment at 32nd and Morgan.

“For 18 hours, we were handcuffed to a bench and our legs were shackled together,” he said. “Some of our cries for the bathroom were either ignored or met with silence.”

Annusek was released Friday morning along with four others reportedly suspected of preparing molotov cocktails. At least one other detainee was released several hours later Friday.

Kris Hermes, of the National Lawyers Guild said: “There is absolutely no evidence of molotov cocktails or any other criminal activity going on at this building.”

A tenant who agreed to host the out-of-town protesters says the police did seize his home-brew making equipment, including buckets, beer bottles and caps.

“If anybody would like some, I would like to offer them a sip of my beer,” said William Vassilakis.

The National Lawyers Guild says the warrantless raid violated their clients’ civil rights.

“It is outrageous behavior on the part of the City of Chicago,” said Sarah Gelsomino.

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NATO chief says no ‘rush for the exits’ in Afghan war

Sunday, 20 May 2012

President Barack Obama once called the Afghan conflict a “war of necessity” and is now looking for an orderly way out as hosts the NATO summit in his home town, Chicago. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama once called the Afghan conflict a “war of necessity” and is now looking for an orderly way out as hosts the NATO summit in his home town, Chicago. (Reuters)

By Missy Ryan and Phil Stewart
REUTERS / CHICAGO

NATO leaders sought on Sunday to dispel fears of a rush for the exits in Afghanistan even as the Western alliance met to chart a path out of an unpopular war that has dragged on for more than a decade.

President Barack Obama, who once called the Afghan conflict a “war of necessity” but is now looking for an orderly way out, hosted the NATO summit in his home town, Chicago, a day after major industrialized nations tackled a European debt crisis that threatens the global economy.

The shadow cast by fiscal pressures in Europe and elsewhere followed leaders from Obama’s presidential retreat in Maryland to the talks on Afghanistan, an unwelcome weight on countries mindful of growing public opposition to a costly war that has not defeated the Taliban in nearly 11 years.

Obama, hoping an Afghan exit strategy will help shore up his chances for re-election in November, said the summit would ratify a “broad consensus” for gradually turning over security responsibility to Afghan forces and pulling out most of the 130,000 NATO troops by the end of 2014.

But the Chicago talks faced undercurrents of division, especially with France’s new President Francois Hollande now planning to remove its troops by the end of 2012, two years before the alliance’s timetable.

Seeking to paper over differences, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed confidence the alliance would “maintain solidarity within our coalition,” despite France’s decision.

“There will be no rush for the exits,” Rasmussen told reporters. “We will stay committed to our operation in Afghanistan and see it through to a successful end.”

But signaling tensions over the issue, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters: “We went into Afghanistan together, we want to leave Afghhanistan together.”

Obama, meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the sidelines of the summit, said the meeting would agree on a “vision post-2014 in which we have ended our combat role, the Afghan war as we understand it is over, but our commitment to friendship and partnership with Afghanistan continues.”

Standing next to Obama, Karzai thanked Americans for “your taxpayer money” and said his country looked forward to the day it is “no longer a burden” on the international community. Karzai’s government has been widely criticized for rampant corruption.

Karzai’s comments underscored the political bind that Obama and other Western leaders face in underwriting a unpopular war effort and the build-up of Afghan forces during a time of budget austerity at home.

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Syrian troops clash with rebels in Damascus; militant group claims blasts, vows more

Heavy fighting was reported during the night between regime soldiers and rebels in other parts of Damascus province, the Observatory said. (File photo)

By Al Arabiya with Agencies

Syrian forces ambushed and killed nine army deserters near a north Damascus suburb as fighting between armed rebels and troops raged around the capital during the night, a monitoring group said Monday, as a militant group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in eastern Syria last week vowed to continue launching attacks.

The deserters were killed as they were retreating under cover of darkness from the village of Jisr al-Ab near Damascus’s Duma suburb, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, according to AFP.

On Sunday, at least 60 people were killed across Syria, including 40 in an assault by regime forces on a village in central Hama province, Al Arabiya reported.

The watchdog had on Sunday reported fighting between rebels and regime troops near Duma, during which a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near a team of U.N. observers.

No one was hurt in the blast, which came as U.N. truce mission head Major General Robert Mood and peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous were leading observers around the north Damascus suburb.

Syrian soldiers who were on the spot have attributed the blast to an RPG rocket but U.N. observers have not commented on the nature of the explosion.

Israel army opens probe over settler shooting video

Monday, 21 May 2012

Clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus took place on Saturday afternoon. (File photo)

Clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus took place on Saturday afternoon. (File photo)

By AFP
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM

The Israeli army on Monday said it was investigating an incident that was exposed by two video clips in which troops appeared to stand by without intervening as settlers shot at Palestinians.

The shooting incident took place on Saturday afternoon during stone-throwing clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus.

The footage, which shows a Palestinian being shot by two settlers in the presence of at least three soldiers, was captured by a volunteer for the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

The apparent indifference of the soldiers was widely covered by the Israeli press.

In response, the army said troops had arrived at the scene to break up a violent confrontation in which both sides were throwing stones at each other.

“During the confrontation live fire was used; the incident is currently being investigated by the division commander,” a military statement said.

“That said, it appears that the video in question does not reflect the incident in its entirety,” it added, without elaborating.

In one of the clips, two settlers with M-16 assault rifles can be seen opening fire at a stone-thrower in a green shirt who collapses onto the ground after being hit in the head.

In the second clip from a slightly different angle, a third settler can be seen firing with a pistol towards the stone-throwers as three soldiers stand close by doing nothing.

B’Tselem filed a complaint with the police, urging them to prosecute the gunmen, and also with the military police calling for an investigation into suspicions the soldiers “did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence.”

“The video footage raises grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians,” the NGO said in a statement late on Sunday.

“The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”

 

Syrian Violence Spills Into Lebanon

Gun battles rage in Beirut

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

 

(Newser) – Don’t look now, but the Syrian conflict might not be confined to Syria anymore. Gun battles broke out in Beirut today between factions supporting and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the New York Times reports, in Lebanon’s most intense outbreak of violence since the Syrian uprising began. The fighting was eventually quelled by military intervention, but not before a pro-Syrian group had been driven out of its predominantly Sunni neighborhood, and the streets had been lined with burning cars.

The outbreak was sparked by the killing of an anti-Assad Sunni cleric at a Lebanese checkpoint, but tensions have long been simmering. Syria’s army was deployed in Lebanon for 30 years, up until 2005, and Syria still exerts a strong influence on Lebanese politics; Hezbollah, and most Shiite groups support Assad, while most Sunnis oppose him. An al-Jazeera reporter says he saw streets lined with Syrian opposition flags, and others dotted with posters of Assad.

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Articles of Interest

Shared Grief: Bereavement brings Israelis & Palestinians together

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Common grief is uniting Israelis and Palestinians who’ve lost loved ones to the long-lasting conflict between them. It’s a unique gathering of suffering parents, who want to increase understanding and bring peace closer. But their goal is all but out of reach, as RT’s Paula Slier reports.

Police gear up in Chicago as thousands join anti-NATO rallies

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Thousands of protesters have flooded Chicago ahead of a NATO summit on Sunday. A huge showdown is expected later, with police already on high alert. Around a dozen activists were arrested on the eve of the gathering – three were charged with conspiracy to cause terror. RT’s Anastasia Churkina is in Chicago.

Muslims revive old pilgrimage route via Jerusalem, angering top clerics

Monday, 21 May 2012

For centuries, Muslim pilgrims visited Jerusalem while on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

For centuries, Muslim pilgrims visited Jerusalem while on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

By DIAA HADID
The Associated Press Occupied Jerusalem

After decades of shying away from an ancient pilgrimage route, Muslims are visiting Jerusalem to pray at Islam’s third-holiest site, the revered al-Aqsa mosque.

In doing so, they find themselves caught in a disagreement between some leading Muslim clerics, who oppose such pilgrimages, and Palestinian leaders who encourage them as evidence of the city’s Muslim credentials.

Palestinians say the only Arab visitors have been officials from Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel. Recent trips here by a top Egyptian cleric and a Jordanian prince sparked angry backlashes in their home countries.

The vast majority of the pilgrims are from non-Arab countries like South Africa, Malaysia and India, where the stigma of visiting Israeli-controlled areas isn’t as powerful.

“Jerusalem is a beautiful place,” said Ali Akbar, 51, a Shiite Muslim who was visiting recently with a group of 40 pilgrims from Mumbai, India. “All Muslims should try to come to Jerusalem and pray and seek the blessings of Allah, the almighty,” Akbar said.

Muslim pilgrims began trickling back beginning around 2008 as violence between Israel and the Palestinians petered out. Palestinian tour guides, hotel operators and religious officials also attribute the increasing numbers to easier travel and rising Muslim middle classes in Asia and Western countries that can afford tickets to the Holy Land.

While Islam’s birthplace is in the Arabian peninsula, Jerusalem is intimately tied with Islam’s beginnings. Mohammed’s first followers prayed toward al-Aqsa and only later turned their prayers east to Mecca.

For centuries, Muslim pilgrims visited Jerusalem while on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, now in Saudi Arabia. Many Muslims believe visiting Jerusalem deepens the sanctity of their pilgrimage.

But that pilgrimage route was abruptly halted after Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. East Jerusalem is home to the hilltop compound housing both al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

As a result, many Muslims believe visiting the mosque would amount to recognition of Israel’s claim to the area and be inappropriate when Israel prevents many Palestinians from entering.

Those sentiments have recently softened somewhat, and an estimated 2,000 people have come over the past year. That’s a tiny percentage of the roughly 3 million visitors to Jerusalem annually, mostly Jews and Christian pilgrims — but still a sharp contrast to the almost total absence of Muslim pilgrims here for many decades.

Read Full Article Here

Syrian activists fake news on travel ban to Lebanon

A screen shot created by Syrian activists pokes fun at Syria becoming the latest country asking citizens not to travel to Lebanon. (Image taken from users on Twitter)

A screen shot created by Syrian activists pokes fun at Syria becoming the latest country asking citizens not to travel to Lebanon. (Image taken from users on Twitter)

By Al Arabiya

Soon after Kuwait issued a warning against its citizens traveling to Lebanon, due to the conflict unraveling in light of the Syrian crisis, Syrian activists followed suit by issuing their own warning.

An image of a broadcast on state TV Al Souriya showing a ticker that urges Syrians not to travel to Lebanon was widely circulated on the internet and social media forums.

The “statement” soon became the butt of jokes online, with people on Twitter calling it ironic, with some saying “look who’s talking?” while others just poked fun at the “breaking news.”

Kuwait on Monday joined other Gulf states like the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, by calling on its citizens to avoid traveling to Lebanon and asking those already in Beirut to leave after deadly clashes linked to the Syrian conflict left two people dead.

In Lebanon, gunbattles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups rocked Beirut overnight Monday, killing at least two people. The fighting came hours after Lebanese soldiers fatally shot an anti-Syrian regime cleric and his bodyguard when they failed to stop at a checkpoint.

Syrian activists often lampoon Syrian officials in videos, caricatures and now fake broadcasts.

Kuwait joins other Gulf states in issuing Lebanon travel warning

Lebanese firemen extinguish a fire set by Lebanese Sunni men at Camille Chamoun Sports City in Beirut, after overnight clashes between Sunni Muslim Future movement supporters and a pro-Syrian group in the Tariq al-Jadideh district. (Reuters)

Lebanese firemen extinguish a fire set by Lebanese Sunni men at Camille Chamoun Sports City in Beirut, after overnight clashes between Sunni Muslim Future movement supporters and a pro-Syrian group in the Tariq al-Jadideh district. (Reuters)

By AFP
Kuwait City

The Gulf state of Kuwait on Monday urged its citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon and also asked those already present there to leave after deadly clashes linked to the Syrian conflict left two people killed in Beirut.

The foreign ministry called on Kuwaitis to cancel travel plans to Lebanon “due to developments in the tense security situation.”

The ministry’s statement, carried by the official KUNA news agency, also urged Kuwaitis currently in Lebanon to leave the Arab country “for their safety.”

Kuwait’s move follows a similar decision on Saturday by its Gulf partners the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

The Kuwaiti call comes after gunbattles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups rocked Beirut overnight Monday, killing at least two people.

An office housing a small pro-Syrian party in Tareek el-Jdideh, a mainly Sunni Muslim neighborhood of west Beirut, was torched during the clashes.

The fighting erupted hours after reports that army troops had shot dead Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Wahad, a prominent anti-Syria Sunni cleric, near a checkpoint in north Lebanon on Sunday. Another cleric in the car was also killed.

Their killing followed a week of clashes between Sunnis hostile to the Syrian regime and Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that left 10 people dead in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli.

Israel planting thousands of ‘fake’ Jewish graves around Aqsa Mosque: Palestinian group

Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) said Israel has planted 3,000 “fake” Jewish graves so far around the al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) said Israel has planted 3,000 “fake” Jewish graves so far around the al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

By Al Arabiya

Israel is implanting “thousands of fake” Jewish graves in the land surrounding al-Aqsa Mosque “at the pretext of carrying out repair and maintenance works and new excavations” in a bid to lay hand on Palestinian and Islamic endowment lands, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a report on Monday.

(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)
(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

“The Israeli occupation of Jerusalem is committing a very ugly crime on Palestinian lands, on Muslim endowment lands, and that is the implanting of thousands of fake Jewish graves in this site,” Abdel Majeed Mohammad, of the Aqsa Foundation was quoted in report as saying.

(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)
(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

“What we learned from the people of Silwan is that there is limited number of Jewish graves (around Aqsa Mosque). The Israeli occupation is trying to impose a fait accomplice to control Palestinian endowment lands through implanting 3,000 graves.”

“This is the greatest paradox; on the one hand Israel bulldozes Muslim graves in Jerusalem, on the other hands it implants thousands of fake Jewish graves,” Mohammad said.

He added that thousands of Jewish tombstones were planted around the mosque to indicate graves, but underneath, there are no bodies, nor skeletons.

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[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

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

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

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

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

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Scott Walker Wages War on Women

Amanda Terkel

Scott Walker Quietly Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Article Here

 

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Economy

European stock markets rocked by panic selling as debt crisis reignites

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Article Here

 

 

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

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

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Wars and Rumors of War

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

By DAVID E. SANGER and STEVEN ERLANGER

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

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

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

Read Full Article Here

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

Mark Karlin, Truthout:

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

Read Full Article Here

Deal Reached on Contested Afghan Night Raids

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

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

Read Full Article Here

Nigeria: Fertile Ground for Balkanization

By Nile Bowie
BlacklistedNews.com


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

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

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Article Here

 

 

NAFTA Partners Take Steps to Boost Trilateral Relationship

By Dana Gabriel
BlacklistedNews.com

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

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

Read Full Article Here

 

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

Posted by

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

First Man Arrested With Drone Evidence Vows to Fight Case

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

Rodney Brossart was arrested in June.

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

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

Read Full Article Here

 

 

[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

Payola for the Most Profitable Corporations in History
And Why Taxpayers Shouldn’t Stand for It Any More

By Bill McKibben

April 06, 2012 — Along with “five dollar a gallon gas,” the energy watchword for the next few months is: “subsidies.” Last week, for instance, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez proposed ending some of the billions of dollars in handouts enjoyed by the fossil-fuel industry with a “Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act.” It was, in truth, nothing to write home about — a curiously skimpy bill that only targeted oil companies, and just the five richest of them at that. Left out were coal and natural gas, and you won’t be surprised to learn that even then it didn’t pass.

Still, President Obama is now calling for an end to oil subsidies at every stop on his early presidential-campaign-plus-fundraising blitz — even at those stops where he’s also promising to “drill everywhere.” And later this month Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a much more comprehensive bill that tackles all fossil fuels and their purveyors (and has no chance whatsoever of passing this Congress).

Whether or not the bill passes, those subsidies are worth focusing on. After all, we’re talking at least $10 billion in freebies and, depending on what you count, possibly as much as $40 billion annually in freebie cash for an energy industry already making historic profits. If attacking them is a convenient way for the White House to deflect public anger over rising gas prices, it is also a perfect fit for the new worldview the Occupy movement has been teaching Americans. (Not to mention, if you think about it, the Tea Party focus on deficits.) So count on one thing: we’ll be hearing a lot more about them this year.

Read Full Article Here

Issa, Grassley hammer White House for stonewalling on ‘Fast and Furious’ witness

By Michael Volpe

The Obama administration is stonewalling two lawmakers’ requests to interview a former member of the National Security staff in connection with the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program, according to a March 28 letter obtained by The Daily Caller.

California Rep. Darrell Issa and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, both Republicans, requested a response by April 4 to their letter, which asks for an interview with Kevin O’Reilly, that former staffer. But the White House, according to the letter, is blocking access to him.

Through staff, both Grassley and Issa confirmed to TheDC on Thursday that April 4 came and went without any response from the Obama administration.

In their letter to White House Counsel Karen Ruemmler, Grassley and Issa cited a cryptic email exchange between O’Reilly and William Newell, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at the time Fast and Furious was implemented. The emails, their letter suggests, indicate that Newell was going around his chain of command to personally brief the White House about developments in the gun-walking program.

“You didn’t get this from me,” Newell wrote to O’Reilly in a Sept. 3, 2010 email about Fast and Furious, according to the letter from Issa and Grassley.

“Just don’t want ATF HQ to find out,” Newell wrote in am earlier email, “especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you!).”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has not yet made complete copies of those emails available to reporters.

Read Full Article Here

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Economy

Greek mourners: it was not suicide, it was financial murder – video

Athenians gather in the spot where a 77-year-old man shot himself dead over debts on Wednesday and a woman reads the man’s suicide letter to the crowd. Later in the evening the vigil turns to chaos when riot police use teargas on protesters. Mourners say the police attacks were unprovoked

View video Here

Ireland: Bailed Out Banks are in Process of Going Bust Again

By David McWilliam

April 06, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Ernest Hemingway was once asked how did he go bankrupt. The great man thought for a second and then replied: “I went bankrupt in two ways, gradually and then suddenly.”

When we see the figures coming from the various banks, it is not difficult to see that something similar is happening in Ireland. Whether the banks end up bust again, the second time in three years, will depend on how the ECB reacts but it looks like the banks, having been bailed out and having received huge government capital injections, could now be in the process of going bust.

As Mr Hemingway observed, people and entities go bust gradually, at first — this is the phase we are in. Then they go bust overnight. History suggests that after that happens, the economy will recover because we have to start again.

Interestingly, the reason that the banks might be going bust gradually is because the ECB is giving them money at 1pc so that they can mask the inconsistencies in their business model for another year or two. But when that money runs out or the ECB’s policy reverses, which it must eventually, where will they get the cash to operate?

Read Full Article Here

U.S. Standard of Living Has Fallen More Than 50%

By Jeff Nielson

April 06, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — In writing about the relentless collapse of Western economies, I frequently point to “forty years of plummeting wages” for Western workers, in real dollars. However, where I have been remiss is in quantifying the magnitude of this collapse in Western wages.

On several occasions I have glibly referred to how it now takes two spouses working to equal the wages of a one-income family of forty years ago. Unfortunately that is now an understatement. In fact, Western wages have plummeted so low that a two-income family is now (on average) 15% poorer than a one-income family of 40 years ago.

Using the year 2000 as the numerical base from which to “zero” all of the numbers, real wages peaked in 1970 at around $20/hour. Today the average worker makes $8.50 hour – more than 57% less than in 1970. And since the average wage directly determines the standard of living of our society, we can see that the average standard of living in the U.S. has plummeted by over 57% over a span of 40 years.

There are no “tricks” here. Indeed, all of the tricks are used by our governments. The green line shows average wages, discounted by inflation calculated with the same methodology for all 40 years. Obviously that is the only way in which we can compare any data over time: through applying identical parameters to it each year.

Then we have the blue line: showing wage data discounted with our “official” inflation rate. The problem? The methodology used by our governments to calculate inflation in 1975 was different from the method they used in 1985, which was different than the method they used in 1995, which was different than the method they used in 2005.

Read Full Article Here

Only 120,000 jobs added in March, missing economic expectations

By Vicki Needham

The economy added 120,000 jobs in March, well below what economists had predicted, while the unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 8.2 percent.

The number is nearly half the 210,000 expected and ends the streak of three straight months in which the economy added more than 200,000 jobs, according to a Labor Department report released Friday.

The news isn’t what the White House would want to see just as the labor market seemed to be improving at a faster pace.

With the economy remaining a top issue for voters, any perception that its growth is slowing down could hurt President Obama’s reelection effort.

Republicans immediately pounced on the news, attacking Obama’s economic policies.

Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, used the numbers to criticize the president.

Read Full Article Here

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Wars and Rumors of War

We want war, and we want it now

By Pepe Escobar

It was deep into the night, somewhere over Siberia, in a Moscow to Beijing flight (BRIC to BRIC?) when the thought, like a lightning bolt, began to take hold.

What the hell is wrong with those Arabs?

Maybe it was the narcotic effect of that perennially dreadful Terminal F at Sheremetyevo airport – straight out of a Brejnev gulag. Maybe it was the anticipation of finding more about the Russia-China joint naval exercise scheduled for late April.

Or it was simply another case of “you can take the boy out of the Middle East, but you can’t take the Middle East out of the boy”.

With friends like these … It all had to do with that Friends of Syria (fools for war?) meeting in Istanbul. Picture Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal – who seems to have a knack for sending US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into rapture – feverishly arguing that the House of Saud, those paragons of democracy, had “a duty” to weaponize the Syrian “revolutionary” opposition.

And picture al-Faisal ordering an immediate ceasefire by the Bashar al-Assad government, guilty – according to the House of Saud – not only of cruel repression but crimes against humanity.

No; this was not a Monty Python sketch.

To make sure he was milking the right cow, al-Faisal also said that the Gulf Counter-revolution Club (GCC), also known as Gulf Cooperation Council, wanted to get further into bed with the United States. Translation, if any was needed; the US-GCC tag team, as expressed by the weaponization of the Syrian “rebels”, is meant to body slam Iran…..

Read Full Article Here

U.S. trained terror group

By Glenn Greenwald

When the U.S. wants to fund, train, arm or otherwise align itself with a Terrorist group or state sponsor of Terror — as it often does — it at least usually has the tact to first remove them from its formal terrorist list (as the U.S. did when it wanted to support Saddam in 1982 and work with Libya in 2006), or it just keeps them off the list altogether despite what former Council on Foreign Relations writer Lionel Beehner described as “mounds of evidence that [they] at one time or another abetted terrorists” (as it has done with close U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, along with the El Salvadoran death squads and Nicaraguan contras armed and funded in the 1980s by the Reagan administration). But according to a new, multi-sourced report from The New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh, the U.S. did not even bother going through those motions when, during the Bush years, it trained the Iranian dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) at a secretive Department of Energy site in Nevada:

It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. . . . The M.E.K.’s ties with Western intelligence deepened after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003, and JSOC began operating inside Iran in an effort to substantiate the Bush Administration’s fears that Iran was building the bomb at one or more secret underground locations. Funds were covertly passed to a number of dissident organizations, for intelligence collection and, ultimately, for anti-regime terrorist activities. Directly, or indirectly, the M.E.K. ended up with resources like arms and intelligence. Some American-supported covert operations continue in Iran today, according to past and present intelligence officials and military consultants.

Read Full Article Here

Babar Ahmad: This interview is the last chance of ending my nightmare

Uploaded by StoptheWarCoalition on Apr 6, 2012

On 5 April 2012, Barbar Ahmad became the first prisoner in a British jail to be interviewed on television from behind bars in this BBC broadcast. He has been held for eight years in a UK jail without charge or trial, during which time he has been fighting extradition to the United States under controversial “war on terror” legislation. If he has done anything wrong, as a British citizen he asks that he be tried in his own country. MP Caroline Lucas, who has called for a public inquiry, says, “Babar Ahmad’s case shames us all.” To learn more about Babar Ahmad’s case, go to http://freebabarahmad.com

Kurdish opposition quits Syrian National Council

By Lauren Williams
The Daily Star

ISTANBUL: The Syrian Kurdish opposition bloc has walked away from the Syrian National Council, exposing deep and problematic rifts within the umbrella opposition group just days after international leaders granted the body extra recognition after attempts to unify.

Syrian Kurdish opposition leader Abdul-Baki Yousef, a leading member of the Kurdish Yakiti party in Syria and former member of the Kurdish National Council, charged host country Turkey with “pressuring the SNC” to omit the demands of the Kurdish opposition members in the final constitution document outlining a transition plan for Syria.

The fiercely divided SNC pulled the document together at the last minute under pressure to unite from the “Friends of Syria” group.

The Friends group – which includes Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Gulf states – recognized the SNC as “a legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” falling well short of the recognition as the legal government in exile they had hoped for after the first Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis in February.

“Our goal was to unify with the opposition and come up with a patriotic agreement that makes an umbrella for the whole opposition, but unfortunately the Turkish sponsor was very sensitive toward the Kurdish issue,” Yousef told The Daily Star. “We accuse the Turkish government of putting pressure on the council.”

Yousef said that negotiations ahead of the conference had outlined recognition of the Kurds, but claimed that those points had been removed in the final covenant.

Read Full Article Here

‘US to accept civilian nuke program in Iran’

President Obama signals Iran that US would endorse nuclear program if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs up claim that Islamic Republic won’t purse atom bomb, US paper reports

Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama

has signaled Tehran that the Washington would accept an civilian nuclear program in Iran if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons,” the Washington Post reported Friday.

According to the report, the verbal message was sent through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met with Khamenei last week. A few days prior to leaving for the trip, Erdogan held a two-hour meeting with Obama on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in Seoul, in which they discussed what the Turkish leader would tell Khamenei about the nuclear issue.

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

Our Men in Iran?

Posted by Seymour M. Hersh

From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.

It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. The M.E.K. had its beginnings as a Marxist-Islamist student-led group and, in the nineteen-seventies, it was linked to the assassination of six American citizens. It was initially part of the broad-based revolution that led to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran. But, within a few years, the group was waging a bloody internal war with the ruling clerics, and, in 1997, it was listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. In 2002, the M.E.K. earned some international credibility by publicly revealing—accurately—that Iran had begun enriching uranium at a secret underground location. Mohamed ElBaradei, who at the time was the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring agency, told me later that he had been informed that the information was supplied by the Mossad. The M.E.K.’s ties with Western intelligence deepened after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003, and JSOC began operating inside Iran in an effort to substantiate the Bush Administration’s fears that Iran was building the bomb at one or more secret underground locations. Funds were covertly passed to a number of dissident organizations, for intelligence collection and, ultimately, for anti-regime terrorist activities. Directly, or indirectly, the M.E.K. ended up with resources like arms and intelligence. Some American-supported covert operations continue in Iran today, according to past and present intelligence officials and military consultants.

Read Full Article Here

Leaked Video Shows US Contractors Randomly Killing Civilians

Employees of the US military contracting group Academi (formerly Xe, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) are seen in new leaked video shooting their machine guns at random while driving through the streets of Baghdad, crashing into other cars and even running over a pedestrian without hesitation.

Academi received a $250 million contract by the Obama administration to provide military services in Afghanistan.

Read Full Article Here

More  Videos  Here

Guilty Of Telling The Truth

20-Year Veteran to Face Jail Time for Act of Civil Disobedience

Retired Naval Commander Leah Bolger will appear in court Thursday, April 12, 2012 on charges stemming from her arrest on October 26th, 2011. Bolger, who is a peace activist and the President of Veterans For Peace, interrupted a public hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly known as the Super Committee.

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[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

Secret justice plan crumbles: Clegg says he’ll block it, report by MPs and peers damns it and now ministers are close to a U-turn

By James Chapman, Political Editor

Plans for a huge extension of ‘secret justice’ are close to ruin after Nick Clegg warned the Prime Minister he cannot support them as they stand… The Daily Mail has led criticism of Government plans to allow so-called ‘closed material procedures’, in which cases are conducted behind closed doors, in any civil or inquest hearing. Defendants or claimants will not be allowed to be present, know or challenge the case against them and must be represented by a security-cleared special advocate rather than their own lawyer. The procedure is currently used in tiny numbers of immigration and deportation hearings, but the Green Paper proposes giving ministers sweeping powers to order closed hearings whenever they feel the public interest is threatened.

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DOJ must explain Obama healthcare remarks

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to write a letter describing the administration’s position on the judiciary’s power to overturn laws. A judge on the three-judge 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the department to provide a letter of “at least three pages, single-spaced, no less,” detailing the department’s understanding of the judiciary’s power to overturn unconstitutional laws by noon CDT Thursday, a United Press International review of an audio recording of the oral arguments indicated. Judge Jerry Smith, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, ordered the department Tuesday to make sure the letter specifically address comments President Barack Obama made Monday that he was “confident” the Supreme Court would not “take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step” of overturning the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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As justices weigh healthcare decision, lawmakers bolster high court security

By Debbie Siegelbaum

As Congress continues to look for ways to cut costs to lower the national deficit, one place where lawmakers are refusing to scrimp is security for the Supreme Court.

Congressional appropriators ponied up nearly $1 million in fiscal 2012 to hire 12 new Supreme Court police officers after justices reported receiving a significant number of threats.

Security for the high court has been back in the news as the justices deliberate whether President Obama’s healthcare law is constitutional. Supporters and critics of the healthcare overhaul held protests in front of the Supreme Court last week.

In April 2010, Justice Clarence Thomas told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the court required greater security due to the “volume” of threats it receives, claiming that its security personnel ideally wanted 24 new officers.

Thomas said he recognized the ongoing fiscal constraints the government was operating under, however, and sought funding for 12 officers.

But the funds Thomas requested for new officers were not allocated in fiscal 2011, according to Court Public Information Officer Kathleen Arberg. During fiscal 2012 budget hearings the following year, Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy reiterated the need for additional court security.

“We have eight acres of grounds which have to be protected, and a number of our officers now have to spend time learning about cybersecurity threats and so forth,” Kennedy told lawmakers in April 2011.

“We need — actually, our people said we needed 25, and the chief justice and the staff went over it — and we can live with the 12 [additional officers],” he added. “We do consider the 12 urgent.”

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First DC lobbying firm to sign with Libyan rebels is rewarded with new contract

By Kevin Bogardus

The first Washington firm to sign up with the Libyan rebels during the successful revolution against Moammar Gadhafi will no longer be working for free.

The Harbour Group has signed a new $15,000-per-month contract with the Embassy of Libya, according to documents the firm has filed with the Justice Department. The agreement is set to run from March 1 to the end of the year.

Richard Mintz, managing director of the public-relations firm, told The Hill that he and others at the firm are eager to help Libya transition toward democracy.

“We are proud to have played a modest role in helping the Libyan opposition to replace 40 years of dictatorial rule. Now we look forward to supporting free Libyans in their democratic transition,” Mintz said.

Harbour Group first signed with the Libyan National Transitional Council in April of 2011.

The firm worked on a pro-bono basis for the council over the past year. It helped organize visits to Washington for council leaders and contacted think tanks and media on the council’s behalf.

The firm helped support Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib’s trip to Washington last month, where he met with President Obama, and is also working on having U.S. business delegations visit Libya.

The new contract supersedes the agreement the Harbour Group signed last year with the council.

“The Harbour Group is pleased to have been able to volunteer its services to the Libyan National Transitional Council and the Embassy of Libya for the last year in its historic efforts to establish democracy in Libya and to build new and important bridges to the United States. We welcome the opportunity to respond to your request to present this scope of services and budget to support the Embassy of Libya’s public diplomacy and communications efforts in 2012,” the contract says.

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Economy

Republicans See No Rush to Fill $4.6 Trillion Blank in Tax Plan

By Richard Rubin

U.S. House Republicans just passed a budget that would require eliminating $4.6 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade. They’re in no rush to show which benefits they would cut.

Republicans cite political wariness during an election campaign, slim prospects for an agreement with President Barack Obama and a lack of consensus within their own party for their reluctance to say before November whether they would drop popular items such as the home mortgage interest deduction to make up for lower tax rates.
Republicans See No Rush to Fill $4.6 Trillion Blank in Tax Plan

A House Budget Committee member holds a copy of the House fiscal year 2013 budget during a news conference in Washington. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

“The president and the Senate would love for us to do that, because they would release every special interest group they could get onto us and say, ‘Go sic ‘em,’” said Representative James Lankford, a freshman Republican from Oklahoma on the Budget Committee. Lawmakers need to “let Americans start talking about what does that really mean, which deductions are appropriate and what’s not appropriate.”

When House Republicans return from a two-week recess in mid-April, they will begin planning sessions on details of their tax overhaul. Because prospects for a tax rewrite are dim before the election, they also will discuss dozens of tax breaks that ended in December and begin crafting a strategy for extending the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts that expire at the end of this year.

The budget that passed the House 228-191 on March 29 with no Democratic support would replace the six individual tax brackets — and the 35 percent top rate — with two brackets at 10 percent and 25 percent. The alternative minimum tax would be repealed. The corporate tax rate would drop to 25 percent from 35 percent.

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Wars and Rumors of War

US Mercenary “Took Part” in Gaddafi Killing; Sent to Assist Syrian opposition

By: Yazan al-Saadi

US government officials requested that an American private security firm contact Syrian opposition figures in Turkey to see “how they can help in regime change,” the CEO of one of these firms told Stratfor in a company email obtained by WikiLeaks and Al-Akhbar.

James F. Smith, former director of Blackwater, is currently the Chief Executive of SCG International, a private security firm with experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. In what appears to be his first email to Stratfor, Smith stated that his “background is CIA” and his company is comprised of “former DOD [Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”

“We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection,” he explained to Stratfor. (doc-id 5441475)

In a 13 December 2011 email to Stratfor’s VP for counter-terrorism Fred Burton, which Burton shared with Stratfor’s briefers, Smith claimed that “[he] and Walid Phares were getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.”

Walid Phares, named by the source as part of the “fact finding team,” is a Lebanese-American citizen and currently co-chairs Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Middle East advisory group.

In a profile of Walid Phares published in Salon, As’ad AbuKhalil details Phares’ history with right-wing militias during the Lebanese civil war.

Sue Myrick, who allegedly was providing “air cover” for the “fact finding team”, is a Republican Congresswoman from North Carolina who has a track record of extremist pro-zionist and anti-Islamic views.

These include leading the charge against Dubai Ports World’s attempt to buy major American ports in 2006 – labeling the Islamic Society of North America as a group of “radical jihadists” – and demanding that former President Jimmy Carter’s citizenship be revoked for daring to meet with Hamas leaders in 2008.

Currently, Myrick is a member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a congressional committee charged with overseeing the American intelligence community, and is also involved with the Department of Defense and the US military.

In his email, the “true mission” for the “fact finding” team, Smith told Burton, was how “they can help in regime change.”……..

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The US is arming the Gulf. Against whom?

Volkhonsky Boris

On Saturday, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on her visit to Saudi Arabia, attended the first Strategic Cooperation Forum between the U.S. and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The six countries comprising the GCC are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

The most important outcome of the session on Saturday was the decision to establish a common missile defense shield against Iran.

Now, the issue is really worth looking deeper into.

At first sight, establishing a missile defense shield in the Gulf area seems at least a little bit more logical than establishing a similar shield in Poland, Czech Republic, Romania or elsewhere in Eastern Europe. That is, if the shield is really targeted at a possible threat coming from Iran.

On the other hand, a decision to launch such kind of a shield at this particular moment, when it is Iran’s turn to be scared of a possible attack – be it from the U.S. or from Israel – breaks the above logic. But the logic is restored when we look at the problem from another angle.

In fact, for any unbiased outside observer it became clear a long time ago that the real purpose of the whole U.S. activity around Iran is not aimed at diverting any kind of threat, either nuclear or missile. The real purpose is regime change. And this explains both the U.S.’ desire to overthrow Iran’s last remaining ally – the Assad regime in Syria, and the close relationship with the Gulf monarchies.

Against the background of the U.S. crackdown on Assad, Ms. Hillary’s references to democracy at the Saturday’s Forum seem ridiculous. She expressed “regret” about the UAE’s March 28 raid on the offices of several foreign pro-democracy groups, including a U.S. organization, the National Democratic Institute.

Also, if we remember the events of spring 2011 in Bahrain, when the ruling Sunni regime launched a bloody crackdown of Shiite protesters, the case went almost unnoticed in the U.S. The reason was that Bahrain serves as one of the most important bases for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Definitely, other Gulf monarchies can hardly be called exemplary democracies. But it’s OK with the U.S. when it comes to protecting them against Iran.

The question is who is to benefit? On the one hand, it gives the U.S. new opportunities for selling their weapons to the stalwarts of democracy in the Gulf region. But, on the other hand, one cannot get rid of the impression that the whole wave of the so called “revolutions” in the Middle East initiated in Tunisia in December 2010 and having Iran as its ultimate aim serves the interests of only one geopolitical player in the region – that is Saudi Arabia with its satellites.

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Taliban claim downing American chopper in east Afghanistan

The Taliban say they have shot down an American helicopter in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Ghazni, Press TV reports. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed on Monday that at least 14 US soldiers were killed after the chopper was downed in Andar district on Sunday. He said that the militants targeted the helicopter with an “82mm rocket.”

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Articles of Interest

ICC rejects Palestinian bid to investigate Israeli war crimes during ‘Cast Lead’ Gaza operation

International Criminal Court in The Hague says reason for decision is that Palestine is currently recognized by the United Nations as an ‘observer,’ not a ‘Non-member State’.

By Barak Ravid

The International Criminal Court prosecutor announced Tuesday that he has rejected a bid by the Palestinian Authority to have the war crimes tribunal investigate Israeli conduct during ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in Gaza.

The reason for his decision was that under the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, only internationally recognized states can join the court.

In an official statement released Tuesday afternoon, the ICC said that “the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non‐member State”,” and that only “relevant bodies at the United Nations” or the group of states that make up the court could determine whether Palestinians can sign up to the Rome Statute.

“[T]he Office has assessed that it is for the relevant bodies at the United Nations or the Assembly of States Parties to make the legal determination whether Palestine qualifies as a State for the purpose of acceding to the Rome Statute and thereby enabling the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court,” the statement said. “The Rome Statute provides no authority for the Office of the Prosecutor to adopt a method to define the term “State””.

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[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

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

Few Minds Are Changed by Arguments in Court

By Susan Saulny, The New York Times News Service | Report

The morning arguments before the Supreme Court had grown tense just as the lunch crowd was packing into the food court at a downtown Atlanta office complex to watch news coverage of the hearing.

Over a meal of fast food, Bebee Dillard, a cleaning business owner, could not have been more pleased with the conservative justices, who were asking tough questions about the constitutionality of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the law intended to overhaul the nation’s health system. Ms. Dillard objected to the individual mandate — the central provision of the law that requires most Americans to obtain health insurance — and was pleased by the adversarial nature of the arguments.

“It’s the idea of being forced to do anything,” Ms. Dillard, 47, told a reporter……

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District Court Permanently Blocks Oklahoma Ultrasound Law, Expect A Supreme Court Battle

By Robin Marty, RH Reality Check | Report

The 10th Circuit Federal Court has just issued a permanent injunction on a 2010 Oklahoma law that would require all women terminating their pregnancies to first undergo a mandatory ultrasound. The news, which is no doubt welcome to the women in and around Oklahoma who will no longer have to endure the added financial stress and emotional pressure of an unwanted, medically-unnecessary ultrasound, also sets up what is likely to be the next big battle — this time, before the Supreme Court……

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Can the Brics create a new world order?

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa seek a multipolar world – but some argue they’re bound by anti-Americanism

Today’s one-day annual summit of the so-called Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – has received scant attention in the west. That may be because the grouping has achieved little in concrete terms since its inception in 2009. Critics deride it as a photo-op and talking shop.

But this neglect, or disdain, may also reflect the fact that the Brics, representing almost half the world’s population and about one-fifth of global economic output, pose an unwelcome challenge to the established world order as defined by the US-dominated UN security council, the IMF and the World Bank. The truth of the matter probably lies somewhere in-between. The five national leaders – presidents Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, Hu Jintao of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa and their host in Delhi, India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh – are not noted for iconoclastic radicalism.

Rousseff has been the most outspoken, insisting that developing countries must be protected from the global “tsunami” of cheap money, unleashed by the US and the EU in the wake of the financial crisis, that was rendering their exports less competitive. “We will defend our industry and prevent the methods developed countries use to escape from crisis resulting in the cannibalisation of emerging markets,” she said this month…..

Read Full Article Here

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Economy

UK fuel-tanker drivers won’t strike over Easter

LONDON (AP) — A union representing British fuel tanker drivers on Friday ruled out the threat of strikes over Easter which had led to some panic-buying in parts of the country.

Unite, which represents around 2,000 tanker drivers, said it retains the right to call a strike if talks due to start next week break down.

The move came after the government had warned consumers to stock up at the pump ahead of any threatened strike, sending gasoline sales soaring as lines formed at gas stations.

In some parts of England the lines were so long that police ordered stations to close to ease congestion.

Britain’s Petrol Retailers Association said that gasoline sales were up more than 170 percent on Thursday, while diesel sales were up almost 80 percent…….

Read Full Article Here

Amidst the Deepest Slump since the Great Depression, Obama is Touting an “Economic Recovery”

by Barry Grey

While the United States remains mired in the deepest slump since the Great Depression, President Barack Obama is touting a modest improvement in employment over the past several months to boost his electoral prospects in November.

The three-month period from December through February has, according to the Labor Department, seen a net gain of 744,000 jobs, the largest for any three-month stretch since 2006. The official jobless rate has fallen from 9.1 percent in September to 8.3 percent in February.

It is necessary to place these gains within the context of the catastrophic collapse in employment that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008, which has left the US economy with 5 million fewer jobs than at the official start of the recession in December 2007. At the height of the crash, US businesses were cutting more than 744,000 jobs every month.

While the US economy added 335,000 net new manufacturing jobs in 2010 and 2011 combined, it lost 1.6 million manufacturing jobs between January 2008 and March 2009, a reduction of 10 percent. The current level of 12 million manufacturing jobs is down 7.5 million from its peak in 1979.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking Monday at a business conference in Washington DC, was notably cautious about the recent upturn in employment figures. He suggested that the improvement in the labor market could not be sustained at the current rate of economic growth.

“A significant portion of the improvement in the labor market has reflected a decline in layoffs rather than an increase in hiring,” he said, adding, “Conditions remain far from normal, as shown, for example, by the high level of long-term unemployment and the fact that jobs and hours remain well below pre-crisis peaks, even without adjusting for growth in the labor force.”

What Obama and his supporters in the trade union apparatus conceal is the basis for the modest growth in jobs in general, and manufacturing jobs in particular. The president hinted at the question when he spoke last month at the Master Lock factory in Milwaukee. “Our job as a nation,” he declared, “is to do everything we can to make the decision to insource more attractive for more companies.”….

Read Full Article Here

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Wars and Rumors of War

USS Enterprise Prepares To Cross Suez Canal, Days Away From Anchor In Arabian Sea

Much noise has been emanating out of Israel vis-a-vis its Iranian intentions, with some opinions suggesting an attack is imminent, while others claiming that Israel will ultimately defer to D.C., and postpone an attack, and the eventual gasoline price shock, until after the election. The truth is nobody but a few select generals, knows: in warfare surprise is the key factor, so outright flashing invasion intentions is usually an indicator of just the opposite. That said, the most recent update that Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to its airbases along the Iran border is hardly encouraging for Nobel peace prize winners and other pacifists. Yet as we have been claiming for the past two weeks, ever since the launch of CVN-65 on its last tour of duty, the true catalyst, if any, will be the arrival of the USS Enterprise at what may well be its last place of anchor – somewhere in the Arabian Sea, just off the side of CVN 70 and CVN 72 both of which are patrolling the Straits of Hormuz. And as the map from Stratfor below shows, the Enterprise is about to cross the Suez Canal, from which point it will be at most days from entering its catalyst location, namely supporting the Israel air force. Just because the US has never had 3 concurrent aircraft carriers in proximity to Iran before…….

Read Full Article Here

Drone strikes in Yemen soar as U.S. stokes ‘secret war’

America has dramatically stepped up its “secret war” in Yemen with the U.S. ordering dozens of drone attacks on al-Qaida hotspots, which have also killed scores of civilians.

With the backing of Yemen’s fragile government, President Barack Obama has authorized a rapid increase in attacks since last May, with 26 incidents recorded.

The pace appears to be accelerating, with nine attacks so far this year and at least five this month, including a strike last week near the terrorist hotbed of Zinjibar. Up to 30 militants were killed in three separate missile strikes on the town, witnesses said.

Nationwide the figures are comparable to those in Pakistan, where America has struck on 10 occasions this year, despite a fierce public reaction.

Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at London’s City University has found that as many as 516 people have been killed in the Yemen attacks – mostly suspected members of al-Qaida’s local ally al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). As many as 104 were civilians……

Read Full Article Here

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Cyber Space

Microsoft censoring Windows Live Messenger chats under guise of fighting piracy

By Madison Ruppert

Piracy seems to be the favorite excuse nowadays when it comes to censorship, destroying internet freedom, and even absurdly large domestic digital surveillance operations.

Now Microsoft, one of the world’s largest corporations in the technology sector, has been actively monitoring and censoring conversations on their Windows Live Messenger program.

Even more disturbing, Microsoft now admits that they have been censoring conversations between users on Windows Live Messenger for quite a while now.

They are blocking certain links from being shared between users, one of which includes the Pirate Bay, one of the most popular and well-known file sharing websites on earth.

Interestingly, they are not only blocking the torrent tracker section of the website which enables peer-to-peer file sharing, they are also blocking a page which is devoted to completely legal file sharing.

Recently popular file sharing news site Torrent Freak discovered the block lists being used by Windows Live Messenger. Interestingly, they found that the Pirate Bay was blocked by the messenger service while other torrent tracking websites which offer the exact same copyrighted content were not.

Today Raw Story discovered that in addition to the Pirate Bay’s main page, Microsoft is also blocking something called “The Promo Bay.”

Read Full Article Here

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Articles of Interest

Patent awarded for “behavioral recognition” surveillance software system

Madison Ruppert, Contributor
Activist Post

The American surveillance state is becoming increasingly advanced, expansive and capable of processing huge amounts of data at blinding speeds.

Now Behavioral Recognition Systems, Inc., also known as BRS Labs, has developed an artificial intelligence-based system which supposedly can automatically recognize human behavior.

Technology which seems similar on the surface already exists and is being used on surveillance platforms like the “Intellistreets” street lights. These street lights, which are outfitted with a great deal of surveillance equipment, are reportedly capable of monitoring activity and telling the difference between certain behaviors while also being able to tell the difference between humans and animals. This technology could be used to enforce curfews, track the movement of individuals, and supposedly spot fights and other crimes…..

Read Full Article Here

Robotic Sand Flea Jumps 30 Feet

Analysis by Jesse Emspak

……The Sand Flea — along with the throwable Scout XT robot — is headed to Afghanistan, where it will be tested in real-world conditions.

Afghanistan is becoming a hotbed of robotic soldiering, as thousands have already been deployed there. The numbers are even higher when one considers the unmanned aerial vehicles used. Land-bound robots do things like bomb disposal and reconnaissance, reducing the risk to the troops in the field.

Read Full Article Here

Read the FBI Memo: Agents Can ‘Suspend the Law’

By Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman

The FBI once taught its agents that they can “bend or suspend the law” as they wiretap suspects. But the bureau says it didn’t really mean it, and has now removed the document from its counterterrorism training curriculum, calling it an “imprecise” instruction. Which is a good thing, national security attorneys say, because the FBI’s contention that it can twist the law in pursuit of suspected terrorists is just wrong.

“Dismissing this statement as ‘imprecise’ is a rather unsatisfying response given the very precise lines Congress and the courts have repeatedly drawn between what is and is not permissible, even in counterterrorism cases, over the past decade,” Steve Vladeck, a national-security law professor at American University, says. “It might technically be true that the FBI has certain authorities when conducting counterterrorism investigations that the Constitution otherwise forbids, but that’s good only so far as it goes.”….

Read Full Article Here

See Image of Memo Here

Politics and Legislation

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

By Erik Wasson and Russell Berman

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

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

Kony resolution catches on in Senate

By Carlo Munoz

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

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

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

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

Senate to vote on bill killing oil tax breaks

By Andrew Restuccia

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

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

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

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

Senate passes House GOP’s JOBS Act

By Josiah Ryan

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

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

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

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

By Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese Security Chief Lost Power Struggle in Coup

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Judge Okays Flag Desecration

By toddstarnes

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

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

Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The field of social medicine seeks to:

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

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

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

Wars and Rumors of War

Ex-FBI informant on terror traps:

‘There is no real hunt. It’s fixed’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environmental

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

By Rady Ananda
Food Freedom

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

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

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

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

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

Cyber Space

Sarkozy: Jail those who browse terror websites

By RAPHAEL SATTER

PARIS

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

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

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

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

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

Activism

Paramilitary-Style Police Detain And Search Individuals From Occupy Miami

Summary of post by James Cox

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

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

Dozens arrested in Vermont Yankee protest

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

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

Radiation

The Rage Against Radiation

by Zen Gardner

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

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

All the right stuff.

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

Misc

Marine facing dismissal over Obama criticism

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

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

Politics

 

The Hill: Specter says Obama ditched him after he provided 60th vote to pass health law

By Alexander Bolton

Former Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) writes in a new book that President Obama ditched him in the 2010 election after he helped Obama win the biggest legislative victory of his term by passing healthcare reform.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/215379-specter-says-obama-ditched-him-after-he-provided-60th-vote-to-pass-health-law

The Hill: Opinion: Moderation out of fashion on Capitol Hill

By Juan Williams

Even as more Americans identify themselves as independents — not Democrats or Republicans — there is a painfully sharp decline in moderate and independent voices in both houses of Congress.

http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/juan-williams/215377-moderation-out-of-fashion-on-capitol-hill

 

The Hill: Tea Party groups pressure House GOP leaders to rev up Fast and Furious probe

By Jordy Yager

Local Tea Party activists are pressing House Republican leaders to pursue their investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun-tracking effort more aggressively.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/215363-tea-party-steps-up-heat-on-house-gop-leaders-over-fast-and-furious-probe

 

The Wall Street Journal: GOP loses sure grip on some Senate seats

By Janet Hook

Republicans’ campaign to win control of the Senate this year— once seen as an smooth drive down a broad path—has hit some unexpected speed bumps.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304537904577275650654864484.html?mod=ITP_pageone_2

 

The New York Times: Health care act offers Roberts a signature case

By Adam Liptak

Considered likely to join the Supreme Court majority either way the case is decided, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may never encounter a more important ruling.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/us/health-care-act-offers-roberts-a-signature-case.html?_r=1&ref=politics

 

Russia Boots out Biggest NGO – Paper

Russian Justice Initiative (RJI), Russia’s largest foreign non-governmental organization providing legal assistance to Russians in the European Court of Human Rights, was excluded from the list of authorized NGOs, the Kommersant daily said on Monday.
Since 2001, Russian Justice Initiative won about 10 million euros (almost $13 million) in Strasbourg Court actions on complaints from residents of Chechnya. In late 2010, it won a record lawsuit of 1.72 million euros (about $2.3 mln) against Russia over the killing of at least 24 Chechen villagers in an operation against militants in 2000.

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120312/172109488.html

 

Economy

 

How Public Sector Layoffs Are Holding Back the Recovery

Heather Boushey, ThinkProgress:

“The current economic recovery is going well if one looks at private sector job creation. The pace of private sector job creation is slower than in the recovery from the early 1990s recession … Since early 2009, governments at all levels have shed nearly 700,000 jobs, most of them at the state and local level. Since August of 2008 state and local governments have shed a total of 647,000 workers, of which 64 percent were women workers.”

http://www.truth-out.org/how-public-sector-layoffs-are-holding-back-recovery/1331475605

Canadian Government Targeting Opponents of New Oil Sands

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News:

“As US environmental groups renew their battle against the resurrected Keystone XL oil pipeline, their counterparts in Canada are facing a deeper problem – a government campaign to limit their influence over Canada’s Northern Gateway pipeline…. As environmental groups have stepped up their campaigns against the project, key figures in the Harper administration have publicly denounced them as extremists, and a federal finance committee has announced plans to audit all of Canada’s charities.”

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120301/northern-gateway-pipeline-canada-harper-tar-oil-sands-forestethics-first-nations-charities-nonprofits-keystone-xl?page=2

 

The Hill: Dodd-Frank panel faces pushback on rules for naming vital Wall Street firms

By Peter Schroeder

Federal regulators are facing opposition from business groups as they try to develop a system to ensure that large institutions do not cause another financial crisis.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/215373-dodd-frank-panel-faces-pushback-on-rules-for-naming-vital-wall-street-firms

 

Wars and Rumors of War

The Washington Post: Amid anger over Afghan killings, U.S. faces growing public weariness on war

By Craig Whitlock and Jon Cohen

The massacre of at least 16 Afghan civilians, apparently by an American soldier, forced the Obama administration Sunday to confront yet another nightmare from the war zone and fresh evidence that patience back home is increasingly wearing thin.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/amid-anger-over-afghan-killings-us-faces-growing-public-weariness-about-war/2012/03/11/gIQAtDQ25R_story.html

Obama is also a problem

The blame for the situation in Syria does not lie with Russia alone; one of the biggest problems is also the Obama administration, which has squandered a golden opportunity to get rid of a significant obstacle to security in the region — and by extension US national security, Bashar Al-Assad.

However, it is clear that Obama is not concerned with the security of the region — even though it impacts upon international security as a whole, especially with the chaos in Syria overlooking the Mediterranean — rather Obama is preoccupied with his re-election bid.

http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article586289.ece

 

Environmental

Environmental Protection Agency Puts Greenhouse Gas Rules for Oil Refineries on Backburner

Elizabeth McGowan, InsideClimate News:

“Election-year politics, $4-a-gallon gasoline and an anti-regulatory fervor on Capitol Hill have aligned to thwart EPA’s vow to issue final carbon emissions standards for oil refineries this year…. The pullback on refineries – combined with an earlier and separate delay on regulating greenhouse gases from fossil fuel power plants – means EPA has yet to control emissions from a pair of sizable industrial sources.”

http://www.truth-out.org/epa-puts-greenhouse-gas-rules-oil-refineries-backburner/1331479260

 

One year after catastrophe, Fukushima remains a threat

While the Japanese authorities promise to get residents of Fukushima prefecture home “as soon as possible”, the crippled nuclear plant remains a danger zone. Two specialists tell FRANCE 24 why it could still explode.

http://www.france24.com/en/20120306-one-year-later-fukushima-still-threat-radiation-explosion-tepco-residents-corium

 

Misc

 

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is not authentic

Uploaded by FederalJacktube6 on Mar 8, 2012

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is not authentic.

Arpaio revealed the findings of a investigation into the president’s birth certificate at a 1 hour and 20 minute news conference Thursday, calling the certificate “suspect.”

Arpaio’s team of investigators said they found that the long-form birth certificate was created electronically and never existed in paper form.

The president’s Selective Service card was also questioned.

Arpaio’s investigators claimed the document has “failed every test we put it through.”

At Thursday’s news conference, investigators said they will request a criminal investigation. They also said they have identified a person of interest in the forgery of the birth certificate.

Arpaio said he is not accusing the president of the crime. He said they will investigate who is behind the “possible forgery and fraud.”

“I haven’t decided where to go with this yet,” Arpaio said. “I just wanted to get the facts of this situation. We haven’t accused anyone of anything.”

The controversy over the certificate has been widely debunked, but it remains alive in the eyes of some conservatives, namely members of the Tea Party who urged Arpaio to look into the matter.

For the past six months, Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse” has been investigating the authenticity of those documents to see if there’s been any fraud or forgery involved.

“We conducted a very professional investigation; we have come up with I feel some probable cause, some evidence,” Arpaio said Wednesday.

Arpaio said the investigation was done at no cost to taxpayers.

“Just let me say the results may be interesting without using the word ‘shocked,'” Arpaio said prior to the conference. “I think it will reveal some information no one else has really developed in a professional law enforcement manner.”

The Cold Case Posse comprises volunteers who are former police officers and lawyers.

Arpaio is facing problems of his own, including a federal grand jury probe over alleged abuse of power and Justice Department accusations of racial profiling.

Rather than seek cover, Arpaio is moving into the spotlight in a fashion that has helped boost his career as a nationally-known law officer. http://www.kpho.com/story/17053035/arpaio-to-reveal-results-of-birther-probe

MCSO: Obama Eligibility Cold Case Investigation (Full Press Conference) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6Qm7Idz3OY8

PROOF!!! Obama Birth Certificate Fraud http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g30VCl_cgk&feature=player_embedded

Trailblazing Journalist Mysteriously Dies Before Releasing Damaging Obama Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IldGbAWwD-I&feature=share

The Obama Deception HQ Full length version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

Thanks to http://www.youtube.com/user/NWONEWS666 for the video

 

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