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Monday, February 28, 2011

Oil, smoke and mirrors (Video)


Made a few years back, this is an excellent video tying Peak oil with 9/11. I personally became aware of the Peak Oil “Theory” over a decade ago and have heard all the propaganda insisting that it is nothing but a theory. Yet all the NUMBERS, ie. oil production levels have peaked for almost a decade now, while demand continues to outpace it. The peak IS here, and the prices ARE going up slowly, inexorably, and it will only get worse from here. The consequence of this unavoidable future is the “War on Terror” — the fictional threat that justifies America’s continued militarism and oil hegemony– and much like the “Communist” threat of the 50′s, it is a chimera, a phantom to promote fear and justify our imperialist actions..

The sad truth is, the 3-4 trillion spent on the Great Financial Shakedown ala “TARP” etc.. and the endless war on Iraq and Afghanistan, would have been enough to convert over half our eletrical infrastructure to solar and wind power, the only REAL solution to Peak oil. Buy solar now while you can, because solar panels are very energy intensive to make ,and the prices will skyrocket along with everything else, as the oil demand outpaces supply in the coming years. We, the people are going to have to make the transition ourselves, for the government is wholly owned and operated by the Oil, Banking, Insurance, Pharma Mafia, commonly called the Globalists, or New World Order deciples, and they will never respond in time if at all. Why should they, they are getting mega- rich, selling the same amount of oil for more and more money, sucking what little money the people actually save in endless financial scams, and then pumping us full of pharmaceuticals and bad food to keep us sick and indentured to the western healthcare yoke.

For those who don’t undertsand this, you have to wake up NOW! Start by watching this video

Iraqi people demonstrate against US-installed government...

19 people die in demonstrations in Iraq
Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post
Saturday, February 26, 2011

At least 19 people were killed in Iraq on Friday as tens of thousands defied an official curfew to join a nationwide "Day of Rage," echoing protests that have roiled the Middle East and North Africa since January.

Despite pleas by the government and Shiite religious leaders for Iraqis to stay home, demonstrators gathered by the hundreds and thousands from Basra in the south to Mosul and Kirkuk in the north.

Protesters expressed anger and rage at local leaders as well as at Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, storming provincial government offices in several cities and calling for more jobs, electricity and clean water, better pensions and medical care.

Security forces used tear gas, water cannons, sound bombs and at times live bullets to disperse the crowds. Fatalities were reported in Mosul, Fallujah, Tikrit and a town near Kirkuk, when security forces opened fire on demonstrators who were surrounding - or in some cases storming - government buildings. There were also clashes in Ramadi.

In the southern province of Basra, about 10,000 demonstrators forced the resignation of the provincial governor. In Fallujah, protesters forced the resignation of the entire city council.

In Baghdad, where al-Maliki imposed a curfew that banned cars and even bicycles from the streets, people walked, often many miles, to reach the city's Tahrir Square. Several thousand had gathered by early afternoon.

Surrounded by hundreds of police, soldiers and rooftop snipers, with military helicopters buzzing overhead, protesters waved Iraqi flags and signs reading: "Bring the Light Back" (a reference to the lack of electricity), "No to Corruption!" and "I'm a Peaceful Man."

Many said they were protesting for the first time. Among them was Selma Mikahil, 48, who defiantly waved a single 1,000-dinar bill in the air. "I want to see if Maliki can accept that I live on this!" she yelled, referring to her pension, the equivalent of $120 every five months. "I want to see if his conscience accepts this!"

Protesters circled the square and then surged down a road toward the bridge leading to Maliki's offices, where a row of giant concrete blast walls had been erected overnight to block them. Witnesses said a soldier shot one protester in the stomach, then people began to hurl rocks over the wall.

Protest organizers had hoped Friday's demonstrations would inject a fresh concept into the exercise of Iraq's fledgling democracy: peaceful expression of discontent. They insisted their goal was to demand a better government, not a new one.

S. Korea, US begin military drills...

S. Korea, U.S. begin annual joint drills
English.news.cn 2011-02-28 10:26:30

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the United States on Monday morning kicked off their annual joint military drills amid continuing tensions on the peninsula. The 11-day joint maneuver, codenamed Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, draws some 200,000 South Korean and 12,800 U.S. troops.

South Korean officials said a U.S. aircraft carrier would join one of the two exercises, while U.S. military officials here neither confirmed nor denied it, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Key Resolve, mainly involving computer simulations, will last until March 10, while Foal Eagle, involving joint air, ground and naval training exercises, will run through April 30.

The exercises focus on raising the allies' ability to defend against small, sudden attacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Combined Forces Command said, adding the drills are defensive in nature, aimed at strengthening the allies' readiness against all potential threats.

The drills come a day after the DPRK threatened all-out war in response to the joint drills by South Korea and the U.S., and told Seoul to stop sending anti-DPRK leaflets across the border.

Pyongyang would respond to the joint drill, with "unprecedented all-out counteraction" that would turn Seoul into a "sea of flames, " the official Korean Central News Agency said Sunday.

It also vowed to fire into South Korea if the South continues to drop balloons into the DPRK that are loaded with leaflets about democracy protests sweeping across the Middle East.

"Last weekend, ABC News heavily promoted its special "Made in America" series that will run all week. From the promotions, it looks like the series will focus partly on what happens when a US household seeks to remove all furnishings and other items from its home that are not made in America. Such a house apparently becomes nearly barren, and it's no easy task to restock it with non-imported items...The US public would benefit from knowing whether the household products we commonly consume are assembled in the US or are imported - often from countries whose vicious policies on unions and workers rights would make Wisconsin Gov. (Scott) Walker look like Mother Jones.But one question I can't wait to see answered: will ABC News investigate the products sold by Disney, the mega-corporation that owns ABC?"

Will ABC News' "Made in America" Series Avoid Their Boss, Disney?
Monday 28 February 2011
by: Jeff Cohen, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Last weekend, ABC News heavily promoted its special "Made in America" series that will run all week. From the promotions, it looks like the series will focus partly on what happens when a US household seeks to remove all furnishings and other items from its home that are not made in America. Such a house apparently becomes nearly barren, and it's no easy task to restock it with non-imported items.

Let me be clear: As long as they don't descend into xenophobia, I applaud ABC News for devoting energy and time to this hugely important issue.

The US public would benefit from knowing whether the household products we commonly consume are assembled in the US or are imported - often from countries whose vicious policies on unions and workers rights would make Wisconsin Gov. Walker look like Mother Jones.

But one question I can't wait to see answered: will ABC News investigate the products sold by Disney, the mega-corporation that owns ABC?
Because it's too easy to blame US consumers for buying cheap stuff from China or Bangladesh or Honduras.

What would be more helpful is a TV news series that scrutinizes the powerful US corporations that make decisions every day determining what products to which mainstream Americans have access.

I scrutinized Disney myself by going to DisneyStore.com - "Official Site for Disney Merchandise." The first 40 products I looked at were all listed as "Imported."

Within each product category atop the Disney Store's homepage, I checked the first six items. First came the "Girls" category: from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Set to the Tangled Rapunzel Doll to the Rapunzel Swimsuit, all six products were described as "Imported."

I found the same when I checked the "Boys" category. Ditto for "Adults" and "Characters" and "Toys & Games" and "Home & Décor."

It wasn't until I was deep into "Pins, Art & Collectibles" - in other words, the 41st listing I checked - that I found an item listed as made in country: "Mickey's Dream Limited-Edition Giclée." (Later I found other products listed as "Made in USA," but a tiny percentage.)

So, I'm looking forward to the "Made in America" series this week. It would be great to see an ABC journalist interviewing a Disney executive on the choices the company makes in what products it offers its consumers.
And it would be even better if ABC journalists later went overseas to report on the conditions for workers in those foreign factories who produce Disney's toys and dolls and T-shirts.

I'm not holding my breath.

CNN, FOX 'News', and MSNBC ignore 100,000 Wisconsin protesters...

Media Blackout: CNN Fox News and MSNBC Ignore 100,000 WI Protesters
Posted on February 26, 2011 by Jason Easley

Over 100,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin were joined by thousands of other Americans around the country in protest of Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to strip collective bargaining rights from the state’s unionized workers, but you would not have known any of this if you watched cable news on Saturday as the coverage of the protests ranged from disappointing (MSNBC) to scant (CNN) to non-existent (Fox News).

AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale estimated that the crowd was over 100,000 people before the rally began at 3 PM. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, police estimated the crowd size at around 70,000 three hours before the rally began, “Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the number of protesters around the Capitol is on the scale of last Saturday’s peak crowd of an estimated 68,000 and could swell even more for a 3 p.m. rally.”

Here are some highlights from the protests around the country from Moveon.org:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans around the country march on their governments in an event that would be a perfect fit for the 24 hour cable news cycle. Even better, the protests were occurring during the news cycle dead zone of Saturday afternoon. The coverage should have been everywhere in the media, but if you turned on your television in hopes of watching the rally from Wisconsin live, you were disappointed.

As the official state run television of the Republican Party, Fox News has been openly and loudly supporting Gov. Walker. It is no surprise that the right wing network would ignore the events in Madison and around the country today. A propaganda outlet never spends much time relaying information that is detrimental to their message.

CNN, which is supposed to be the moderate network in the cable news ideological spectrum, sort of thought they should cover the story, so they did a few minute and half live cut ins here and there. No wall to wall coverage of course, but they at least managed to pull themselves away from celebrating the Tea Party long enough to take a quick glance at Madison.

Now we come to MSNBC. Sigh, the so called liberal news network. MSNBC couldn’t be bothered to break away from their Lock Up and Dateline reruns documentary bloc to cover a landmark event that has reunified the left, and is likely to have an impact on the 2012 presidential election.

If there is one network that progressives/liberals thought understood this, it was MSNBC. However MSNBC has never really been overly interested in covering the news, much less live news events on a weekend. If I had a dollar for every time MSNBC has disappointed their viewership by being AWOL when news happens, I’d be a very wealthy man.

All three cable networks share something else in common besides their decision to ignore today’s rallies. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News along with most other forms of media have decided that liberal protests aren’t newsworthy. They believe that the ratings and the money are in the right, not the left. The three cable networks are corporate owned and only for the purpose of profit. They don’t care about journalism or their obligation to inform the public.

This is all about dollars, and the outdated notion that the most profitable way to run a cable news outlet is to be like Fox News, which is why CNN keeps hiring more and more right wingers and has hopped into bed with the Tea Party Express.

There is a deeper bias evident in the case of the Wisconsin rallies. The corporate ownership of these networks, like most businesses, is anti-union. They assume that all of America is also anti-union, and they have conveniently ignored all the polling that shows the American people are behind the protesters in order to rationalize ignoring the protests.

The networks assume that since there is no money to be made by covering the left, America isn’t interested in events like the protests in Madison. At least this is what they tell themselves in order to justify their own biases in filtering out the news. The problem is that when the cable networks stay stuck in their old model and ignore these stories, new media steps up to fill the void, today’s generation of Internet news viewers and tweeters are tomorrow’s would be cable news viewers. If cable news insists on imposing their myopic definition of news, those viewers may not be tuning in.

By focusing on a misguided cash grab, corporate cable news is sowing the seeds of its own stagnation. A protest was held today that was bigger than anything that the Tea Party has ever done, but you wouldn’t know it if you were watching TV. There is something seriously wrong with a news gathering and reporting apparatus that devotes more live coverage to the protests in Egypt than protests in Wisconsin. Egypt was a big story, but the a fight for the very survival of the middle class should not be ignored.

Cable news, your bias is showing.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange" (Video)


CIA considering targeting Pakistani diplomats...

'CIA mulls targeting Pakistani agents"
Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:35AM

Pakistani diplomatic sources say the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is considering targeting Pakistani diplomats, in retaliation for the arrest of one of the agency's contractors.

The sources also insist that the situation is increasingly turning out to be not merely a loss of the cover of a CIA spy, Raymond Davis, but, actually, the loss of a key asset of the notorious US spy agency, a report said on Saturday.

"It is unlikely that they (American intelligence apparatus) would let it go without returning it to the Pakistani counterparts one way or the other," the Pakistani sources added.

According to the report, the CIA is mulling over targeting Pakistani diplomats and intelligence agents across the world in an effort to pressure Islamabad to release Davis.

The sources pointed out that "easy prey of this revenge design of the Americans could be Pakistani intelligence staff serving abroad chiefly in US, Europe, and Afghanistan."

The US government insists that CIA contractor Davis deserves diplomatic immunity over his killing of two Pakistanis in Lahore on January 27.

Washington has demanded his release, while Islamabad says its courts will decide his fate.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people have staged an anti-American rally outside the US Consulate in Lahore. The protesters demanded that Davis be executed.

The Davis detention issue seems to be taking its toll on US-Pakistan relations, which were already strained over stepped-up US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal region and disagreements over the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

A Pakistani court on Saturday sent another American national identified as Aaron Mark DeHaven to jail, a day after he was detained in the northwestern city of Peshawar for overstaying his visa, a government lawyer said.

The Inter-Services Intelligences (ISI) has demanded that the CIA share a list of all its contractors working in Pakistan.

“They need to come clean, tell us who they are and what they are doing. They need to stop doing things behind our back,” an ISI official said.

"War makes money for the politically connected. While the flag-waving population remains proud of the service of their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, cousins, wives, mothers and daughters, the smart boys who got the fireworks started are rolling in the mega-millions.As General Smedley Butler told the jingoistic American population, to no avail, "war is a racket." As long as the American population remains proud that their relatives serve as cannon fodder for the military/security complex, war will remain a racket"

War Über Alles
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 27, 2011

"Information Clearing House" -- The United States government cannot get enough of war. With Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime falling to a rebelling population, CNN reports that a Pentagon spokesman said that the U.S. is looking at all options from the military side.

Allegedly, the Pentagon, which is responsible for one million dead Iraqis and an unknown number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis, is concerned about the deaths of 1,000 Libyan protesters.

While the Pentagon tries to figure out how to get involved in the Libyan revolt, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific is developing new battle plans to take on China in her home territory. Four-star Admiral Robert Willard thinks the U.S. should be able to whip China in its own coastal waters.

The admiral thinks one way to do this is to add U.S. Marines to his force structure so that the U.S. can eject Chinese forces from disputed islands in the East and South China seas.

It is not the U.S. who is disputing the islands, but if there is a chance for war anywhere, the admiral wants to make sure we are not left out.

The admiral also hopes to develop military ties with India and add that country to his clout. India, the admiral says, "is a natural partner of the United States" and "is crucial to America’s 21st-century strategy of balancing China." The U.S. is going to seduce the Indians by selling them advanced aircraft.

If the plan works out, we will have India in NATO helping us to occupy Pakistan and presenting China with the possibility of a two-front war.

The Pentagon needs some more wars so there can be some more "reconstruction." Reconstruction is very lucrative, especially as Washington has privatized so many of the projects, thus turning over to well-placed friends many opportunities to loot. Considering all the money that has been spent, one searches hard to find completed projects. The just released report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting can’t say exactly how much of the $200 billion in Afghan "reconstruction" disappeared in criminal behavior and blatant corruption, but $12 billion alone was lost to "overt fraud."

War makes money for the politically connected. While the flag-waving population remains proud of the service of their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, cousins, wives, mothers and daughters, the smart boys who got the fireworks started are rolling in the mega-millions.

As General Smedley Butler told the jingoistic American population, to no avail, "war is a racket." As long as the American population remains proud that their relatives serve as cannon fodder for the military/security complex, war will remain a racket.

Photos from the 50-state rallies to save the American dream..

50 Photos from the 50-State Rallies to Save the American Dream
Posted on February 27, 2011 by Peter

On Saturday, February 26th, Americans in all 50 states rallied to show solidarity with the people of Wisconsin, and to save the American Dream. It was a beautiful, powerful sight.


Australia proposes ban on 1000's of plants including national flower...

Australia proposes ban on 1000s of plants including national flower
Posted on February 22, 2011

From info at Garden Freedom

Legislation being proposed in Australia would criminalize most permaculturists, farmers, gardeners, nurseries and bush regenerators by banning any plant that contains DMT – a naturally-occurring hallucinogen. Five plants are currently criminalized, but the new list will include hundreds (possibly thousands) of other species that are common garden plants and include a significant number of common native plants including the national flower, the wattle.

Having any of these plants could get you charged with and convicted of a federal drugs violation. The list can be found here, comprising about four pages of the 41-page document...


"Ryan Ramos' 6 a.m. routine used to consist of the usual: a shower, breakfast, then a walk to the bus stop.But now, the 14-year-old eighth-grader has another activity: punching an identification code into a cell phone-size GPS device.Five times a day — when he wakes up, when he gets to school, after lunch, after school and at 8 p.m. — Ramos is required to enter his code into the machine. If he's not where he's supposed to be, the GPS provides a way to find him"...

Joshua Barron, 14, an eighth-grader at South Junior High School in Anaheim, says he doesn't like carrying his global positioning device because of its size but that it has prodded him to attend classes. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Los Angeles Times / February 23, 2011)

For chronic truants, a GPS program can help them make the grade
Where curfews and fines have failed, Anaheim officials say GPS devices help keep students in class.
By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
February 25, 2011

Ryan Ramos' 6 a.m. routine used to consist of the usual: a shower, breakfast, then a walk to the bus stop.

But now, the 14-year-old eighth-grader has another activity: punching an identification code into a cell phone-size GPS device.

Five times a day — when he wakes up, when he gets to school, after lunch, after school and at 8 p.m. — Ramos is required to enter his code into the machine. If he's not where he's supposed to be, the GPS provides a way to find him.

Ramos and 31 other students in the Anaheim Union High School District are participating voluntarily in what some consider a cutting-edge solution to the age-old problem of truancy. Backers of the program hope that by giving parents and school officials a better idea of where students are — and by giving students a visible incentive to resist peer pressure to skip classes — the GPS can succeed where curfews, strict punishments and even fines for parents have failed.

The concept has critics who object to the Big Brother aspects of satellite monitoring.

"It's a criminalization of kids who have trouble getting to class every day," said Belinda Escobosa Helzer, director of the Orange County office of the ACLU of Southern California, who likened the program to the restrictions placed on probationers or those under house arrest.

But the idea also has believers. Although Anaheim is the first district in California to try the idea, cities elsewhere in the country, including San Antonio and Baltimore, have used GPS to chart the movements of chronic truants and say they have experienced considerable success.

In San Antonio, after a successful pilot program in 2008, the district has increased both the number of GPS units and mentors available to work with students at 22 schools. Grades improved and the attendance rate hit 97% for students in the program, officials said.

"It's not a panacea. It's not a silver bullet. It's not the end-all, be-all," said David Udovich, an administrator in the San Antonio Independent School District. "But it does help a lot of students. … Everybody's grades went up. I didn't think it would turn around that fast. Within six weeks, they went from failing to passing."

Ed Arevalo, a police investigator with the Anaheim Police Department, said that in middle school, truancy becomes a part of peer pressure. It's very popular to hang out with your friends and buck the system, he said.

Being saddled with a GPS can give students the excuse they need to abandon their friends and go to class instead, he said.

Educators and officials from the company that operates the GPS system — which, so far, is providing the GPS devices to the district for free — dismiss concerns about privacy. They say the program helps students attend more classes and do better in school. They also note that the program combines the GPS device with human interaction — mentors who check in with the students several times a week.

"It's so much bigger than GPS," said Travis Knox, president of the Dallas-based Aim Truancy Solutions.

"It's really that human element."

Under the state education code, persistent truancy can result in a $2,000 fine. Students must face a school attendance review board, which consists of the district attorney, the police department and school officials. In Anaheim, students with four or more unexcused absences can participate in the GPS program with parental approval.

Two weeks into the program, administrators say they already have seen a turnaround. Nearly all of the students have gone to class, with only five absences so far. If the experiment works, district officials said they might expand it.

Since the program began, Ramos said he's learning more than before. In English, he's looking forward to comprehending similes and metaphors. In science, his favorite subject, he's studying how solids and liquids form.

Ramos' mother, Maria Salazar, 47, said that in the past it was sometimes difficult to get her son to class, but the device has helped him get to school on time.

"It's a pretty good program," she said.

South Junior High Principal Chris Esperanza said the system provides another tool for parents who are too busy to monitor their children all the time. They might be working long hours. Or, in some cases, a single parent is trying to keep a household together.

"Parents do their best," he said. "Sometimes, that's not enough."

Patricia Garcia, a single mother with four children, said the GPS device carried by her 14-year-old son, Joshua Barron, relieves some of her worries.

"I would like for them to have it until they are 18," she said.

Joshua, an eighth-grader at South Junior High, said he doesn't like carrying the GPS because of its size but is beginning to see the benefits as the device has prodded him into going to classes.

"It's good for me," he said.

Vancouver Island bald eagles are "falling from the sky"...

Vancouver Island Bald Eagles Are "Falling From the Sky"
By Curtis Cartier, Thu., Feb. 24 2011 @ 8:00AM

It was one thing when starlings, robins, and turtledoves were falling dead from the sky in places like Kentucky, Italy, and Arkansas. Those places are far from the Pacific Northwest, and the birds are just common species that no one cares about anyway. Well, now bizarre bird deaths have finally made their way to the PNW, and it's eagles that are falling from the sky. That's right, bald freaking eagles.

The Vancouver Sun reports that Maj Birch, manager of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, is currently caring for seven injured eagles that were starving and fell out of the sky. Several others didn't make it.

"This is the most we have ever had," Birch said. "Many of them are downed before they are brought in. They are on the ground and they're too weak to fly away.

"Some of them are actually falling out of the sky. One of them slid off a roof yesterday.

The birds are apparently not only starving, they're parasite-ridden as well. Most of them have to be fed through a tube when they arrive.

The reason behind the eagle deaths is, at least, less mysterious than the flocks of smaller birds that have dropped from the sky in droves elsewhere.

Birch blames a poor chum salmon run in the Comox Valley and on the mainland for leaving the birds with little to eat. Many birds are apparently subsisting by feeding at nearby landfills, where they are often poisoned from the garbage.

Birch isn't the only eagle researcher who's seeing dead birds dropping from the heavens or at least seeing their numbers dropping like a stone. David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation tells The Daily Mail that he saw the bald eagle count along the Chehalis River drop from more than 7,000 birds to less than 400 in a matter of days.

He says of the exodus:

"It was absolutely incredible. Within 10 days, we had gone from 7,200 eagles to 345 . . . So I knew it was going to be a pretty desperate winter."

Depressing is more like it.

I mean, we were bound to have some kind of bird species start falling from the sky at some point. Why'd it have to be eagles and not, say, pigeons? I don't care what Darwin says . . . rats with wings, if you ask me.

Report says Ukrainian mercenaries flying Libyan air force planes in support of Moamer Gaddafi...

Newspaper: Ukrainian mercenaries flying Libya air force planes
Feb 24, 2011, 10:45 GMT

Kiev - Mercenary pilots from Ukraine are flying Libyan air force planes supporting the regime of embattled Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, a major newspaper reported Thursday.

The Ukrainian pilots, some of whom hold senior rank in the Libyan air force, operate MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighter jets as well as An-12 and An-26 cargo planes, the Segodnya newspaper said.

Stratfor, a private firm that does political analysis, reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian mercenaries piloted planes that had bombed hundreds of protesters near the Libyan capital Tripoli. A spokesman at Ukraine's embassy in Tripoli denied that report.

The pilots receive between 2,000 and 8,000 dollars a month, Segodnya reported, citing Ukrainian combat flyers.

A Ukrainian aircraft repair and overhaul facility reportedly has provided maintenance support for Libyan air force aircraft since 2008.

Ukrainian military professionals fighting on other nations' behalf have landed the former Soviet republic in hot water repeatedly.

The most controversial recent incidents involved Ukrainian helicopter gunship pilots attacking Albanian rebels for the Macedonian government in 2001, and Ukrainian missile gunners shooting down Russian aircraft for Georgia during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.

"The Israeli prime minister telephoned (Angela) Merkel on Monday to say he was disappointed that Germany had voted for a UN security council resolution condemning settlements that was vetoed by the US.According to a German official quoted by Haaretz, Merkel was furious. "How dare you?" she said. "You are the one who has disappointed us. You haven't made a single step to advance peace"...

Merkel rebukes Israeli PM Netanyahu for failing to advance peace
Israeli paper reports that PM was told in fractious phone call: 'You haven't made a single step'
Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Friday 25 February 2011

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has sternly rebuked the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in an unusually fractious telephone call, according to media reports.

Netanyahu had done nothing to advance the peace process, Merkel said in a conversation this week, reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The Israeli prime minister telephoned Merkel on Monday to say he was disappointed that Germany had voted for a UN security council resolution condemning settlements that was vetoed by the US.

According to a German official quoted by Haaretz, Merkel was furious. "How dare you?" she said. "You are the one who has disappointed us. You haven't made a single step to advance peace."

A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister said he could not confirm the report.

The quoted comments reflect growing impatience in Europe with the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian talks and a belief that Israel is stalling or impeding progress. With the exception of the US last Friday's resolution was backed by all the security council members including Britain, Germany and France.

Despite the resolution being carefully worded to reflect American policy on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the US wielded its veto for the first time under Barack Obama's presidency.

Reaction among Palestinians has been angry. Demonstrations have been held across the West Bank, in Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem.

Netanyahu told Merkel that he was planning a new initiative to be disclosed in the next few weeks. "I intend to make a new speech about the peace process in the next two to three weeks," he was quoted as saying.

An Israeli government official confirmed that a fresh statement by Netanyahu on negotiations was in preparation but declined to say when it might be delivered.

During a visit to Israel this month the German chancellor warned that "the stalemate in negotiation is dangerous. There is no room for excuses."

She dismissed the notion that Europe was becoming more hostile to Israel. "Europe will not turn its back on Israel and neither will the United States. We feel uncomfortable because things are not progressing. In an honest and straightforward manner I will tell you that you are missing an opportunity. History will not give you many more."

At a joint press conference on Thursday with the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, Netanyahu said he expected Poland to be robust in defending Israel when it took over the presidency of the European Union on 1 July.

"We have two expectations: upgrading Israel's standing in the EU and upgrading the truth," he said. "Israel is fighting for its right to exist, to live in security and exist at all, against ceaseless waves of attacks."

Pakistan arrest US spy with expired visa in Peshawar...

US spy with expired visa held in Peshawar
By: Nader Buneri | Published: February 26, 2011

PESHAWAR - Law-enforcement agencies on Friday apprehended another illegally staying US national from a house situated at Falcon Complex in University town, police sources said.

The US national identified as Aaron Mark De Haven, belongs to West Virginia State in the US. The arrested US national had acquired his Pakistani visa on January 2010, which had already expired on October 23, 2010.

The sources said that Aaron Mark De Haven had neither registered himself in the concerned Immigration Department nor had renewed his visa for the last four months, thus, he was staying illegally since then.

On Friday, the law-enforcement agencies raided the room of US national, who has been staying at a house at Falcon Complex in University Town in the jurisdiction of University Police station. For having expired visa, police arrested him and police registered FIR against Aaron Mark De haven under 14 Foreign Act.

Sources said in the initial investigation Aaron disclosed himself an employee of USAID. However, it is yet to be determined that for what purpose he has been staying in Pakistan despite having an expired visa. Soon after his arrest, police shifted him to unknown place for further interrogation.

Monitoring desk adds: Little was known about DeHaven except that his firm, which also has offices in Afghanistan and Dubai, is staffed by retired US military and defence personnel who boast of direct experience in the “global war on terror”, reports Guardian.

DeHaven runs a company named Catalyst Services which, according to its website, is staffed by retired military and defence department personnel who have “played some role in major world events” including the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military mission to Somalia and the “global war on terror”.

Services offered include “full-service secure residences”, protective surveillance and armed security.

One prospective customer who met DeHaven last year described him as a small, slightly-built man, who wore glasses and had broad knowledge of Pakistani politics. DeHaven said he had lived in Kandahar, Afghanistan, for one year, had married a Pakistani woman along the border with Afghanistan, and spoke Pashto fluently.

Chicago scientist first to die of the plague in more than 50 years...

Plague Kills Scientist in First Laboratory Case in 50 Years
By Tom Randall - Feb 24, 2011 12:57 PM ET

A Chicago scientist died of the plague after becoming the first U.S. researcher to contract the disease in more than 50 years, a government report said.

The man, a 60-year-old university researcher who wasn’t identified in the report, was working with a weakened form of the plague bacterium that was previously thought to be harmless to humans. The case occurred in September 2009 and was described today in a report by the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The University of Chicago previously identified the man as Malcolm Casadaban, a professor of molecular genetics and cell biology who worked at the school for three decades.

Centuries after the bubonic plague killed millions of people in medieval Europe, the disease continues to infect more than 2,000 people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization in Geneva. Scientists who study the plague use the weakened bacterium, which has never been linked to a human illness and is excluded from the strict safety codes that regulate the study of other deadly germs, the CDC said.

“The severe outcome experienced by the patient was unexpected,” CDC scientists wrote in the report. “Researchers always should adhere to recommended use of personal protective equipment.”

An autopsy of the man revealed a previously unknown medical condition that may have made him more vulnerable to the illness, according to the report. He had a hereditary condition called hemochromatosis, which causes an excessive buildup of iron in parts of the body. Previous studies have shown that injecting mice with doses of iron while they are exposed to the plague increases their chance of getting sick.

Yersinia Pestis

The bacterium that causes pneumonic, bubonic and septicemic plague is called Yersinia pestis. The CDC tested the version of the weakened bacterium the man was working with to make sure it hadn’t evolved to become more deadly. They injected mice with high doses of the strain and compared it with similar weakened strains. Less than 3 percent of the animals died, suggesting the germ hadn’t become more virulent, the CDC said.

The plague is spread by rodents and the fleas that feed on them. Improved hygiene and knowledge about the disease has limited its global spread, according to the WHO. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve outcomes, and about 10 percent of reported cases of plague result in death, the WHO said.

Mayor sends termination notices to almost 2,000 teachers in Rhode Island, citing budget cuts...

Outrage, anxiety after Providence mayor 'fires' almost 2,000 teachers
By the CNN Wire Staff
February 25, 2011 10:37 a.m. EST

(CNN) -- Termination notices have been sent to every teacher in the Providence public school system, setting off a wave of anxiety and anger in the Rhode Island city and prompting a union leader to accuse the mayor of anti-union maneuvering.

The teachers will remain at work as the school year continues, though the notices sent out this week mean any of them now could lose their jobs at municipal officials' discretion. During a packed and at-times spirited meeting Thursday night, the city school committee voted 4-3 to back Mayor Angel Taveras' move to send out the notices.

The mayor said in an online message Wednesday that he authorized the previous day's decision to dismiss almost 2,000 teachers and staff to allow for greater flexibility as the budget process unfolds. Taveras said officials will later determine the final number of layoffs -- as well as exactly which teachers in which schools might lose their jobs -- needed to balance a multimillion-dollar budget gap.

"It gives us more flexibility to recall teachers based on student need," said Christina O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for the district.

That explanation did little to assuage teachers in the firing line, nor did a closed-door forum Thursday with Superintendent Tom Brady on the matter.

"The mood in the meeting today was extremely grim," teacher Lori Iannucci told CNN affiliate WPRI. "Teachers felt very negative, unappreciated. No questions were answered."

Teachers said that their union wasn't notified beforehand of the termination notices. At Thursday's meeting, they said they were given general assurances that the situation could be resolved within the next month.

Taveras insisted that he values Providence's "gifted teachers" and only felt compelled to act given a March 1 deadline to notify municipal employees about "potential changes to their employment status."

But Steve Smith, president of the city's teacher's union, said he believed the decision "makes no sense at all to teachers or the community." He accused Taveras of "making a political decision to take control and silence workers" -- a group that, he said, has consistently and continually worked with city leaders to implement reforms.

"It's shocking that in the midst of working in a collaborative environment ... the mayor says you're fired," Smith told reporters. "This sounds very much like what's going on in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, where lawmakers want to get rid of collective bargaining and remove the voice of workers."

In a statement, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called the decision "stunning," especially given that the union and city "have been working collaboratively on a groundbreaking, nationally recognized school transformation model."

"We looked up 'flexibility' in the dictionary, and it does not mean destabilizing education for all students in Providence or taking away workers' voice or rights," said Weingarten, whose organization includes 1.5 million teachers and staff. "Mass firings, whether in one school or an entire district, are not fiscally or educationally sound."

This isn't the first time a Rhode Island community has gained headlines with a mass firing. Last year, all teachers were fired at Central Falls High School, a square-mile city just north of Providence. This issue was over low-student performance, though a deal later was reached to hire many of them back.

Insisting that "spending reductions are inevitable," Taveras cites budgetary problems as the reason for the moves, not performance. At a conference last week, Smith said that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan singled out Providence twice for educational reform efforts, such as its teachers union being among the first to sign up for the Race to the Top initiative.

Taveras said he was "hopeful we can work together to address the fiscal challenges we face." Teachers, though, said they were left with worries about how they'd continue the school year and survive beyond that.

"How do we motivate our students to continue to value (us) as educators when our power has been taken away from us?" said Iannucci. "We'll do our best. Really, what can we do?"

Arizona state senator given immunity after fight with girlfriend...

Arizona State Senator Given Immunity as Girlfriend Is Arrested in Domestic Dispute
Published February 27, 2011

PHOENIX -- An Arizona state senator says he was acting in self defense before the arrest of his girlfriend Friday night on one count of assault that allegedly was the byproduct of a jealous rage.

Police arrested Sen. Scott Bundgaard's girlfriend Aubry Ballard after the two attended a "Dancing With the Stars" charity event that apparently included a saucy rhumba dance.

Bundgaard told MyFoxPhoenix that he acted in self defense when Ballard began throwing his things out of the car, punching him and trying to get into the driver's seat when he stopped alongside a state road.

Police said when they showed up, Bundgaard was pulling Ballard out of the car.

She released a statement Saturday calling the episode the "absolute worst night of my life."

"I'm still trying to get my mind around a few things: Scott's actions; the 17 hours I spent in jail awaiting processing; my bruises, scrapes and soreness; and his statements to the media.”

Bundgaard, who as a lawmaker is given legislative immunity from arrest, said he didn't do anything to warrant a charge.

"If I'm guilty of something, they should charge me, and the constitution provides them with the ability to charge me if I have done something wrong," Bundgaard said.

Those who secretly back ( Muammar) Qaddafi...

Those who secretly back Qaddafi
publication date: Feb 22, 2011


WMR has learned from a well-placed source that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi has called in a number of political and financial markers in his bid to cling on to power, no matter the costs, including waging a bloody genocidal campaign against the Libyan people.

The Obama administration's major concern in trying to extend Qaddafi's stay in power for as long as possible is to protect documents and potential witnesses within the Libyan Jamahiriyah Security Organization (JSO). The CIA used Libyan intelligence and security facilities and assets for its "extraordinary rendition" and torture program, first authorized by then-deputy Attorney General Eric Holder in 1997. Holder is currently President Obama's Attorney General and, as with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak government and its joint General Intelligence Directorate-CIA kidnapping and torture program run by Omar Suleiman ("Sheik Al-Torture"), the Obama administration is supporting the CIA in its quest to ensure that no details, including documents and witnesses, emerge from the Libyan JSO-CIA operation.

The Obama administration wants to buy time for Qaddafi so that it can exfiltrate from Libya, JSO and other assets involved with the "Al Qaeda" rendition, torture, and tracking program. In fact, in a long and rambling speech delivered by Muammar Qaddafi today on Libyan state television, he railed against the Bin Laden and "Al Qaeda" threat to his regime.

WMR previously reported that a CIA rendition Boeing 737 operated by CIA front company Keeler and Tate Management of Reno, Nevada, arrived at RAF Northolt, UK on November 14, 2003, from Mitiga, Libya. The plane also arrived in Libya on January 12; March 12; October 28; October 12; October 19, 2003 and February 21; March 7, 9, 16,; April 21, 23; September 7, 2004; and January 7, 16, 18, 19, 2005. The CIA Boeing torture plane flew missions between Mitiga airport in Tripoli and Valletta, Malta; Oxford, UK; Dulles International Airport, Washington; Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Frankfurt, Germany; Morocco; and Glasgow, Scotland.

Another CIA rendition aircraft, a Gulfstream IV, leased to the CIA by Phillip H. Morse, a minority partner of the Boston Red Sox, departed Tripoli on May 5, 2004 en route to Tenerife, Canary Islands.

However, according to our source, it is the financial connections of the Qaddafi family to a number of lucrative business deals with the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, and Russia that has these countries dragging their feet on demanding the Qaddafi regime to step down. Saif al-Islam Qaddafi enjoys a close relationship with former Labor Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson, according to our source. It was Mandelson, who Saif reportedly calls "Mandy," who introduced Saif to Nathaniel Rothschild, the wealthy scion of the financially- and politically-powerful Rothschild family.

Our source reports that Saif Qaddafi, 'Nate" Rothschild, and "Mandy" are frequent diners at Moscow's ritzy Pushkin Restaurant, and have often held meetings there with Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire Russian tycoon who partly owns RUSAL, the Russian aluminum company. Deripaska, Mandelson, Saif Qaddafi, and Rothschild also met at Deripaska's Corfu estate and on the tycoon's yacht, often docked in Montenegro. The team was apparently attempting to cash in on the U.S. Air Force's lucrative tanker refueling project. RUSAL is slated to provide the aluminum for EADS (European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company), one of the two bidders -- Boeing is the other -- on the controversial contract that has been rife with fraud. Wheh informed that the Qaddafi family was involved with the tycoons backing EADS' contract bid, some U.S. national security officials expressed alarm.

However, as WMR reported on June 9, 2008, ". . . the McCain campaign wants to bury the story of McCain's 70th birthday bash held on board the yacht of a Russian aluminum tycoon in the Adriatic Sea. The party was held on August 29, 2006, McCain's birthday and followed a congressional junket by McCain and five other GOP senators to the Republic of Georgia. The host for McCain's yacht party off the coast of the Republic of Montenegro was, according to WMR sources with close links to the Republican Party, Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's most powerful tycoons who made his billions in cornering Russia's aluminum market in the 1990s. The 40-year old Deripaska is also politically-connected, having married the daughter of Russia's late President Boris Yeltsin. Unlike most other Russian tycoons, who now live in exile abroad and are protected by Israeli passports, Deripaska maintains close relations to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and another Russian tycoon, Roman Abramovich, who was also invested in Russia's aluminum industry. In 2000, Deripaska merged his firm, Basic Element, with Abramovich's firm, RusAl. Both tycoons maintain expensive homes in London."

WMR has also been informed by our source that Newscorp owner Rupert Murdoch has been a frequent guest at Corfu soirees also attended by Saif Qaddafi, Rothschild, Mandelson, and Derispaska. Newscorp owns Fox and SKy News.

On March 25, 2009, WMR reported: "British intelligence sources report to WMR that a series of high-level financial deals between Libya, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, former Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin, and Scottish First Minister Alexander Salmond resulted in the release from a Scottish prison of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan Arab Airlines officials convicted of planting the bomb on board Pan Am 103 that killed 281 people on the plane and in the village of Lockerbie in 1988. Megrahi's colleague, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted of charges in the terrorist attack.In fact, according to the British intelligence sources, the Libyans were never responsible for the bombing of PanAm 103, which was carried out by the Iranians and their Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) proxies in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in retaliation for the shooting down by the USS Vincennes of an Iran Air Airbus-300 over the Persian Gulf in July 1988 that killed all 290 passengers and crew."

Our report continued: "Negotiations on the deal to free Megrahi, who stood to embarass the British and U.S. governments with new evidence of his innocence if the appeal of his conviction had gone forward, began last October after two major Scottish banks, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), collapsed. After HSBC and Barclays made overtures to the Bank of England to buy HBOS and RBS, the proposals were rejected by what is known in Whitehall as the "Larnarkshire Mafia" -- Brown, Darling, and Martin -- intervened in the Scottish financial crisis and ordered that public money vice commercial funds be used to prop up HBOS and RBS. Eventually, Lloyds TSB bought HBOS creating Lloyds Banking Group, which was, itself, later bailed out by the British government.
The word from Whitehall is that, although Parliament is in summer recess, senior staffers know that a major secret deal was worked out between Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street (the residences of the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, respectively) and Qaddafi and sealed after a meeting two weeks ago between Mandelson and Qaddafi's son, Saif al Islam Qaddafi, at a Rothschild family-owned villa on Corfu.

The deal worked out is that profits realized from future oil and gas deals between Britain and Libya will be used to bail out the Scottish banks."

With these powerful connections, the Qaddafi regime is pressing his friends and allies in London, Washington, Moscow, and within the Silvio Berlusconi mafia that runs Italy, that they must stress "stability" -- a word also heard as Mubarak was on the rope in Cairo -- over democracy. So far, Qaddafi has drawn some success as he clings to power.

Tea Party crashes: The most unpatriotic act

By Susan Lindauer, 9/11 Whistleblower indicted on the Patriot Act


I confess that since November I've been holding my breath, watching the clock for how long Tea Party newcomers could hold out against the entrenched Republican elite on Capitol Hill. Collapse was inevitable, however I admit to feeling bitterly surprised at how rapidly they have thrown in the towel.

For the record, most of the Tea Party quit their principles of liberty on February 14, 2011—20 days into the new Congress—when Tea Party leaders abruptly abandoned their opposition to the Patriot Act and voted to extend intrusive domestic surveillance, wire tapping and warrantless searches of American citizens. In so doing, they exposed the fraud of their soaring campaign promises to defend the liberty of ordinary Americans, and fight government intrusions on freedom. All those wide eyed speeches that flowed with such thrilling devotions, all of it proved to be self-aggrandizing lies.

The Tea Party didn't even put up a fight. Briefly they rejected a sneak attack to renew three surveillance clauses of the Patriot Act on a suspension vote. That filled my heart with hope. One push from the Republican elite, however and they went down with a loud thud.

My disappointment is particularly acute. Rather notoriously, I am distinguished as the second non-Arab American to face indictment on the Patriot Act, after Jose Padilla.

My status was pretty close to an enemy non-combatant. One would presume that I must have joined some terrorist conspiracy? Or engaged in some brutal act of sedition, such as stock piling weapons and munitions to overthrow those crooks in Congress?

You would be wrong. I got indicted for protesting the War in Iraq. My crime was delivering a warm-hearted letter to my second cousin White House Chief of Staff, Andy Card, which correctly outlined the consequences of War. Suspiciously, I had been one of the very few Assets covering the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years. Thus, I was personally acquainted with the truth about Pre-War Intelligence, which differs remarkably from the story invented by GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.

More dangerously still, my team gave advance warnings about the 9/11 attack and solicited Iraq's cooperation after 9/11. In August 2001, at the urging of my CIA handler, I phoned Attorney General John Ashcroft's private staff and the Office of Counter-Terrorism to ask for an "emergency broadcast alert" across all federal agencies, seeking any fragment of intelligence on airplane hijackings. My warning cited the World Trade Center as the identified target. Highly credible independent sources have confirmed that in August, 2001 I described the strike on the World Trade Center as "imminent," with the potential for "mass casualties, possibly using a miniature thermonuclear device."

Thanks to the Patriot Act, Americans have zero knowledge of those truths, though the 9/11 Community has zoomed close for years. Republican leaders invoked the Patriot Act to take me down 30 days after I approached the offices of Senator John McCain and Trent Lott, requesting to testify about Iraq's cooperation with the 9/11 investigation and a comprehensive peace framework that would have achieved every U.S. and British objective without firing a shot. Ironically, because of the Patriot Act, my conversations with Senator Trent Lott's staff got captured on wire taps, proving my story.

You see, contrary to rhetoric on Capitol Hill, the Patriot Act is first and foremost a weapon to bludgeon whistleblowers and political dissidents. Indeed, it has been singularly crafted for that purpose.

The American people are not nearly as frightened as they should be. Many Americans expect the Patriot Act to limit its surveillance to overseas communications. Yet while I was under indictment, Maryland State Police invoked the Patriot Act to wire tap activists tied to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an environmental group dedicated to wind power, solar energy and recycling. The DC Anti-War Network was targeted as a "white supremacist group." Amnesty International and anti-death penalty activists got targeted for alleged "civil rights violations."

All of these are American activists engaged in lawful disputes of government policy. All of them got victimized by the surveillance techniques approved by Tea Party leaders, because they pursued a policy agenda that contradicted current government policies. The Tea Party swore to defend the freedom of independent thinking in Congressional campaigns. One presumes those promises are now forgotten until the next election.

I cannot forget. I cannot forget how I was subjected to secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony that denied my right to face my accusers or their accusations in open court, throughout five years of indictment. I cannot forget my imprisonment on a Texas military base for a year without a trial or evidentiary hearing.

I cannot forget how the FBI, the US Attorneys Office, the Bureau of Prisons and the main Justice office in Washington --- independently and collectively verified my story--- then falsified testimony to Chief Judge Michael Mukasey, denying our 9/11 warnings and my long-time status as a U.S. intelligence Asset, though my witnesses had aggressively confronted them. Apparently the Patriot Act allows the Justice Department to withhold corroborating evidence and testimony from the Court, if it is deemed "classified."

I cannot forget threats of forcible drugging and indefinite detention up to 10 years, until I could be "cured" of believing what everybody wanted to deny— because it was damn inconvenient to politicians in Washington anxious to hold onto power.

Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. The Patriot Act would be right at the top of that list. Nobody who has supported that wretched law should ever be allowed to brag of defending liberty again. That goes for the Tea Party. By voting to extend surveillance of American citizens, they have abandoned the principles of freedom that brought about their rise to power. They have shown their true face.

It is a face that we, the people, will remember. I, for one, have no intention of allowing them to forget.

Susan Lindauer is the author of EXTREME PREJUDICE: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq. http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Prejudice-Terrifying-Story-Patriot/dp/1453642757

US officials detained pirate negotiators before hostages were executed, going against standard negotiation practices...

Source: U.S. officials detained pirate negotiators before hostage executions
By the CNN Wire Staff
February 27, 2011 1:34 a.m. EST

(CNN) -- Before two pirate leaders departed the yacht where they held four Americans earlier in February, a maritime source says they left instructions: kill the hostages if we do not come back from negotiations.

U.S. officials took the negotiating pirates into custody -- a move which goes against standard negotiation practices, the source said.

The four Americans were later killed, but it is not clear why.

It is also not clear when during the negotiations -- or why -- the Americans reportedly detained the two pirates.

The pirates' detention goes against standard negotiating practices, as the pirates came in good faith to make a deal to hand over the hostages, said the source, who was briefed on the incident and has connections to British intelligence officials.

The source asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

United States Central Command declined to comment on whether officials detained the pirates and said the FBI and the Justice Department have the lead in the case. Officials at both the FBI and Justice Department did not immediately return calls for comment Saturday night.

Jean and Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were found shot to death after U.S. forces boarded their hijacked vessel around 1 a.m. Tuesday, U.S. officials have said.

The 58-foot yacht, named the Quest, was being shadowed by the military after pirates took the ship off the coast of Oman on February 18.

The forces responded after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a U.S. Navy ship about 600 yards away -- and missed -- and the sound of gunfire could be heard on board the Quest, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Mark Fox has said. The killings took place as negotiations involving the FBI were under way for the hostages' release.

When Fox spoke last week, he said two pirates boarded a U.S. Navy ship Monday for talks. He told reporters he had no information on details of the negotiations or whether a ransom had been offered.

Two pirates were found dead on board the Quest, said Fox. In the process of clearing the vessel, U.S. forces killed two others, one with a knife, he said. Thirteen others were captured and detained, along with the other two already on board the U.S. Navy ship. Nineteen pirates were involved altogether, said Fox.

He said authorities believe the pirates were trying to get the vessel and hostages to Somalia, or at least into Somali territorial waters.

Piracy has flourished recently off the coast of Somalia, which has not had an effective government for two decades.

Globally, more than 50 pirate attacks have already taken place in 2011. As of February 15 -- the most recent statistic posted on the International Maritime Bureau's website, pirates were holding 33 vessels and 712 hostages.

Some Saturday nite sounds...


So nice, we gonna play it twice (this time w/ vocals):

The Saturday intermission continues..

Get Up!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Justice Department obtains reporter's phone and bank records in leak probe...

DOJ gets reporter's phone, credit card records in leak probe
Trying to show ex-CIA officer leaked agency secrets, feds target newspaperman
By Michael Isikoff
National investigative correspondent
NBC News NBC News
updated 2 hours 50 minutes ago 2011-02-26T00:11:51

WASHINGTON — A court filing in the case of a former CIA officer accused of spilling secrets about Iran’s nuclear program provides new details about the extraordinary measures Justice Department prosecutors are using to identify government leakers.

The former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, was indicted in December on charges that he disclosed “national defense information” to New York Times reporter James Risen.

In a court filing this week, Sterling’s lawyers revealed that, as part of the investigation, prosecutors obtained Risen’s telephone, credit and bank records. They also obtained credit reports on Risen conducted by three credit agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — as well as records of his airline travel, the filing states.

Those records, as well as other material, have been turned over to Sterling’s lawyers as part of pre-trial discovery in the case, the lawyers said.

“I find this every disturbing,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This tells us the Obama administration will do almost anything to figure out who is leaking government information.”

Matt Miller, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment on the court filing or say whether department subpoenas for Risen’s bank and credit reports occurred under President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, or earlier, during the Bush administration, when the investigation into Sterling began. A lawyer for Risen also declined comment....


The last word on Terrorism (Video)


US, Pakistan military hold secret meeting...

US-Pak military hold secret meeting
Feb 24, 2011 | PTI

Islamabad: Top US-Pakistan military brass, including army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, held a day-long secret meeting at a luxury resort in Oman on the war on terror in Afghanistan, against the backdrop of a tense diplomatic standoff over the arrest of an American for double murder in Lahore.

Kayani discussed regional security issues and explored new ways to better coordinate military operations during the meeting yesterday with the US military commanders, including Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen David Petraeus, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani army chief called for greater understanding of his country's military operations.

"Pakistan's soldiers have fought bravely and accomplished much at great cost. We must honour those sacrifices by making sure our military operations are understood," he was quoted as saying in a statement released by the military

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with American officers the progress we have made fighting extremists in our country and to offer them my thoughts about how our two sides might better cooperate," said Kayani.

The secret meeting, planned several months ago, was the third such gathering of high-level US and Pakistani officials since August 2008 to discuss the war in Afghanistan, an official in the US party was quoted as saying by 'Stars and Stripes', the American military's official newspaper.

Both sides gave operational updates and emphasised the need for better cross-border communication, information-sharing and physical infrastructure development, such as roads.

No other details were provided.

One US official who attended the meeting said both sides had "very candid and cordial, and very productive discussions."

The meeting was held against the backdrop of a tense diplomatic stand-off between the US and Pakistan over the arrest of an American functionary in Lahore after he shot and killed two armed men on January 27.

Pakistani leaders have rejected repeated demands to free Raymond Davis, the arrested US national, on grounds of diplomatic immunity and said that his case will be decided by the courts.

The Pakistani army is perceived to have a key role in shaping the country's foreign policy, especially relations with the US and India.

Noam Chomsky: US supports 'stable dictators'

Chomsky: US supports stable dictators
Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:15AM

Weighing in on the latest developments in the Arab world, renowned American intellectual Noam Chomsky says the US policy of "stability" in the Middle East refers to "stable dictators."

In a Wednesday interview with Press TV, Chomsky said the US and its allies have vested interests in stable dictatorships in energy-rich countries like Libya rather than real democracies.

"There is a reason why there is so much concern about the democracy uprising in the Arab world than in, say, the sub-Saharan Africa. This is where the major energy resources of the world are. There is quite a good reason why the US and its allies will pull out no stops to prevent any really functioning democracy from developing in the Arab world," the renowned professor said about the revolutions in Libya and Egypt.

He further added that US President Barack Obama hesitatingly supported the revolution in Egypt after several organizations and human rights groups wrote letters to the White House urging it to stop backing Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

"The US (President Barack Obama) was in fact continuing to back Mubarak dictatorship until (Campaign for Peace and Democracy in New York and several other rights groups) urged him to drop that stand and provide at least verbal support for the popular uprising," he continued to say.

Chomsky further added that the Arab world considers the United States and Israel “a real threat” to world security.

"For the Arab public, the major threat by overwhelming majority is the US and Israel," he noted.

The renowned author also added that former US President Dwight David Eisenhower had warned of anti-US sentiments in the Arab world; a prediction which has come true nowadays.

"Eisenhower was concerned about what he called the campaign of hatred against the US in the Arab world not among the governments that were mostly compiled but with the people," Chomsky said.

"There was an analysis at the same time by the National Security administration 'the highest planning body' which said yes, there is a campaign of hatred and the reason is that there is a perception that the US supports dictatorships and blocks democracy and development," he noted.

This comes at a time pro-democracy protesters prepare for the 10th day of revolution against ruler Muammar Gaddafi, despite the fact that a massive crackdown on civilians by Libyan forces has left as many as 1,000 dead.

A total of 130 Libyan soldiers have been executed for refusing to open fire on anti-Gaddafi protesters.

On Tuesday, Gaddafi pledged to fight the intensifying revolution against his four-decade-long grip on power.

The embattled ruler, who came to power 41 years ago in a bloodless military coup, delivered a televised address on Tuesday in which he vowed to fight on to his "last drop of blood" and called on his supporters to take to the streets to confront the pro-democracy protesters.

The CIA's killing spree in Lahore...

The CIA's Killing Spree in Lahore
By Mike Whitney
February 24, 2011

When CIA-agent Raymond Davis gunned down two Pakistani civilians in broad daylight on a crowded street in Lahore, he probably never imagined that the entire Washington establishment would spring to his defense. But that's precisely what happened. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Mullen, John Kerry, Leon Panetta and a number of other US bigwigs have all made appeals on Davis's behalf. None of these stalwart defenders of "the rule of law" have shown a speck of interest in justice for the victims or of even allowing the investigation to go forward so they could know what really happened. Oh, no. What Clinton and the rest want, is to see their man Davis packed onto the next plane to Langley so he can play shoot-'em-up someplace else in the world.

Does Clinton know that after Davis shot his victims 5 times in the back, he calmly strode back to his car, grabbed his camera, and photographed the dead bodies? Does she know that the two so-called "diplomats" who came to his rescue in a Land Rover (which killed a passerby) have been secretly spirited out of the country so they won't have to appear in court? Does she know that the families of the victims are now being threatened and attacked to keep them from testifying against Davis? Here's a clip from Thursday's edition of The Nation":

"Three armed men forcibly gave poisonous pills to Muhammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of Fahim shot dead by Raymond Davis, after barging into his house in Rasool Nagar, Chak Jhumra.

Sarwar was rushed to Allied Hospital in critical condition where doctors were trying to save his life till early Thursday morning. The brother of Muhammad Sarwar told The Nation that three armed men forced their entry into the house after breaking the windowpane of one of the rooms. When they broke the glass, Muhammad Sarwar came out. The outlaws started beating him up.

The other family members, including women and children, coming out for his rescue, were taken hostage and beaten up. The three outlaws then took everyone hostage at gunpoint and forced poisonous pills down Sarwar’s throat." ("Shumaila’s uncle forced to take poisonous pills", The Nation)

Good show, Hillary. We're all about the rule of law in the good old USA.

But why all the intrigue and arm-twisting? Why has the State Department invoked the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to make its case that Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity? If Davis is innocent, then he has nothing to worry about, right? Why not let the trial go forward and stop reinforcing the widely-held belief that Davis is a vital cog in the US's clandestine operations in Pakistan?

The truth is that Davis had been photographing sensitive installations and madrassas for some time, the kind of intelligence gathering that spies do when scouting-out prospective targets. Also, he'd been in close contact with members of terrorist organizations, which suggests a link between the CIA and terrorist incidents in Pakistan. Here's an excerpt from Wednesday's The Express Tribune:

"His cell phone has revealed contacts with two ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) and sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has led to the public conclusion that he was behind terrorism committed against Pakistan’s security personnel and its people ....This will strike people as America in cahoots with the Taliban and al Qaeda against the state of Pakistan targeting, as one official opined, Pakistan’s nuclear installations." ("Raymond Davis: The plot thickens, The Express Tribune)

"Al Qaeda"? The CIA is working with "ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan"? No wonder the US media has been keeping a wrap on this story for so long.

Naturally, most Pakistanis now believe that the US is colluding with terrorists to spread instability, weaken the state, and increase its power in the region. But isn't that America's M.O. everywhere?

Also, many people noticed that US drone attacks suddenly stopped as soon as Davis was arrested. Was that a coincidence? Not likely. Davis was probably getting coordinates from his new buddies in the tribal hinterland and then passing them along to the Pentagon. The drone bombings are extremely unpopular in Pakistan. More then 1400 people have been killed since August 2008, and most of them have been civilians.

And, there's more. This is from (Pakistan's) The Nation:

"A local lawyer has moved a petition in the court of Additional District and Sessions ... contending that the accused (Davis)... was preparing a map of sensitive places in Pakistan through the GPS system installed in his car. He added that mobile phone sims, lethal weapons, and videos camera were recovered from the murder accused on January 27, 2011." ("Davis mapped Pakistan targets court told", The Nation)

So, Davis's GPS chip was being used to identify targets for drone attacks in the tribal region. Most likely, he was being assisted on the other end by recruits or members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban.

A lot of extravagant claims have been made about what Davis was up to, much of which is probably just speculation. One report which appeared on ANI news service is particularly dire, but produces little evidence to support its claims. Here's an excerpt:

"Double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret CIA documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al-Qaeda terrorists with "nuclear fissile material" and "biological agents," according to a report.

Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned "grave" as it appears that open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States, The European Union Times reports.....The most ominous point in this SVR report is "Pakistan's ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis's possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists "nuclear fissile material" and "biological agents", which they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to re-establish the West's hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse," the paper added. ("CIA Spy Davis was giving nuclear bomb material to Al Qaeda, says report", ANI)

Although there's no way to prove that this is false, it seems like a bit of a stretch. But that doesn't mean that what Davis was up to shouldn't be taken seriously. Quite the contrary. If Davis was working with Tehreek-e-Taliban, (as alleged in many reports) then we can assume that the war on terror is basically a ruse to advance a broader imperial agenda. According to Sify News, the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes this to be the case. Here's an excerpt:

"Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US envoy to Afghanistan, once brushed off Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s claim, that the US was “arranging” the (suicide) attacks by Pakistani Taliban inside his country, as ‘madness’, and was of the view that both Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who believed in this US conspiracy theory, were “dysfunctional” leaders.

The account of Zardari’s claim about the US’ hand in the attacks has been elaborately reproduced by US journalist Bob Woodward, on Page 116 of his famous book ‘Obama’s Wars,’ The News reported.

Woodward’s account goes like this: “One evening during the trilateral summit (in Washington, between Obama, Karzai and Zardari) Zardari had dinner with Zalmay Khalilzad, the 58-year-old former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN, during the Bush presidency.

“Zardari dropped his diplomatic guard. He suggested that one of the two countries was arranging the attacks by the Pakistani Taliban inside his country: India or the US. Zardari didn’t think India could be that clever, but the US could. Karzai had told him the US was behind the attacks, confirming the claims made by the Pakistani ISI.”

“Mr President,” Khalilzad said, “what would we gain from doing this? You explain the logic to me.”

“This was a plot to destabilize Pakistan, Zardari hypothesized, so that the US could invade and seize its nuclear weapons. He could not explain the rapid expansion in violence otherwise. And the CIA had not pursued the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, a group known as Tehreek-e-Taliban or TTP that had attacked the government. TTP was also blamed for the assassination of Zardari’s wife, Benazir Bhutto.” ("Pakistan President says CIA Involved in Plot to Destabilize Country and Seize Nukes", Sify News)

Zardari's claim will sound familiar to those who followed events in Iraq. Many people are convinced that the only rational explanation for the wave of bombings directed at civilians, was that the violence was caused by those groups who stood to gain from a civil war.

And who might that be?

Despite the Obama administration's efforts to derail the investigation, the case against Davis is going forward. Whether he is punished or not is irrelevant. This isn't about Davis anyway. It's a question of whether the US is working hand-in-hand with the very organizations that it publicly condemns in order to advance its global agenda. If that's the case, then the war on terror is a fraud.

The global food crisis, then and now (Video)

The ongoing food crisis has intentionally been downplayed by the news media, but the reality is that it is that building food crisis that pushed Egypt over the edge in its revolt against the Mubarak government. History (and Franklin Roosevelt) teach us that the British tactic of starvation must be defeated by the overthrow of that empire once and for all.


"Madison's mayor and police chief Thursday called on Gov. Scott Walker to explain statements he made in a secretly recorded phone conversation that he "thought about" planting troublemakers among the thousands of demonstrators at the Capitol"...

Madison police chief asks Walker to explain 'troubling' statements
Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2011 3:05 pm

Madison's mayor and police chief Thursday called on Gov. Scott Walker to explain statements he made in a secretly recorded phone conversation that he "thought about" planting troublemakers among the thousands of demonstrators at the Capitol.

"Someone in his inner circle raised seriously the possibility of hiring people to come in and apparently create violence in my city," Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. "I find it appalling, and I want to know who that was."

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor had already answered questions about the phone call during a press conference Wednesday in which he acknowledged entertaining — but rejecting — the idea.

"People have brought up all sorts of different options," Walker said at the press conference. "As you saw if you've listened to the tape, we shot that down."

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated at the Capitol over the past 11 days, during which Madison police made no arrests. Most of the demonstrators oppose a bill backed by Walker to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray also said he wanted an explanation from the governor, saying he found it "very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers"

In an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday night, Walker said the idea had come from legislators and others, although he didn't name anyone.

In a prank phone call in which he thought he was talking to billionaire campaign contributor David Koch, Walker answered a question about whether he wanted Koch to plant "troublemakers" in the crowd by saying, "The only problem with that ... we thought about that.

"... My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has got to settle to avoid all these problems."

The phone call actually was placed by Ian Murphy, a Buffalo, N.Y., blogger who writes the Buffalo Beast.

"The revolt in the Arab world is not merely against a resident dictator, but against a worldwide economic tyranny designed by the US Treasury and imposed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which have ensured that rich countries like Egypt are reduced to vast sweatshops, with half the population earning less than $2 a day. The people's triumph in Cairo was the first blow against what Benito Mussolini called corporatism, a word that appears in his definition of fascism"...

Behind the Arab Revolt Is a Word We Dare Not Speak
Thursday 24 February 2011
by: John Pilger, t r u t h o u t

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I interviewed Ray McGovern, one of an elite group of CIA officers who prepared then-president George W. Bush's daily intelligence brief. At that time, McGovern was at the apex of the "national security" monolith that is American power and had retired with presidential plaudits. On the eve of the invasion, he and 45 other senior officers of the CIA and other intelligence agencies wrote to Bush that the "drumbeat for war" was based not on intelligence, but lies.

"It was 95 percent charade," McGovern told me.

"How did they get away with it?" I asked.

"The press allowed the crazies to get away with it."

"Who are the crazies?"

"The people running the [Bush] administration have a set of beliefs a lot like those expressed in 'Mein Kampf,'" said McGovern. "These are the same people who were referred to, in the circles in which I moved at the top, as 'the crazies.'"

I said: "Norman Mailer has written that he believes America has entered a pre-fascist state. What's your view of that?"

"Well ... I hope he's right, because there are others saying we are already in a fascist mode."

On January 22, 2011, McGovern emailed me to express his disgust at the Obama administration's barbaric treatment of the alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning and its pursuit of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
"Way back when George and Tony decided it might be fun to attack Iraq," he wrote, "I said something to the effect that fascism had already begun here. I have to admit I did not think it would get this bad this quickly."
On February 16, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech at George Washington University in which she condemned governments that arrested protestors and crushed free expression. She lauded the liberating power of the Internet, while failing to mention that her government was planning to close down those parts of the Internet that encouraged dissent and truth-telling. It was a speech of spectacular hypocrisy, and McGovern was in the audience. Outraged, he rose from his chair and silently turned his back on Clinton. He was immediately seized by police and a security goon and beaten to the floor, dragged out and thrown into jail, bleeding. He has sent me photographs of his injuries. He is 71. During the assault, which was clearly visible to Clinton, she did not pause in her remarks.

Fascism is a difficult word, because it comes with an iconography that touches the Nazi nerve and is abused as propaganda against America's official enemies and to promote the West's foreign adventures with a moral vocabulary written in the struggle against Hitler. And yet, fascism and imperialism are twins. In the aftermath of World War II, those in the imperial states who had made respectable the racial and cultural superiority of "western civilization" found that Hitler and fascism had claimed the same, employing strikingly similar methods. Thereafter, the very notion of American imperialism was swept from the textbooks and popular culture of an imperial nation forged on the genocidal conquest of its native people, and a war on social justice and democracy became "US foreign policy."

As the Washington historian William Blum has documented, since 1945, the US has destroyed or subverted more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and used mass murderers like Suharto, Mobutu and Pinochet to dominate by proxy. In the Middle East, every dictatorship and pseudo-monarchy has been sustained by America. In "Operation Cyclone," the CIA and MI6 secretly fostered and bankrolled Islamic extremism. The object was to smash or deter nationalism and democracy. The victims of this western state terrorism have been mostly Muslims. The courageous people gunned down last week in Bahrain and Libya, the latter a "priority UK market," according to Britain's official arms "procurers," join those children blown to bits in Gaza by the latest American F-16 aircraft.

The revolt in the Arab world is not merely against a resident dictator, but against a worldwide economic tyranny designed by the US Treasury and imposed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which have ensured that rich countries like Egypt are reduced to vast sweatshops, with half the population earning less than $2 a day. The people's triumph in Cairo was the first blow against what Benito Mussolini called corporatism, a word that appears in his definition of fascism.

How did such extremism take hold in the liberal West? "It is necessary to destroy hope, idealism, solidarity, and concern for the poor and oppressed," observed Noam Chomsky a generation ago, and "to replace these dangerous feelings with self-centered egoism, a pervasive cynicism that holds that ... the state capitalist order with its inherent inequities and oppression is the best that can be achieved. In fact, a great international propaganda campaign is underway to convince people - particularly young people - that this not only is what they should feel but that it's what they do feel."

Like the European revolutions of 1848 and the uprising against Stalinism in 1989, the Arab revolt has rejected fear. An insurrection of suppressed ideas, hope and solidarity has begun. In the United States, where 45 percent of young African-Americans have no jobs and the top hedge fund managers are paid, on average, $1 billion a year, mass protests against cuts in services and jobs have spread to heartland states like Wisconsin. In Britain, the fastest-growing modern protest movement, UK Uncut, is about to take direct action against tax avoiders and rapacious banks. Something has changed that cannot be unchanged. The enemy has a name now.


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