Tag Archive: Stratfor


Industry consultants said anti-tar sands push could become ‘the most significant environmental campaign of the decade’ if activists were left unopposed.

Dec 5, 2013

Keystone XL oil pipeline protest

 

Thousands of protesters demonstrate in Washington D.C. against the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in February 2013. According to a 2010 Power Point presentation prepared by Strafor for industry, “activists lack influence in politics.” But letting the movement grow unopposed may bring about “the most significant environmental campaign of the decade.” Credit: Bora Chung

As environmentalists began ratcheting up pressure against Canada’s tar sands three years ago, one of the world’s biggest strategic consulting firms was tapped to help the North American oil industry figure out how to handle the mounting activism. The resulting document, published online by WikiLeaks, offers another window into how oil and gas companies have been scrambling to deal with unrelenting opposition to their growth plans.

The document identifies nearly two-dozen environmental organizations leading the anti-oil sands movement and puts them into four categories: radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists—with how-to’s for managing each. It also reveals that the worst-case scenario presented to industry about the movement’s growing influence seems to have come to life.

The December 2010 presentation by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence firm based in Texas, mostly advised oil sands companies to ignore or limit reaction to the then-burgeoning tar sands opposition movement because “activists lack influence in politics.” But there was a buried warning for industry under one scenario: Letting the movement grow unopposed may bring about “the most significant environmental campaign of the decade.”

“This worst-case scenario is exactly what has happened,” partly because opposition to tar sands development has expanded beyond nonprofit groups to include individual activists concerned about climate change, said Mark Floegel, a senior investigator for Greenpeace. “The more people in America see Superstorm Sandys or tornadoes in Chicago, the more they are waking up and joining the fight.”

[View the documents at Inside Climate News]

Since the presentation was prepared, civil disobedience and protests against the tar sands have sprung up from coast to coast. The movement has helped delay President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline—designed to funnel Canada’s landlocked oil sands crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast—and has held up another contentious pipeline in Canada, the Northern Gateway to the Pacific Coast.

The Power Point document, titled “Oil Sands Market Campaigns,” was recently made public by WikiLeaks, part of a larger release of hacked files from Stratfor, whose clients include the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry lobby. It appears to have been created for Calgary-based petroleum giant Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil sands producer.

The company told InsideClimate News that it did not hire Stratfor and never saw such a presentation. Suncor is mentioned 11 times in the document’s 35 pages and all of Stratfor’s advice seems to be directed at the energy company. For example, one slide says, “Campaign ends quickly with a resolution along the lines Suncor had wanted.” In several emails released by WikiLeaks, Stratfor employees discuss a $14,890 payment Suncor owes the company for two completed projects, though no details were provided.

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

Environmental

 

Colorado farms planning for dry spell losing auction bids for water to fracking projects

Front Range farmers bidding for water to grow crops through the coming hot summer and possible drought face new competition from oil and gas drillers. At Colorado’s premier auction for unallocated water this spring, companies that provide water for hydraulic fracturing at well sites were top bidders on supplies once claimed exclusively by farmers. The prospect of tussling with energy industry giants over water leaves some farmers and environmentalists uneasy.

Read Full Article Here

 

************************************************************************************************

Cyber Space

SOPA changes name to CISPA

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Apr 3, 2012

The latest attempt by Congress to try to regulate and control the Internet is no longer known as SOPA but CISPA: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. The SOPA-like bill would give companies the power to collect information on their subscribers and hand it over to the government and all they have to do is request it. Kendall Burman, senior national security fellow for the Center for Democracy and Technology, joins Liz Wahl to talk about what this means for online freedoms.

 

Data Mining You

How the Intelligence Community Is Creating a New American World

By Tom Engelhardt

I was out of the country only nine days, hardly a blink in time, but time enough, as it happened, for another small, airless room to be added to the American national security labyrinth. On March 22nd, Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Jr. signed off on new guidelines allowing the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a post-9/11 creation, to hold on to information about Americans in no way known to be connected to terrorism — about you and me, that is — for up to five years. (Its previous outer limit was 180 days.) This, Clapper claimed, “will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.”

Joseph K., that icon of single-lettered anonymity from Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, would undoubtedly have felt right at home in Clapper’s Washington. George Orwell would surely have had a few pungent words to say about those anodyne words “practically and effectively,” not to speak of “mission.”

For most Americans, though, it was just life as we’ve known it since September 11, 2001, since we scared ourselves to death and accepted that just about anything goes, as long as it supposedly involves protecting us from terrorists. Basic information or misinformation, possibly about you, is to be stored away for five years — or until some other attorney general and director of national intelligence think it’s even more practical and effective to keep you on file for 10 years, 20 years, or until death do us part — and it hardly made a ripple.

If Americans were to hoist a flag designed for this moment, it might read “Tread on Me” and use that classic illustration of the boa constrictor swallowing an elephant from Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. That, at least, would catch something of the absurdity of what the National Security Complex has decided to swallow of our American world.

Oh, and in those nine days abroad, a new word surfaced on my horizon, one just eerie and ugly enough for our new reality: yottabyte. Thank National Security Agency (NSA) expert James Bamford for that. He wrote a piece for Wired magazine on a super-secret, $2 billion, one-million-square-foot data center the NSA is building in Bluffdale, Utah. Focused on data mining and code-breaking and five times the size of the U.S. Capitol, it is expected to house information beyond compare, “including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails — parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter.’”

The NSA, adds Bamford, “has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net.”

Which brings us to yottabyte — which is, Bamford assures us, equivalant to septillion bytes, a number “so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.” The Utah center will be capable of storing a yottabyte or more of information (on your tax dollar).

Large as it is, that mega-project in Utah is just one of many sprouting like mushrooms in the sunless forest of the U.S. intelligence world. In cost, for example, it barely tops the $1.7 billion headquarters complex in Virginia that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, with an estimated annual black budget of at least $5 billion, built for its 16,000 employees. Opened in 2011, it’s the third-largest federal building in the Washington area. (And I’ll bet you didn’t even know that your tax dollars paid for such an agency, no less its gleaming new headquarters.) Or what about the 33 post-9/11 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work that were under construction or had already been built when Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin wrote their “Top Secret America” series back in 2010?

In these last years, while so many Americans were foreclosed upon or had their homes go “underwater” and the construction industry went to hell, the intelligence housing bubble just continued to grow. And there’s no sign that any of this seems abidingly strange to most Americans.

Read Full Article  Here

 

 

Teacher’s aide fired for refusing to hand over Facebook password

By Tecca

Kimberly Hester, a grade school teacher’s aide in Michigan, was fired for refusing to hand over her Facebook password to her supervisors. Hester posted a picture of a co-workers’ shoes and pants bunched around her ankles on Facebook in April 2011 with the caption, “Thinking of you.” She posted the picture in jest, but a parent [nutjob] who’s on her Facebook friend list saw the image and reported it to Frank Squires Elementary where Hester was employed, prompting the investigation. Teachers have gotten in trouble for Facebook status messages before, but in Hester’s case, it’s her refusal to hand over her password that actually got her fired.

Read Full Article Here

***********************************************************************************************

Radiation

 

Camera that can ‘see’ radiation will assess danger levels at stricken Fukushima nuclear reactor

‘Super-wide Angle Compton Camera’ developed for X-ray observation satellite, ASTRO-H
Scan comes as radiation detected 370 miles from plant

By Ted Thornhill

There are still dangerously high radiation levels at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor – but now the plant’s owner is able to see the normally invisible threat.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has created a prototype ‘Super-wide Angle Compton Camera’ capable of creating images of gamma ray-emitting radioactive particles.

This equipment is based on the gamma ray-observing sensor technology to be added to the agency’s next X-ray observation satellite, ASTRO-H.

It is expected to be able to create visual images of radioactive particles that have collected at high altitudes such as building roofs where it is difficult to conduct measurements with existing equipment.

It can also detect particles that have widely dispersed on the ground and residential houses.

Last month JAXA, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the plant’s owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company conducted a successful field test of the camera at the Kusano area of Iitate village in Fukushima Prefecture.

Read Full Article Here

***********************************************************************************************

Whistle Blowers

 

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.”……..

Read Full Article Here

************************************************************************************************

Activism

 

When Bankers Rule the World

How we can call out the myths, restructure the banking system, shut down the con game, and take back America.

 

by David Korten

 

The tell-all defection of Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs executive, provided an insider’s view of the moral corruption of the Wall Street banks that control of much of America’s economy and politics. Smith confirms what insightful observers have known for years: the business purpose of Wall Street bankers is to maximize their personal financial take without regard to the consequences for others.
Wall Street’s World of Illusion

Why has the public for so long tolerated Wall Street’s reckless abuses of power and accepted the resulting devastation? The answer lies in a cultural trance induced by deceptive language and misleading indicators backed by flawed economic theory and accounting sleight-of-hand. To shatter the trance we need to recognize that the deception that Wall Street promotes through its well-funded PR machine rests on three false premises.

We best fulfill our individual moral obligation to society by maximizing our personal financial gain.
Money is wealth and making money increases the wealth of the society.
Making money is the proper purpose of the individual enterprise and is the proper measure of prosperity and economic performance.

Wall Street aggressively promotes these fallacies as guiding moral principles. Their embrace by Wall Street insiders helps to explain how they are able to reward themselves with obscene bonuses for their successful use of deception, fraud, speculation, and usury to steal wealth they have had no part in creating and yet still believe, as Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein famously proclaimed, that they are “doing God’s work.”

The devastation created by Wall Street’s failure affirms three truths that are the foundation on which millions of people are at work building a New Economy:

Our individual and collective well-being depends on acting with concern for the well-being of others. We all do better when we look out for one another.
Money is not wealth. It is just numbers. Sacrificing the health and happiness of billions of people to grow numbers on computer hard drives to improve one’s score on the Forbes Magazine list of the world’s richest people is immoral. Managing a society’s economy to facilitate this immoral competition at the expense of people and nature is an act of collective insanity.
The proper purpose of the economy and the enterprises that comprise it is to provide good jobs and quality goods and services beneficial to the health and happiness of people, community and nature. A modest financial profit is essential to a firm’s viability, but is not its proper purpose.

The critical distinction between making money and creating wealth is the key to seeing through Wall Street’s illusions……

David Korten (livingeconomiesforum.org) is the author of Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and the international best seller When Corporations Rule the World. He is board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Eyes on the Prize: MLK’s Lessons for Occupy

 

At the time of his death, Martin Luther King, Jr. was planning a campaign around economic injustice—including a mass encampment of poor people in Washington, D.C.

 

by Valerie Schloredt

 

When he was assassinated in April, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. had just begun “The Poor People’s Campaign.” This focus on economic injustice, which included plans for a mass encampment of poor people in Washington, D.C., was remarkably similar to that of today’s Occupy movement. The connection is clear to present-day activists Kazu Haga and Jonathan Lewis, who are promoting King’s philosophy of nonviolence to Occupy groups, both for moral guidance and practical strategy.

Both studied “Kingian” nonviolence with Dr. Barnard Lafayette, a civil rights organizer and an associate of King’s in the 1960s. “Kingian nonviolence,” or nonviolence as it was defined by King, is the focus of a training program Lafayette developed with David Jehnsen to institutionalize King’s philosophy at all levels of society. The training’s pay-it-forward ethos encourages participants to spread the word by becoming Kingian nonviolence trainers themselves.

Lewis and Haga have been carrying their own training forward by teaching nonviolence strategies in jails, community groups, and to groups of at-risk youth. They were also involved with Occupy Oakland, where they organized Kingian nonviolence workshops in response to concerns over confrontations between police and protesters. Haga and Lewis spoke to YES! Magazine about the relevance of King’s nonviolence to embattled communities, and the Occupy movement.

Valerie Schloredt: Your work is based on the philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement. I can’t imagine any better legacy for movements in the United States. Sometimes it seems that King is praised, without a meaningful understanding of his beliefs.

Kingian nonviolence workshop, photo courtesy Kazu Haga

Kazu Haga at the Seattle Kingian nonviolence workshop. March 2012

Photo courtesy Kazu Haga

Kazu Haga: We do him, and ourselves, a disservice by not looking into that. Everything he said is so applicable today.

Jonathan Lewis: In his last speech, down in Memphis, he talks about taking your money out of the corporate banks, and into smaller banks.

Haga: We forget about how much of a radical he was. He called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” and he was calling for an encampment in Washington, D.C. to shut down the city. We forget all that.

Schloredt: It seems very appropriate to be talking about King’s nonviolence right now, when there is great concern over the police response to the case of Trayvon Martin. You work with young people in communities that don’t always get fair treatment by law enforcement. How do you relate King’s nonviolence to that sort of injustice?

Lewis: One thing that Dr. Lafayette tells us about the [civil rights] movement is that it was always about the future. The struggles, the sacrifices, the actions—they aren’t to benefit the present population as much as to prevent future populations from having to deal with the same type of suffering that we’re going through.

Society right now takes out aggression on people. Blaming the folks for their behavior, and whatever it is that’s happening in the world. In contrast, we try to put our compassion towards the people, and we put our aggression towards the conditions. It sounds corny. When I first got started, “keep your eyes on the prize” didn’t mean much to me. But it really is all about that.

Valerie Schloredt wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Valerie is associate editor at YES!

Read Full Article Here

***********************************************************************************************

Survival  / Sustainability

 

Just In Time: When the Trucks Stop, America Will Stop (With Immediate and Catastrophic Consequences)

Most Americans take for granted the intricate systems that make it possible for us to engage in seemingly mundane day to day tasks like filling up our gas tanks, loading up our shopping carts at the local grocery store, obtaining necessary medications, and even pouring ourselves a clean glass of water. When we wake up each morning we just expect that all of these things will work today the same way they worked yesterday. Very few have considered the complexity involved in the underlying infrastructure that keeps goods, services and commerce in America flowing. Fewer still have ever spent the time to contemplate the fragility of these systems or the consequences on food, water, health care, the financial system, and the economy if they are interrupted.

A report prepared for legislators and business leaders by the American Trucking Associations highlights just how critical our just-in-time inventory and delivery systems are, and assesses the impact on the general population in the event of an emergency or incident of national significance that disrupts the truck transportation systems which are responsible for carrying some ten billion tons of commodities and supplies across the United States each year.

A shut down of truck operations as a result of elevated threat levels, terrorist attacks, or pandemics would, according to the report, have “a swift and devastating impact on the food, healthcare, transportation, waste removal, retail, manufacturing, and financial sectors.”

So too would events such as an EMP attack or a coordinated cyber-attack that could shut down global positioning systems and the computers responsible for inventory control. Another potential scenario that is more likely now than ever before is liquidity problems within the financial system stemming from currency crisis or hyperinflation. All of our just-in-time delivery systems are built upon the unhindered transfer of money and credit, but when credit flow becomes restricted or money becomes worthless, no one will be able to pay for their goods. Likewise, no one will trust the credit worthiness of anyone else. This is exactly the scenario playing out in Greece right now and the consequences on the health care industry in that country have left many without life saving drugs. When there’s no money, no one will be transporting anything.

The effects of a transportation shutdown for any reason would be immediate (in some cases, within hours) and absolutely catastrophic.

Excerpted from the American Truckers Associations report

Food

Significant shortages will occur in as little as three days, especially for perishable items following a national emergency and a ban on truck traffic.
Consumer fear and panic will exacerbate shortages. News of a truck stoppage—whether on the local level, state or regional level, or nationwide—will spur hoarding and drastic increases in consumer purchases of essential goods. Shortages will materialize quickly and could lead to civil unrest. (We’re seeing this in the UK right now)

Read Full Article Here

Rethinking Water: Greywater Guerrillas Workshop

Uploaded by on Mar 14, 2008

We had the privilege of attending a very hands on greywater workshop courtesy of The Greywater Guerrillas, a local Bay Area crew of experts who are passionate about teaching folks to use their water (twice) wisely. Greywater is water that has been used once in your home and only contains a little soap, dirt (from laundry or skin) or kitchen particles like food or grease. Unlike blackwater, which is water that has touched excrement, like toilet water, greywater is safe to use in watering your garden. As Laura Allen, co-editor of the book Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground, and our amazing instructor points out in this video: You don’t want to put the greywater onto the part of the plant that you’re going to eat…if you get the water going into the ground, there are no more health risks than would be [if you are] going out and eating dirt from your garden. So you want to get the greywater into the ground soaking down to irrigate the roots of your plants.

We were able to do just this in home owner Tara Hui’s backyard. We replaced her kitchen sink pipe with a 3 way valve giving her the choice to send her sink water back to the sewer or out to the greywater system of pipes and mulch basins surrounding four fruit trees. The system was relatively simple and inexpensive. Total price was $200 for all new pipes which included a $60 top of the line 3 way valve, a bunch of 2 way splitters and under a hundred feet of piping. If you live close to a salvage yard or are savvy on Freecycle or Craigslist you can get these materials for way cheaper or even free.

Laura touches on some of the legality of systems like this: California has a greywater code so greywater theoretically is legal…some states have no code so greywater is not legal. In California, you have the potential to do greywater…that said, the code that’s written down for greywater is very, very wasteful, it’s very bad, most people don’t follow it. In California most people have unpermitted systems which are…technically illegal, just as building anything unpermitted is technically illegal.

There are a few states, like Arizona, that encourage safe and resourceful greywater systems like the one we built here. So find out what your state allows before cutting into your pipes. But if you’re like these Californians and your state codes are no good, you’ll want to find some greywater experts to consult and keep in touch with to help change the codes for better.

 

 

[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.

Read Full Article Here

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.

Read Full Article Here

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.”

Read Full Article Here

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.

Read Full Article Here

***********************************************************************************************************

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.

Read Full Article Here

************************************************************************************************************

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.”……..

Read Full Article Here

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.

Read Full Article Here

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.”

Read Full Article Here

***********************************************************************************************************

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””.

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

NSA denies eavesdropping on Americans

A recent article regarding the National Security Agency’s new secret eavesdropping facility in Bluffdale, Utah has caught the attention of members of the House.

The article which was published last week by Wired explains how the NSA “will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.”

The article goes on to explain how the “Utah Data Center” which is a project surrounded by “immense secrecy is the final piece of a complex puzzle assembled in the past decade.”

The heavily fortified $2 billion building is said to have the capabilities “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks,” the article added.

EndtheLie.com

http://EndtheLie.com/2012/03/22/nsa-denies-eavesdropping-on-americans/#ixzz1puDZLP5a

Marine charged for criticizing Obama

On Wednesday Marine Sgt. Gary Stein was notified by the Marine Corps that he was in violation of the Pentagon’s policy for blatantly condemning President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Stein’s actions could now lead to his dismissal and a possible downgrade in ranking.

The Marine who is based in Camp Pendleton, California, created a Facebook page called “Armed Forces Tea Party,” which currently has approximately 19,000 likes and has photos showcasing slogans such as “NObama” and “One Nation, under Obama, with poverty and unemployment for all,” has been under the microscope since 2010.

Stein was first warned by his superiors two years ago after he launched the social media page on Facebook critiquing Obama care. Stein offered to remove the page while he revised the rules at the bidding of his superiors.

According to Stein, after the revision of the rules he determined he was not in violation.

http://rt.com/usa/news/marine-stein-page-president-219/

GOP leadership rankled by resolution calling for attorney general’s head

By Jordy Yager

More than 100 Republicans in the House are clamoring for Eric Holder’s head, but GOP leaders are reluctant to vote on a measure suggesting the ouster of the U.S. attorney general.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/217475-house-gop-leadership-rankled-by-calls-for-attorney-generals-head

McCaskill deals serious blow to BRAC

By Jeremy Herb

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Wednesday that she will not let new rounds of base closures pass her subcommittee this year, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the Pentagon’s plans for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in its 2013 budget.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/217421-sen-mccaskill-deals-serious-blow-to-bracs-chances

Courtly battle in healthcare case

By Jess Bravin

The fight over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul has featured nearly three years of name-calling and shouting matches. But don’t expect to hear supporters accused of creating “death panels,” or opponents of preferring the uninsured to “die quickly,” when the issue lands at the Supreme Court next week.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303812904577291420805600542.html?mod=ITP_pageone_1

House approves the repeal of cost-cutting healthcare board

By Pete Kasperowicz

The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation that would repeal a government board tasked with finding Medicare savings, and institute medical tort reform across the country.

Members approved H.R. 5, the Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, by a 223-181 vote in which only seven Democrats supported the bill and 10 Republican opposed.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/217583-house-passes-health-board-repeal-medical-tort-reform-bill

Senate passes bill on insider trading, sends measure to Obama

By Alexander Bolton

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation barring lawmakers from using insider information for personal profit, sending the bill to the White House.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act already approved by the House passed the upper chamber easily by a vote of 96-3.

The Senate action circumvents a thorny amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) requiring political intelligence operatives to regularly report their activity. The Senate adopted the Grassley proposal by a vote of 60-39 in February, but the GOP-controlled House opposed the Grassley’s language and did not include it in its version.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/217639-senate-passes-insider-trading-bill-sending-measure-to-obama

On the News With Thom Hartmann:Obama Announces Fast-Track Approval of Keystone Pipeline Segment, and More

In today’s On the News segment: Only five banks control more than half of all the industry’s assets, President Obama announced the fast-track approval of the southern leg for the existing Keystone pipeline today in Oklahoma, Democrats try to curb influence of SuperPACs, and more.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8046-on-the-news-with-thom-hartmann

Economy

Nigel Farage on the Euro

Uploaded by MightyDemocracy on Mar 13, 2012

Nigel Farage commenting on Barroso’s message that the signing of the European Fiscal Compact treaty signifies the “irreversibility of the euro.” 13/03/2012
Van Rompuy re-‘elected’ as president of Europe: http://mightydemocracy.blogspot.com/2011/11/emperor-of-europe-and-future-of-n…

Spain’s Economy, Front and Center

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.:

“I’ve always viewed Spain, not Greece, as the quintessential euro crisis country. With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government balking – rightly – at further austerity, the focus is now where it arguably should have been all along. And with Spain now front and center, the essential wrongness of the whole European policy focus becomes totally apparent. Spain did not get into this crisis by being fiscally irresponsible; see the little comparison on the chart on this page.”

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8034-spains-economy-front-and-center

Wars and Rumors of War

After Bales’ Arrest, Military Tried to Delete Him From Web

David Goldstein and Matthew Schofield, McClatchy Newspapers:

“Besides waiting nearly a week before identifying the Army staff sergeant who’s accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers, the US military scrubbed its websites of references to his combat service. Gone were photographs of the suspect, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, as well as a recounting in his base’s newspaper of a 2007 battle in Iraq involving his unit that quoted him extensively. But not really.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8038-after-bales-arrest-military-tried-to-delete-him-from-web

Bahrain Medics Show Trial: This Is Not Syria, Therefore No Western Outcry

by Finian Cunningham

Bahrain’s disgraceful show trial of medical staff is set to continue, with news this week that 20 doctors and nurses are to be retried in a civilian court on trumped-up charges of subversion against the US-backed regime.

The medics were already sentenced by a military tribunal (a military tribunal!) to up to 15 years in prison after months of being held in illegal detention, denied legal counsel and subjected to torture.

Moving their case to a civilian court is presumably meant to signal a concession by the regime. But what it illustrates is that the Al Khalifa royal rulers of Bahrain are unreconstructed despots who are implacably set against accepting any kind of democratic reform.

The persecution of the majority Shia population – 70 per cent of the island – by an unelected Sunni elite is business as usual as epitomized by the vindictive targeting of medics whose only “crime” was that they treated hundreds of people injured in the state’s brutal crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.

Recently, Washington has been doing its PR best to present the monarchy in the Persian Gulf kingdom as being belatedly open to reform – this after a year of unrelenting repression against a largely peaceful pro-democracy uprising.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29903

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

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.”

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/blackwater-veteran-took-part-gaddafi-killing-asked-us-help-syrian-opposition

Environmental

About That Dimock Fracking Study: Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals

Christine Shearer, Truthout:

“Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 issued a statement last week that its preliminary tests of water samples near drilling and fracking sites in the Pennsylvania town of Dimock showed no health concerns, the group Water Defense and ‘Gasland’ director Josh Fox went to Dimock to look at the EPA summaries themselves, which they say do report high levels of explosive methane, heavy metals and hazardous chemicals.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8021-about-that-dimock-fracking-study-results-did-show-methane-and-hazardous-chemicals

Whistle Blowers

Bradley Manning Prosecution Incurably Infected by Government Misconduct

Kevin Zeese, Bradley Manning Support Network:

“Last week I spent two days in court for a pretrial motions hearing in the court martial of Bradley Manning, the private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks that showed widespread unethical and illegal behavior by the Department of Defense and State Department. Manning has suffered the fate the Queen put on Alice when she was in Wonderland, ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’ By the time his court martial is actually held he will have been incarcerated for more than two years, one of those years was spent in solitary confinement. But, that is only one of many obvious injustices Manning is being subjected to.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8039-bradley-manning-prosecution-incurably-infected-by-government-misconduct

Activism

What happened to our government? (opinion)

(NaturalNews) When I was a little kid growing up in Newark and going to Bergen Street elementary school, I remember a teacher reading something to us in class one day. It went something like this:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

These words are from our Declaration of Independence, and unfortunately, not from our Constitution. And from these principles, we Americans, lay claim to a rather unique and somewhat revolutionary legacy. That being that every person can lay claim to his or her own sovereignty just by being born, and that these rights don’t come from any government or person.

One of the basic principles on which our country was founded is that individuals have all these rights. Unfortunately, we give away some of them to our government. This is done voluntarily as it is not the law.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035302_government_liberty_happiness.html#ixzz1puM7vMRm

Misc

Obama threatens rare earth trade war against China – but why?

By Jonathan Benson, March 22 2012

(NaturalNews) In the spirit of election season political posturing, the Obama White House has announced that it is filing a trade lawsuit against China for restricting exports on rare earth metals and other materials used in the production of touchscreen mobile phones, military weapons, laptop computers, and various other high-tech devices. The poster child administration of meaningless political rhetoric, Obama and Co. has taken a convenient interest in China’s misdealings with the U.S. and…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035313_Obama_trade_war_China.html

The Invisible Poverty of “The Other America” of the 1960s Is Far More Visible

Peter Dreier, Truthout:

“Fifty years ago (in March 1962) Michael Harrington wrote a book, ‘The Other America: Poverty in the United States’ – a haunting tour of deprivation in an affluent society – that inspired Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to wage a war on poverty. This slim, 186-page volume became a best-seller and became required reading for social scientists, elected officials, college students, members of study groups sponsored by churches and synagogues, reporters and intellectuals, the new wave of community organizers and the student activists who traveled to the South to join the civil rights crusade.”

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8040-michael-harrington-and-deprivation-in-an-affluent-society

Politics and Legislation

The Hill: Obama shifts healthcare defense

By Sam Baker

The Obama administration has shifted its legal arguments as it prepares to defend the president’s healthcare law before the Supreme Court.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/216361-obama-shifts-healthcare-defense

The Hill: Republican bill would enroll seniors in same health plans as lawmakers

By Julian Pecquet

A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/medicare/216303-gop-medicare-bill-would-enroll-seniors-into-lawmakers-plans

Washington elites queue up to see nine justices on hot seat

By Janet Adamy and Jess Bravin

The hottest ticket in the capital is for a spot inside the Supreme Court to watch three days of arguments challenging the 2010 health-care law that begin here a week from Monday.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303863404577283631472580966.html?mod=ITP_AHED

Tape A Cop, Face A Felony Charge

Well, now the news is that in Chicago the police will continue to
enforce, arrest, and prosecute citizens under this law as long as
it remains on the books.

Coming to Chicago in May is an upcoming NATO summit and it is
expected to bring with it huge numbers felonious camera carrying
members of the public, and you can bet the police will have their
own cameras trained on them.

Supreme Court rules out television cameras for healthcare arguments

By Sam Baker

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected calls to allow television cameras into its chambers during arguments over President Obama’s healthcare law.??

The court said it would release same-day audio recordings of the arguments, scheduled for March 26-28. It cited the “extraordinary public interest” in the case, which could lead to President Obama’s signature domestic achievement being struck down in the midst of the campaign season.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/legal-challenges/216447-supreme-court-no-cameras-in-healthcare-case

GOP Super PAC Men Seek to Overturn Donation Limits

Michael Beckel, News Report:

McCutcheon is a 44-year-old general contractor in Alabama. He’s the owner, founder and president of Coalmont Electrical Development. He’s a member of the Republican Party who admits he may have a bit of a libertarian streak. And he’s also the treasurer of a super PAC called the “Conservative Action Fund.” That’s a group that spent more than $43,000 opposing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama, although it has mostly targeted Democrats with its attacks.

http://www.nationofchange.org/gop-super-pac-men-seek-overturn-donation-limits-1331907498

Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act

For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public – or even others in Congress – knew about it. On Thursday, two of those senators – Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado – went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The senators, who also said that Americans would be “stunned” to know what the government thought the Patriot Act allowed it to do, made their remarks in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. after a Justice Department official last month told a judge that disclosing anything about the program “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/politics/democratic-senators-warn-about-use-of-patriot-act.html?_r=1

Economy

UK could lose coveted AAA rating, warns Fitch

Britain’s hopes of retaining its prized triple-A credit rating were dealt a blow last night after Fitch said the country was more likely than not to be downgraded.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9144551/UK-could-lose-coveted-AAA-rating-warns-Fitch.html

The Global Economy is Now More Vulnerable to Oil Prices than Ever

This paper examines the impact of oil price changes on global economic growth. Unlike some recent studies, this paper finds that oil price rises have had significant negative impacts on world economic growth. A time-series analysis of the data from 1971 to 2010 finds that an increase in real oil price by 10 dollars is associated with a reduction of world economic growth rate by between 0.4 and 1% in the following year. As oil prices approach historical highs, the global economy may be vulnerable to another oil price shock.

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/The-Global-Economy-is-Now-More-Vulnerable-to-Oil-Prices-than-Ever.html

Gold “Vulnerable” as U.S. Treasury Bond Market Sell-Off Worsens

The WHOLESALE-MARKET gold price twice rose within a few cents of $1650 per ounce in London Thursday morning, adding 0.9% from yesterday’s fresh 8-week low as industrial commodities ticked lower again.

The price of silver bullion rallied 2.3% to $32.40 per ounce, but remained over 5% down for the week so far, being “very much influenced” by the gold price according to one Swiss precious-metals dealer.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33621.html

Europe’s Economic Crisis: Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Belgium Following Greece

It isn’t over until it is over. Of course, we are referring to Europe and its version of 1984. We find it profound that the bankers, politicians and bureaucrats of Europe can do what they have done with a straight face. Investor had a haircut shoved down their throats and the ECB, the European Central Bank and the IMF were exempt.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33614.html

Retail sales suggest consumers shrugging off gas prices

Dave Prokupek doesn’t like the high price of gasoline either. But business is good enough at Smashburger that the chain where Prokupek is CEO opened its 150th restaurant Wednesday, and plans to open up to 75 this year, even though eating out is theoretically the first thing gas-strapped consumers would trim.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-14/gas-prices-consumer-spending/53536216/1

S&P 500 ends best week since December with quiet day

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 closed out its best week in three months with a slim gain on Friday as investors continued to propel equities near four-year highs.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/p-ends-over-1-400-024934926.html;_ylt=ApQL0mCH094ssRZYbqrtjyiiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQzcjhzN29wBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIEp1bWJvdHJvbiBMaXRlBHBrZwM4NmU2MDcwOC1mNmVhLTNkMDUtYWUzZC0yMjI0OWUzZjI0MjIEcG9zAzEEc2VjA2p1bWJvdHJvbgR2ZXIDZTc4ODAwZDAtNmYxMi0xMWUxLTk2NmItNzIxM2Q2ZDI2ZmJl;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Jobless claims fall, manufacturing holds up

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Economic growth showed signs of becoming more self-sustaining as the number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week and manufacturing activity in the Northeast picked up this month.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jobless-claims-fall-manufacturing-holds-025406890.html;_ylt=AvsoQHMJwEqo4vsQWGfhQHqiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0NWxhc2xjBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDYTFkNjVjNjktNjY3Ny0zY2RmLTg4MzQtYjdkODNjY2NkZTQ0BHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzk4YWNmOGMwLTZmMTMtMTFlMS1iNWZmLWZmOTYwOTBjZDY4OA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Secret “Occult Economy” Coming Out of the Shadows?

During December 2011 and January 2012, I wrote two articles dealing with the announcement of two different lawsuits being filed in U.S. District Courts regarding astronomical amounts of money in the forms of U.S. Bonds, Federal Reserve Notes, foreign government-issued bonds, and other financial instruments.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/secret-occult-economy-coming-out-of.html

Appropriators warn legislative agencies of further funding cuts

By Debbie Siegelbaum

Members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on The Legislative Branch are warning congressional agencies that the current atmosphere of economic austerity will likely not abate any time soon.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/216321-senate-appropriators-warn-legislative-agencies-of-further-funding-cuts

CBO finds Obama budget adds $3.5T to deficits

By Erik Wasson

President Obama’s 2013 budget would add $3.5 trillion to annual deficits through 2022, according to a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

It also would raise the deficit next year by $365 billion, according to the non-partisan office.

The CBO estimate is in sharp contrast to the White House claims last month that the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $3.2 trillion over the next decade.?

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/216397-obama-budget-adds-35-trillion-in-deficits-cbo-finds

Fourth straight monthly fall in FDI

Foreign direct investment (FDI) shrank in February from a year earlier, the fourth straight fall, while investment from Europe witnessed a sharp decline, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Experts were not optimistic about the inflow of foreign investment into China as the European debt crisis continues and domestic economic growth slows down.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-03/16/content_14847086.htm

The View From Muppetland

Veena Trehan, Op-Ed:

Banks relentless search for profits has racked up immense “collateral damage”. Investment banks have injured individuals and institutions of every stripe. Institutions include the country Greece whose books Goldman cooked; Jefferson County, Alabama, and many European cities devastated by risky derivatives; colleges like the University of Virginia and Harvard who have held cut-rate sales on private equity; and pension funds and others who sued for fraudulent trades.

http://www.nationofchange.org/view-muppetland-1331903343

Four Whistleblowers Who Sounded the Alarm on Banks’ Mortgage Shenanigans

Cora Currier, News Analysis:

“Buried in the sweeping mortgage settlement with banks, for which final documents were filed this week, are five whistleblower cases that shed light on the litany of foreclosure abuses by the banks. According to one suit, Bank of America allegedly passed bad loans on to the Federal Housing Administration. According to another, the bank allegedly denied qualified homeowners access to HAMP, the government’s loan modification program.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/four-whistleblowers-who-sounded-alarm-banks-mortgage-shenanigans-1331912410

Wars and Rumors of War

Azerbaijan arrests 22 of their own citizens for allegedly being Iranian spies

The Azerbaijani government has announced the arrest of 22 of their own citizens who they claim are Iranian spies.

The tensions between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan have only increased over recent months and this latest announcement is, without a doubt, not going to make anything less heated.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Azerbaijan_arrests_22_of_their_own_citizens_for_allegedly_being_Iranian_spies/18467/0/38/38/Y/M.html

GOP senator dismisses ‘CliffsNotes’ explanation for killing citizens abroad

By Jordy Yager

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Thursday demanded that the White House hand over documents that detail the administration’s legal case for killing U.S. citizens abroad who are believed to be terrorist threats.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/216263-gop-senator-dismisses-holders-cliffs-notes-explanation-for-killing-citizens-abroad

Obama: Window for diplomacy in Iran shrinking

US President says administration will do “everything we can” for diplomatic solution, but urges Tehran to negotiate.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=261878

U.K’s Cameron: No justification for Israeli attack on Iran

In interview to NBC’s Brian Williams, British Prime Minister says Iran could maintain a civilian nuclear project if it did away with the military aspects of its program.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-k-s-cameron-no-justification-for-israeli-attack-on-iran-1.419068

US admits Israel is arming and training terrorist groups to create terrorism

Uploaded by 91177info on Feb 9, 2012

So much for this War on Terror! It is actually War OF Terror. This is proof THEY are creating terror directly and indirectly. This was shown live on US television !!

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have  U.S. Embassy in Tehran since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

Currency Wars: Iran’s banks to be blocked from global banking system

Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, says it will cut Iran’s banks out of the system on Saturday to enforce sanctions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17390456

78 Percent of Americans Oppose Invading Syria

Strong Opposition Also Seen to Arming Rebels

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/15/78-percent-of-americans-oppose-invading-syria/

Environmental

Proposed UN Environmental Constitution For The World Would Establish An Incredibly Repressive System Of Global Governance

Most people have no idea that the United Nations has been drafting an environmental constitution for the world that is intended to supersede all existing national laws. This document has a working title of “Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development” and you can read the entire thing right here. Work on this proposed world environmental constitution has been going on since 1995, and the fourth edition was issued to UN member states on September 22nd, 2010. This document is intended to become a permanent binding treaty and it would establish an incredibly repressive system of global governance.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/proposed-un-environmental-constitution-for-the-world-would-establish-an-incredibly-repressive-system-of-global-governance

Activism

Occupy-Monsanto to Wear Bio-Hazmat Suits as They Protest a Genetically Modified Congress

News Report: The GCU will arrive at the metro station wearing bio-hazmat suits to assess whether Members of Congress and their staff have been victims of genetic crimes. The GCU will hold a banner that reads, “Congress is Genetically Modified,” as they circulate on Capitol Hill sidewalks. This day of action is part of a larger international call to ‘Occupy Monsanto’ taking place all over the globe including Spain, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and at least 28 cities throughout the US.

http://www.nationofchange.org/occupy-monsanto-wear-bio-hazmat-suits-they-protest-genetically-modified-congress-1331912438

The American Spring: A Time for Occupy to Blossom

Kevin Zeese, News Report:

The weekend of March 31st and April 1st includes a two day “Bail Out America” direct action training organized by the Backbone Campaign which will provide information on strategies and tactics and developing creative actions that advance the causes of Occupy.

http://www.nationofchange.org/american-spring-time-occupy-blossom-1331906460

Cyber Space

House Dems demand meeting with Apple over privacy policy for iPhone, iPad apps

By Brendan Sasso

Two prominent House Democrats demanded a briefing with Apple over its privacy policies for mobile device applications in a letter to CEO Tim Cook on Thursday.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/216299-house-democrats-demand-meeting-with-apple-over-privacy

LulzSec-linked STRATFOR hacker appears in court

The Chicago-based hacker who took credit for a devastating computer attack on intelligence company Stratfor made his first appearance in a New York federal courtroom, after his March 5 arrest. Hammond, 27, faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, computer hacking and access device fraud… Hammond chuckled when his attorney, Liz Fink, asked a prosecutor if today was the Ides of March and said, “Et tu Brutus?” a possible reference to the betrayal Hammond might have felt at learning he and other hackers were undone by LulzSec leader-turned government informant [traitor] Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as “Sabu.” Monsegur’s FBI handler was present but declined to comment after the proceeding.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/15/lulzsec-linked-hacker-who-threatened-to-burn-white-house-appears-in-court/

Radiation

4 more steam tubes fail in tests at troubled San Onofre nuclear plant’s Unit 3 reactor

Four more tubes that carry radioactive water at a Southern California nuclear power plant failed pressure tests, prompting new safety concerns, officials disclosed Friday. The four tubes in a massive steam generator failed Thursday in the Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre coastal plant in northern San Diego County, Southern California Edison said. Three other tubes failed earlier tests, the company said Wednesday, bringing the total to seven.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/4-more-steam-tubes-fail-in-tests-at-troubled-southern-calif-nuclear-plant-unit-3-reactor/2012/03/16/gIQAhcoHGS_story.html

Heavy tube wear a mystery at Calif. nuclear

Forty-five days after a radioactive water leak prompted a Southern California utility to shut down a nuclear reactor, investigators Friday sought to pinpoint why tubing in the plant eroded at an alarming rate while the prospect of an extended repair job raised questions about summertime power supply. Tests on massive steam generators at the troubled Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which was shut down as a precaution after the leak on Jan. 31, revealed seven alloy tubes that carry radioactive water are in danger of rupturing under high pressure. Traces of radiation escaped during the January leak.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/16/2697689/4-more-tubes-fail-in-tests-at.html

UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding, report shows

As many as 12 of Britain’s 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change global warming, according to an unpublished government analysis obtained by the Guardian. Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future. The sites include all of the eight proposed for new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/07/uk-nuclear-risk-flooding

Misc

The Obama Flag: Who Decided That It Was Okay To Replace The Stars On The American Flag With The Face Of Barack Obama?

Democrat Party headquarters in Lake County, Florida has been flying an American flag with a face of Barack Obama on it. Yes, you read that correctly. The “Obama flag” features a huge picture of the face of Barack Obama in the area where the stars are usually located. To many Americans today, the American flag may be “just a piece of cloth”, but when I was young I was taught that one must never desecrate the American flag. The American flag is our highest national symbol. Millions of Americans have fought and died defending freedom and liberty under that banner. To see a photo of Barack Obama plastered on it is an absolute disgrace. Sadly, there are lots of these flags floating around. In fact, you can buy them online for $12.95. Down in Florida, the chairwoman of the Lake County Democratic Party took down the “Obama flag” after a group of veterans protested, but she also said that she is not promising that she will not put it back up and that she is going to consult an attorney about all of this.

Needless to say, a lot of veterans had steam coming out of their ears when they heard about the Obama flag. Korean war veteran Don Van Beck said that he was absolutely furious when he saw what they had done to the American flag….

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-obama-flag-who-decided-that-it-was-okay-to-replace-the-stars-on-the-american-flag-with-the-face-of-barack-obama

GRIME WAVE

It’s a dirty job: Police nationwide take on soaring Tide detergent theft

Law enforcement officials across the country are puzzled over a crime wave targeting an unlikely item: Tide laundry detergent.

Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/03/12/031212-news-tide-theft-1-4/

McCain sees another Solyndra in Navy biofuels spending

By Carlo Munoz

The Navy’s push to develop biofuels to run its fleet of planes and warships could devolve into a “Solyndra situation” for the Pentagon, a top Republican senator said today.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/army/216261-mccain-warns-navy-biofuels-plan-could-become-another-solyndra

Department of Agriculture to offer beef without ‘pink slime’ to schools

By Mike Lillis

Facing increasing pressure over its embrace of “pink slime,” the Obama administration announced Thursday that it will offer schools ground beef absent the controversial product.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/216299-house-democrats-demand-meeting-with-apple-over-privacy

Norway Military Plane Lost During Exercise
C-130 presumed crashed; 5 missing

AP) – A Norwegian military transport plane with five people on board went missing today during an exercise and was feared to have crashed in northern Sweden, officials said. The C-130 was heading from Evenes in northern Norway to the Swedish city of Kiruna where it was supposed to pick up personnel. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane when it was about 50 miles west of Kiruna, a Norwegian military spokesman said.

http://www.newser.com/story/141930/norway-military-plane-lost-during-exercise.html

Lawyer wants WikiLeaks case dropped

A lawyer for an army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified information has asked a military judge to dismiss the charges, arguing the government bungled the handover of documents to the defence. The request came during a pre-trial hearing for Private Bradley Manning at a military courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, asked that charges against his client be dismissed because the government has “hopelessly” messed up the document turnover in the nearly two years Manning has been held.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/lawyer-wants-wikileaks-case-dropped-20120316-1vaky.html

State Dept. moves to fire author of book critical of Iraq reconstruction effort

Peter Van Buren, a foreign service officer who wrote an unflattering book about his year leading two reconstruction [sic] teams in Iraq, was stripped of his security clearance, banned from State Department headquarters for a time and transferred to a telework job that consists of copying Internet addresses into a file. Now the State Department is moving to fire him based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information. Van Buren called the termination notice he received Friday the coup de grace in a series of blows he received since his book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People” was published last fall.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/state-dept-moves-to-fire-peter-van-buren-author-of-book-critical-of-iraq-reconstruction-effort/2012/01/31/gIQAiXNSCS_blog.html

CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher

More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them. Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” – that is, wired devices – at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.” All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/

HAZMAT situation: ‘Non-emergency significant event’ declared at Los Alamos –DP Road open after HAZMAT situation on Los Alamos property

With sirens blaring, emergency management vehicles raced down DP Road Wednesday, responding to a Hazmat situation at Enclosure 12 in TA-21. For two hours, DP Road was closed as the LANL Hazmat team, Los Alamos Fire and Police Department and FEMA assessed the situation. Most of DP Road was reopened around 1:45 p.m. as LAPD decreased its perimeter. Capt. Randy Foster said the initial call came into dispatch at 11:53 a.m. The road was closed east of 272 DP Road until the all-clear from the LANL Hazmat teams came in Wednesday evening. The situation has been categorized as a “non-emergency significant event” by the laboratory… Police said a voluntary evacuation was taking place on DP Road. Police said for those who are working on DP Road to remain inside if they chose to stay. Businesses along DP Road still were waiting for an all-clear signal as of 7:30 p.m. An automated 911 call was received at the Los Alamos Monitor at 1:05 p.m. advising all people on DP Road to shelter in place until the all-clear signal is sounded.

http://www.legitgov.org/HAZMAT-situation-Non-emergency-significant-event-declared-Los-Alamos

Whistleblower details unreported mercury spill at Hill AFB

A whistleblower’s claim that a 2007 spill of more than 60 pounds of mercury was not properly reported or cleaned up at this military base, where more than 24,000 military personnel and civilians work and live, has prompted a federal criminal investigation. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has backed that claim, concluding after an investigation in September and October that the base violated permits because it failed to report the spill and cleanup, improperly stored the cleaned-up material, improperly labeled storage containers that were also not in good condition and failed to inspect containers storing the hazardous waste.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19583627http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19583627&title=whistleblower-details-unreported-mercury-spill-at-hill-afb

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

‘Media – West proxy to fuel Syria conflict’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 14, 2012

Syria’s turmoil has been laid bare on our TV screens for more than a year, but some networks are being accused of affecting rather than reflecting the conflict. Maria Finoshina reports now, on how there’s more to the coverage on the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera TV channel, than meets the eye.

Politics and Legislation

 

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

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

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

 

Politicians Won’t Return Ponzi Payoffs

Michael Winship, Moyers & Co.:

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

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

 

Confusion Surrounds Federal Review of Southern Leg of Keystone XL

Lisa Song, InsideClimate News:

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

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

 

A Field of Hawks

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Writers Group:

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

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

 

No Apocalypse Yet
Will Putin do what the oligarchs fear?

By ISRAEL SHAMIR

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

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

 

Obama Signs Anti-protest Trespass Bill

By RT

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

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

 

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

By Nigel Farage: EU MP

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

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

 

Economy

Not So Fast On That Whole Economic Recovery Thing

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

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

 

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

Moody’s Investors Service says that it considers Greece

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

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

 

Security: UK ‘must plan for euro collapse’

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

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

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

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

 

Wall Street up on jobs data, brushes off Greek default

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

By Robert Gibbons

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

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

 

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

By Frank Tang and Amanda Cooper

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

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

 

Public-Sector Banks: From Black Sheep to Global Leaders

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

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

 

Welcome to the One Percent Recovery

Mike Konczal, New Deal 2.0:

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

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

 

Jeffrey Sachs’ Reform Candidacy for World Bank President

Staff, Center for Economic and Policy Research:

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

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

 

China posts Feb. trade deficit

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

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

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

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

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

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

By CanSpeccy

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

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

 

China to export yuan to BRICS:

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

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

 

Iceland calls its former PM to account for financial crash:

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

The Kazakhstan Massacre: Killing Hope to Benefit US Geopolitical Interests

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

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

 

Russia says 15,000 foreign “terrorists” in Syria

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

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

 

After a Decade, Afghan Forces Don’t Trust Americans

Jon Stephenson and Ali Safi, McClatchy Newspapers:

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

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

 

Fresh barrage of Gaza rockets strike Israel’s south

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

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

 

Obama has partially left his delusions about Iran: Leader

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

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

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

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

 

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

By James Petras

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

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

 

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

By Jasmin Ramsey

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

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

 

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

By David Elkins

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

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

 

Kofi Annan’s calls for talks spark anger:

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

No military solution in Syria: EU ministers:

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

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

 

US officials: Loyal army, inner circle back Assad:

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

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

 

Controversy surrounds CNN footage from Syrian activist:

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Environmental

 

The Problem With the Environment Is Not Too Many People

Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout:

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

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

 

Fracking Likely Caused Series of Ohio Quakes, Officials Say

Michael Muskal and Neela Banerjee , News Report:

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

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

 

Misc

 

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

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

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

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

 

NSA whistle-blower: Obama “worse than Bush”

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

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

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

 

Mass pro-democracy protest rocks Bahrain

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

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

 

Three Ways to Beat Corporate Giants

Jim Shultz, Op-Ed:

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

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

 

Don’t Look Away from Bahrain’s Revolution

By Ala’a Shehabi

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

CyberSpace

 

Stratfor: Blood On Their Hands
And it gets worse.

By Khadija Sharife

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

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

 

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

By Chris Floyd

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

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

 

The Dirty War on WikiLeaks

By John Pilger

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

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

 

Politics  and  Legislation

House passes JOBS act


By Pete Kasperowicz

The House Thursday afternoon overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at easing the rules for capital formation for small companies, which Republicans hailed as a major job-creation bill but Democrats said is just a minor fix for the economy.

Members approved the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) act in a 390-23 vote that saw 158 Democrats join every voting Republican in support of the bill. All “no” votes were Democrats.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/214979-house-passes-jobs-act-sends-to-senate

Senate blocks Keystone pipeline approval plan


By Ben Geman

The Senate has rejected a GOP plan to approve construction of the Keystone oil pipeline after President Obama made personal calls to Democrats urging them to oppose it.

The 56-42 vote staves of an election-year rebuke of Obama, but will give political ammunition to backers of TransCanada Corp.’s plan to build a pipeline connecting Alberta’s massive tar sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/215051-senate-blocks-keystone-pipeline-approval-plan

The Bipartisan Force Behind the For-Profit College Scam: Big Money
Zaid Jilani, Republic Report:

“As we head into an election year, we’re going to increasingly hear that Democrats and Republicans fight like cats and dogs, that there is a civil war in Washington. This describes the state of play on some issues, but on others there is bipartisan agreement to do the wrong thing: Both parties do what the money tells them to do.”

http://www.truth-out.org/bipartisan-force-behind-profit-college-scam-big-money/1331141403

 

Economy

Asia Buys Gold After Massive Single Trade Sell Off During Bernanke’s Testimony

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/asia-buys-gold-after-massive-single-trade-sell-during-bernanke%E2%80%99s-testimony

China faces huge employment pressure: minister

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) — China faces huge employment challenges in 2012 brought by a large number of job seekers and unbalanced job market, Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said Wednesday.

Chinese cities and towns will see 25 million more people join the workforce this year, half of whom will be university and college graduates, while another 9 to 10 million rural residents will seek jobs away from home, Yin said at a press conference during the ongoing parliamentary session.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012npc/2012-03/07/content_14782010.htm

Financial Survival Network: Darryl Schoon Sees the Mother of All Crashes Coming Soon–02-28-2012

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1840/261/Financial_Survival_Network:_Darryl_Schoon_Sees_the_Mother_of_All_Crashes_Coming_Soon02-28-2012.html

Economic Recovery for Whom?

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout:

“The truth about ‘economic recovery’ is that, for the mass of people, it is untrue. For the top 10 percent and especially the top 1 percent – those who brought global capitalism into crisis in 2007 – recovery has been real…. ‘Recovery’ is the go-to word when business and government impose conditions to make the US more profitable especially for big business. ‘Recovery,’ in this capitalist economy, refers to profits, not to people.”

http://www.truth-out.org/economic-recovery-whom/1331043859

Fractal Analysis: Gold to $3,500 this year still likely despite crash

http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page103855?oid=146416&sn=Detail&pid=102055

 

On the News With Thom Hartmann: A New Study Shows That Extreme Poverty in America Has Doubled in the Last 15 Years, and More

In today’s On the News segment: A new study shows that extreme poverty in America has doubled in the last 15 years, a new front has opened up in the battle against Citizens United, European austerity continues to take its toll, and more.

http://www.truth-out.org/news-thom-hartmann-new-study-shows-extreme-poverty-america-has-doubled-last-15-years-and-more/1331-0

 

U.S. jobs data lift world stocks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. and European stocks advanced on Wednesday after promising U.S. jobs data, and the euro rebounded after hitting a three-week low on renewed optimism that Greek will complete its debt restructuring after major banks and pension funds pledged their support.

Completion of the debt restructuring is crucial for Greece to secure 130 billion euros in international rescue funds needed so it can avert a chaotic default.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-markets-fall-over-greece-003835021.html;_ylt=AgHLLR6iqbYbhHOWakoVR2miuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTNyMzByb2Z2BG1pdANGUCBUb3AgU3RvcnkgTGVmdARwa2cDMjE2YzM2MDItYmFmYy0zNTEyLTk0NzItMjEyZTE2MWNlOTRkBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzY5N2MwOTQwLTY4YTMtMTFlMS1iOGZmLThmYmExODlkMzgzZA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

Banks and Congress Grapple With Stubborn, Stupid Facts
Michael Winship, Moyers & Co.:

“Facts are stubborn things, said founding father John Adams, a basic truth Ronald Reagan famously mangled at the Republican National Convention in 1988, when he tried to quote Adams and declared, ‘Facts are stupid things,’ before correcting himself…. Witness the resistance on the part of banking institutions and certain members of the congressional leadership, despite regulations demanding that they allow facts and figures to be reported, information that could keep us from the edge of yet another economic meltdown.”

http://www.truth-out.org/banks-and-congress-grapple-stubborn-stupid-facts/1331148612

 

U.S. Consumers Stronger Than Expected: Barry Ritholtz Isn’t Buying It

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/u-consumers-stronger-expected-barry-ritholtz-isn-t-142319259.html;_ylt=AkbDaUHVXt18IkWPqd7LdiCiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0NXRmOGwzBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDYTJmODViODItMmNmZS0zMzNjLTlhMDMtMTI2NTQyZThmYzY3BHBvcwM2BHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzE4NTlhNGIwLTY4NjEtMTFlMS1hZmJmLWY2NWQ5NzMyMDc5ZQ–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

 

In Troubled Europe, Agonizing Options
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.:

“It’s not too hard to see what Europe as a whole should be doing: less in terms of demands for austerity, much more general reflation … And you can make the case that austerity, at least at this level of harshness, is actually counterproductive even in fiscal terms: it depresses growth, so that the debt position becomes worse even if the current budget deficit is reduced. It’s much harder, however, to say what the leaders of such peripheral economies should do.”

http://www.truth-out.org/troubled-europe-agonizing-options/1331147478

 

Illinois state ‘on brink of collapse’

Source: FT

Illinois’ financial problems are forcing it to choose between its pensions and its teeth.

Governor Pat Quinn says the state needs to face its “rendezvous with reality” and tackle its dysfunctional budget habits. Top of the list, Mr Quinn says, is to slash spending on Medicaid, a federal programme that provides healthcare to poor Americans.

To save a system he says is “on the brink of collapse”, Mr Quinn proposes cutting $2.7bn from Illinois’ $11.5bn Medicaid bill. Few would dispute that the state needs to change its behaviour. Last year, Illinois underfunded Medicaid by $2bn as it struggled with debts totalling more than $280bn, an $86bn hole in its public pension funds and a $9bn backlog of unpaid bills.

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/4494

 

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Chu, White House rebut gas price claims

State of play: Energy Secretary Steven Chu will appear before a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel Wednesday to defend the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget request.

As with previous budget hearings, expect Republican lawmakers to pepper Chu with questions about gasoline prices and the administration’s $535 million loan guarantee to failed solar panel firm Solyndra. Chu has become a top target for Republicans over the issues.

Republicans have pounced on Chu’s recent comments to allege that the administration wants higher gas prices, a claim both the Energy Department and the White House have strongly denied.

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/213695-overnight-energy

Obama Phone: Gov to Spend $2.4 Billion On Millions of Free Phones In 2012

One of the complaints about the U.S. Constitution recently, being as outdated as it is, is that it fails to guarantee certain unalienable rights such as free medical care, housing , food, and of course, the right to bear cell phones. And, although the founders failed to specifically cite social programs as a necessary element for promoting the general welfare, the living nature of our founding document has been interpreted by political and legal scholars alike to allow for the seizure of assets by force from one group of people in order to redistribute those assets in a fair and responsible manner to those less fortunate.

As such, if you’re one of the 100 million Americans living below or at the edge of the poverty line, you’ll be happy to know that you more than likely qualify for a free cellular phone, also known as the Obama Phone, from the US government:

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/free-obamaphone-gov-to-spend-2-4-billion-on-millions-of-free-phones-in-2012_02092012

 

Wars and Rumors of War

 

Attacking Iran: Just Because We Can, Doesn’t Mean We Should
Camillo “Mac” Bica, Truthout:

“The debate regarding Iran’s nuclear program has focused upon pragmatic, tactical, strategic and economic issues regarding the feasibility and consequences of continuing and/or escalating military action against Iran…. While such discussions may have media and political appeal, they are premature and miss the point entirely. They either take for granted or completely ignore the more fundamental question of whether continuing/escalating a war with Iran is the right thing to do, not militarily or pragmatically, but legally and morally.”

http://www.truthout.org/attacking-iran-just-because-we-can-doesnt-mean-we-should/1330726438

 

By conjuring the Holocaust, Netanyahu brought Israel closer to war with Iran

Haaretz’s editor-in-chief says that the Prime Minister publicly booby-trapped himself to war with Iran by comparing the need to strike its nuclear program with the Jewish request to bomb Auschwitz.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/by-conjuring-the-holocaust-netanyahu-brought-israel-closer-to-war-with-iran-1.416847

 

Netanyahu, Obama divided on price of Israeli strike against Iran

Netanyahu considers missiles on Tel Aviv preferable to nukes in Iran, says senior Israeli official.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-obama-divided-on-price-of-israeli-strike-against-iran-1.416909

 

Stratfor leaks: NATO commandos in illegal special ops in Syria

Wikileaks is a part of the covert operations, a part of the perception management, a part of the forged agenda to have you psychologically prepared for the coming war. When the times comes and you turn on the radio or TV with news that Israel/US have initiated airstrikes in Syria and/or Iran you will not even think twice about it and go about your day not giving a shit about what the hell is really going on in the Middle East .

-Phantom Report

http://www.phantomreport.com/stratfor-leaks-nato-commandos-in-illegal-special-ops-in-syria

 

Environmental

 

Amy Goodman | The Bipartisan Nuclear Bailout

Amy Goodman, Op-Ed: While the Republican candidates attack Barack Obama daily for the high cost of gasoline, both sides are traveling down the same perilous road in their support of nuclear power. This is mind-boggling, on the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission warning that lessons from Fukushima have not been implemented in this country.

http://www.nationofchange.org/bipartisan-nuclear-bailout-1331216800

 

Misc

 

Despite Risks, Undocumented Immigrants Stage “Coming Out of the Shadows” Week
Yana Kunichoff, Truthout:

“Despite a year of record deportations and little movement on a progressive immigration policy, undocumented people are coming out and publicly declaring their immigration status for the third year in a row, telling American society that they are ‘undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic.’ March 10 will be the first day of a weeklong set of actions by a coalition of groups in Illinois to highlight the continuing crisis caused by enforcement and lack of rights in immigrant communities.”

http://www.truth-out.org/despite-risks-undocumented-immigrants-stage-coming-out-shadows-week/1331146237

 

Reclaiming the Commons (Graphic Journalism)

Susie Cagle, Truthout:

“Founded by squatters more than 150 years ago, full of foreclosed buildings, and shrinking by thousands per year, Oakland in many ways presents as a tremendously attractive target for occupation. But it’s been a bumpy road since the first camps were cleared on October 26.”

http://www.truth-out.org/occupied-oakland/1331135674

UN top torture official denounces Bradley Manning’s detention

In December, 2010, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on torture announced a formal investigation into the conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention that endured for the eight months he was held at a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia. The Army Private has been detained since May, 2010, on charges that he leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks, but has not yet been tried. Yesterday, the U.N. official overseeing the investigation pronounced that “Bradley Manning was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the excessive and prolonged isolation“ to which he was subjected at Quantico. That official, Juan Ernesto Mendez, heads the U.N. office created by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, bestowed with the mandate “to examine questions relevant to torture.”

http://www.salon.com/2012/03/07/un_top_torture_official_denounces_bradley_mannings_detention/?source=newsletter

 

Two Murdoch journalists reportedly attempt suicide as pressure mounts

By msnbc.com staff and news services

Two senior journalists working for Rupert Murdoch’s News International have attempted suicide as pressure mounts at the scandal-hit publisher of the now-defunct News of the World, according to media reports.

The suicide attempts follow weeks of intense scrutiny of the role of The Sun, another Murdoch paper, in the phone-hacking scandal and police bribery case.

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/06/10594806-two-murdoch-journalists-reportedly-attempt-suicide-as-pressure-mounts

 

High- end Madam for running upper East Side brothel is a suburban mom with four children
Arrest was culmination of five-year investigation by Manhattan DA’s office

A high-end madam who boasted she used cops as security and made millions by peddling flesh — including underage girls — to rich and powerful clients has been busted after a five-year probe, prosecutors said.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office indicted petite, blond, green-eyed Anna Gristina, 44, in a corruption investigation that amassed 50 to 100 hours of audio and video recordings, some showing prostitutes doing the deed, according to court records.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan-madam-busted-running-upper-east-side-brothel-catering-wealthy-clients-court-records-article-1.1033622#ixzz1oacGeC5L

 

“Journalist” Paul Conroy is MI6 operative

Portrayed as a photojournalist for The Sunday Times, Paul Conroy, who has recently escaped from the Islamic Emirate of Baba Amr, is a British MI6 agent.

http://www.voltairenet.org/a173025

 

Engineer reveals shockingly simple method to defeat any airport body scanner and smuggle guns, explosives onto airplanes without being detected

By Mike Adams, March 7 2012
(NaturalNews) The following is an article by Steve Watson, an in-house reporter for InfoWars (www.InfoWars.com). Steve covered the astonishing breaking news of an engineer who revealed a shockingly simple loophole that completely defeats the TSA’s “naked body scanners” and would allow anyone to smuggle guns, explosives, box cutters or practically any metallic objects directly onto airplanes. Even more astonishingly, as this story reports, YouTube immediately censored the video of this engineer…

http://www.naturalnews.com/035175_naked_body_scanners_defeated_engineer.html

155 resignations from global banks, investment houses, and money funds

155 RESIGNATIONS FROM WORLD BANKS, INVESTMENT HOUSES, MONEY FUNDS
I don’t mind if you re-blog this listing. Save yourself the wear and tear on your karma and do me the favor of including http://americankabuki.blogspot.com in your reposting. Thanks to all who have caught minor errors. Special thank to Gabriel at Facebook Global Mass Resignations for some resignations I did not find in my searches.

From:
American Kabuki
Updated 3/7/12 Huge amount of resignations today. Special thanks to Gabriel of Facebook GLOBAL MASS RESIGNATIONS for the heads up on a number of new banking resignations that I missed. Gabriel will be tracking Insurance, Government and Healthcare Resignations. There’s been a large number of Healthcare resignations lately.

█▓▒░ End of list as of 3/7/12 ░▒▓█
Addendum:
It is not known under what circumstances these individuals have left their positions, I make no judgement on that. I find the timing of so many resignations extremely curious and a temporal marker in history of high significance. No one should assume I make any judgement about the character of these people. I frankly don’t know their reputations except for a few rather famous ones.
This list includes Banks, Investment Houses, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Equity Funds, Savings Retirement Funds and other shadow banking organizations. The line is very blurry between these entities, some are owned by banks some are banks, some invest in banks as well as owning entire industries (common in Hong Kong and Japan).

http://americankabuki.blogspot.com

Politics

Saudi diplomat shot dead in Bangladesh

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/06/world/asia/saudi-diplomat-killed-bangladesh/index.html

Why No One Would Listen

Eyal Press, News Analysis: “What’s worse: to be persecuted and indicted for trying to expose an act of wrongdoing — or to be ignored for doing so? Whistleblowers have been under intense scrutiny in Washington lately, at least when it comes to the national security state.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/why-no-one-would-listen-1331142258

Tribes rip Abramoff, ethics watchdogs

By Jordy Yager
Native American tribes are questioning the ethics of government watchdog groups that have partnered with Jack Abramoff since his release from prison.

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/214593-tribes-rip-abramoff-watchdogs

Economy

Modern Alchemy: The Money Illusion

Have you ever wondered why the vast majority of hard working people on this planet does not make enough earnings to have a reasonable standard of living without being in debt? Our personal debt is modern version of slavery*.

http://blog.world-mysteries.com/ancient-writings/modern-alchemy-the-money-illusion/

Iran may stop oil exports to Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands

http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/96113-iran-may-stop-oil-exports-to-belgium-czech-republic-netherlands

Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford convicted of bilking $7B from investors in 20-year Ponzi scheme

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/judge-says-jury-has-reached-verdict-in-7b-ponzi-scheme-trial-of-texas-financier-stanford/2012/03/06/gIQAY9yzuR_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Goldman Secret Greece Loan Shows Two Sinners as Client Unravels

Greece’s secret loan from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was a costly mistake from the start.

On the day the 2001 deal was struck, the government owed the bank about 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed, said Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over the country’s debt-management agency in 2005. By then, the price of the transaction, a derivative that disguised the loan and that Goldman Sachs persuaded Greece not to test with competitors, had almost doubled to 5.1 billion euros, he said.

ECB Blows Up Europe? Creates ‘Super-Immune’ Elite Bonds … Throws Credit Market into Disarray

Investors call on ECB to play fair in sovereign credit … Resentment at the European Central Bank’s immunity from losses on Greek debt has left fund firms wondering about the strength of their creditor rights and whether they should blacklist bonds purchased during emergency sprees by the lender of last resort. By sidestepping markdowns on Greek bonds, the ECB has effectively robbed fellow senior creditors of their top rank status, investors say, forcing each to forgive a greater proportion of the debt than they might otherwise have needed to. “I think many investors believed that as they were holding the same bond as the ECB, they should therefore be considered in the same boat as the ECB,” said Michael Krautzberger, head of the Euro fixed income business at BlackRock. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: What central banks do is “legal.” What YOU do is something else again.

Free-Market Analysis: We have often written the goal of the Anglosphere power elite is to create a worldwide depression on the way to one-world government. They are seemingly well on their way to doing that using the power of monopoly central banking, which they certainly seem to control.

http://thedailybell.com/3676/ECB-Blows-Up-Europe-Creates-Super-Immune-Elite-Bonds-Throws-Credit-Market-into-Disarray

15 Potentially Massive Threats To The U.S. Economy Over The Next 12 Months

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and the potential for an event that could cause “sudden change” to the U.S. economy is greater than ever.  There are dozens of potentially massive threats that could easily push the U.S. economy over the edge during the next 12 months.  A war in the Middle East, a financial collapse in Europe, a major derivatives crisis or a horrific natural disaster could all change our economic situation very rapidly.  Most of the time I write about the long-term economic trends that are slowly but surely ripping the U.S. economy to pieces, but the truth is that just a single really bad “black swan event” over the next 12 months could accelerate our economic problems dramatically.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/15_Potentially_Massive_Threats_To_The_U.S._Economy_Over_The_Next_12_Months_/18310/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Wars and Rumors of War

Netanyahu tells Obama: I have yet to decide whether to attack Iran

U.S. president and Israeli premier agree to increase their coordination on Iran, in two hour White House meeting.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-tells-obama-i-have-yet-to-decide-whether-to-attack-iran-1.416711

What are the Saudis really looking for in Baghdad?

http://www.tehrantimes.com/component/content/article/96118

IAEA: Iran tripled higher-grade uranium production

Amano voices “serious concern” over Tehran’s nuclear program to UN atomic watchdog’s 35-nation governing board.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=260522

Britain admits funding Syria rebels

06 Mar 2012 The UK government has acknowledged that it has provided an extra GBP 2 million to the Western-backed rebels fighting the popular government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Prime Minister David Cameron told a hearing at the House of Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday afternoon that his government provided cash and equipment to foreign-backed rebels in Syria under such names as ‘aid agencies’ operating on the ground to help deliver emergency medical supplies and food. The acknowledgement is yet another proof that the rebellion in the Middle Eastern Arab country has its root somewhere in Britain and France.

http://www.eutimes.net/2012/03/britain-admits-funding-syria-rebels/comment-page-1/

Assad determined to fight ‘foreign-backed terrorism’

06 Mar 2012 Syria’s president defied mounting international pressure to end the year-old crackdown on an [Western-backed] uprising against him and said Tuesday he was determined to go on fighting what he called [and is] “foreign-backed terrorism.” After a powerful American senator called for airstrikes on Syria, President Barack Obama said unilateral U.S. military action against President Bashar Assad’s government would be a mistake. The United States said it is proposing a new United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an end to violence in Syria, first by government forces and then by opposition fighters. Russia and China, powerful allies that have blocked a Security Council resolution against Syria, made clear they were still standing by the government in Damascus.

http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120306/120306_syria_crisis/20120306/

Tears for Somali’s “Baby Soldiers”

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/4525

Syria: Game Over for Western Propaganda

Why should the West intervene in Syria when it turns out “activists” giving daily body counts, the sole source of “evidence” for the UN’s ever climbing grand total, are caught not only lying, but staging entire interviews complete with fake gunfire directed “off stage?” Why should the US, UK, EU, or the West’s stable of Arab proxy-regimes be allowed to arm Syrian rebels admittedly carrying out their own horrific atrocities? Clearly Syria’s opposition have turned out, just as they have in Libya, to be craven, murderous, and ultimately deceitful extremists – making any further contact with them by the West a direct violation of their own national and international laws…..

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Syria%3A_Game_Over_for_Western_Propaganda_/18314/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Eastern Libya pulls away from central government

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Tribal leaders and militia commanders declared oil-rich eastern Libya a semiautonomous state on Tuesday, a unilateral move that the interim head of state called a “dangerous” conspiracy by Arab nations to tear the country apart six months after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

http://news.yahoo.com/eastern-libya-pulls-away-central-government-200358649.html

Economic Warfare and Strangling Sanctions: Punishing Iran for its “Defiance” of the United States

The economic sanctions imposed upon Iran are having the desired effect of punishing the population through hunger and economic strangulation, making life miserable for the many. As tensions increase between the “international community” (the West) and Iran, talk of war is in the air. For years, sanctions have been imposed upon Iran in an attempt to devastate its dependence upon the oil industry for 80% of its revenues. The West seeks ‘regime change,’ and we hear a never-ending proliferation of proclamations from Western leaders about respecting democratic rights and freedom for Iranians, in lambasting the Iranian government for its human rights record, portraying it as a state sponsor of terrorism, and, of course, that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons with a stated goal of wanting to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Economic_Warfare_and_Strangling_Sanctions%3A_Punishing_Iran_for_its_%E2%80%9CDefiance%E2%80%9D_of_the_United_States/18305/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Obama seeks to calm ‘beat of war’ over Syria, Iran

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-07/obama-warns-against-military-action-in-syria/3872982/?site=sydney

Environmental

How do you stop a synthetic-biology disaster?

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/How_do_you_stop_a_synthetic_biology_disaster_999.html

UN’s Environmental “Solution”: More Government

With the time counting down to the next United Nations conference on “sustainable development,” a new report recently published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) clearly indicates that the UN’s approach to the entire topic is to expand the power of government to regulate and control all levels of economic development throughout the world.

http://thenewamerican.com/tech-mainmenu-30/environment/11089-uns-environmental-qsolutionq-more-government

BP vs. Gulf Coast: It’s Not Settled Yet

Antonia Juhasz, Op-Ed: “On March 2, the first agreement in the historic trial against BP and all of the companies responsible for the largest maritime oil spill in world history was announced. The settlement proposal between BP and some 120,000 individuals and businesses includes key provisions long sought by those most economically and physically devastated by the gulf oil disaster. It also entails a number of critical unknowns, with vital details under negotiation for up to forty-five days.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/bp-vs-gulf-coast-it-s-not-settled-yet-1331134971

Cyber Space

Five arrested in high-profile cyberattacks

06 Mar 2012 Top members of the computer hacker group “Anonymous” and its offshoots were arrested and charged Tuesday after a wide-ranging investigation used the help of a group leader who was working as a secret government informant. Five of the suspects, considered by investigators among the “most sophisticated hackers in the world,” were arrested in the United States and Europe and charged in a Manhattan federal court over their alleged role in high-profile cyberattacks against government agencies and large companies, according to an indictment. A sixth man, Hector Xavier Monsegur, a notorious hacker known as “Sabu,” pleaded guilty in August to computer hacking and other crimes.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/06/us/new-york-hacker-arrests/index.html

LulzSec boss Hector Monsegur was working for us – FBI

Monsegur, aka Sabu, turned by FBI last June –‘We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec’ 07 Mar 2012 Police on two continents swooped on top members of computer hacking group LulzSec early today, and acting largely on evidence gathered by the organisation’s leader – who sources say has been secretly working for the government for months – arrested three and charged two more with conspiracy. Charges against four of the five were based on a conspiracy case filed in New York federal court. An indictment charging the suspects, who include two men from Great Britain, two from Ireland and an American from Chicago, is expected to be unsealed today in the Southern District of New York. “This is devastating to the organisation,” an FBI official involved with the investigation said. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.” [We’ll see.]

http://www.news.com.au/technology/computer-hacking-group-lulzsec-brought-down-by-own-leader/story-e6frfro0-1226291313158

STRATFOR email on Assange refers to ‘switching him off’

http://www.legitgov.org/STRATFOR-email-Assange-refers-switching-him

The accepted culture at Stratfor includes sharing advice about how to take control of informants ‘by means of financial, sexual or psychological control’.

Assange Counts Down to Sweden

http://newmatilda.com/2012/03/07/assange-counts-down-sweden

07 Mar 2012 Julian Assange has worn an electronic manacle for 454 days. Every day for 454 days he has signed in at a police station. Every night for 454 nights Serco has ensured he is home by 10pm, monitoring him in a fixed location for a required 10 hours, an equivalent of 225 days in prison. These bail conditions are maintained in the absence of any charge being laid against him – or even a decision to prosecute. They were set after an Interpol Red Notice was issued for Assange’s arrest. Gaddafi attracted an orange notice around the same time. The emails about Assange and Wikileaks are vicious; one little charmer refers to “switching him off”, that is, murder. Others lament when Assange is not killed in a car accident and joke, “Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever… Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison”. Their language and suggestions are sadistic and their strategy reads like spooky prophecy because Stratfor’s advice is being taken.

Top Republican publishes full ACTA text for public look-see

‘Secret negotiations not the American way’ 06 Mar 1012 Republican congressman Darrell Issa of California has published the full text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), saying that the public has a right to know what their governments have been hiding from them. “ACTA represents as great a threat to an open Internet as SOPA and PIPA and was drafted with even less transparency and input from digital citizens,” Issa said in a statement.

Negotiations on ACTA started under President [sic] Bush the Younger, and have been carried on by the current administration. [Of course they have. Obusha hasn’t deviated much from the previous regime, and in most situations (NDAA, killer drone attacks) has moved farther to the right than Bush. For some reason, he gets a ‘pass.’ –LRP]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/06/issa_opens_acta/

US, Israeli hackers fail in their effort to take down Press TV

[Press TV needs to *return the favor.*] 06 Mar 2012 A recent cyber attack launched by US and Israeli hackers against the website of Iran’s 24-hour English-language news channel, Press TV, has failed to take down the website. According to the Press TV report, the attack against the website took place from 14:00 on March 5 to 04:00 local time on March 6. However, the effective security countermeasures taken by the Press TV technical team foiled the cyber attack on the website. This is not the first cyber attack on Press TV. A similar attack was launched on the website on February 18, from 07:50 to 10:05 local time, which also failed.

http://www.legitgov.org/US-Israeli-hackers-fail-their-effort-take-down-Press-TV

US, Israeli hackers fail in their effort to take down Press TV

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/230303.html

Attacking The Hacker Hydra: Why FBI’s LulzSec Takedown May Backfire

from the top-down-approach-to-a-bottom-up-threat dept

Interesting timing. Just about the same time that we had our story concerning how LulzSec kept its own site from getting hacked, the news was breaking that the key leaders of LulzSec were being arrested, in large part because the “leader” of the group had become an FBI informant after they tracked him down last year. Of the various hacking efforts out there, LulzSec has definitely been the most brazen, so it’s not a huge surprise that it would be targeted by the FBI. Also, unlike “Anonymous,” LulzSec was pretty clearly an effort by a few key individuals, rather than a loose collective of folks joining and leaving at will.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120306/09451918000/attacking-hacker-hydra-why-fbis-lulzsec-takedown-may-backfire.shtml

Misc

What is the New World Order?

The nations of the world are increasingly recognizing the authority of international law. We now have the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization and the World Court just to name a few. We have a World Court to adjudicate the international laws of the emerging world government.          –Irvin Baxter

http://blog.world-mysteries.com/ancient-writings/what-is-the-new-world-order/

State Investigators, Workers Cite Labor Abuses in Warehouse Empire

Lilly Fowler, News Analysis: “As a warehouse worker in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, the nation’s biggest distribution hub for consumer goods, Jorge Soto handles shipments for retail giant Walmart every day. But Soto, who works for a subcontractor, claims that, along with routine jobs such as unloading trucks, he also has been ordered to perform an illegal task: falsifying employees’ time sheets to cheat them out of getting the minimum wage.”