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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kucinich to investigate Fannie/Freddie bailout...

Kucinich to Investigate Fannie/Freddie Bailout

Dear Friends:

The following blog post by Jane Hamsher (Founder & Publisher - firedoglake.com) appeared today, December 30, 2009:

If the White House thought they could slip the bailout of Fannie and Freddie through by announcing it in a Christmas Eve news dump, think again. Dennis Kucinich just released this statement:

"As Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I'm announcing that the Subcommittee will launch an investigation into the Treasury Department's recent decision to lift the current $400-billion cap on combined federal assistance to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opening the way for additional, unlimited funds through the end of 2012. This investigation will include the role played by Fannie Mae chief executive Michael J. Williams and Freddie Mac chief executive Charles E. Haldeman in the decision, if any, and will seek to ensure that the additional assistance is used for homeowners and not Wall Street."

"As Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I'm announcing that the Subcommittee will launch an investigation into the Treasury Department's recent decision to lift the current $400-billion cap on combined federal assistance to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opening the way for additional, unlimited funds through the end of 2012. This investigation will include the role played by Fannie Mae chief executive Michael J. Williams and Freddie Mac chief executive Charles E. Haldeman in the decision, if any, and will seek to ensure that the additional assistance is used for homeowners and not Wall Street."

"Many questions remain unanswered regarding this move by the Treasury. Why suddenly remove the cap? Indications are that Freddie and Fannie, even as millions of Americans lose their homes, have used just $111 billion of the $400 billion previously available to them. Is lifting the cap on assistance a back-door TARP?"

"Additionally, I want to determine whether Fannie and Freddie have a cohesive plan to buy up the under-performing mortgages that remain on the books of the big banks, at appropriate prices, and undertake a massive reworking of the terms of the mortgages so as to stem the foreclosure crisis that continues to plague our country. This new authority must be used responsibly and for the benefit of American families. This cannot be used simply to purchase toxic assets at inflated prices, thus transferring the losses to the U. S. taxpayers and acting as a back-door TARP."
On Christmas Eve, they also announced $4-$6 million compensation packages for their top executives. But they'll start foreclosing on homeowners again in January.

Fannie and Freddie have been corrupt cesspools for years, a place where presidents of both parties parked friends like Dennis DeConcini and Rahm Emanuel, giving them lucrative spots on the board of directors as political payoff. As government sponsored entities (GSEs) selling shares to the public, they operate like hedge funds that socialize losses and privatize profits. From the LA Times last year:

"This week ... news broke that until August, the lobbying firm owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was paid $15,000 a month by Freddie Mac, one of the mortgage giants implicated in the current crisis (now taken over by the government and under investigation by the FBI). Apparently, Freddie Mac's plan was to gain influence with McCain's campaign in hopes that he would help shield it from pesky government regulations."

It appears they kept looking. The Democrats have been too intimidated by leadership to start looking into the utter corruption at these entities, but Kucinich just doesn't care.

The Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich Committee

Family on Northwest terror flight passenger: "He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly"...

Oconomowoc Family Survives Terrorist Attempt
By Jay Sorgi
Story Created: Dec 28, 2009
(Story Updated: Dec 28, 2009 )

MILWAUKEE - "I would just like to know how to get to Ethiopia by boat."

Patricia "Scotty" Keepman still has a sense of humor after the harrowing experience she, her husband, daughter and two new adopted children from Ethiopia had as a man tried to detonate an explosive device while their plane was getting ready to land in Detroit on Christmas Day.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria was charged Saturday in the Christmas Day attempt that only sparked a fire on the flight from Amsterdam.

"I honestly don't think I've had a chance to let it sink in, because having these children with us, we've just got to keep them grounded, and I'm just really focusing on the kids," said Patricia, who lives in Oconomowoc, on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

They were sitting about 20 rows behind Abdulmutallab, in a center aisle with her husband and daughter a row ahead of her and their two new adopted children, a six-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy.

Her daughter said that ahead of them was a man who videotaped the entire flight, including the attempted detonation.

"He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly," said Patricia. "We do know that the FBI is looking for him intensely. Since then, we've heard nothing about it."

"We heard what sounded like an electrical pop to me. Everybody looked above their seats, kind of like startled, panicked. Shortly thereafter, we heard the screams. We could not see what was going on. We were too far back. We heard shouting, and you could hear the mayhem happening.

At that point, two flight attendants ran at full speed to get fire extinguishers.

"Whatever they did, it all went on for what seemed like a long to me, but what was probably a very short time."

What Was Going On In Her Mind At That Time?

First: to convince her new children that everything was OK.

"No matter what happened, these kids would never know if we didn't make it. We wanted them to think this was a game," explained Patricia.

"They were very concerned when they saw the flight attendant. They were very withdrawn. So I told them that they were just being very funny and silly, and this is what they do on airplanes, since they'd never been on one, and we got them to giggle about it.

But then, the gravity of the situation came over the whole family.

"As the seriousness progressed, and we knew that this could possibly be it, my husband and daughter put their hand through their seats and we all held hands in a circle and sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and we prayed, and we just made it as much of a game as we could and make them completely innocent as to what was happening."

"The holding hands gave us a real sense of peace. If it happened that point, it would happen. We were ready. We just weren't ready for it to happen for the kids. We just kept thinking, 'God didn't bring us this far, to go through all of this, to shorten these kids' lives,' and sure enough, He didn't."

Once the flight attendants told everyone that the suspect was under control, and the fire was contained, Patricia said that most of the people handled the rest of the flight "fabulous."

"We all sat in our seats. We stayed calm, other than (hearing) crying. Shortly thereafter, the captain said they were making an emergency landing.

"They got us off faster than anything you've ever seen, and then they shuffled us off to a room where we spent quite a few hours. They were doing their very best. We were frustrated, because there was never water distributed. There was one bathroom for 300 people, and it was very hard because there were kids crying. Nobody knew what was going on. We were not allowed to call anybody."

Patricia also expressed anger toward the airline for how she feels they were treated after the flight.

"We're very frustrated with Delta because, once we finally got released and we were able to go, of course, everybody missed their flights, but they did not help us in one way. We were just thrown out there. We had to scramble and look for flights, try to rent cars, whatever we could do. That was very disappointing to us."

The adopted children came from an orphanage in Ethiopia who had never seen snow.

"First day, we got home very late that evening, but when we got home, it was like God's gift again, because it was snowing and beautiful. We put on all this snow gear, and we went out and made snow angels and went sledding. They were out of their minds with excitement. They thought this was the greatest thing that ever happened."

They are going back to Ethiopia in a few months to adopt their other brother, who is 10 months old.

US had early signs of a terror plot, officials say...

U.S. Had Early Signals of a Terror Plot, Officials Say
Published: December 29, 2009

HONOLULU — President Obama declared Tuesday that there had been a “systemic failure” of the nation’s security apparatus after being told about more missed signals and uncorrelated intelligence that should have prevented a would-be bomber from boarding a flight for the United States.

The president was told during a private briefing on Tuesday morning while vacationing here in Hawaii that the government had a variety of information in its possession before the thwarted bombing that would have been a clear warning sign had it been shared among agencies, a senior official said.

Two officials said the government had intelligence from Yemen before Friday that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda there were talking about “a Nigerian” being prepared for a terrorist attack. While the information did not include a name, officials said it would have been evident had it been compared with information about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.

The government also had more information about where Mr. Abdulmutallab had been and what some of his plans were.

Some of the information was partial or incomplete, and it was not obvious that it was connected, the official said, but in retrospect it now appears clear that had it all been examined together it would have pointed to the pending attack. The official said the administration was “increasingly confident” that Al Qaeda had a role in the attack, as the group’s Yemeni branch has publicly claimed.

Shortly after being briefed, Mr. Obama addressed reporters in his second public statement on the matter in two days, announcing that a review already had revealed a breakdown in the intelligence system that did not properly identify the suspect as a dangerous extremist who should have been prevented from flying to the United States.

“A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable,” Mr. Obama said. He said he had ordered government agencies to give him a preliminary report on Thursday about what happened and added that he would “insist on accountability at every level,” although he did not elaborate.

Mr. Obama alluded to the intelligence in his statement. “Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged,” the president said. “The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America.”

The president’s withering assessment of the government’s performance could reshape the intensifying political debate over the thwarted terrorist attack. Instead of defending the system, Mr. Obama sided with critics who complained that it did not work and positioned himself as a reformer who will fix it. At the same time, the decision to speak a second time after remaining out of sight for three days underscores the administration’s concern over being outflanked on national security.

The aftermath of the attempted bombing has been marked by an increasingly fierce partisan exchange over culpability heading into a midterm election year. With Republicans on the attack against the administration as not taking terrorism seriously enough, Democrats returned fire by accusing the opposition of standing in the way of needed personnel and money while exploiting public fears.

The debate has escalated since Mr. Obama’s secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, said Sunday that “the system worked” after officials said the suspect tried to ignite explosive chemicals aboard a Northwest Airlines flight approaching Detroit. Ms. Napolitano made clear the next day that she had meant the system worked in its response to the attempted bombing, not before it happened.

Mr. Obama appeared to be trying to contain the damage on Tuesday, offering “systemic failure” as a substitute diagnosis for “system worked.” He framed Ms. Napolitano’s statement by saying she was right that “once the suspect attempted to take down Flight 253, after his attempt, it’s clear that passengers and crew, our homeland security systems and our aviation security took all appropriate actions.”

The president praised the professionalism of the nation’s intelligence, counterterrorism, homeland security and law enforcement officials. But he spared little in his sharp judgment about how a known extremist could be allowed to board a flight bound for the United States after his own father had warned that he had become radical.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pharmaceuticals are more dangerous to your health than terrorists' exploding underwear...

Pharmaceuticals are more dangerous to your health than terrorists' exploding underwear (satire)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) As all of North America now seems to be focused on the issue of one terrorist wearing a pair of exploding underwear, I might as well comment on this latest bit of security theater that seems to have transfixed the nation. Pictures of the exploding underwear "bomb" have now surfaced on the 'net. You can view them at ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/north...

Here is exactly what the text on this page says (I'm not making this up, this is seriously true): (warning: Some of the content here is graphic, read at your own risk...)

"The first photo, to the left, shows the slightly charred and singed underpants with the bomb packet still in place."

I don't know what you think, but if you did an underwear search of all the passengers flying these days, you'd probably find half of them are wearing underwear that's slightly charred and singed with the "bomb packet" still in place.

The gastrointestinal health of the general population is atrocious! And by the time you add in some airport food and in-flight processed food snacks, pretty much everyone on the airplane is setting off a little bomb packet by the time they get off the plane. (Why do you think everybody can't wait to get off in such a hurry?)

Processed food has turned us all into in-flight terrorists!

Frankly, I'm not sure what's more of a threat to public health: Lousy airport security or the digestive effects of in-flight meals. But they both have one thing in common: Underwear...

How to explode your rectum without harming anyone nearby

The ABC News story mentioned above goes on to state that this terrorist's underwear was packing 80 grams of an explosive powder called PETN, which government tests have revealed can blow a (tiny) hole in the wall of an airplane.

This is all brilliant stuff, of course. Truly brilliant. This whole idea that underwear explosives might destroy an airplane all makes sense except for the fact that the terrorist's butt cheeks are in the way!

Had this explosive packet actually been set off, I can tell you exactly what would have happened: There would have been a really loud pop, immediately followed by in-flight pieces of exploding butt cheeks.

I'm not trying to be funny here. This is a true description of the way bombs work. They explode outward, destroying whatever is closest to them first. And this guy actually had this bomb wedged in between his butt cheeks. A sort of "wedgie bomb", if you will. A wedgie with a bang.

This is a serious discussion. There was an attempted assassination of a Middle Eastern prince that happened not long ago. It was even reported in the press. The assassin had somehow managed to shove explosives into his rectum -- I swear I'm not making this up -- and waltzed right through security with it. He then shuffled toward his target, fired off the bomb and subsequently blew his butt cheeks all over the room... without harming anyone else.

Brilliant, huh?

Think about it. In World War II films, you know how you always see brave soldiers throwing themselves on an enemy grenade to protect their squad buddies? That actually works because whoever is on top of the grenade absorbs the explosion. It's basic physics.

In the case of super wedgie terrorist, he's sitting right on top of the explosive powder! Who do you think is going to absorb the full force of the explosion? It's going to be the guy sitting on it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The shady mainstream media payday of Flight 253 hero Jasper Schuringa...

The Shady Mainstream Media Payday of Flight 253 Hero Jasper Schuringa
By Foster Kamer
Dec 27, 2009 3:00 PM

Jasper Schuringa probably didn't think twice before dismantling Northwest Airlines Flight 253's would-be bomber. But before telling his story, he wanted money, and he got it. From major news outlets who pay up and lie about it. Here's the proof:

Yesterday Mediaite and TV Newser reported on Schurnga's two wares he's got for sale: the first, a blurry picture of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The second is himself, for interviews. CNN got to him first. They also got an interview.

This is the interview Jasper did. You can watch the entire thing, but it only gets good around 6:45, when Schuringa appears to be looking off-camera, trying to end the interview, and in doing so, preserving his product for further sale.


Mediaite's Steve Krakauer deftly explains how things like this go down:

The practice of paying a "licensing fee" rather than a direct exchange is a way networks who claim to never pay for interviews can get around the issue. By paying for images and video, they are free to say no money was exchanged hands for the actual interview – which is still viewed as unseemly for news outlets not named the National Enquirer or TMZ. But paying for something to secure an interview happens quite a bit.

Steve was dead-on. This is what happened:

All the media organizations found Schuringa's company website, which had his cell phone number on it. By the time he finally got to Miami, his final destination, CNN and The New York Post had gotten to him.

Once the Post and CNN got through to Jasper, he handed over all negotiations to his friend who lives in Miami who he came to the U.S. to visit. His name is Shai Ben-Ami. He's an Israeli guy who's in the restaurant business, as a Google search would turn up. He owns some kind of Pick Up Stix imitator. Though their Orange Chicken sounds good about now.

Schurnga sold the "TV Rights" of the first of his two photos to CNN for $10K.

The "print rights" went to the Post for $5K.

Later, Schuringa was paid upwards of $3K by ABC News for a second photo, which Schuringa tried to sell to other local news outlets for $5K, unsuccessfully.

Jasper Schuringa made at least $18,000 from two shitty, blurry photos.


Because the only way to get interviews with this guy was to pay him, so CNN and The New York Post ponied up. Fox News used the Post's interview, because they're part of Murdoch-stan. NBC apparently didn't pay, because they don't have their own interview. Neither does the New York Daily News or the New York Times. But the New York Daily News did take CNN's photo (albeit watermarked) and interview quotes for their story in this morning's paper for the low price of free-ninety-nine. Thrifty!

One reporter reached Shai just before Jasper went on CNN, and was told that after they were done with CNN and worked out a contract with ABC, they'd talk to the reporter about the print rights to the second photo, and Jasper would talk to reporters if—and only if—the reporter decided to buy it.

"He was quite upfront about it," we're told. "He made it clear that Jasper was only talking to news organizations that paid."

And he made it clear over emails. Which look like this. Emphasis mine:

The post and times still talking about photo 2 what can you offer forit!? I feel bad dropping with you after you have been cool with us ...
Sent from my BlackBerry® on the MetroPCS Network

You might have to run it only for monday cuz abc wants to use it aswell for tv news and they stressed if we could hold off till monday with paper ? Would that work ...
Sent from my BlackBerry® on the MetroPCS Network

Others numbers are extremly higher
Sent from my BlackBerry® on the MetroPCS Network

They have exclusive rights for photo 1, that is a final, for photo 2
they are offering 3k, we are going with them soon if I don't hear back
from you on equal contract ... Thanks for all ...
Sent from my BlackBerry® on the MetroPCS Network

Welcome to the wonderful world of Checkbook Journalism. Have you seen the photo? It looks like this.

It's nothing.

Neither is the other photo, which is just more of the same. Again, these major news networks aren't really paying for the photo, they're paying for the thing that comes with the photo: an interview.

Here's the "funny" thing: CNN admitted to Mediaite and TV Newser that they paid for the photo, but wouldn't comment on the interview. When pressed, will they cop to it?

CNN tells Mediaite they paid a "licensing fee" for the exclusive cell phone image, which they have been using throughout the day...CNN clarifies the network did not pay for the actual interview during CNN Newsroom.

Of course not. Because they're a news organization, not tabloid scum.


Technically, did they pay for the interview? Probably not.
Categorically, did they pay for the interview? Absolutely.

When CNN wanted to talk about Balloon Boy a few weeks back? They wanted the goods—the exclusive—but they didn't want to pay, be seen as paying, or refer to the story as anything but allegedly true. So they got the next best thing: my boss, talking about the story!

Looks like they learned their lesson.

Checkbook journalism is back, and here to stay. Media critics who lambast some news organizations for paying for sources are going to have to deal with the cold, hard fact that getting a scoop has gotten a lot more competitive these days.

Not only that, but the mainstream outlets who hold themselves in higher regards than those (like ours) who openly admit to ponying up for a story are doing the same thing themselves, the sole difference being: We don't feel the need to lie about it. Why do they?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

9/11 Drug pilot and "Operation Blue Lightning"...

9/11 Drug pilot and "Operation Blue Lightning"
December 22, 2009
by Daniel Hopsicker

Elements of the U.S. Government took a surprisingly keen interest in controversial Guyanese drug pilot Michael Brassington during 2003 and 2004, when, according to interviews with former Customs Agents, Brassington was involved in—or the subject of—a secretive Miami-based U.S. Government operation.

“Whenever Brassington entered the U.S. a special team from Miami was supposed to come up,” stated former Fort Lauderdale Customs Agent James Sanders.

Brassington was supposed to be met by Customs Agents from “Operation Blue Lightning.”

“Operation Blue Lightning is some kind of joint task force," Sanders explained. "I found out later, from a chief inspector on the team, that I wasn’t even supposed to inspect him.”

Official interest in Brassington’s activities in 2003 and 2oo4 is surprising... and suspicious, because before he was indicted in 2008—barely two weeks after the Bush Administration left office—he regularly flaunted U.S. and international law with “seeming impunity.”

A CIA 'rogue operation' in US Customs?

So while the intent of Operation Blue Lightning’s interest in Brassington remains unclear, it is fair to ask: Was Brassington’s “special handling” by Operation Blue Lightning designed to impede criminal activity? Or to facilitate it?

Operation Blue Lightning clearly fits the description provided by a top DEA official in Miami when he informed us why the DEA had not mounted an investigation into the owners of two planes caught carrying over 10 tons of cocaine in Mexico’s Yucatan:

Because the two American drug planes belonged to a “rogue” operation in U.S. Customs, explained the DEA official. So the investigation properly belonged to the Office of Investigations in the Dept of Homeland Security.

But the existence of any federal investigation in the scandal is merely a matter of speculation, we soon learned.

An official in the Dept. of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office said the Department’s practice is to neither confirm nor deny the existence of any internal investigation conducted by the Inspector General’s office.

Later, we learned that the lead FAA investigator on the case was called off and reassigned, under typically suspicious circumstances.

To this day Brassington has never been charged with drug trafficking.

As rookie Customs Agent James Sanders learned the hard way, Brassington was protected by top figures in the Dept of Homeland Security.

When they want to protect or cover something up, the government has a neat trick they sometimes use:

They “investigate” it.

"The red light saved my life."

Brassington goes on trial next month in Federal Court in Newark,for putting the lives of passengers in danger in a near-fatal crash of a luxury jet at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey in February 2005.

The crash was so spectacular that it led all three evening newscasts. A Challenger luxury jet, which had come in from Vegas late the night before, hurtled off the runway and across a six-lane highway busy with morning rush hour traffic. More than 20 people were injured.

Authorities expressed amazement that nobody was killed.

The crash sparked a federal criminal investigation which turned up evidence of a pattern of illegal activity so egregious that former Inspector General Mary Schiavo of the U.S. Department of Transportation called Brassington’s charter company “Loophole Airlines.”

The responsible Federal agency, the FAA, even came under rare criticism from another Federal agency, the NTSB. According to the NTSB, neither the pilot nor the co-pilot were rated to fly the flight they were flying.

The flight attendant had no safety training. She was a dancer at the Voodoo Lounge in Miami. When the plane caught fire she didn't know how to open the doors.

Dozens of drivers and passengers in cars driving along the highway next to Teterboro Airport are alive today—not because of action to safeguard passengers by the FAA or the NTSB—but because of the vagaries of traffic signals.

They were saved from death because they happened to be stopped at a red light.

"Animal House...with badges and guns"

Even for Miami, Operation Blue Lightning has a highly-checkered past and a particularly sordid pedigree, which was exposed in a series of investigative articles in the Miami Herald during the late 80’s.

Ahern’s stint as head honcho was called a “Reign of Terror” in the Miami Herald.

The paper called the Miami Customs District, then led by Jayson Ahern, “Animal House with Badges and Guns.”

And even though he'd been in the thick of it personally, amid widespread allegations of internal corruption, sexual antics, and serious security breakdowns which dogged him for years, Jayson Ahern rose to become (Acting) Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.

He was a real Teflon Don.

“They were out of control and everyone knew they were out of control, no question about it,'' the paper quoted a Customs investigator. “That group had a lot of power, and Customs did everything it could to make the case go away - merits of the complaint be damned,'' the investigator said.

“The truth of the matter was not the concern, everyone in Customs knew the truth. The concern was for saving face.”

Somebody really loved Jay Ahern. Proving the point: although by all accounts the cocaine trade boomed during the 1980’s, Ahern was among an elite group of Miami inspectors lauded in news reports for achieving "success" in the war on cocaine smugglers.

Great press. No convictions. Some people have all the luck.

And like a bad penny resurfacing again and again, after 9/11 Ahern’s Contraband Enforcement Team was brought back and rechristened "Operation Blue Lightning."

And Jayson Ahern was the man behind the firing of rookie Customs Agent Sanders, after the "complaint" by solid citizen(!) Michael Brassington.

Nixon would be proud.

A DEA look-out... and friends in high places

In an exclusive interview in the upcoming “New American DrugLords” documentary, James Sanders, a former Customs Agent in Fort Lauderdale, FL, told how he had been on duty, and in charge, late on a Tuesday night at the International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, when Brassington flew in.While Customs Agent Sanders was still examining his narcotics record in the computer, Brassington began brandishing a letter from a top official in the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security which seemed clearly designed to smooth his re-entry into the U.S.

“I was looking at Brassington’s narcotics record on the computer,” says Sanders, still incredulous at the memory, “when he handed me a letter from Washington!”

Confused, Sanders phoned Supervisor Norm Bright at Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE), whose name appeared in Brassington’s file, and was told that he was to treat Brassington as a “grave threat to national security.”

Brassington was flying in on a plane (N60S) suspected of being used for money laundering.His passenger,Anthony Cirillo,was flagged in the computer for having been on suspicious flights.

Pilot Brassington himself had a “DEA look-out,” Sanders told us.

Mohamed Atta. Remember him?

This was a consequence of Brassington’s having flown as co-pilot on a Lear jet (N351WB)that was busted by DEA agents at Orlando Executive Airport in July of 2000carrying 43 lbs. of heroin.

The Learjet belonged to Wallace J. Hilliard, owner of the Venice Florida flight school where Mohamed Atta was then learning to fly.Before being busted, the Learjet had flown, with Brassington as co-pilot, on 39 weekly drug flights between Florida and Venezuela.

Yet, despite these incriminating facts, two career Customs officials with checkered histories in Miami, Thomas Winkowski and just-retired Acting U.S. Customs Commissioner Jayson Ahern, intervened on Brassington’s behalf after he wrote a letter of complaint to Ahern, then the third highest ranking official in U.S. Customs.

Rookie Customs Agent James Sander’s encounter with Guyanese drug pilot Michael Brassington ended up costing him his job.

There at the inception

The first newspaper mention of Operation Blue Lightning was back in the spring of 1985, when United Press International called it "an unprecedented assault that rousted drug smugglers from island sanctuaries in the Bahamas into a massive military trap that netted $100 million in drugs, boats and planes."

And a familiar figure from the government was on hand at the inception of Operation Blue Lightning...

''I wish I could be with you to announce the spectacular results of Operation Blue Lightning,'' said Vice President George Bush at the news conference announcing the haul.

Bush said the seizure of cocaine and marijuana ''that won't reach our city streets to corrupt the minds of our citizens and line the pockets of drug smugglers is a significant achievement.''

Alas, statements by Presidents named Bush concerning drug trafficking cannot be taken at face value very often... Almost two decades later Bush's son George W Bush will announce the U.S. plans to get the world’s leading heroin trafficker dead or alive.

His name was Osama bin Laden. Anybody remember him?

"Sharped dressed man" helped Northwest flight bomber onto plane?


Confirmed? "Sharp dressed man" aided Northwest flight "Christmas Bomber" Umar Mutallab onto plane without passport. Who was involved, why don't we know about this other suspect?
Metro Detroit Live

A Michigan man who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 says he witnessed Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab trying to board the plane in Amsterdam without a passport.

Kurt Haskell of Newport, Mich., who posted an earlier comment about his experience, talked exclusively with MLive.com and confirmed he was on the flight by sending a picture of his boarding pass. He and his wife, Lori, were returning from a safari in Uganda when they boarded the NWA flight on Friday.

Haskell said he and his wife were sitting on the ground near their boarding gate in Amsterdam, which is when they saw Mutallab approach the gate with an unidentified man.

Kurt and Lori Haskell are attorneys with Haskell Law Firm in Taylor. Their expertise includes bankruptcy, family law and estate planning.

While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. “The guy said, 'He's from Sudan and we do this all the time.'”

Mutallab is Nigerian. Haskell believes the man may have been trying to garner sympathy for Mutallab's lack of documents by portraying him as a Sudanese refugee.

The ticket agent referred Mutallab and his companion to her manager down the hall, and Haskell didn't see Mutallab again until after he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive on the plane.

Haskell said the flight was mostly unremarkable. That was until he heard a flight attendant say she smelled smoke, just after the pilot announced the plane would land in Detroit in 10 minutes. Haskell got out of his seat to view the brewing commotion.

“I stood up and walked a couple feet ahead to get a closer look, and that's when I saw the flames,” said Haskell, who sat about seven rows behind Mutallab. “It started to spread pretty quickly. It went up the wall, all the way to ceiling.”

Haskell, who described Mutallab as a diminutive man who looks like a teenager, said about 30 seconds passed between the first mention of smoke and when Mutallab was subdued by fellow passengers.

“He didn't fight back at all. This wasn't a big skirmish,” Haskell said. “A couple guys jumped on him and hauled him away.”

The ordeal has Haskell and his wife a little shaken. Flight attendants were screaming during the fire and the pilot sounded notably nervous when bringing the plane in for a landing, he said.

“Immediately, the pilot came on and said two words: emergency landing,” Haskell said. “And that was it. The plane sped up instead of slowing down. You could tell he floored it.”

As Mutallab was being led out of the plane in handcuffs, Haskell said he realized that was the same man he saw trying to board the plane in Amsterdam.

Passengers had to wait about 20 minutes before they were allowed to exit the plane. Haskell said he and other passengers waited about six hours to be interviewed by the FBI.

About an hour after landing, Haskell said he saw another man being taken into custody. But a spokeswoman from the FBI in Detroit said Mutallab was the only person taken into custody.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

To the 'Blendz Spot' readers...


Saturday, December 19, 2009

CIA working with Palestinian security agents...

CIA Working with Palestinian Security Agents
US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank
Ian Cobain in Ramallah
17 December 2009

Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned.

Less than a year after Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, evidence is emerging the CIA is co-operating with security agents whose continuing use of torture has been widely documented by human rights groups.

The relationship between the CIA and the two Palestinian agencies involved – Preventive Security Organisation (PSO) and General Intelligence Service (GI) – is said by some western diplomats and other officials in the region to be so close that the American agency appears to be supervising the Palestinians' work.

One senior western official said: "The [Central Intelligence] Agency consider them as their property, those two Palestinian services." A diplomatic source added that US influence over the agencies was so great they could be considered "an advanced arm of the war on terror".

While the CIA and the Palestinian Authority (PA) deny the US agency controls its Palestinian counterparts, neither denies that they interact closely in the West Bank. Details of that co-operation are emerging as some human rights organisations are beginning to question whether US intelligence agencies may be turning a blind eye to abusive interrogations conducted by other countries' intelligence agencies with whom they are working. According to the Palestinian watchdog al-Haq, human rights in the West Bank and Gaza have "gravely deteriorated due to the spreading violations committed by Palestinian actors" this year.

Most of those held without trial and allegedly tortured in the West Bank have been supporters of Hamas, which won the Palestinian elections in 2006 but is denounced as a terrorist organisation by the PA – which in turn is dominated by the rival Fatah political faction – and by the US and EU. In the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has been in control for more than two years, there have been reports of its forces detaining and torturing Fatah sympathisers in the same way.

Among the human rights organisations that have documented or complained about the mistreatment of detainees held by the PA in the West Bank are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, al-Haq and the Israeli watchdog B'Tselem. Even the PA's human rights commission has expressed "deep concern" over the mistreatment of detainees.

The most common complaint is that detainees are severely beaten and subjected to a torture known as shabeh, during which they are shackled and forced to assume painful positions for long periods. There have also been reports of sleep deprivation, and of large numbers of detainees being crammed into small cells to prevent rest. Instead of being brought before civilian courts, almost all the detainees enter a system of military justice under which they need not be brought before a court for six months.

According to PA officials, between 400 and 500 Hamas sympathisers are held by the PSO and GI.

Some of the mistreatment has been so severe that at least three detainees have died in custody this year. The most recent was Haitham Amr, a 33-year-old nurse and Hamas supporter from Hebron who died four days after he was detained by GI officials last June. Extensive bruising around his kidneys suggested he had been beaten to death. Among those who died in GI custody last year was Majid al-Barghuti, 42, an imam at a village near Ramallah.

While there is no evidence that the CIA has been commissioning such mistreatment, human rights activists say it would end promptly if US pressure was brought to bear on the Palestinian authorities.

Shawan Jabarin, general director of al-Haq, said: "The Americans could stop it any time. All they would have to do is go to [prime minister] Salam Fayyad and tell him they were making it an issue.. Then they could deal with the specifics: they could tell him that detainees needed to be brought promptly before the courts."

A diplomat in the region said "at the very least" US intelligence officers were aware of the torture and not doing enough to stop it. He added: "There are a number of questions for the US administration: what is their objective, what are their rules of engagement? Do they train the GI and PSO according to the manual which was established by the previous administration, including water-boarding? Are they in control, or are they just witnessing?"

Sa'id Abu-Ali, the PA's interior minister, accepted detainees had been tortured and some had died, but said such abuses had not been official policy and steps were being taken to prevent them. He said such abuses "happen in every country in the world". Abu-Ali sought initially to deny the CIA was "deeply involved" with the two Palestinian intelligence agencies responsible for the torture of Hamas sympathisers, but then conceded that links did exist. "There is a connection, but there is no supervision by the Americans," he said. "It is solely a Palestinian affair. But the Americans help us."

The CIA does not deny working with the PSO and GI in the West Bank, although it will not say what use it has made of intelligence extracted during the interrogation of Hamas supporters. But it denies turning what one official described as "a Nelson's eye to abuse".

The CIA's spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, denied it played a supervisory role over the PSO or GI. "The notion that this agency somehow runs other intelligence services … is simply wrong," he said. "The CIA … only supports, and is interested in, lawful methods that produce sound intelligence."

Concern about detainee abuse is growing in the West Bank despite an effort by the international community to create Palestinian institutions that will guarantee greater security as a first step towards creating a Palestinian state. More than half of the PA's $2.8bn (£1.66bn) budget came from international donors last year; more than a quarter was swallowed up by the ministry of the interior and national security. Human Rights Watch and al-Haq have said that in raising the security capacity of the PA, donor countries have a responsibility to ensure it observes international human rights standards.

At the heart of the international effort is the creation of the Palestinian national security force, a 7,500-strong gendarmerie trained by US, British, Canadian and Turkish army officers under the command of a US general, Keith Dayton. Many Palestinians blame Dayton for the mistreatment of Hamas sympathisers, although the general's remit does not extend to either of the intelligence agencies responsible.

Some in Dayton's team are said to have been warned by senior CIA officers that they should not attempt to interfere in the work of the PSO or GI. Privately, some of them are said to fear that the mistreatment of detainees, and the anger this is arousing among the population, may undermine their mission. One source said: "I know that Dayton and his crew are very concerned about what is happening in those detention centres because they know it can jeopardise their work."

Friday, December 18, 2009

800,000 misdiagnosed in swine flu farce...

Eight Hundred Thousand Misdiagnosed in Swine Flu Farce
Thursday, December 17, 2009 by: Marek Doyle, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) This week, Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that only one in five people who were diagnosed with swine flu actually had the disease and that four fifths were instructed to take Tamiflu unnecessarily.

The Government agency reported that around one million packets of Tamiflu have been prescribed so far, but more than 800,000 of these were not necessary. In one seven-day period, the rate of correct diagnosis dropped to an astonishing 1 out of 20, with 38,000 citizens taking the controversial antiviral. These alarming figures only came to light after the HPA took swabs from random samples of people who had used the NHS helpline.

This means close to a million people needlessly stayed at home in isolation over the summer, in the false belief that they had swine flu. "These figures are a damning indictment of the government's approach to tackling swine flu," said Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb. "Ministers had years to prepare for such an outbreak but completely failed to put in place an effective flu-line service. It's seriously concerning that large numbers of patients may have been put at risk through high rates of misdiagnosis.While protecting people during an outbreak has to be the priority we cannot escape the fact that an enormous amount of money has been wasted by giving people drugs they simply didn't need."

On top of an estimated 500 million pound cost to the UK economy, the misdiagnosis may have caused new health problems for the members of the public who took the antiviral. The Medicines and Health Regulatory Authority has been swamped with complaints of side-effects from members of the public who had taken Tamiflu, with 11 percent reporting nausea.

Many experts have long refuted the fear-mongering that the mainstream media had allocated to the swine flu issue, with most seeing it as a cynical sales-drive for antivirals and vaccines on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. This view was supported by research published in Science journal very soon after pandemic status was awarded, in which it was shown that the swine flu organism was of low virulence. Critics point out that policymakers selectively ignored this research, yet happily accepted a study conducted by American scientists on the safety of the Tamiflu, even though the study only lasted one week and all eight authors declared financial interests in the antiviral they were testing. Widespread use of Tamiflu has shown to be ineffective against the H1N1 virus, with the virus becoming quickly resistant.

Despite the increasing burden of evidence to the contrary, the NHS refused to accept that science had been distorted. A spokesperson commented: "Protecting the public is the prime concern on our strategy... this means offering antivirals when required."

IAC statement in solidarity with the protests in Copenhagen...

IAC Statement in Solidarity with the Protests in Copenhagen:

The International Action Center stands in solidarity with the thousands of activists from across the globe who are protesting at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. We condemn the acts of police brutality, including use of chemical weapons and the preemptive arrests of more than 1,000 people. We demand the release of all who have been arrested.

The criminals in Copenhagen are not the activists who are in the streets demanding real solutions to the growing climate change crisis. The criminals are those politicians and the corporations they represent, motivated exclusively by the pursuit of profits, who are unable and unwilling to address the causes of climate change. There is a growing consensus among scientists that we must reverse the global growth in greenhouse gas emissions before 'runaway' climate change becomes uncontrollable. Rather than finding ways to address this crisis, U.S. and Western delegates and Wall Street bankers are discussing how to profit from climate change, by constructing a massive international speculative market buying and selling carbon emissions. These “Cap and Trade” schemes will allow major corporations to profit from their pollution.

The biggest climate criminal on the planet is not even allowed to be discussed at the Conference. By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy in general. Yet the Pentagon has had an blanket exemption in all international climate agreements since the Kyoto Accords.

The Pentagon wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; its secret operations in Pakistan; its equipment on more than 1,000 U.S. bases around the world; its 6,000 facilities in the U.S.; all NATO operations; its aircraft carriers, jet aircraft, weapons testing, training and sales will not be counted against U.S. greenhouse gas limits or included in any count.

The climate talks will not solve the climate crisis, nor are they intended to. These talks provide a cover for politicians to pretend to address the crisis while conspiring to increase profits for the corporations they serve. The pretended debate over climate change and global warming at the Copenhagen Conference is a struggle among the national corporations for their own interests.

The best way to immediately clean up the environment is to shut down the Pentagon. What is needed to combat climate change long-term is a thoroughgoing system change - a change that puts people and the climate ahead of the blind pursuit of profits.

For updates and information on the protests in Copenhagen, see: http://indymedia.dk/

For more on the criminal role of the Pentagon in climate change, see: www.IACenter.org

H1N1 vaccine liquidation sale now on...

H1N1 vaccine liquidation sale now on: Hurry while supplies last!
Friday, December 18, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) All of a sudden, H1N1 vaccines are available all across America. Walgreens and other pharmacies are pushing the vaccines as if there were an "everything must go" liquidation sale under way. Hurry, get your swine flu vaccine today before everybody figures out they're useless!

The marketability of vaccines has a strict time limit. They're only in demand during the fear phase of a pandemic, and that fear phase has long since faded for H1N1. Virtually everyone who wants an H1N1 vaccine has already received one, and the rest of the population is beginning to notice something quite curious: People who got the vaccine are no better off than those who skipped it. In fact, there's no difference in mortality between those who were vaccinated and those who weren't, indicating yet again that the swine flu vaccine was a medical hoax to begin with.

If you don't believe me, just ask the potentially hundreds of thousands of parents who gave their children one of the recently recalled H1N1 children's vaccines. These vaccines were recalled because they were found to be so weak that they were medically useless. But observant parents are noticing a curious fact: Children who received the "useless" (recalled) vaccine have been no worse off than those who received a full-strength vaccine.

The strength of the vaccine, in fact, appears to be entirely irrelevant to the health outcomes of children. Vaccine or not, strong or weak, children's reaction to the pandemic has virtually nothing to do with any treatments offered by conventional medicine.

In fact, the greatest determining factor in the health outcomes of children has most likely been their blood levels of vitamin D. But that isn't tracked by medical professionals... nor even prescribed by them. So we'll probably never know the exact correlation between vitamin D and H1N1 prevention.

Millions of useless vaccines

So now we have a situation where the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars acquiring H1N1 vaccines that, by the time they were delivered for consumption, were already irrelevant to public health. Does anybody really believe at this point that swine flu is a deadly pandemic that will kill you if you don't receive a vaccine? You'd have to really look hard to find someone so uninformed (and brainwashed) that they're making the H1N1 vaccine a priority in their life right now.

So what we're going to end up with here is a huge stockpile of H1N1 vaccines that nobody wants. Sure, the pharmacies, clinics and hospitals will try to push as many of them as they can (even offering free vaccines sooner or later, just to get people into their stores), but in the end, they're inevitably going to be sitting on millions of extra doses of vaccine with nowhere to inject them.

There are two solutions for this, from Big Pharma's point of view:

Strategy #1 - Drum up more fear with the aim that it will boost consumer demand for vaccines. This can be accomplished by getting the mainstream media to highlight the few isolated cases of infants or children dying from H1N1 infections (all of whom are almost certainly vitamin D deficient, again).

Strategy #2 - Mandate mass vaccinations. This is unlikely to happen now that H1N1 appears to have fizzled out. The public won't go for mandatory shots unless the situation gets a whole lot worse. Of course, Big Government can always force such mandates upon the public, but in the current political climate, such an effort would be met with a backlash of public protest.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lead IPCC author admits to deleting sections of report...

Exclusive: Lead Author Admits Deleting Inconvenient Opinions From IPCC Report
Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, December 17, 2009

The latest installment of Jesse Ventura’s highly successful Conspiracy Theory show exposed millions of viewers on national TV last night to the climate change fraud, blowing a giant hole in the global warming scam by exposing how its adherents comprise wealthy industrialists making billions in profits by fearmongering about the environment.

Ventura and his team attempted to track down the key architects of the scheme, a search which led them to Beijing China and the heavily guarded residence of global warming pioneer and billionaire Maurice Strong.

The show lifts the lid on how the very same alarmists pushing the threat of climate change are profiting in the billions from carbon trading systems in which they have a huge personal stake.

The most damning part of the program is when Ben Santer, a climate researcher and lead IPCC author of Chapter 8 of the 1995 IPCC Working Group I Report, admits that he deleted sections of the IPCC chapter which stated that humans were not responsible for climate change.

Accusing Santer of altering opinions in the IPCC report that disagreed with the man-made thesis behind climate change, Lord Monckton told the program, “In comes Santer and re-writes it for them, after the scientists have sent in their finalized draft, and that finalized draft said at five different places, there is no discernable human effect on global temperature – I’ve seen a copy of this – Santer went through, crossed out all of those and substituted a new conclusion, and this has been the official conclusion ever since.”

“Lord Monckton points to deletions from the chapter, and there were deletions from the chapter, to be consistent with the other chapters we dropped the summary at the end,” Santer admits to the program.

Commenting on The Alex Jones Show today, Lord Monckton said that this was the first time Santer had publicly admitted to deleting the information.

Santer was intimately involved in the Climategate email scandal, communicating with other IPCC-affiliated scientists who conspired to “hide the decline” in global warming.

Does Santer’s shocking admission that he deleted the opinions of scientists who stated that human activity did not cause global warming from a key IPCC report represent Climategate 2?

Watch the clips below.

One of the most insightful moments in the show arrives when Amit Chatterjee, CEO of Hara, a company that sells carbon credits, is confronted with the fact that his business is bankrolled by an investment firm partnered with Al Gore.

After admitting that the “carbon market” will be worth a trillion dollars by 2015, and that his company will rake in billions, but then denying that he will profit from lobbying for cap and trade laws as well as any link to Al Gore, Chatterjee is confronted by Ventura.

Watch the clip.

“We don’t have any direct relationship with Al Gore,” claims Chatterjee, despite a June 2009 Reuters report headlined, Gore-backed Hara sees profit from low-carbon economy.

“Hara, a 25-employee company that debuted in 2008, provides online software to help companies reduce their carbon footprint — a $2.5 billion market that will grow 10-fold if the proposed energy bill, which will require companies to get permits for emissions, becomes law, Chief Executive Amit Chatterjee said,” states the report.

The Reuters report states that Hara is “An environmental start-up backed by Al Gore’s venture capital firm.”

Ventura challenges Chatterjee on his denial of a connection with Al Gore, at which point Chatterjee’s slick demeanor changes to that of a deer trapped in the headlights.

“No relationship with Al Gore? Let him tell that to me,” comments Ventura. Chatterjee then becomes evasive and refuses to comment when Ventura points out that Chatterjee’s company will make a fortune as a result of Al Gore’s lobbying for cap and trade to be passed. Ventura makes Chatterjee look like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“Maybe they never met at the company picnic, but Al Gore owns a piece of his business,” comments Ventura, “He makes sure they make payroll.”

The trail then leads to Maurice Strong, “the world’s leading environmentalist, who just happens to be a billionaire industrialist.”

As we have documented, Maurice Strong, who is regularly credited as founding father of the modern environmental movement, serves on the board of directors of The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). Strong was a leading initiate of the Earth Summit in the early 90s, where the theory of global warming caused by CO2 generated by human activity was most notably advanced.

By using his considerable wealth and influence to lobby for cap and trade and a tax on CO2 emissions, Strong stands to enrich his company’s coffers to the tune of trillions if a binding agreement on carbon dioxide is formulated in Copenhagen.

Strong and his close ally Al Gore come from a stable of elite groups that have long sought to use the environmental movement to advance their agendas.

Strong, who was groomed by David Rockefeller to eventually serve as Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, is also a member of the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Club of Rome.

In their 1991 report, The First Global Revolution, the Club of Rome, a powerful globalist NGO committed to limiting growth and bringing in a post-industrial society, conspired to exploit fears about the environment to make humans the enemy so they could usher in a global government.

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention… The real enemy, then, is humanity itself,” states the report.

Ventura and his team are unable to confront Strong, as he remains ensconced in his heavily guarded Beijing residence, but they do talk to whistleblower George Hunt, an official with the World Wilderness Conference who worked with Strong in 1987. Hunt tells Ventura that Strong is one of the leading conspirators behind a plot on behalf of aristocratic billionaires to use global warming as a justification for a one world bank, a global currency and a global government – which is exactly what’s unfolding right now in Copenhagen with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon insisting that global governance will be imposed to enforce CO2 regulations.

Ventura concludes the show by stating that global warming is a fear tactic invented to control people and make trillions in profit. Ventura signs off by stating that people who preach the global warming gospel, “Are not out to save the world – they’re out to run it.”

Watch the entirety of last night’s show via You Tube below.(CLICK TITLE LINK TO VIEW)

The show’s riveting investigative-style approach to the subject matter has attracted droves of viewers for the series. The premiere episode of Ventura’s new show, aired earlier this month, was watched by 1.6 million viewers, truTV’s biggest audience ever for a new series launch.

Federal Judge in Germany: Numerous 9/11 theories screaming for investigation...

Federal Judge in Germany: Numerous 9/11 Theories Screaming For Investigation
December, 15, 2009

Federal Judge Dieter Deiseroth: It is very unfortunate that the media are not prepared to face the issue of 9/11 and ask the unanswered questions

Question: Do you think the proposal of an independent 9/11 investigation is realistic?

Judge Dieter Deiseroth: I think the suggestion is reasonable and necessary. Because the official investigation is the central justification for the war ( "Operation Enduring Freedom") and for serious alterations of the U.S. legal system under the so-called homeland security legislation.

Question: This should be difficult because neither politics nor the big media, dare to critically question the official version of 9/11.

Judge Dieter Deiseroth: If the official story of 9/11 is further effectively disseminated by all governments - then it is very costly and difficult because of the effect of solidified public opinion to question it . A major research effort is needed and extensive research, time and monetary resources must be available, which is difficult in a time when resources in the newsrooms are being cut down.

But then after all, even the construct of lies to justify the Iraq war was brought down. We now know that the Bush administration, in terms of credibility and veracity, was anything but trustworthy. It is unfortunate that many within the media, are still not sufficiently prepared to face the issue of 9 / 11 and the open unanswered questions . Maybe also because of the abyss that becomes clear then.

Question: Not too long ago alternative explanations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US were discussed.

Judge Dieter Deiseroth: Indeed. Parliamentarians of the Democratic Party of Japan, which has won the last election in a landslide, for about 2 years in the Japanese parliament, have repeatedly questioned the official Bush version of 9 / 11 with very serious arguments and demanded explanations. Something like this did not take place in German parliament, which is rather unfortunate.

Question: But the alternative theories of 9 / 11 also have many shortcomings.

Judge Dieter Deiseroth: This is absolutely correct. I can warn to replace the official conspiracy theory of the Bush administration with hasty drawn alternative conspiracy theories. If the critics of the official version really want to achieve a new national or international investigation into the attacks of 9 / 11, then they must impose the highest levels of integrity, fact-orientation and openness to possible objections. The only way they can avoid to discredit their own arguments, for example by Conjecture and speculation disguised as evidence. I assert: On both sides, that is, both at the official presentation of the Bush administration with the 9/11-Commission Report and on the alternative side with it's many counter-theories there is a sea of questions and also a sea of blatant untruth. This fact is almost screaming for explanations.

Question: Can the military engagement in Afghanistan be based on international law's right of self-defense? Did 9/11 not give the U.S. the right to defend itself and its allies a reason for an emergency?

Judge Dieter Deiseroth: We need to realize that the (military) right to self defense, as guaranteed in Article 51 of the UN Charter, in general, may be obtained only in cases where a state is attacked militarily ("if an armed attack occurs"). It must be, therefore, a current military offensive act, which is currently carried out immediately present or imminent. Furthermore, this right to self-defense may only be directed at the state which initiated an attack, or to which an attack can be attributed.

The entire interview in German:

Dieter Deiseroth, born 1950, studied law, sociology and political science. From 1977 to 1983 Research Fellow at the University of Giessen and lawyer. PhD in Law. Since 1983, administrative judge in Düsseldorf, from 1989 to 1991 at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. Then Chief Judge of the Administrative Court in Münster and Head of the Data Protection Agency of North Rhine-Westphalia. Since 2001 judge at the German Federal Administrative Court.

Homeland Security gathered intel on Nation of Islam...

Feds: Probe of Nation of Islam violated rules
December 16, 2009 9:55 PM | 10 Comments | UPDATED STORY

The Department of Homeland Security issued but then recalled a 2007 intelligence analysis about the Nation of Islam after deciding that the document broke rules on intelligence activity in the U.S., officials said Wednesday.

Internal DHS documents reveal that intelligence chiefs found that analysts "unintentionally and inadvertently" violated rules governing the collection, retention and distribution of information concerning "U.S. persons and organizations."

The apparent error took place during the Bush administration, an agency spokesman said Wednesday, adding that steps have been taken to ensure it does not happen again.

"DHS has implemented a strong and rigorous system of safeguards and oversight to ensure similar products are neither created nor distributed," said Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the agency. "DHS is fully committed to securing the nation from terrorist attacks and other threats, and we take very seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people while fulfilling this mission."

The 2007 analysis was titled "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risk," according to DHS documents released Wednesday as the result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group.

At the time, Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan had ceded control to an executive board and gone into seclusion to recover from complications of prostate cancer treatment.

He remains active, though his exact role in the Chicago-based group is unclear. Nation of Islam officials did not return calls for comment.

After the analysis came out, a subsequent review found the analysis had violated internal intelligence guidelines that protect civil liberties and govern the collection and retention of information on the Nation of Islam and other "U.S. persons," a supervisory official wrote.

"The intelligence note on the Nation of Islam should not have been written," the official wrote. "The organization -- despite its highly volatile and extreme rhetoric -- has neither advocated violence nor engaged in violence." The official stressed that the violation had not been intentional and that during more than two years, this was the first among thousands of intelligence analyses about which questions had been raised.

A Columbia University researcher who focuses on the Nation of Islam said the revelation recalled FBI probes in the 1960s and 1970s.

The U.S. government has long been interested in leaders of the religious movement that melds black nationalism with the Islamic faith, said Zaheer Ali. "As a historian, it's not surprising that the federal agencies under a new name -- in this case 'Homeland Security' -- would be so interested."

While no investigation has produced evidence suggesting the Nation of Islam poses a threat, such concerns linger, he said.

"In the minds of many, Islam poses a threat. Black people pose a threat. And the combination of black people and Islam pose a threat in the imagination of people," Ali said. "I don't think our intelligence community is immune to these kinds of perceptions."

The analysis under scrutiny was prepared in October 2007 by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security, according to agency officials.

That office acts in cases involving domestic security as a conduit for the flow of intelligence between federal agencies -- principally the FBI -- and state and local law enforcement authorities.

DHS intelligence personnel in that office routinely write analyses based on information gathered by other agencies, but do not engage in intelligence collection in the field, officials said.

The intelligence and analysis note was distributed by e-mail to 482 recipients, including federal intelligence officials, congressional staff and "at least one state government entity and one educational institution," a DHS report said, without naming them.

Immediately after the note about the Nation of Islam was sent, the office's intelligence oversight officer and its associate general counsel "expressed concerns" about its "content and dissemination," documents said.

DHS intelligence officials contacted the recipients and asked them to delete the note, the documents say.

Tribune reporter Manya A. Brachear contributed to this report from Chicago.

Germany and Spain seek to cut H1N1 vaccine orders...

Germany and Spain seek to cut H1N1 vaccine orders
Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:26am EST
* German states discussing reduced deliveries with Glaxo
* Spain aims to return unused vaccine to various companies
* Move reflects slow uptake, could hit company profits

By Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Germany and Spain want to reduce deliveries of swine flu vaccine and potentially return excess supplies to manufacturers, due to low uptake of the shots, in a move that could hit drugmakers' profits.

Germany's health ministry said on Thursday that some German states had been in talks with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) about reducing deliveries of H1N1 vaccine, but the talks had as yet yielded no results.

The German federal government will also start negotiations in January with other countries that might be interested in taking some of its excess supplies, he added.

Germany said earlier this month it wanted to sell on more than 2 million H1N1 vaccine doses because of weak demand at home. [ID:nGEE5B70LN]

Spain's health minister Trinidad Jimenez said her country was negotiating with the producers of H1N1 vaccine to return excess stock, after people considered at high-risk from the new flu virus largely snubbed a vaccination campaign.

"We are speaking with the pharmaceutical companies" about returning unused vaccine, specialist news service APM Health Europe quoted her as saying.

"The contracts signed with the companies from which we acquired the vaccines included clauses which allow the return of unused vaccines to the companies so they can be distributed to other countries," Jimenez added.

Germany ordered 50 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from Glaxo, while Spain bought 22 million doses from Novartis (NOVN.VX), 14.7 million from Glaxo and 400,000 from Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA).

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said revenues generated from swine flu were expected to total $600 million for Novartis, 2.2 billion pounds ($3.6 billion) for Glaxo and 750 million euros ($1.1 billion) for Sanofi, to be booked in the last quarter of 2009 and first three months of 2010.

"The return of excess quantities by Germany and Spain creates downside risk of up to 15 percent of total swine flu revenues for these companies," they said.

Officials at the drug companies were not immediately available to comment. (Additional reporting by Thorsten Severin in Berlin; Editing by Sharon Lindores) ($1=.6115 Pound) ($1=.6942 Euro)

Colombia's rebel groups uniting against right-wing gov't...

Colombia rebel groups Farc and ELN agree 'to unite'
BBC News

The Farc, suspected of this attack on a bus, is Colombia's oldest rebel group
Two of Colombia's biggest rebel groups have announced they intend to unite to fight the country's security forces.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) said they were "on our way towards working for unity".

Farc and the smaller ELN have deep ideological differences and have fought each other in some regions.

Together they could be a significantly greater danger to the state, says the BBC's Jeremy McDermott.

The surprise announcement was made on a website known for its links with the Farc.

"Our only enemy is North American Imperialism and its oligarchic lackeys," the statement said, a reference to the US which supplies aid and training to the Colombian security forces.

The head of the Colombian armed forces, Gen Freddy Padilla, was dismissive of the news.

"This alliance is impossible," he said. "They dispute territory to control drug-trafficking and have killed one another in the south (of the departments of) Bolivar and Arauca."

Farc has in the past tried to absorb ELN, although the smaller group proved to be stronger than expected, beating back the Farc in several areas.

New path

The Farc is Colombia's oldest and largest left-wing rebel group. It was once thought to have some 16,000 fighters, but reports suggest it now has about 9,000. The group is rurally-based and finances itself through drug trafficking.

The ELN was formed in 1965 by intellectuals inspired by the Cuban revolution and liberation theology. It is regarded as being more ideological than the Farc and has succeeded in recruiting in urban areas. It is thought to have some 1,500 fighters.

It is not clear to what extent the two groups can put aside their differences.

"Now they have something in common, that they have been seriously diminished by Uribe," Mauricio Romero, a political analyst, told Reuters.

But he sees their union as largely symbolic.

The Farc has suffered several defeats at the hands of conservative President Alvaro Uribe's security forces.

Now under new leadership, it is steering a new path, and allying itself with former enemies to try to recover lost ground, our correspondent says.

Is the German Army empowered to carry out targeted killings?

Kunduz: Is the German Army Empowered to Carry Out Targeted Killings?
By Peter Schwarz
World Socialist Web Site | 17 December 2009

Over the course of the past few weeks, the German government as well as opposition parties have systematically deceived the German population over the real background to the September 4 airstrike near the Afghan city of Kunduz, which killed up to 142 persons.

It has now been established that German army colonel Georg Klein gave the order for the strike with the deliberate intention of killing the large number of people in the vicinity of two hijacked tankers bogged down in a sandbank. The government was aware of this fact from the outset, and the parliamentary opposition parties had been informed by November 3 at the latest. Nevertheless, all of these parties claimed up until last weekend that the bombing was aimed exclusively at the tankers and that the many victims were merely inadvertent “collateral damage.”

On the night of the airstrike, Colonel Klein had written a report which states unequivocally: “On September 4 at 01.51 I decided to destroy with the use of airstrikes two tanker trucks hijacked on the evening of September 3 as well as the INS surrounding the vehicles.” INS is military shorthand for insurgents. Later in his report, Klein is even more explicit and states that he had ordered the bombardment in order to “hit enemies of reconstruction.”

This report lay on the desk of the defence minister at the time, Franz Josef Jung (Christian Democratic Union), just one day later. Nevertheless, Jung repeatedly maintained that the bombing had targeted the two stranded tankers to prevent a possible suicide attack on German field camps situated seven kilometres away. For a long time, Jung stubbornly denied that the attack has resulted in civilian casualties, although a number of reports by journalists, local authorities and the US military demonstrated that this had been the case.

In a government statement given just a few days later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the airstrike at Kunduz and with unusual sharpness repudiated any criticism of the attack by domestic or foreign authorities.

Then on October 28, NATO presented its own official report signed by General Stanley McChrystal, commander of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). This report also made absolutely clear that the people assembled around the trucks were the target, not the tankers themselves.

According to the NATO report, Colonel Klein received information shortly after midnight that about 80 Taliban rebels and “several well-known Taliban leaders” were assembled in the vicinity of the tankers. He then gave his order for the attack. “He had targeted persons, not vehicles,” the report states clearly and then criticises: “The deployment of air support to combat large gatherings of people in the absence of any direct threat for one’s own forces is not compatible with the intentions and instructions of the ISAF commander.”

Jung’s successor as defence minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (Christian Social Union), based himself on this report when he defended the airstrike on November 6, one week after taking over his new post. This means that Guttenberg was well aware that the targets of the airstrike were persons. Nevertheless, he affirmed that the strike was “militarily appropriate” and went so far as to declare that there would have “had to have been” an air strike, even if Klein had not made the procedural errors outlined in the NATO report.

As Guttenberg recently announced, leading representatives of all the Bundestag (German parliament) factions were also acquainted with the ISAF report, including a version translated into German. Despite this, the German public was not informed of the true reasons for the massacre in Kunduz.

Only three weeks later did new details emerge. On the basis of a report issued September 9 by German military police, the Bild newspaper reported that the German army must have known at a very early stage that civilians had been killed in the attack. Thereupon, Minister Jung, who had been appointed labour minister in the new German cabinet, resigned his post and Guttenberg sacked the German army general inspector, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and Deputy Defence Minister Peter Wichert, claiming that the two had withheld from him the military police report and other relevant information. Schneiderhan and Wichert deny that this was the case.

Guttenberg then “corrected” his estimation of the air strike and told the German parliament that he accepted that the attack was “militarily inappropriate.” Nevertheless, he stood behind Colonel Klein, claiming that the latter had undoubtedly acted “according to his best knowledge and conscience.” Addressing those members of the army sitting in the gallery and listening to the parliamentary debate, Guttenberg declared he would not “abandon” Klein.

At the end of last week, both Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung published excerpts from the Klein and NATO reports, which blew large holes in the government-sponsored wall of lies. Guttenberg was finally forced to concede that the airstrike had targeted people and that he had known this since taking office.

There were compelling reasons for the German government’s web of deception regarding the events at Kunduz. The Kunduz massacre represents a turning point in the history of the German army and touches upon the political conception upon which it is based. It raises fundamental legal, political and historical questions, which the government does not want to discuss publicly because it lacks any majority public support for its stance.

There is a widespread abhorrence of militarism and war in modern Germany following the horrors of the Second World War and the crimes committed by Hitler’s Wehrmacht, which was dissolved at the end of the war. A new army, the Bundeswehr, was only established in 1955 in the face of massive public opposition and on the basis of strict parameters regarding its deployment. It was set up as a purely defensive army subordinate to parliamentary control and subject to constant democratic legitimisation.

Until the reunification of Germany in 1990, any deployments by the German army outside of NATO were deemed unconstitutional. In the course of the 1990s, this ban was gradually watered down and finally dropped. But international deployments by the German army were always depicted as “peace” missions. The ISAF mission in Afghanistan, based on a UN mandate, is also officially defined as a security and reconstruction mission, aimed at assisting the elected government of Afghanistan by establishing a safer security environment. Such parameters are incompatible with the dropping of bombs on a crowd and the targeted killing of opponents.

Defence Secretary Guttenberg has reacted to the collapse of his wall of lies by going on the offensive, giving a series of interviews and appearing on a number of TV talk shows last weekend. He has categorically rejected demands for his resignation. “I will definitely stay, even if a storm is blowing. That is the way I have been educated—and that is the way I will behave,” the scion of an aristocratic family told the RTL television station.

In the Bild am Sonntag, he called for “more realistic rules” for the German armed forces in Afghanistan. He wants to officially legitimise what previously took place in a legally gray area. Guttenberg told the paper that he had repeatedly pointed out that there were “war-type conditions” in Afghanistan and that in such situations, “the use of weapons against civilians could not be ruled out.” He added, “It is difficult for soldiers to understand why they should be confronted with criminal proceedings even though they act within rules of the given mandate.”

In response to those politicians from the Social Democratic Party and Greens who have demanded his resignation, Guttenberg countered that they too had known since November 3 that the aim of the airstrike was to eliminate alleged members of the Taliban. The Süddeutsche Zeitung noted that Guttenberg was “taking the reds and greens into joint liability.” His message to the opposition was: “We are all sitting in the same boat.”

Guttenberg has also sought to intimidate his critics by threatening them with angry soldiers. He has resorted to the well-known method of depicting opponents of the war as enemies of the soldiers who risk their lives at war. He told the Bild am Sonntag that soldiers needed “full support from the homeland” as well as “protection and legal security.”

Last Friday, Guttenberg took the spokespersons of all the parties represented in the parliamentary defence committee for a short visit to the German field camp in Kunduz. The official aim of the visit was to solicit the sympathy of the soldiers for the Committee of Inquiry investigating the events at Kunduz that was to be constituted on Wednesday. According to information published by the army, Guttenberg simultaneously warned against any attempt by the Committee of Inquiry to discredit soldiers. The media were excluded from the meeting.

This type of warning in the name of the army to a democratically elected committee smacks of military dictatorship.

In the German media, a discussion is taking place over the issue of whether the army is permitted to carry out targeted killings. Heribert Prantl, the editor for home affairs of the Süddeutsche Zeitung and a trained lawyer, concludes that both the deliberate targeting of opponents and the sacrifice of civilian lives as a consequence clearly violate existing law. The legal expert of the taz newspaper, which is close to the Greens, expresses an opposite point of view. According to Christian Rath, the ISAF mandate agreed on by the Bundestag and ISAF rules of engagement permit the deliberate killing of enemy fighters. Germany’s own reservations over existing ISAF rules, which permit the use of deadly force only in the case of protection against an attack, had been quietly dropped by the German army last April.

The conservative FAZ newspaper is of the same opinion: “Germany finds itself in a war-like situation in Afghanistan, which means that the German army is in principle allowed to kill enemy fighters.”

Last summer, the government had changed the so-called “pocket map” summarising “the principles for the application of military force” for soldiers. There are a number of indices that this change encouraged Colonel Klein to order the attack in Kunduz. The Leipziger Volkszeitung quotes an anonymous source from the army high command in Potsdam who states that Colonel Klein “would have felt positively encouraged by these recent government guidelines to finally hit home hard.”

In this respect, the decision by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which is currently investigating Colonel Klein, will be of great importance. Should the Prosecutor’s Office suspend its investigations or a trial end with an acquittal, this would amount to a licence to kill for the German army.

Klein arrived at his decision to kill more than a hundred people on the basis of the narrowest of criteria. According to the information available, he based his decision on the reports by one informant in the vicinity of the trucks, who then passed on his information through two further intermediaries—an interpreter and another agent. This informant is alleged to have assured Klein that only “Taliban” rebels were in the vicinity of the trucks.

This information—if it existed at all—was false. It has since been established that civilians and children were among the victims. The demarcation between “Taliban” and civilians is in any respect completely suspect. According to Der Spiegel, which carried out investigations amongst victims of the attack, there is little to differentiate members of the Taliban from ordinary villagers. Increasingly, it is such villagers who are in the forefront of resistance against the occupying forces. The magazine cites the Afghan secret service agent Mohammed Daud Ibrahimi, who declares: “The people who we fight at night are brave farmers during the day, they just put their weapons in a cupboard.”

The only positive responses to the actions of the German army have come from government representatives with close relations to the corrupt regime of Hamid Karzai.

Key suspect in Mumbai terror attacks was CIA agent,say media reports

CIA Denies Headley was its Agent/India Government: Mumbai Terror Suspect David Headley was ‘Rogue US Secret Agent’
December 17th, 2009

Washington, Dec 17 (IANS) The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has denied that Pakistan-born US national David Coleman Headley, a key suspect in the 26/11 terror attacks, was its agent at any point of time.

“I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation, but any suggestion that this individual worked for the CIA is flat wrong,” said CIA spokesperson Marie E. Harf.

Headley has been charged in a federal court with conspiring to commit terror attacks outside the US and providing material support to terrorist organisations.

Media reports in India and the US quoting unnamed officials have said that Headley could have been a “double agent”, working for the CIA as well as Pakistani terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which carried out the Mumbai attack that killed nearly 170 Indians and foreigners.

Headley, now in a Chicago jail, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Oct 3 while planning to go to Pakistan via Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, US strategic think tank Stratfor says it is difficult to establish if Headley was indeed a double agent.

“At present, it is very difficult to ascertain if Headley was a double agent who was really reporting to LeT and the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HUJI) the entire time he was ostensibly working for the US government or if he was merely a rogue informant who was playing both ends against the middle for his own personal benefit,” it said.

“Such rogue sources have been seen in jihadist cases before. If Headley was either a double agent or a rogue source, there may be some significant blowback for the US government as further revelations are made about the case.”

US authorities say that in order to conduct surveillance for the Mumbai attacks, Headley made five extended trips to the city between September 2006 and July 2008.

During each trip, Headley reportedly took pictures and made videos of various targets, including those attacked in November 2008.

He also reportedly travelled to Pakistan after each trip to brief his co-conspirators there and to provide them with his maps, sketches, photos and videos.

Single-payer health care plan dies in Senate...

Single-payer health care plan dies in Senate
By DAVID ESPO (AP) – 7 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The liberals' longtime dream of a government-run health care system for all died Wednesday in the Senate, but Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed it will return when the realization dawns that private insurance companies "are no longer needed."

Sanders, an independent and socialist, said his approach is the only one "which eliminates the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, administrative costs, bureaucracy and profiteering that is engendered by the private insurance companies." His remarks drew handshakes and even a hug or two from Democrats who had filed into the Senate to hear him.

Sanders acknowledged the proposal lacked the votes to pass, and he chose to withdraw it after Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., exercised his prerogative and required Senate clerks to begin reading the 767-page proposal aloud to a nearly empty chamber. After three hours, they were 139 pages into it.

The political theater came as the White House and Senate Democrats sought an agreement with Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., to become the 60th supporter of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul — the number needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

The Nebraska lawmaker told reporters he was reviewing a proposal to toughen abortion restrictions in the legislation, one of the changes he is seeking. Nelson said the compromise negotiated by anti-abortion Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., involves attempt to separate private and public funds, an approach that in the past failed to sway the Nebraska moderate and Catholic bishops.

Asked whether the new language was satisfactory, Nelson said, "I don't know at this point in time. Constituency groups haven't responded back yet."

Nelson emerged as the lone known holdout among 60 Democrats and independents earlier in the week after Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., forced supporters of the bill to remove a proposed Medicare expansion.

Democratic officials also disclosed that Nelson's Nebraska-based chief of staff, Tim Becker, met with White House officials to put the final touches on recent negotiations between his boss and the president. Nelson's chief concerns deal with issues in Nebraska that are unrelated to the health care bill, said an official with close ties to the senator. The official spoke on grounds of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

In general, the overall legislation is designed to spread coverage to millions who lack it, ban insurance industry practices such as denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions and slow the rate of growth for medical spending nationally.

Republicans are unanimously opposed, and accuse Democrats of seeking deep cuts in Medicare and higher taxes to create a new benefit program that they argue gives government too large a role in the health care system.

The debate over the proper role for the government has bedeviled the issue from the outset.

At the behest of liberal Democrats, the House bill establishes a nationwide government-run insurance option in hopes of creating competition for private insurers.

In the Senate, moderates refused to support anything similar, with Nelson balking even at standby authority for the government in case efforts failed in their attempt to entice private companies to become more competitive.

Instead, the Senate measure is likely to call for development of nonprofit private plans to be overseen by the Office of Personnel Management, the agency that supervises the system that federal employees and lawmakers use to get coverage.

Sanders referred to his proposal as a "Medicare for all single-payer bill" and said if it became law, patients would be able to see the same doctors they now use. In his speech, he ripped into insurance companies, drugmakers, medical device manufacturers and others.

In order to provide cost-effective comprehensive health care, he said, "you're going to have to take on the private insurance companies and tell them very clearly they are no longer needed. Thanks for your service. We don't need you anymore."

Sanders later said he was not yet ready to say he would vote for the legislation Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is drafting. Democrats are counting on him as one of the 60 votes they need, and have not betrayed any nervousness in recent days about his intentions.

The House already has approved its version of the health care bill, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday she was confident a final compromise would be signed into law before Obama's 2010 State of the Union address.

She signaled a willingness to look at the proposal in the Senate bill that takes the place of government-run insurance in the House bill.

Asked whether she could support a final bill without a so-called public option, she said, "it depends what else is in the bill."

Associated Press writers Charles Babington, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Erica Werner contributed to this report.


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