Legendary Radio Host John B. Wells Talks JFK Conspiracy, Jade Helm, UFO’s, Flat Earth Theory & More

 Click the YouTube link below to listenJohn B Wells August

Host of Caravan to Midnight, actor, musician, writer, investigative journalist, composer, martial artist, aviator and broadcaster, John B. Wells finds the ancient sage advice of “concentrating on just one thing” to be true. His one thing: The Arts.

John is also an internationally renowned voice-over artist with credits ranging from serving as the announcer for CBS’ The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, to voicing promos for hit television shows like Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush to lending his voice to films like Oliver Stone’s JFK and Talk Radio, as well as the popular series Unsealed: Alien Files.

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Gonna Have To Face It, You’re Addicted To Zionism

It’s a general rule that people with addictions usually don’t keep their “issues” private. They’ve just GOT to be lettin’ it all hang out–LARGE AND IN CHARGE–and in your face. Whether it’s the economic problems they bring upon their families by losing job after job or pulverizing innocent people with their cars or the life of crime they eventually find themselves neck-deep in, addiction is seldom a victimless situation, despite what the victimizers themselves claim. It is a simple issue of gravity–Rather than pull themselves up to a higher level, they must instead drag everyone else down to theirs.

And it only gets worse as the substances get more powerful and society becomes less resilient and more interconnected. As one domino falls, it lands on its neighbor, and so on, and so on.

The problem for us as a society trying to get a handle on all this is that the conventional wisdom limits it all to powders, liquids, seeds, leaves, etc, and the paraphernalia used in transporting them from point A to point B with needles, pipes or tiny straws.

The truth however is that the really dangerous ones, the ones that don’t just wipe out entire families but rather entire nations are those that enter the bloodstream of consciousness as ideas–irrational ones–that by their very nature are intrinsically destructive to any normally-functioning/healthy society. Consider the lone nut with the doomsday mindset who’s gotten hooked on the idea that progress is bad and decides that the final solution to it all is to bring the house down around him by dumping a computer virus into the “town well” known as the internet.

They are everywhere, these dangerous intellectual substances that pollute the mind, causing it to mutate from a life-giving/life-sustaining miracle-machine into a weapon of mass destruction. And of all of them out there on the street, the one most responsible for turning God’s green earth into one giant ghetto and that’s caused the most damage–both real and collateral–is the one sitting atop all major world affairs these days and, it is Judaism/Zionism. Truly, as current events are proving now on a daily basis, it is the deadliest of all addictions.

The chemical makeup of this highly-addictive poison is simple–pure, distilled, undiluted and uncut narcissism. In it’s rawest form it is the idea that the creator of the entire universe–God–loves one tiny, microscopic sect of people above and beyond everything and everyone else. Not only does He love them more, He’s given them the keys to the kingdom and the means of holding on to those keys, including (but not limited to) stealing, lying, cheating, exploitation and–when necessary–murdering entire nations and races of people if it results in something good coming the addict’s way. Like the remorseless crack-head who sticks a knife into an innocent old lady in order to steal her purse and walk away with a fistful of dollars, the folks under the influence of this mind-destroying drug known as Jewish thinking have done it over and over again, literally for the last 6,000 years. The only difference between the gangstas of yesteryear vs the gangstas of today is that today’s thugs are not armed with spears and swords but rather nukes, deadly biological agents that could destroy the planet in a matter of minutes and total control of the world’s economy.

And the REALLY amazing thing about all of it is that–despite the very-visible destruction these dope dealers and dopeheads have brought on the world throughout history, no one of any real substance has bothered looking into the matter with anything other than junk science. Those who should have known better–the doctors of the soul charged with maintaining public health standards never warned us. Whether we’re talking about presidents, prime ministers, princes, popes, priests, preachers, professors, pastors or politicians, the fact is that the bribes they were taking from the manufacturers and distributors of this stuff was just too tempting and as a result they all kept their mouths shut.

There is no such thing as “recreational use’ Of Judaism/Zionism. Try it once and you’re hooked. One need only look at today’s “Christian” addicts as proof positive of this. Supposed followers of the Prince of Peace, now having shot themselves up with the Ecstasy of Judaistic thinking and now they are simply out of their minds, incapable of rational thought and as much out for innocent blood as if they were a race of vampires. Try taking the needle out of their arm by telling them how diabolical the wars being fought against innocent Muslim men, women and children are and see for yourself, as you find yourself fighting for your life against a brood of vipers and a pack of rabid dogs.

The truth and the tragedy of it all however is that “man the wise” should have known it would come to this. It was a no-brainer from the beginning. After all, the whole affair began when one guy named Abraham–wandering around the desert as high as kite–suddenly started hearing voices in his head telling him he is Superman, and then the next thing you know he’s got a knife to his son’s throat and is about to kill him and incinerate his body in appeasing the voices in his head. It was all downhill after that.

The problem today is that no one recognizes this poison for what it is. The snake oil salesmen peddle it as the cure for all society’s ills and the people keep ingesting it. Even when its deadly effects are manifested in all the carnage that occurs in places such as Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on, an army of detractors and spin artists come stampeding forward to get their faces and voices in front of the mic to tell the world that the product itself is “safe” and that the latest tragedy is all the result of something else.

Take for example the recent comments from Ovadiah Yosef, one of the most powerful dealers of this junk known as Judaism in the world. In his capacity as capo of one of the most powerful political parties in Israel–the orthodox party ‘Shas’–he was recently heard begging God for YET ANOTHER (imagine that) Holocaust of non-Jews, as if we haven’t seen enough already as of late. “May our enemies (the Arabs) and all evil people who hate us be put to an end and be made gone from the world”were his exact words, specifying his preferred brand of “perishment” with something found–not in the hated Koran, guys and gals, but rather–in the Jews’ Old Testament, saying “The Holy One, Blessed be He, should smite them with plague, them and these Palestinians”.

Now, lest some think the elderly man is just succumbing to the effects of his advancing years, keep in mind this isn’t the first time Ovadiah (or his colleagues) has stunk the place up with such comments. Nary a week goes by where he isn’t polluting and corrupting the minds and hearts of his flock of wolves with the poison that killing Arabs is biblically-sanctioned business for good, bible-believing Jews. One of his more memorable quotes–an oldie but a goodie for sure–has him saying “It is forbidden to be merciful to them…You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

Now, for those (and particularly in America) who have already given themselves over whole-hog to the anti-Islamic/anti-Arab hysteria sweeping the West like an epidemic of swine flu these days and who are therefore not particularly bothered by the ol’ rebbe’s comments concerning Palestinians, pay close attention to what we’re saying here–He is referring to you as well, due to the accidental circumstances of your birth as non-Jews.

See, this is the rub that today’s Judeophiles don’t seem to understand. Hardcore, died-in-the-wool Chosenite junkies such as the rebbe and his followers are non-discriminating when it comes to their hatred. Using their religion as the recipe book in creating this deadly stew of pathological narcissism, they are equal opportunity bigots whose contempt for “the other” operates without borders or distinction, and you–today’s brain-dead Gentile worshippers of all things Jewish–can be rest assured that after you have outlived your usefulness in fighting Israel’s wars for her that these same people you’ve made into graven images will set their sights (and their fangs) on doing to you what they are doing to the “AYRABS” today. Just something for you to consider.

Now, as shocked as some may be at hearing comments of this kind coming from a “distinguished” Jewish religious leader, the fact of the matter is this–it’s as new as the world’s oldest profession.Israel’s religious and political leaders have been saying things like this since, well, since the release of best sellers such as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers, when guys such as Moses, Joshua and the rest of the gang quickly realized how much dough could be had by murdering people and stealing their land from them.

And yet, despite the fact this latest display on the part of the rebbe (and others) is proof positive of the destructive properties of this poison known as Judaism, what is the reaction from around the world to this? For the most part, the aforementioned public health officials ignore it while others chime in to say that all is well and that this latest side-effect is not the norm. Groups such as Neturei Karta, the “good rabbis” who “oppose Zionism” (sort of) made the ridiculous claim that the statements by the rebbe were “not representative of true Judaism”. The White House characterized the remarks as‘offensive’ and “harmful” to the efforts of peace.

Keep in mind that, as we said earlier, poisonous statements such as these from Ovadiah Josef are (and have been FOR YEARS) made in one form or another by Jewish leaders in Israel on a daily basis, and yet there is no mind paid to them nor an ounce of commentary.

The only possible explanation as to why some interests now feel it necessary to make comment on matters such as these is that technology–namely the internet–has outpaced their ability to keep the destructive properties of this stuff under wraps as they have in years past. Now that the average person–from New York to New Guinea–has instantaneous access to raw information at literally the touch of a button, the conspiracy of silence now must be replaced with a conspiracy of lying.

Now, as difficult a thing as this may be to do, let us–for the sake of historical accuracy and medical science, take just a brief stroll down memory lane and consider a few crime scenes where this drug known as Judaism played a factor. I apologize for having to do this, but in the interests of accurate accounting, it’s got to be done–

Remember this?

  

Or this?

–White phosphorus being rained down upon helpless Christian and Muslim Arabs in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Thousands were killed or wounded and addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

 Or this–

  

A little Palestinian boy whose name we don’t know but no doubt loved beyond words by many people, SHOT TWICE by some scumbag Jewish assassin during the same aforementioned “Cast Lead”. Addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

 

Oh, and how ‘bout this one, featuring these nice Jewish girls autographing warheads MADE IN AMERICA with messages dripping with hatred such as “From Israel, With Love” before they were launched against helpless Arab families–Christian and Muslim–In Israel’s war against Lebanese civilians in 2006. Addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

 

Oh, here was a good one–IDF soldiers wearing t-shirts laughing at and celebrating what they do to Arabs on a daily basis. One t-shirt not pictured here featured an Arab mother kneeling at the grave of her dead child and a caption written in the typically callous, snickering, sneering tone that is the trademark of “Jewish humor” reading “Should have used a condom”. Another one, equally horrific in its absolute barbarity, featured the reticles of a sniper rifle’s telescopic sight aimed at the belly of a pregnant Arab, the caption reading “1 shot, 2 Kills.” Addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

Definitely one of my favorites taking place during Operation Cast Lead–Dopeheads coming out to watch the ensuing Holocaust. Notice–no looks of shock or moral outrage. It might as well be a comedy number or some display of war porn to which they are hooked. Addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

 

Here is a recent top 10 hit that made the rounds–Eden Abergil, an IDF chick who posted these adorable pix of her with her captured prey saying ‘I would gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them’. Addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

And finally, the “coup de grace” as far as I am concerned concerning how Ovadiah Yosef’s comments are not “representative of true Judaism”–IDF members and their Jewish cohorts gathered in front of the Torah as they read (no doubt from Leviticus, Deuteronomy or one of the other books that sanction the wholesale slaughter of non-Israelites) in search of “the right words” in justifying the slaughter of “the other”. Addicts of Judaism worldwide, both as individuals and as groups–either defended or stayed quiet about it.

Now, as much as these things cause the blood to boil in normal, non-genocidal people, the fact of the matter is this–I don’t condemn the rabbi’s comments. In fact, I am jumping for joy whenever he or one of his fellow travelers shits their pants like this in front of the entire world. I wish they would ALL do it on a regular basis.

 Why? Because the first step in any recovery/rehab program is to–

(1) recognize the toxicity of the substance in question, and

(2) admit there is a ‘problem’.

For too many years–6,000 to be exact–mankind has refused to look at this “wonder drug” known as Judaism and consider its inevitable side-effects. The reason for this is that the shylocks, shysters, and schmoozers peddling this stuff for 60 centuries have had free reign to lie about both its dangerous properties and deadly inevitable side-effects. Therefore when someone such as the rebbe Ovadiah Josef lets loose with a slip of the tongue and reveals to all what kind of creature truly lurks under the pretty facade, we should all fall on our knees and thank the Almighty for this little piece of heaven-sent truth, as ugly as it may be.

As I consider the situation we face today, I cannot help but think back to the lyrics of that song by the singer Robert Palmer (may he rest in peace) “Addicted To Love”–

The lights are on, but you’re not home
Your mind…is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another kiss is all it takes
You can’t sleep, you can’t eat
There’s no doubt, you’re in deep
Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe
Another kiss is all you need

You like to think that you’re immune to this stuff, oh yeah…
But it’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough

You see the signs, but you can’t read
You’re runnin’ at–a different speed
Your heart beats in double time
Another kiss and you’ll be mine

A one track mind, you can’t be saved
Oblivion is all you crave
If there’s some left for you,
You don’t mind if you do

You like to think that you’re immune to this stuff, oh yeah
But it’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough,

You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love…

Oh, if only  love were the addiction in question…‘What a wonderful world’ as that other famous old song goes.

 But when it comes to Israel and her people, we ain’t talkin’ ‘bout love here, unless of course it’s a case of “Magic mirror, on the wall…who’s the fairest of them all?..’

 Jewish thinking–it’s not some miracle drug, it’s a poison, and if we entertain the idea of drying ourselves out and transforming our ghetto from a crime-ridden slum into a peaceful, productive neighborhood, we’re gonna have to face it–

We’re addicted.

Mark Glenn

nomorewarsforisrael@gmail.com

 

http://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/gonna-have-to-face-it-you%E2%80%99re-addicted-to-zionism/

The Great Global Tax Grab is Already Underway

The world will soon be facing a tsunami of defaults on bad debts. This will include municipal or local government defaults such as the one now occurring in Stockton California, governments “defaulting” on promises they’ve made to the people (Social Security, Medicaid), a default on the social contract between society and politicians such as the one in Cyprus (a default on the notions of private property and Democracy), stealth defaults on debts in the form of inflation and finally, of course, outright sovereign defaults.

However, the last option will be sovereign defaults; all other options will be tried first. The reason for this is that sovereign bonds are the senior most collateral posted by the banks for their hundreds of trillions of Dollars worth of derivatives bets.

The minute an actual sovereign default occurs in Europe, Asia or the US, then the large global banks will all be vaporized. End of story.  As is now clear, the Central banks do not care about ordinary citizens. They only care about propping up the big banks.

This is why Cyprus decided to default on the social contract with its people and steal their funds rather than simply instigating a formal default. And it’s why in general we’re going to see Governments implementing more and more theft in the form of “taxes” (Cyprus called its theft a tax) in the future.

This will be sold to the public as either an attempt to tax those with a lot of money because it’s only fair that they put in more to bailout the nation OR as a form of financial terrorism e.g. “either you take a 7% cut on your deposits and the bank stays afloat or the bank crashes and you lose everything.”

This will be spreading throughout the world, GUARANTEED.

Spain, Canada (which allegedly has the safest banks in the world), and New Zealand have already begun discussing confiscation schemes for depositors in the event of a banking crisis.

As Cyprus has shown us, when push comes to shove, rule of law goes out the window. I fully expect that when things get really bad in the financial system the money grabs will come fast and furious. Foreign accounts, including possibly even Gold held aboard, will come under attack. Heck, the US got Switzerland to throw its 300-year-old banking secrecy out the window…

The Swiss bank Wegelin is to close, after admitting that it helped about 100 US clients evade paying taxes.
The news that Switzerland’s oldest private bank will cease to operate has potentially huge implications for Switzerland’s entire banking sector, and for the long tradition of Swiss banking secrecy.
Thirteen other Swiss banks are under investigation by US authorities, among them Credit Suisse, a bank now termed “too big to fail” by the Swiss government.
When Wegelin’s managers pleaded guilty in a New York court, the case was watched with mounting horror by the financial communities in Zurich and Geneva.
Many had expected Wegelin to continue to try to fight the case. For months, the bank had failed to turn up in court, saying the summons had not been delivered correctly.
Instead, Wegelin’s guilty plea included the admission that it intentionally opened accounts for US citizens to help them avoid tax.

Rockefeller impostor convicted of murder

PictureA notorious Rockefeller impostor has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a man whose bones were found buried beneath a California home.

Christian Gerhartsreiter was tried 28 years after the disappearance of newlyweds John and Linda Sohus in a heavily circumstantial cold case. Much of the prosecution’s evidence focused on the strange behavior of the man who adopted many names including Clark Rockefeller. He masqueraded as an heir to the fabled oil fortune for 20 years.

The verdict was reached Wednesday after the jury deliberated about a day.

Authorities said Gerhartsreiter was a German immigrant who lived another life long ago, occupying a guest cottage at the home of Sohus’ mother in the ritzy suburb of San Marino. He was known then as Chris Chichester and intimated he was of royal lineage. He joined the church, befriended residents and told some he was a film student.

A friend said Linda Sohus once described the tenant in the cottage owned by John’s mother as “creepy” and said she and her husband never spoke to him.

The town folk didn’t connect him with the disappearance of the Sohus couple in 1985, but shortly after they vanished, so did he.

No trace of Linda has been found but John’s bones were unearthed during excavation of a swimming pool at the San Marino property in 1994. With no clues, the mystery went cold again.

But across the country, a man variously known as Chris Crowe, Chip Smith and Clark Rockefeller was inventing new lives for himself.

This impostor wormed his way into high society and talked his way into important jobs. He married a wealthy woman and controlled her funds, but his identity unraveled when he kidnapped their daughter during a custody dispute. She testified that he became increasingly paranoid when police begin inquiring about him.

When he was unmasked, he became the subject of magazine articles, true crime books and TV movies that sought to explore his bizarre story and get to the heart of the man behind the pseudonyms.

The resulting publicity led California authorities to revisit the Sohus disappearance. They realized the man in custody in Boston was not an heir to the Rockefeller fortune but was the man who had lived in San Marino decades ago.

Already serving time for the kidnapping of his young daughter in a Boston custody dispute, Gerhartsreiter was close to the end of his sentence and headed for freedom when the murder charge changed that. After a quarter century, authorities believed they had linked him to the disappearance of his old neighbor, Sohus.

Defense attorneys suggested that Linda Sohus, not their client, killed her husband. But no motive was offered for her or Gerhartsreiter to have killed the young man.

Prosecutors filled in the blanks of the defendant’s whereabouts during the decades of his disappearance. But some details were unlikely ever to be explained.

He chose not to testify in his own defense and much of the trial testimony came from people now hobbled by age who knew him in San Marino as Chris Chichester, a stranger with a murky past.

 

http://www.telegram.com/article/20130410/NEWS/130419949/1116

Are They Nuts!? IMF Proposes $1.40 a Gallon Gas Tax on US Drivers

 

 

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(TheDailySheeple)The national average for a gallon of gasoline is currently at $3.65. On top of that sky-high price, the International Monetary Fund has now proposed that the U.S. should impose a tax of $1.40 per gallon in order to pay for social programs around the world and help the environment.

Neil Cavuto discussed this proposal with FBN’s Charles Payne, who said sometimes you hear things and you just have to ask, “Are you nuts!?”

 

 

 

US and UK public reject stronger military support for Syrian rebels

Syrian rebel, Aleppo 16/3/13

A Syrian rebel behind a makeshift barricade during clashes in Aleppo. The UK sends armoured vehicles and body armour to the rebels but the public oppose going further. Photograph: JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

(Guardian) -Americans and Britons are deeply sceptical about the idea of arming Syria‘s rebels and the possibility of sending western troops into the country, according to a bilateral poll.

Despite the escalating civil war, growing casualty figures and a rising tide of refugees flooding out of Syria, there is little appetite for more robust action than the current approach of providing “non-lethal support” to the rebels, the YouGov poll found.

There have been increasing demands on Capitol Hill to arm the opponents of the Assad regime or intervene more directly, and this week Barack Obama toughened his own rhetoric amid contested claims about Damascus using chemical weapons. But the new binational survey – produced for YouGov-Cambridge, the polling company’s academic thinktank – finds US voters opposed to the idea of supplying munitions by a 29-point margin: 45% against to 16% in favour.

Identical questions were posed in Britain, where David Cameron has, with the French president, François Hollande, recently tried and failed to persuade the EU to lift its arms embargo. But the British public emerges as even more strongly against: 57% oppose arming the rebels and 16% are in favour.

In both the UK and the US, opposition to arming the rebels is marked on the right as well as the left of the political spectrum: 52% of American Republicans and 63% of British Conservatives are against supplying arms.

Any thought of sending western troops into Syria would also be badly received – especially in the UK. By a 32-point margin (55%-23%) Britons reject the idea of sending in UK and allied troops to protect civilians. The anti-intervention lead rises to 59 points (68%-9%) if the aim were “overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad”.

In the US too, proposals to put boots on the ground would run up against public opinion. Americans lean 33%-27% against sending in troops “to protect civilians”, and are more decisively against directly enforcing regime change, splitting 42%-16% against. Although more Republicans (22%) than Democrats (14%) would be prepared to support the latter, the partisan difference are not as great might have expected given the continuing divisions over the war to topple Saddam Hussein.

Syria_interventions.png Syria_interventions.png
A decade on from the invasion of 2003, YouGov reaffirms the verdict of other pollsters and finds a rough two-to-one (53%-27%) balance of Britons saying that the war launched by George Bush and Tony Blair was wrong rather than right.

US opinion is more evenly divided, with those who believe the war was right holding a slim 41%-38% edge. And whereas in Britain, opposition is consistent across supporters of different parties, in the US the political divide is stark. Democrats judge the war a mistake by a 53%-23% margin, but Republicans remain even more convinced that it was right, splitting 72% to 12% in favour.

While no political faction in either Britain or the US is comparably belligerent in connection with Syria, the mood is not isolationist either. There are strong majorities in favour of the official policy on both sides of the Atlantic, of providing the rebels with “non-lethal support”.

In the US the Obama administration has concentrated on softer support, such as food and medical supplies, but the question’s wording also referred to “armoured vehicles and body armour”, the sort of harder-edged interpretation of “non-lethal” supplies being emphasised by London.

Even with the proposition put in these terms, Americans split 45%-24% in favour of providing the supplies, a 21-point margin. In Britain, the 57%-22% pro-intervention majority on this count is even more emphatic, at 35 points.

For pro-intervention hawks, such as Senator John McCain in the US and increasingly Cameron himself in Britain, there is another encouraging finding. Respondents on both sides of the Atlantic are in favour of “enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria so the Syrian air force cannot attack rebels or civilians”. In the UK that proposition wins public support by a 43-point margin, with 61% in favour and 18% against. In the US there is a 50% to 18% majority behind the same proposition.

If these results point to mixed public attitudes to Syria, YouGov-Cambridge’s detailed analysis on the legacy of Iraq also defies easy characterisation.

Britons are disinclined to believe the conflict made the world a safer place – only 14% say so, as against 38% who judge it has made the world more dangerous and 40% who say it made little difference. They are likewise disinclined to believe the invasion made the lives of ordinary Iraqis better (only 24% think so), and by 71% to 12% they also believe Iraq will remain “permanently unstable” as opposed to becoming a “peaceful democracy”. Americans are somewhat more sanguine on all these counts, in line with their less hostile overall verdict on the war, but in the United States, too, a clear majority of 56% believes Iraq is set for permanent instability.

When memories of Saddam Hussein are invoked, however, the picture changes: by 41% to 21% Britons judge that despite the suffering of war Iraqis would have been even worse off under the rule of Saddam, and in the US opinion leans the same way, by 46% to 17%. These final results seem out of kilter with the UK’s anti-war sentiment in particular. It could be that some respondents are reasoning that while Iraqi life would have been worse under Saddam he might by now have been brought down by other means – or it could be that people give different answers to similar questions phrased in different ways.

YouGov-Cambridge surveyed 1,684 British adults online on 10 and 11 March and a further 1,962 on 13 and 14 March, and 1,022 American adults online from 12 to 14 March. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British and American adults aged 18 or over

15,000 police for Obama’s visit to Israel

 

Israeli_Mafia

(TheUglyTruth) -This week, Israeli police focused primarily US president’s upcoming visit; vacations cancelled, ‘general rehearsal’ planned for Monday

ed note–for the record, so that no one can say that the discussion never took place, let us consider the words of former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky concerning Israel’s plan to assassinate then-US President George Herbert Walker Bush at the Madrid peace conference in 1991–

‘Since the Mossad had all the security arrangements in hand, it would not be a problem bringing the killers as close as they wanted to President Bush and then staging his assassination. In the ensuing confusion, the Mossad people would kill the ‘perpetrators,’ scoring yet another victory for the Mossad. With the assassins dead, it would be difficult to discover where the ‘security breach’ had been, except that several countries involved in the conference, such as Syria, were regarded as countries that assisted terrorists.’

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Around 15,000 police will participate in efforts to secure US President Barak Obama throughout his visit next week. Israeli police will go into operational activity level, cancelling vacations and days off.

Over 5,000 officers will be involved in protecting the presidential entourage, which includes more than 600 people. In Jerusalem, there will be 3,000 active officers.

“We are preparing for even the gravest possibility and are not relying only on intelligence. We are taking into account every scenario that could develop,” said head of operations, Brigadier General Nissim Mor. “We are talking about a very complicated operation.”

Police are preparing for different scenarios ranging from an attempt to hurt the president, to the possibility of developments in the north or the south. There are also arrangements being made with the Palestinian Authority and at the beginning of next week police will launch a campaign to track down Palestinians residing illegally in Israel.

Mor said that activists of Peace Now and haredi groups intend to hold demonstrations throughout the visit. “The police will allow demonstrations as long as they are within legal limits,” Mor said.

Security personnel will be stationed at Ben Gurion Airport, as well as at the other locations Obama is scheduled to visit. Each of these locations will have a high ranking officer with operations and special forces soldiers at his disposal. Special police forces will accompany the nearly 60-vehicle presidential motorcade.

As part of the preparations, case scenarios will be played out on Friday with American security officials. The police will open a special center on Sunday that will provide information to the public regarding the Obama visit.

On Monday, a ‘general rehearsal’ will be held for all forces participating in the operation. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and senior police staff will all be involved.

CIA Head Sworn In On Draft Constitution WITHOUT Bill of Rights

(WashingtonsBlog) -The government has absolutely shred the Bill of Rights in the last decade or so.

New CIA boss John Brennan endorses torture, assassination of unidentified strangers (including Americans) without due process, and spying on all Americans.

As such, it is fitting that Mr. Brennan specially requested that he be sworn in on a draft of the Constitution lacking the Bill of Rights.

A draft which doesn’t even begin with the famous preamble we all know and love:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America ….

But rather starts with:

We the People of the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia, do ordain, declare and establish the following Constitution for the Government of Ourselves and our Posterity….

That has a very different tone from the final version of the Constitution. And again, this version has no Bill of Rights.

Here’s the actual draft Brennan swore in on, courtesy of the National Archives (click any image for larger view):

The handwriting is that of George Washington.

Washington was a brave leader (but a terrible general). More importantly, he was one man … and the whole idea of the Bill of Rights is that the people have inalienable rights – e.g. no deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law – which cannot be taken away by any leader … including the president or the head of the CIA.

Americans Protest Against AIPAC Conference

 

Presstv.ir March 7, 2013

With mock settlements, an apartheid wall and chants urging for cuts in funding to Israel, protesters collected outside of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee commonly called AIPAC.

They’ve come here from around the country for what they say is an important issue largely ignored by US media. Activist groups such as CODEPINK and others spring into activist mode every year to protest the Israel lobby’s annual policy conference.

AIPAC is considered the most powerful lobbying group in support of Israel. The power comes from money. The committee operates on a budget of $67 million each fiscal year. Some of that money goes to politicians through smaller organizations and committees, many of which support Israeli interests.

There are an estimated 13,000 people who attend the AIPAC conference. It’s a gathering that reportedly attracts more members of the US government than virtually any event other than the President’s State of the Union address.

US sequester cuts will hit military aid to Israel and Egypt

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(Digital Journal) -As the sequester cuts on the military kick in, military aid to  Israel and Egypt may face cutbacks to help save military spending domestically.

Israel is working to protect US military aid. The $85  billion in automatic cuts that Obama approved on March 1 could involve up to  $729 million less in aid for Israel. Funding for missile-defense systems such as  the Iron Dome and Arrow are threatened.

Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren said:“The Israeli  Embassy still doesn’t know what will be the extent of the sequester. The aid to  Israel is included in the federal budget. Just as this budget is cut, so can the  aid to Israel. As the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East, Israel  understands the complex budgetary challenges the Americans face. We are ready to  carry our share of the burden, while trying to maintain the same projects that  are essential to the security of the State of Israel, among them the Iron  Dome.” Israel may try to keep funding for its missile defense system at the  expense of general military aid.

Funds for the Iron Dome shield are additional to the regular military aid to Israel. As noted  in a Washington Post article last May:The Iron Dome funds, already in  legislation before Congress, will be on top of the $3.1 billion in military aid  grants being provided to Israel in 2013 and every year thereafter through  2017.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham  (R-S.C.) introduced a Senate motion that says the United States should help  Israel militarily and economically if it acts against Iran in  self-defense.“We have no better friends in that part of the world than  Israel. Last year President Obama told the people of Israel, ‘We have your  back.’ Our resolution builds upon that statement and makes it clear that if  Israel is one day forced to protect themselves we will stand with Israel.”

While there will probably be some cuts  to Israeli aid, military aid to Egypt will face even higher hurdles. US  lawmakers generally favor aid to Israel but the $1.3 billion a year aid to Egypt  is coming under fire by more and more US lawmakers.The aid has included fleets  of M1A1 tanks and F16 fighter jets.

John Kerry has insisted that  disengaging with Egypt would be a mistake. He is meeting this weekend in Cairo  with Egyptian leaders. The US wants to review military aid policy to Egypt now  that they do not have an established pro-western authoritarian such as Mubarak  in power but a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Already bills have been  introduced in the House and Senate to halt military aid temporarily or end them  entirely. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida said:“Why are we  giving billions to Egypt, when in my mind it is not a friend of America? We’re  drowning in a sea of debt. Why are we spending so much money in a part of the  world that doesn’t like us?”

Since 1979, after the signing of the  Camp David Accords peace deal, Egypt and Israel have remained the top recipients  of US foreign aid. Those accords are very unpopular among the Egyptian populace.  Egyptian dependency on US foreign aid gives the US leverage that induces the  Egyptian government to adhere to the terms of the agreement. If  aid is  withdrawn the Egyptian government would not have as much incentive to continue  following an unpopular policy. Egypt also helped negotiate a ceasefire during  the Gaza conflict.

David S Adams, assistant secretary of state for legislative  affairs said:“Maintaining this relationship and assisting with the  professionalization and the building of the Egyptian Armed Forces’ capabilities  to secure its borders is one of our key interests in the region. Egypt continues  to play an important role in regional peace and stability.”

John MacCain the Republican senator  from Arizona takes a more moderate approach in suggesting that aid to Egypt  should be focused more on tools for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. John  Kerry maintained that cutting off Egyptian aid would be very damaging to US policy  interests in the middle east:“Egypt is a quarter of the Arab world. It is  critical to everything we aspire to see happen in the Middle East.”

 

Israel media reports that Obama will threaten strike on Iran in June

 

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(RT) -President Barack Obama says the United States could launch an attack on Iran as early as this June, Israeli media reports.

According to a report on Israel’s Channel 10 News that has since been picked up by the Times of Israel, Pres. Obama will use an upcoming meeting overseas to discuss a military strike on Iran. Pres. Obama is scheduled to visit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month, and during the get-together the two leaders will reportedly work out the details for a possible assault.

 

Pres. Obama will tell Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June, Channel 10 claims.

 

Israel has long-urged the White House to use its military prowess to intervene in Iran’s rumored nuclear weapon procurement plan, demands which have by-and-large been rejected by the Obama administration. According to the latest reports, though, the United States might finally be willing to use its might to make a stand against Iran’s race for a nuke.

 

“I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon, because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel, and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race,” Pres. Obama said during an interview on the television program 60 Minutes last year, but not before adding that he’ll continue to block “noise” from Netanyahu’s camp. “Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis — on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence,” he said.

 

But five months after those remarks, Iran is still inclined to become a nuclear power. Only days earlier, The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu said the details of a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested that that Iran had begun installing advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility, sparking “very grave” concerns that Israel could be hit with a nuke.

 

 

 

 

Right now, five members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany are holding talks with Iranian officials in Kazakhstan, with the goal of reaching a diplomatic answer to the nuclear crisis. However, domestic tensions within Iranian political elite do not make the prospect of a solution any more viable for now. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second and final term in office is set to wrap up this June, and political fights within the country’s top contenders for the position has prompted possible presidents to take harsh stance on the issue and resist outside pressure.

 

“President Ahmadinejad’s second term in office expires in half a year. The law prohibits him from running for the third term. What is happening could be an intensifying power struggle,” Andrei Baklitsky of the Russian Center for Policy Studies tells the Moscow Times of the latest “5+1 talks” in Kazakhstan. “At first [Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar] Salehi signals the possibility of direct talks with the United States and then the supreme leader rejects it. But as Salehi is Ahmadinejad’s man, the controversy should be viewed through the prism of an internal political standoff rather than as Tehran’s official policy.”

 

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, told reporters in Berlin, “My hope is Iran will make its choice to move down the path to a diplomatic solution.”

 

When Netanyahu critiqued the United States’ reluctance to act first last year, a meeting between the prime minister and Pres. Obama was subsequently cancelled by the White House. Just next month, though, the commander-in-chief will travel to the West Bank and Jordan for the first time during his second term in office. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor has said of the trip that it will mark an “opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria.”

US, EU may start training and equipping Syrian rebels

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(RT)-The US and Europe may begin equipping the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) with vehicles, body armor, night vision gear and binoculars, as well as military training. The decision is expected after a key conference on Syria in Rome.

Until now, Western countries’ official support to the forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad was limited to direct contact, logistical assistance and political backing.

 

Several top figures in the Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former CIA chief David Petraeus pushed for closer engagement with the Syrian rebels last year, which would likely include arming them.

 

The White House rejected the plan at the time, fearing that the arms would end up in the hands of Islamist forces like the Nursa Front group, which the US considers a terrorist organization. US officials said it was too difficult to fully vet the recipients of the proposed deliveries; that policy has now apparently changed.

 

The pending shift was hinted at on several occasions as new US Secretary of State John Kerry toured Europe recently. He pledged not to leave the Syrian opposition “dangling in the wind,” after meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. The new US policy will likely be voiced after an international conference of the ‘Friends of Syria’ in Rome on Thursday.

 

A delegation from the exiled Syrian National Coalition will be attending the Rome conference, despite earlier threats to boycott it. The group reversed course and agreed to attend after a series of phone calls to the coalition leader Mouaz Khatib from top US officials.

 

European advocates said the Free Syrian Army should be provided with large supplies of munitions, including military vehicles, body armor and night vision goggles, as well as tactical and strategic training. This position is privately supported by Britain, France, Germany and Italy, a European official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity.

 

London and Paris have pushed to lift an EU embargo on arms trades to Syria. However, the ban was prolonged until at least May, as some nations in the 27-member union have refused to lift it.

 

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (L). (AFP Photo / Ben Stansall)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (L). (AFP Photo / Ben Stansall)

 

 

The US appears more skeptical, and is reluctant to include body armor and training in the package, Washington sources told AP, though it would not oppose its European allies on the matter, sources said.

 

When asked Tuesday about the prospects for expanding US military support for the rebels, Kerry said he would not speculate on the outcome of the meeting with opposition leaders.

 

“We’re going to Rome to bring a group of nations together precisely to talk about this problem,” Kerry said. “I don’t want to get ahead of that meeting or ability to begin to think about exactly what will be a part of it.”

 

The Syrian opposition relies on arms smugglers from Turkey and Jordan, and raids on Syrian army depots, for weapons and ammunition; rebel groups with better financial standing and more ruthlessness end up with the best equipment. Most of the arms funneled to Syria went to hardline Islamists, according to a US assessment cited by the New York Time last October.

 

The Nusra Front, which is estimated to have some 5,000 fighters operating in Syria in small semi-independent groups, has to a large degree sidelined the relatively moderate Free Syrian Army. The groups remain at odds not only with the Assad government in Damascus, but also with each other, holding different visions for the future of Syria.

 

In an effort to boost the FSA and undermine the Nursa Front, Washington had Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries deliver arms to the FSA from Croatia, according to the New York Times. Rebels said that the shipment included anti-aircraft and armor-piercing weapons, mortars and rocket launchers.

Bradley Manning court to rule on claims of ‘shameful’ delay in trial

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Bradley Manning marked his 1,000th day in detention without trial last weekend. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

(Guardian) -The military court that is handling the prosecution of the WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning is likely to rule this week on whether the drawn-out nature of his court martial is in breach of his rights to a prompt trial.

The latest Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland that starts on Tuesday will focus on a “speedy trial” motion brought by the defence. It argues that the legal build-up to his eventual court martial has been so agonisingly slow that the defendant’s basic rights have been violated.

Last weekend, Manning, who was arrested in May 2010 at the US army base outside Baghdad where he was working as an intelligence analyst, entered his 1,000th day in detention without trial. The moment was marked by scores of demonstrations around the world.

Military personnel are afforded similar protection against excessive delays before trial as are civilians. Under Article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the US government is required to use “reasonable diligence” in proceeding to trial for anyone held in pre-trial confinement.

But in legal argument to the court prepared by Manning’s main lawyer, David Coombs, the government is accused of deliberately dragging its feet.

“The government’s behavior is nothing short of shameful,” Coombs writes. He points out that it took 530 days to elicit classification reviews of sensitive material from different government departments.

“These classification reviews were not Tolstoy novels – they were generally documents that spanned three or four pages. Under no stretch of the imagination can a 530 day lag in completing a three or four page classification review be characterized as reasonably diligent,” the defence lawyer wrote, adding: “530 days spent languishing in a brig is a very long time.”

The Rules for Courts Martial (RCM) 707 states that under normal circumstances the accused should be brought to trial within 120 days of charges having been brought. With the start of the court martial now pencilled in for 3 June – more than three years after Manning was arrested – the defence is calling for all charges against him to be thrown out because of the breach of his rights.

The prosecution has argued that the material under discussion – the hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and other confidential state documents that Manning has effectively admitted passing to WikiLeaks – is so sensitive and potentially damaging to national security that the legal process has been by necessity slower to advance than usual. The government has also pointed out that some of the delays in the trial process have come as a result of defence requests.

It will fall to the military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, to decide which side of the argument holds sway. She could agree with the government and dismiss the defence motion out of hand; or she could side with the defence and dismiss the charges, even theoretically allowing Manning to walk free, though few close observers expect such a dramatic outcome to happen.

Afghans give U.S special forces the boot citing torture

(IBI Times) The Afghan government Sunday ordered all U.S. special forces to leave a province after reports from local officials that the elite force is behind several cases of Afghan civilians being tortured or disappeared.

The decision seems to have caught the coalition and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, a separate command, by surprise, the Associated Press reported.

Officials in Maidan Wardak, a province that borders Kabul on the west and where security has deteriorated over the past year, had presented evidence to President Hamid Karzai and other officials alleging that nine people had disappeared after being seized by U.S. special forces in raids on their homes, the Guardian reported.

U.S. special forces were also accused of the death of a university student whose tortured remains were found days after he went missing.

“People have been complaining about U.S. special forces units torturing and killing people in that province, and nine individuals were taken from their homes recently and they have just disappeared and no one knows where they have gone,” said Aimal Faizi, spokesman for Karzai.

Officials made the decision at a meeting Sunday morning chaired by Karzai, Faizi said, but the government has known of the allegations for months.

Karzai’s office gave no additional details and didn’t specify the identities of the Afghans working alongside the U.S. forces. And the Wardak province chief of police told The Los Angeles Times that he had no evidence to back up the claims.

The announcement comes days after NATO defense ministers said they had made progress planning a military assistance mission in Afghanistan after the alliance’s combat role expires at the end of 2014.

A draft proposal discussed last week in Brussels for possible NATO operations in Afghanistan after 2014 envisions a force of up to 9,500 American troops and up to 6,000 more from other coalition nations, according to alliance officials, who stressed that no final decisions had been made, the AP reported. Other NATO officials said the combined American and allied force would be smaller, falling in a range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops.

The Taliban have staged many attacks against coalition forces in Maidan Wardak. In August 2011, insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter, killing 30 American troops, mostly elite Navy SEALs, in Wardak. The crash was the single deadliest loss for U.S. forces in the war.

Afghan forces have taken the lead in many special operations, especially so-called night raids.

“Those Afghans in these armed groups who are working with the U.S. special forces, the defense minister asked for an explanation of who they are,” Faizi said. “Those individuals should be handed over to the Afghan side so that we can further investigate.”

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul said it was aware of the order, but declined to provide further information. It was also unable to confirm the number of U.S. special forces currently in Maidan Wardak.

“We take allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them, but until we’ve had a chance to talk to senior government of Afghanistan officials, we’re not in a position to comment further,” a spokesman said.

“These individuals in the U.S. special forces, who are behind these crimes like murdering and torturing people and harassing people, this is in itself an elemental factor in the deteriorating security situation” in the province, Faizi said.

Afghanistan’s own elite commando forces, including the 1st, 2nd and 6th Special Operations Kandak, also operate in Maidan Wardak, often working alongside the Americans. Faizi said that association was making enemies for the government.

Sunday’s decision comes as Afghan forces face mounting pressure to show they are fit to fully inherit Afghanistan’s security from their foreign backers in 2014. Tensions between Karzai’s government and the alliance also hit a new low last week after he condemned a NATO airstrike that killed nine civilians. He then issued a decree banning Afghan security forces from calling in NATO airstrikes.

Faizi said security in Maidan Wardak, and nearby Logar province, which also borders Pakistan, has been of particular concern to the Afghan government because of heightened violence and Taliban activity there.

Maidan Wardak currently hosts mainly U.S. troops. A brigade of 3,000 to 4,000 Afghan soldiers is also deployed in the province, according to ISAF.

Meanwhile, Taliban suicide bombers attacked several Afghan military installations in Kabul and eastern Afghanistan Sunday.

 

Reinstate Military Draft Bill Introduced to Include All Women

 

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(Activist Post) -Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) wants all Americans to serve their government, including women. On Friday he introduced one bill that would reinstate the draft and another that would require all women to register for Selective Service as well.

Rangel introduced  The National Universal Service Act(H.R. 747) for the sixth time since first being proposed in 2003 during the Iraq war.  H.R 747 “would require 30 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform two years of national service in either the armed services or in civilian life.”

Rangel also introduced the All American Selective Service Act (H.R. 748) which requires all women to enroll in the Selective Service System.  This would essentially double the number of registrants. The current law requires only men ages 18 to 25 to register, leaving approximately only 13.5 million in the registry.

“Now that women can serve in combat they should register for the Selective Service alongside their male counterparts,” said Rangel in a statement. “Reinstating the draft and requiring women to register for the Selective Service would compel the American public to have a stake in the wars we fight as a nation. We must question why and how we go to war, and who decides to send our men and women into harm’s way.”

The last time Rangel introduced the “draft” bill was in 2011 on the very same day the Obama Administration launched a preemptive war in Libya on no-fly zone orders from the U.N., without Congressional approval, and despite never having been attacked or threatened by Libya.

He admitted at the time that the Iraq war was based on lies, “on false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction and involvement in the 9/11.” Yet he still insisted more Americans should be ”sharing in duty and service.”

In one sense Rangel truly believes all Americans should serve their country in some capacity, especially because the military is stretched so thin where multiple tours of duty are resulting in increased PTSD and record suicide rates.

On the other hand, he also believes a draft would force more young Americans to question the necessity of current wars.

“I served in Korea, and understand that sometimes war is inevitable,” Rangel continued. “However military engagement should be our last resort. If we must go to war, every American should be compelled to stop and think twice about whether it is worth sending our brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters to fight. Currently less than one percent of America’s population is unfairly shouldering the burden of war.”

Iranian Oops: US may have broken own sanctions by buying Tehran’s oil

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(RT) -There is a high probability that US sanctions against Iran have been violated by its own army. Part of the $1.55 billion in fuel the US bought from Turkmenistan for the Afghan army in the last five years may have originated in Iran.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) suggested that “despite actions taken by DOD to prevent the purchase of Iranian fuel with US funds, risks remain that US economic sanctions could [have been] violated” from 2007 to 2012.

Most of the fuel for domestic Afghan consumption comes from neighboring Iran. Because of the US sanctions on Tehran restricting the trade of Iranian oil and petroleum products, the ISAF has been required to abide by the regulations and buy petrol from eight Afghan-owned companies that deliver petroleum from Turkmenistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan.

The SIGAR report also acknowledged there are no plausible oversight mechanisms to make sure Iranian petroleum products are not included in future fuel purchases.

Turkmenistan is a major regional oil producer, which also trades for petroleum products made in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Iran. Petrol vendors in Turkmenistan use flexible supply schemes, meaning that fuel of various origins could potentially be blended together.

In response to a draft of SIGAR report, the US Embassy in Kabul stated that “it is possible that if blending is taking place in Turkmenistan it could contain some Iranian fuel,” but refused to admit that fuel imported from Russia could also be blended with Iranian fuel prior to its import into Afghanistan.

All fuel imports carry a ‘verified Fuel Passport’ from the refinery, which provides information on the origin, quantity, quality, and specifications of the fuel,” the embassy explained.

“Suppliers are unlikely to blend Iranian fuel, or any other product, with other sourced fuel because of the potential that blending could cause product deviation from specification standards and potentially cause a rejection of the entire shipment,” the embassy said.

In 2012, the Pentagon reportedly spent over $800 million on imports from Turkmenistan, most likely for fuel purchases.

Iran escaping sanctions

Western sanctions have taken their toll on Iran: Tehran was formerly OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, exporting 2.2 million barrels of oil daily. The sanctions more than halved that figure, to 890,000 barrels of oil exported a day by September 2012.

The Iranian economy has lost billions of dollars in revenue, plunging to decades-low figures. The value of the national currency, the rial, has taken a kamikaze dive; the Iranian leadership, including incendiary President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was forced to publicly admit the sanctions were having an effect.

But Tehran has quickly recovered from the US-EU sanctions imposed on its oil trade. By the end of last year, Iranian crude oil exports rose again to 1.4 million barrels per day. Most of the Iranian oil is sold to Asian countries such as China, India and Japan, where demand for energy is growing. The expansion of Iran’s tanker fleet also helped the Islamic Republic circumvent the sanctions.

The US believes that the most common trick Iran uses to dodge sanctions is ship-to-ship transfers (STS), in which large tankers leaving Iran’s ports offload Iranian oil to smaller vessels. Then, the Iranian oil is blended with that of another country to disguise it. After that, new shipping documents are issued, giving the blended oil shipment a new identity, Reuters reported.

The US has scrambled to enact countermeasures on the news that its sanctions are being skirted. Reuters reported on Thursday that the US State Department is planning to target companies that deliberately disguise Iranian oil shipments to evade Western sanctions.

Also, an unnamed US official said that the US authorities are “increasingly aware of this STS issue,” and that companies involved in covert deals for Iranian oil will be punished. Sanctions violators could be prohibited from trading with the US companies, for example.

US Establishes Drone Base in Niger, Targets Regional Militia

 

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President Barack Obama

 
(GhannaMMA) -The United States of America is planning to establish a drone base in Niger, a country sandwiched between Nigeria and Mali, two nations that have been under attack from Islamic militants.

The drone base, according to a report in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, will give the US military command increased unmanned surveillance missions on the activities of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in West Africa that are affiliated to Al Qaeda and other sectarian groups.

With the establishment of the drone base, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which has proved successful in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the goal is to limit risks involved with the use of humans and as well improve intelligence gathering around the desert belt connecting North and West African.
The report of the planned establishment of the drone base in Niger came on the heels of international efforts to rout out Islamic insurgents from Mali.

Nigeria, which is part of the international military coalition in Mali, has so far expended $32 million on its military expedition in the Sahelian nation, just as it has so far deployed 776 troops in the war-torn country.

More troops, to make up the 1,200 contingent Nigeria is contributing to the peace efforts, are expected to leave for Mali next week, THISDAY has learnt.

In order to sustain the peace efforts in Mali, a donors’ conference was held yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to raise funds for the military expedition during which global donors pledged the donation of $455.53 million.

When THISDAY made enquiries Tuesday from the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada, how the plan by the US to establish the drone base in Niger would affect Nigeria’s security, especially the fight against Boko Haram terror, she said on the phone that government was reviewing the situation.

“I will make consultations and get across to you,” she added.
When contacted some hours later, she directed all enquiries to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and Defence Headquarters for more information on the issue.

According to some military sources, who spoke with THISDAY on the issue, the plan has “been in the pipeline by the US African Command (USAFRICOM), especially to monitor the activities of Boko Haram and their growing links with international terrorist organisations like the Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM).

“However, it is like they are taking the decision seriously owing to the ongoing development in Mali, with Niger already providing a base for both Nigeria and other foreign troops.”

Another military source, who disclosed that the US already has a base in Niger, added that the drone base is also expected to provide intelligence and assist the French mission and war efforts in Northern Mali.

“It is part of the war efforts in Mali, which provides for both short and long-term measures as you are aware that the US already had some existing secret base in Niger,” the source said.

When he visited Nigeria last month, the Commander, USAFRICOM, Gen Carter Ham, had at the Nigerian Defence College (NDC) expressed concern over the increasing connectivity and collaboration between the network of Al-Qaeda affiliates and adherents in Africa, including the Boko Haram sect.

Ham while speaking on areas of common interests and challenges between Nigeria and US, explained that since the Al-Qaeda core has been significantly weakened, the group has simply mutated into various affiliate organisations, especially in the Middle East and Africa that are increasingly coordinating resources and intelligence to carry out their terrorist acts.

He had explained that the Al-Qaeda networks and affiliates, including Boko Haram, were changing in ways that increase threats to individual African states and regional stability, as well as to the US and international security interests.

THISDAY was also informed that Niger is strategic for the US, Nigeria and Africa’s fight against terrorism as it is a gateway between the North, West, East and Central Africa, with Nigeria’s porous northern border being of great concern.

In Addis Ababa Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan at a fundraiser for the military expedition in Mali, restated Nigeria’s commitment to the success of the exercise, stressing that this had informed the Federal Government’s commitment of human and material resources in the bid to recapture the country from the Islamic militants.

Jonathan, speaking at the end of the 20th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Nigeria has so far expended $32 million on its military expedition in Mali.
The money, he added, was spent on troops’ deployment and logistics support for the contingent.

At the fundraiser, global donors pledged the donation of $455.53 million, exceeding by far the previous target of $50 million set by the AU.

Jonathan explained that besides the $32 million that Nigeria had spent on troops deployment and logistics, the Federal Government would spend an additional $5 million to assist the war-torn country.

He added that the extra $5 million was in response to demands for more donations.

Expressing Nigeria’s commitment to the international effort to restore normalcy in Mali, the president also stated that his administration had
re-constructed and refurbished some health facilities in Malian defence barracks, a project which he said cost Nigeria $5.5 million under the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention.

He said Nigeria as part of the international initiative being undertaken by the AU, ECOWAS, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), aimed at mobilising adequate financial resources in support of the Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF) as well as AFISMA, would not shirk its responsibility towards the global efforts to rout out the Islamic insurgents from Mali.
He said: “The collaboration between these four organisations on this initiative is a clear demonstration of international solidarity, sympathy and cooperation required for a definitive resolution of the Malian crisis which has serious international consequences.

“Specifically, Nigeria has commenced the deployment of 900 combat soldiers and 300 air force personnel to Mali as part of AFISMA. Nigeria has so far provided about $32 million for the immediate deployment and logistic support for the troops.

“Prior to this, Nigeria dispatched relief and humanitarian relief and supplies amounting to US$2 million and Nigeria has undertaken the re-construction and refurbishment of a number of clinics in the military barracks of some of the Malian Defence and Security Forces, as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) intervention to the tune of US$5.5 million.”

Recalling his efforts as a co-mediator in the crisis since October 2012, he said that the antidote to the crisis is the implementation of the ECOWAS road map for the resolution of the crisis.

“For this reason, the pledge (of $5million) I make today (yesterday) is a further expression of our commitment to a worthy international effort,” he said.

He urged the conference to use the funds so raised not only for defence and security matters, but also for the provision of necessary humanitarian support.

The president pointed out that the situation in Mali called for cooperation, sacrifice and action on the part of strategic partners, the countries of the sub-region, Africa and indeed the entire international community.

Chairman of the AU and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, said in his remarks that the funds pledged at the conference could assist to mobilise the necessary resources to maintain the gains of the military expedition and re-energise the political process in Mali.

So far, Nigeria has deployed 776 troops in Mali and more members of the contingent that will make up the 1,200 troops Nigeria has pledged are expected to leave for Mali next week.

The first batch of the Nigerian contingent, comprising members of the Nigerian Air Force and Army, left Nigeria on January 17 via Port Harcourt and Kaduna under the aegis of the Africa-led International Mission in Mali (AFISMA) spearheaded by ECOWAS.

However, THISDAY learnt that Nigerian troops have not been embedded with the French troops that were already in the country fighting with Malian soldiers to chase away the insurgents.

A defence ministry source further revealed that not all members of ECOWAS had deployed their troops in Mali.

US could attack Syria with chemical weapons, reveals an E-mail leak

 

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(Dailybhaskar)- Through an e-mail which has now surfaced in the public domain, White House’s plans of attacking Syria with chemical weapons has come to light. A report that came out Monday highlighted the exchange of e-mails where two senior officials talked about future plan against Syria.
 
Washington had approved the policy discussed according to which Qatar would financially aid the rebellious army.
 
US President Barack Obama had made it clear to Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad that it would not tolerate Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.
 
 
According to reports, the e-mail was hacked by a hacker in Malaysia. US has refused a comment on this matter.

Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings

 

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(Economic Collapse) -Does a shadowy group of obscenely wealthy elitists control the world? Do men and women with enormous amounts of money really run the world from behind the scenes? The answer might surprise you. Most of us tend to think of money as a convenient way to conduct transactions, but the truth is that it also represents power and control. And today we live in a neo-feudalist system in which the super rich pull all the strings. When I am talking about the ultra-wealthy, I am not just talking about people that have a few million dollars. As you will see later in this article, the ultra-wealthy have enough money sitting in offshore banks to buy all of the goods and services produced in the United States during the course of an entire year and still be able to pay off the entire U.S. national debt. That is an amount of money so large that it is almost incomprehensible. Under this ne0-feudalist system, all the rest of us are debt slaves, including our own governments. Just look around – everyone is drowning in debt, and all of that debt is making the ultra-wealthy even wealthier. But the ultra-wealthy don’t just sit on all of that wealth. They use some of it to dominate the affairs of the nations. The ultra-wealthy own virtually every major bank and every major corporation on the planet. They use a vast network of secret societies, think tanks and charitable organizations to advance their agendas and to keep their members in line. They control how we view the world through their ownership of the media and their dominance over our education system. They fund the campaigns of most of our politicians and they exert a tremendous amount of influence over international organizations such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. When you step back and take a look at the big picture, there is little doubt about who runs the world. It is just that most people don’t want to admit the truth.

The ultra-wealthy don’t run down and put their money in the local bank like you and I do. Instead, they tend to stash their assets in places where they won’t be taxed such as the Cayman Islands. According to a report that was released last summer, the global elite have up to 32 TRILLION dollars stashed in offshore banks around the globe.

U.S. GDP for 2011 was about 15 trillion dollars, and the U.S. national debt is sitting at about 16 trillion dollars, so you could add them both together and you still wouldn’t hit 32 trillion dollars.

And of course that does not even count the money that is stashed in other locations that the study did not account for, and it does not count all of the wealth that the global elite have in hard assets such as real estate, precious metals, art, yachts, etc.

The global elite have really hoarded an incredible amount of wealth in these troubled times. The following is from an article on the Huffington Post website

Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.

The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts – excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses – puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion.

The research was carried out for pressure group Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, by James Henry, former chief economist at consultants McKinsey & Co.

He used data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and central banks.

But as I mentioned previously, the global elite just don’t have a lot of money. They also basically own just about every major bank and every major corporation on the entire planet.

According to an outstanding NewScientist article, a study of more than 40,000 transnational corporations conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich discovered that a very small core group of huge banks and giant predator corporations dominate the entire global economic system…

An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

The researchers found that this core group consists of just 147 very tightly knit companies…

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

The following are the top 25 banks and corporations at the heart of this “super-entity”. You will recognize many of the names on the list…

1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
4. AXA
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
9. UBS AG
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
17. Natixis
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation

The ultra-wealthy elite often hide behind layers and layers of ownership, but the truth is that thanks to interlocking corporate relationships, the elite basically control almost every Fortune 500 corporation.

The amount of power and control that this gives them is hard to describe.

Unfortunately, this same group of people have been running things for a very long time. For example, New York City Mayor John F. Hylan said the following during a speech all the way back in 1922

The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation. To depart from mere generalizations, let me say that at the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests and a small group of powerful banking houses generally referred to as the international bankers. The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes.

They practically control both parties, write political platforms, make catspaws of party leaders, use the leading men of private organizations, and resort to every device to place in nomination for high public office only such candidates as will be amenable to the dictates of corrupt big business.

These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.

These international bankers created the central banks of the world (including the Federal Reserve), and they use those central banks to get the governments of the world ensnared in endless cycles of debtfrom which there is no escape. Government debt is a way to “legitimately” take money from all of us, transfer it to the government, and then transfer it into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy.

Today, Barack Obama and almost all members of Congress absolutely refuse to criticize the Fed, but in the past there have been some brave members of Congress that have been willing to take a stand. For example, the following quote is from a speech that Congressman Louis T. McFadden delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives on June 10, 1932

Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt. The depredations and iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board has cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over. This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of the United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law under which it operates, through the maladministration of that law by the Federal Reserve Board, and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.

Sadly, most Americans still believe that the Federal Reserve is a “federal agency”, but that is simply not correct. The following comes from factcheck.org

The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks.

According to researchers that have looked into the ownership of the big Wall Street banks that dominate the Fed, the same names keep coming up over and over: the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Warburgs, the Lazards, the Schiffs and the royal families of Europe.

But ultra-wealthy international bankers have not just done this kind of thing in the United States. Their goal was to create a global financial system that they would dominate and control. Just check out what Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley once wrote

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.

Sadly, most Americans have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is at the very heart of the global financial system. The following is from Wikipedia

As an organization of central banks, the BIS seeks to make monetary policy more predictable and transparent among its 58 member central banks. While monetary policy is determined by each sovereign nation, it is subject to central and private banking scrutiny and potentially to speculation that affects foreign exchange rates and especially the fate of export economies. Failures to keep monetary policy in line with reality and make monetary reforms in time, preferably as a simultaneous policy among all 58 member banks and also involving the International Monetary Fund, have historically led to losses in the billions as banks try to maintain a policy using open market methods that have proven to be based on unrealistic assumptions.

The ultra-wealthy have also played a major role in establishing other important international institutions such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. In fact, the land for the United Nations headquarters in New York City was purchased and donated by John D. Rockefeller.

The international bankers are “internationalists” and they are very proud of that fact.

The elite also dominate the education system in the United States. Over the years, the Rockefeller Foundation and other elitist organizations have poured massive amounts of money into Ivy League schools. Today, Ivy League schools are considered to be the standard against which all other colleges and universities in America are measured, and the last four U.S. presidents were educated at Ivy League schools.

The elite also exert a tremendous amount of influence through various secret societies (Skull and Bones, the Freemasons, etc.), through some very powerful think tanks and social clubs (the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the Bohemian Grove, Chatham House, etc.), and through a vast network of charities and non-governmental organizations (the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, etc.).

But for a moment, I want to focus on the power the elite have over the media. In a previous article, I detailed how just six monolithic corporate giants control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. These giant corporations own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.

Considering the fact that the average American watches 153 hours of television a month, the influence of these six giant corporations should not be underestimated. The following are just some of the media companies that these corporate giants own…

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

And of course the elite own most of our politicians as well. The following is a quote from journalist Lewis Lapham

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”

Have you ever wondered why things never seem to change in Washington D.C. no matter who we vote for?

Well, it is because both parties are owned by the establishment.

It would be nice to think that the American people are in control of who runs things in the U.S., but that is not how it works in the real world.

In the real world, the politician that raises more money wins more than 80 percent of the time in national races.

Our politicians are not stupid – they are going to be very good to the people that can give them the giant piles of money that they need for their campaigns. And the people that can do that are the ultra-wealthy and the giant corporations that the ultra-wealthy control.

Are you starting to get the picture?

There is a reason why the ultra-wealthy are referred to as “the establishment”. They have set up a system that greatly benefits them and that allows them to pull the strings.

So who runs the world?

They do. In fact, they even admit as much.

David Rockefeller wrote the following in his 2003 book entitled “Memoirs”

“For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

There is so much more that could be said about all of this. In fact, an entire library of books could be written about the power and the influence of the ultra-wealthy international bankers that run the world.

But hopefully this is enough to at least get some conversations started.

So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

The Great Seal Of The United States

Ron Paul calls US involvement in Mali ‘undeclared war’

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(RT)Ron Paul said US assistance to the French intervention in Mali is a sign that the Obama administration is creeping into another war – especially since questions about the extent of US involvement remain largely unanswered.

­The recently retired congressman outlined his fears in his weekly column, “Texas Straight Talk”. Paul said that while the US has only announced its transport and intelligence assistance to the French initiative, “this is clearly developing into another war”. “President Obama last week began his second term by promising that ‘a decade of war is now ending,’” Paul wrote. “As he spoke, the US military was rapidly working its way into another war, this time in the impoverished African country of Mali.”

Paul believes that unanswered questions about possible US involvement on African soil further indicates that Obama has been more active in the conflict than he admits, and that Congress has been kept out of the loop.

“Media questions as to whether the US has Special Operations forces, drones, or CIA paramilitary units active in Mali are unanswered by the Administration,” Paul said. “Congress has asked few questions and demanded few answers from the president. As usual, it was not even consulted. But where does the president get the authority to become a co-combatant in French operations in Mali, even if US troops are not yet overtly involved in the attack?”

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that US assistance in Mali is a good example of future military assistance it might provide to its allies and that the US would not bring its own troops into the conflict. The US first became involved by airlifting French soldiers and equipment to Mali with its C-17 transport planes, but gradually expanded its roles in Africa.

In response to a French request, the US on Saturday agreed to fly tankers to refuel French jet fighters and bombers who are located primarily in the conflict zone in northern Mali. An unnamed US defense official told The Guardian that the KC-135 tankers would be involved in the operation for months, or as long as needed.

The US on Monday signed an agreement with the West African country of Niger that would allow it to increase its US military presence and create a hub near the Malian border from which American drones could monitor al-Qaeda militants in northern Mali. The hub could be used as a launching pad for strikes and intelligence gathering, but the government has still remained mute about the extent of its contributions to the French military campaign.

Although the Obama administration has hesitated at the thought of entering another war, officials have no ruled out the use of armed drones or special-operations units to go after al-Qaeda militants in Mali.

The US involvement in Mali has sparked concern among war-weary Americans.

France “doesn’t have the military resources to sustain its fight against Mali’s jihadists without help from the US military. For now, that amounts to the use of giant transport planes to ferry French troops into Mali, and planes to refuel French combat aircrafts that are pummeling the militants’ positions,” writes USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham. “But that might now be enough. As recent events have shown, Northern Africa has become an expanding battleground for jihadist groups with links to al-Qaeda.”

Wickham believes that as other al-Qaeda-linked groups begin to support their comrades in Mali, the US “will not be able to avoid a bigger military involvement.”

Anti-War Protester Interrupts Hearing, Kerry Says Outburst ‘Good Exclamation Point for My Testimony’

 

Obama-KerryPresident Obama announces his nomination of Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state, at the White House on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

(CNSNews.com) – A heckler interrupted Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) opening remarks at his confirmation hearing on Thursday to become the next Secretary of State, an outburst that Kerry defended as indicative of American democracy and which reminded him of his own political action against the Vietnam war some 42 years ago.

The young woman, dressed in a pink hat, called for an end to U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the heckler was removed from the room by Capitol Police, Kerry said the woman reminded him of his time as an anti-Vietnam war activist who, along with other protestors, “wanted to have our voices heard.”

 

During his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kerry implied that freedom of speech is part of American democracy and said the protestor’s shouts were “a good explanation point to my testimony.”

In his opening prepared statement, Kerry referred to his military service during the Vietnam War but did not mention his testimony in 1971 before the same committee about some U.S. troops committing atrocities, such as raping civilians and beheading victims.

“And as we talk about war and peace and foreign policy, I want us all to keep in our minds the extraordinary men and women in uniform who are on the front lines, the troops at war who help protect America,” Kerry said. “As a veteran, I will always carry the consequences of our decisions in my mind and be grateful that we have such extraordinary people to back us up.”

Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed and will replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down in March.

North Korea claims they plan ‘high-level’ nuclear test aimed at United States

 

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(EndTheLie) -North Korea reportedly claimed on Thursday that they plan to conduct a nuclear test as well as more rocket launches aimed at its “arch-enemy,” the United States.

The veracity of this claim is highly questionable given that North Korea regularly makes threats that they never follow through with, although, as I reported in April of 2012, reports emerged indicating “North Korea allegedly might have a missile which is capable of delivering a payload to the continental United States.”

Those reports were highly dubious since analysts couldn’t even tell if what they observed in imagery captured by satellites was an actual missile or a life-size mock-up.

According to AFP, this latest test is being done in response to new United Nations sanctions, although no timeframe has been provided for the test.

“In the new phase of our century-long struggle against the United States, we do not hide the fact that various satellites, long-range missiles that we will continue to launch and high-level nuclear test we will conduct will target our sworn enemy, the United States,” the North Korean National Defense Commission said in a statement according to reports. The statement was apparently originally reported in English by South Korea’s Yonhap.

The National Defense Commission statement came after the UN Security Council condemned North Korea and expanded sanctions over the rocket launch in December, according to the Associated Press.

While North Korea maintained that the launch was actually just a peaceful satellite mission, Western powers like the United states maintained it was actually a test of long-range missile technology.

According to another Associated Press report, North Korea threatened to wage a “full-fledged confrontation” against the United States over what they call continued hostilities.

After the vote was held to approve expansion of UN sanctions on North Korea, the U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said, “This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation of its obligations under previous resolutions.”

“More importantly, the provisions of this resolution — both new sanctions and the tightening and expanding of existing measures — concretely help to impede the growth of North Korea’s (weapons of mass destruction) program and reduce the threat of proliferation by targeting entities and individuals directly involved in these programs,” Rice said, according to CNN.

The UN Security Council resolution specifically targets a North Korean bank, the North Korean space agency and a handful of other companies. In addition, four individuals were added to the so-called blacklist.

GOP critics get opportunity to grill Secretary Clinton on Benghazi

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(Hill) -Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify Wednesday that her agency is moving full speed ahead with recommendations to avoid a repeat of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Clinton’s appearances before House and Senate committees are expected to be her last before she hands over the reins to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), whose nomination hearing is Thursday. She’ll seek to limit the fallout from the deadly attack that tarnished her reputation as a successful head of the State Department.

Clinton has accepted responsibility for the findings of a bipartisan Accountability Review Board (ARB) that skewered the department’s “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in a report issued last month. She has also endorsed the group’s 29 recommendations.

 

Republicans have been clamoring for her to testify before she leaves office, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) making her appearance a prerequisite to Kerry’s nomination hearing. They’re expected to hammer the Obama administration for both the Benghazi fiasco and the resurgence of al Qaeda-linked groups in nearby Mali and Algeria, where three Americans were killed last week when militants took over a natural-gas facility.

 

Lawmakers say they still have plenty of questions. The two parties have new leaders on both the House and Senate Foreign Affairs panels, and Wednesday’s hearings will be their first public performance in their new role.

 

“The key here is the disconnect between what State Department personnel said were the security needs and the lack of response,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Hill. “That’s the mystery.”

Royce said the panel also had questions about the decision not to fire anyone for the security failings, despite earlier reports that four people had been reprimanded.

The State Department is promising that Clinton will answer any questions asked of her.

“What the secretary will do tomorrow is be available to Congress, first and foremost, to update them on the implementation of the ARB’s recommendations, but also to answer any questions they have of her,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. “As she’ll make clear tomorrow, all of the recommendations are currently being implemented, but there will be plenty of implementation work that needs to be carried forward by her successor.”

Nuland said four people were put on administrative leave because of the report’s recommendations, including Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, who resigned from his current position.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), the new ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News that he didn’t expect any “bombshells” from Wednesday’s hearing regarding what happened at the U.S. mission in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11.

“It’s been four and a half months, and we’ve all gone through myriads of cables, [the Senate] Homeland Security [Committee] issued a report, we’ve all been through the private testimony in classified settings,” he said. “I don’t think there will be bombshells, but I think — especially with what’s happening throughout North Africa right now — I think there will be a lot of questions about just the overall policies of this administration as it relates to AQIM [al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb].”

In a statement, he said he’ll press for a “top-to-bottom review of all foreign assistance programs and State Department authorities to ensure that they are being conducted in line with American strategic national interests.”

The Senate hearing will be chaired by Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who will take over the gavel if Kerry is confirmed. He told MSNBC that he wanted to focus on Congress’s role in providing funding to ensure diplomatic posts are safe. At current funding levels, just three of the 24 high-risk locations could be brought up to higher safety standards per year.

“It’s also about what we are willing to do in Congress to make sure that these posts in high-risk countries are brought up to standard so we can protect our diplomatic corps as they still engage in robust diplomacy,” Menendez said.

Clinton’s supporters don’t expect her to suffer long-term damage from the hearing. She remains a formidable politician and Democrats’ best shot at keeping the presidency in 2016, and Republicans are likely to hold their fire and avoid the aggressive attacks that derailed Obama’s first choice for secretary of State, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

“It happened on her watch, but you have to put this in a broader context,” said former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. “That’s why I think it will be interesting to see where the committee goes in terms of tying Benghazi to what has happened since in Mali and Algeria.”

No matter how Wednesday’s hearing transpires, the Obama administration can expect to face questions on Benghazi for a long time to come. Several House Oversight Committee members “just came back from a trip where we looked at Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel and Cyprus, because what we’re looking at, of course, is the efficiency and effectiveness of all of these decisions of building and securing,” panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told The Hill. National Security subpanel Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) “has a series of hearings that will be related — some of them lessons learned from

 

Military Think-Tank Says Constitutionalists Are a Dangerous & Violent Threat

 

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(Occupy Corporatism) -According to a paper entitled “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right” published by Combating Terrorism Center, a think-tank at the West Point US Military Academy that the “far-right”, “anti-federalist” and groups that support “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government” are dangerous as “racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.”

The paper asserts that Islamic extremists are coercing populations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia to assist them in gaining power with the purpose of over-throwing the US government and its allies.

In 2012, the US Armed Forces have announced wars within its ranks as they claim white supremacists are joining the military to infiltrate and overthrow what is referred to as the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG).

The purveying scheme includes a secret infiltration of racists who are expressly trying to divide the US military. However, the controllers of this concept are the FBI-sponsored Southern Poverty Law (SPLC) Center and Anti-Defamation League (ADL) who are working with the military to train soldiers on how to spot extremists in their ranks. This is the military’s answer to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) See Something, Say Something campaign to create Stasi out of ordinary citizens.

The document states that these “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government. Extremists in the anti-federalist movement direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement.”

It goes on to correlate modern movements supporting a return to a Constitutional Republic as being violent conservatives living in the past. The report reads: “While liberal worldviews are future- or progressive -oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo.” the report says. “The far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.”

The report claims “while far-right groups’ ideology is designed to exclude minorities and foreigners, the liberal-democratic system is designed to emphasize civil rights, minority rights and the balance of power.”

Back in 2011, Vice President Joe Biden accused the Tea Party of having “acted like terrorists” asserting that “we have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” This comment came on the heels of assertions that talking to representatives affiliated with the Tea Party are liken to discussing buracracy with Republicans with “guns to their heads” referencing that the Tea Party wielded violent authority of the political party.

In 2010, the “US Army’s Operating Concept 2016-2028” was published and explains how armed forces in the US and overseas will behave in the future. Specific tactical operations, special “theater”, and organized forces are outlined along with the capabilities and priorities of the US armed divisions. In simple terms: a full spectrum operations manual that details stratagems both domestic and foreign.

As outlined in the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) processes are defined by operational environments in regard to battle space, effects, evaluation of threats and adversaries while determining the course of action. In regard to civil situations, and to maintain intelligence and operational purposes, preparations with regard to terrain are inconsequential.

The Marine Corp Intelligence Requirements Handbooks presents new methodology to combat civilian rebellions and is meant to inspire intelligence professionals working on computer-based intelligence efforts.

Contained within the US Army Military Police training manual for Civil Disturbance Operations are outlines describing how the US military will use the arsenal at their disposal to quell domestic riots, confiscate firearms and kill Americans during times of mass civil unrest.

The explicit use of “deadly force” when confronting “dissidents” is clearly stated with the refusal of a “warning shot” and the directives toward weapons that rioters or demonstrators will experience in the name of continuity of government.

According to Doug Haggman’s DHS informant the plan concerning a false flag attack will coincide with a staged assignation attempt on Obama that will be linked to a white supremacist group that will be used to incite black and Hispanic Americans into starting riots all across the nation.

In this scenario a race war will be the situation needed to implement martial law effectively locking down the US, US Army control of the urban cities, erecting DHS checkpoints on all major points of travel, severe restrictions on travel for all citizens and the suspension of elections to ensure that Obama remain seated as the President of the US.

The DHS informant stated: “The DHS is actively preparing for massive social unrest inside the United States. He then corrected himself, stating that ‘a civil war’ is the more appropriate term. Certain elements of the government are not only expecting and preparing for it, they are actually facilitating it.”

Reported in Haaretz back in 2010 the “Obama’s election may usher a political climate that could produce an assassination attempt…It is most likely, though, to be a lone assassin, rather than an organized network.”

The manufactured threat of US veterans stems from the 2009 Department of Homeland Security report entitled Rightwing Extremism. This report clearly outlined that veterans, because of their diverse training in tactical operations, would be a decisive threat to the US government’s plans to declare martial law against the American public in the near future. Defined in the document were domestic extremists, particularly white supremacists, were proposed to be the newest and most dangerous threat to the US since al-Qaeda.

While admitting that the agency had no definitive proof that “domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, [however] rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.”

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have indicated to owners of gun shops and gun ranges the US government’s new definitions of domestic terrorist that coincide with their demonization of US veterans and propaganda claims that domestic terrorists are more of a threat than their manufactured insurgent groups like al-Qaeda and the Free Syrian Army.

Mainstream media has spun the propaganda perfectly by asserting that “the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

This plot hatched over a decade ago to frame veterans as the new terrorist Boogeyman is being played out in the theater of reality as more instances of staged attacks may be looming in the not so distant future. With intentions on destroying the 2nd Amendment, along with demonizing US troops have obvious implications. Former military are trained in tactical operations and could pose a threat to the marital law scenario that the DHS is planning on implementing just in time for the collapse of the US dollar.

Anonymous Calls For Civil War To Overthrow The US Government

(Activist Post) In the latest video from Anonymous, they have called for the most aggressive action yet.

They’re asking the American people to join them in a “call to arms” for the destruction and overthrow of the US Government.

In the statement, Anonymous says the government is calling them “terrorists” because they truly fear a people’s uprising.
“The United States Government insists on labeling us as terrorists. The question is, “who do we terrorize?” Is it probable that the United States government is truly afraid of we, the people?”

They are not calling for denial of service attacks on government websites or protests as is their normal modus operandi, but for freedom activists to join them in full blown war to overthrow the US Government and return it to the control of the people.

“We are not calling upon the collective to deface or use a distributed denial of service attack on a United States government agency website, or affiliate. We are not calling upon the people to once again occupy a city or protest in front of a local building, This has not brought on us any legislative change or alternate law. It has only brought us bloodshed and false criticism. For the last 12 years, voting has been useless.

Corporations and lobbyists are the true leaders of this country and are the ones with the power to control our lives, To rebuild our government, we must first destroy it.Our time for democracy is here, Our time for resolution is here, This is America’s time for revolution, To restore our constitutional rights, to once again, be free therefore, Anonymous along with the American people have decided to openly declare war on the United States government. This is a call to arms.”

The hacktivist collective lists a long train of abuses that can no longer be allowed:

  • We refuse to be a police state
  • We refuse to be brutalized and dehumanized by the very people our tax dollars fund to protect our cities and streets
  • We will not allow the government to control our destiny, our right to build a life for ourselves
  • We demand freedom from government control, taxation, repossession and death
  • You will not come to our doors and take our guns, our property, you will not force the citizens of this great country to participate in the unlawful act of government mandated healthcare.
  • We the people refuse to put in your control our health, our bodies, our minds, our lives.
  • We will not grant permission for the government to deploy drones over our homes and communities.
  • We must end the federal reserve. A private central bank should not issue our currency, set interest rates and run our economy. Rather, we need to return control over the currency to the American people where it belongs.

They claim that all peaceful attempts to affect change within the system have failed and the time for action is now.

“Our peaceful actions, patience and restraint have been demonstrated as we watched and waited for our Congress and Representatives to speak for the American citizens and protect us from the tyrant that sits in the oval office and happily strips the American people of our rights, one by one, executive order by executive order. We have waited long enough.”

The Drone Commander:20,000 Airstrikes in the President’s First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia

 of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?”

(AlterNet) -Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm’s way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials, even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the “war on terror” falsely promised to end but has instead escalated and sought to normalize. But drone strikes are only the tip of an iceberg, making up less than 10 percent of at least 20,130 air strikes the U.S. has conducted in other countries since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

The U.S. dropped 17,500 bombs during its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It conducted 29,200 air strikes during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. air forces conducted at least another 3,900 air strikes in Iraq over the next eight years, before the Iraqi government finally negotiated the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces. But that pales next to at least 38,100 U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan since 2002, a country already occupied by U.S. and NATO forces, with a government pledged by its U.S. overlords to bring peace and justice to its people.
 
The Obama administration is responsible for at least 18,274 air strikes in Afghanistan since 2009, including at least 1,160 by pilotless drones. The U.S. conducted at least 116 air strikes in Iraq in 2009 and about 1,460 of NATO’s 7,700 strikes in Libya in 2011. While the U.S. military does not publish figures on “secret” air and drone strikes in other countries, press reports detail a five-fold increase over Bush’s second term, with at least 303 strikes in Pakistan, 125 in Yemen and 16 in Somalia.
 
Aside from the initial bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 and the “shock and awe” bombing of Iraq in March and April 2003, the Obama administration has conducted more air strikes day-in day-out than the Bush administration. Bush’s roughly 24,000 air strikes in seven years from 2002 to 2008 amounted to an air strike about every 3 hours, while Obama’s 20,130 in four years add up to one every 1-3/4 hours.
 
The U.S. government does not advertise these figures, and journalists have largely ignored them. But the bombs and missiles used in these air strikes are powerful weapons designed to inflict damage, death and injury over a wide radius, up to hundreds of feet from their points of impact. The effect of such bombs and shells on actual battlefields, where the victims are military personnel, has always been deadly and gruesome. Many soldiers who lived through shelling and bombing in the First and Second World Wars never recovered from “shell-shock” or what we now call PTSD.
 
The use of such weapons in America’s current wars, where “the battlefield” is often a euphemism for houses, villages or even urban areas densely populated by civilians, frequently violates otherwise binding rules of international humanitarian law. These include the Fourth Geneva Convention, signed in 1949 to protect civilians from the worst effects of war and military occupation.
 
Beginning in 2005, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued quarterly reports on human rights in Iraq. They included details of U.S. air strikes that killed civilians, and UNAMI called on U.S. authorities to fully investigate these incidents. A UNAMI human rights report published in October 2007 demanded, “that all credible allegations of unlawful killings by MNF (multi-national force) forces be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated, and appropriate action taken against military personnel found to have used excessive or indiscriminate force.”
 
The UN human rights report included a reminder to U.S. military commanders that, “Customary international humanitarian law demands that, as much as possible, military objectives must not be located within areas densely populated by civilians. The presence of individual combatants among a great number of civilians does not alter the civilian nature of an area.”
 
But no Americans have been held criminally accountable for civilian casualties in air strikes, either in Iraq or in the more widespread bombing of occupied Afghanistan. U.S. officials dispute findings of fact and law in investigations by the UN and the Afghan government, but they accept no independent mechanism for resolving these disputes, effectively shielding themselves from accountability.
 
Besides simply not being informed of the extent of the U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. public has been subject to military propaganda about the accuracy and effectiveness of “precision” weapons. When military forces detonate tens of thousands of powerful bombs and missiles in a country, even highly accurate weapons are bound to kill many innocent people. When we are talking about 33,000 bombs and missiles exploding in Iraq, 55,000 in Afghanistan and 7,700 in Libya, it is critical to understand just how accurate or inaccurate these weapons really are. If only 10 percent missed their targets, that would mean nearly 10,000 bombs and missiles blowing up something or somewhere else, killing and maiming thousands of unintended victims.
 
But even the latest generation of “precision” weapons is not 90 percent accurate. One of the world’s leading experts on this subject, Rob Hewson, the editor of the military journal Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, estimated that 20 to 25 percent of the 19,948 precision weapons used in the “shock and awe” attack on Iraq in 2003 completely missed their targets. The other 9,251 bombs and missiles were not classified as “precision” weapons in the first place, so that only about 56 percent of the total 29,199 “shock and awe” weapons actually performed with “precision” by the military’s own standards. And those standards define precision for most of these weapons only as striking within a 29 foot radius of the target.
 
To an expert like Rob Hewson who understood the real-world effects of these weapons, “shock and awe” presented an ethical and legal problem to which American military spokespeople and journalists seemed oblivious. As he told the Associated Press, “In a war that’s being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi people, you can’t afford to kill any of them. But you can’t drop bombs and not kill people. There’s a real dichotomy in all of this.” 

The actual results of U.S. air strikes were better documented in Iraq than in Afghanistan. Epidemiological studies in Iraq bore out Hewson’s assessment, finding that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. air strikes. The first major epidemiological study conducted in Iraq after 18 months of war and occupation concluded:

Violent deaths were widespread … and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children … Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.

When the same team from Johns Hopkins and Baghdad’s Al Mustansariya University did a more extensive study in Iraq in 2006 after three years of war and occupation, it found that, amidst the proliferation of all kinds of violence, U.S. air strikes by then accounted for a smaller share of total deaths, except in one crucial respect: they still accounted for half of all violent deaths of children in Iraq.
 
No such studies have been conducted in Afghanistan, but hundreds of thousands of Afghans now living in refugee camps tell of homes and villages destroyed by U.S. air strikes and of family members killed in the bombing. There is no evidence that the pattern of bombing casualties in Afghanistan has been any kinder to children and other innocents than in Iraq. Impossibly low figures on civilian casualties published by the U.N. mission in Afghanistan are the result of small numbers of completed investigations, not comprehensive surveys. They therefore give a misleading impression, which is then amplified by wishful and uncritical Western news reports.
 
When the UN identified only 80 civilians killed in U.S. Special Forces night raids in 2010, Nader Nadery of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, who worked on the UN report, explained that this was based on completed investigations of only 13 of the 73 incidents reported to the UN for the year. He estimated the number of civilians killed in all 73 incidents at 420. But most U.S. air strikes and special forces raids occur in resistance-held areas where people have no contact with the UN or the Human Rights Commission. So even thorough and complete UN investigations in the areas it has access to would only document a fraction of total Afghan civilian casualties. Western journalists who report UN civilian casualty figures from Afghanistan as if they were estimates of total casualties unwittingly contribute to a propaganda narrative that dramatically understates the scale of violence raining down from the skies on the people of Afghanistan.
 
President Obama and the politicians and media who keep the scale, destructiveness and indiscriminate nature of U.S. air strikes shrouded in silence understand only too well that the American public has in no way approved this shameful and endless tsunami of violence against people in other countries. Day after day for 11 years, U.S. air strikes have conclusively answered the familiar question of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?” As Congressmember Barbara Lee warned in 2001, we have “become the evil we deplore.” It is time to change course. Ending the daily routine of deadly U.S. air strikes, including but by no means limited to drone strikes, should be President Obama’s most urgent national security priority as he begins his second term in office.

Vatican Welcomes Obama Gun Control Proposal

(ABC) -The Vatican praised President Barack Obama’s proposals for curbing gun violence, saying they are a “step in a right direction.”

The Vatican’s chief spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Saturday that 47 religious leaders have appealed to members of the U.S. Congress “to limit firearms that are making society pay an unacceptable price in terms of massacres and senseless deaths.”

“I am with them,” Lombardi said, in an editorial carried on Vatican Radio, lining up the Vatican’s moral support in favor of firearm limits.

“The initiatives announced by the American administration for limiting and controlling the spread and use of weapons are certainly a step in the right direction,” Lombardi said.

 

Obama is trying to rally support for reinstating a ban on assault weapons and requiring background checks on all gun sales. He faces stiff opposition in the U.S. Congress and from powerful gun lobbies.

Considering that Americans possess “about 300 million firearms,” Lombardi said, “people cannot fool themselves that it is enough to limit the number and use (of guns) to impede in the future horrendous massacres like that of Newtown that shook the conscience of America

 

and world, as well as that of children and adults. ”

He was referring to the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed by a sole attacker last month.

“But it would be worse to be satisfied with words” of condemnation alone, Lombardi said. And while massacres are “carried out by unbalanced or hate-driven persons, there is no doubt that they are carried out with firearms,” the Vatican spokesman said.

Lombardi renewed Vatican appeals for disarmament and encouragement for measures to fight “the production, commerce and contraband of all types of arms,” an industry fueled by “enormous economic and power interests.”

US supports governments in 4 of 7 least free nations

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(Digital Journal)  –  The United States provides economic, military  and diplomatic support to four of the seven least free nations on earth,  according to a Digital Journal analysis of this year’s Freedom House freedom  rankings.

Freedom House, a Washington, DC-based think tank that conducts  research on democracy, freedom and human rights, has released its annual report  on the state of freedom around the world. The report, “Freedom  in the World 2013,” gave seven nations the lowest possible rankings for both  political rights and civil liberties. Of these seven– North Korea,  Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia,  the United States provides significant economic, military and/or diplomatic  support to the governments of four of them. Here’s a breakdown of how the Obama  administration aids and enables brutal repression in each country:

Saudi Arabia:  Arbitrary arrest and torture  of reform advocates, religious minorities and totally innocent people are  commonplace. The Saudi legal system is a cruel farce, with defendants often denied  legal counsel and tortured into making false confessions. This has led to  wrongful executions, usually by public  beheading. Among the crimes for which one can be beheaded in Saudi Arabia:  apostasy (renouncing Islam), blasphemy, prostitution, witchcraft,  sorcery, adultery and homosexuality. Lesser criminals often have their hands and  legs amputated without anesthesia.

Being born female in Saudi Arabia is to  be condemned to a hellish life of virtual slavery. Not only are women not  allowed to vote, they cannot drive cars. They cannot be treated in a hospital or  travel without written permission from their husbands or male relatives. One  woman who was kidnapped and gang-raped was sentenced  to 90 whip lashes for being with unrelated males. When she went to the media to  complain, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes. In 2002, 15 schoolgirls  needlessly died when  members of the dreaded morality police locked them inside their burning school  and stopped firefighters from saving them simply because the girls were not  properly dressed in robes and headscarves.

The Saudi education system reinforces  this medieval barbarism. School textbooks disparage women, call for gays to be  put to death, teach how to cut off thieves’ hands and stress the importance of  the destruction of the Jewish people. “The hour of God’s judgment will not come  until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” reads  one textbook.

Such is life in the absolute monarchy  of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom without an elected parliament where the courts are  run by religious extremists, adherents of a super-strict brand of Islamic  fundamentalism called Wahhabism.  It was Wahhabism that spawned al-Qaeda; Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11  hijackers were Saudis. In a bid to consolidate and protect its power and curry  favor with powerful extremist clerics, members of the Saudi royal family  routinely make large donations  to Islamic ‘charities’ that in turn fund terrorist groups. The Saudi government  also supported the Taliban right up until 9/11 and then refused to help US  intelligence officials with background checks on the Saudi hijackers.

These truths have been ignored by  successive US administrations, including Barack Obama’s. Rather than rebuke  Saudi repression, Obama rewarded it by allowing the sale of $60  billion worth of advanced military aircraft to the kingdom and by warmly  welcoming Saudi King Abdullah to the White House.

Equatorial Guinea:  This tiny but oil-rich West African nation is ruled by the fantastically corrupt Teodoro  Obiang, Africa’s longest ruling leader and a close US ally. Obiang, who was  trained in Franco’s Spain, rose to power in 1979 after executing his even more  brutal uncle. The US State Department report on Equatorial Guinea cites “torture  of detainees by security forces, life-threatening conditions in prisons, and  arbitrary arrests.” Locals joke– behind closed doors, of course– about North  Korea’s Kim Jong-un being Obiang’s role model.

Oil exports and corruption have made  the Obiang family among the richest in Africa, with the dictator’s personal  fortune worth an estimated $600 million. His family lives in ostentatious  opulence while one out of every three Equatorial Guineans dies before the  age of 40.

Somehow, despite the misery of most of  his people, Obiang still managed to “win”  reelection with 95 percent of the vote in 2009.

Obiang has endeared himself to the Bush  and Obama administrations (Condoleezza Rice called him a “good  friend”) by opening his country’s oil wealth up for exploitation by US  corporations, which have invested billions of dollars there. Secret diplomatic  cables published by Wikileaks in 2009 reveal that Washington advised  “abandoning a moral narrative” regarding the brutal Obiang regime and the Obama  administration was more than happy to oblige. Just two months before he “won”  his impossible landslide reelection victory, Barack and Michelle Obama met the  friendly dictator and posed for photos with him and his wife at a lavish  Manhattan reception.

Uzbekistan: This  Central Asian country is a police state that has been ruled continuously by the  wicked Islam  Karimov since it was part of the Soviet Union. There is zero freedom of  expression or of the press in Uzbekistan, and although Karimov holds periodic  elections, they are farcical affairs in which he always receives around 90  percent of the vote.

But Uzbekistan sits smack in the middle  of the region’s massive oil and natural gas resources and is also a valuable  ally in the War on Terror. The Northern Distribution Network, a supply line to  Afghanistan, passes right through it.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of  Uzbek political prisoners are locked up in horrific conditions and subjected to  medieval tortures. Prisoners are forced to stand in freezing water for hours,  have their skin torn off with pliers or are occasionally boiled  to death. Uzbek authorities have also imprisoned, tortured or killed  thousands of Muslims just for practicing their faith.

The Bush administration cozied up to  the vile Karimov regime, inviting the dictator to the White House and lavishing  him with half a billion dollars in aid, much of it directly funding the police  and intelligence services that torture and murder. When Uzbek forces committed a  vodka-fueled massacre of  hundreds of peaceful protesters in Andijan in 2005, Pentagon officials helped block  an international investigation of the incident.

President Obama has continued to extend  the hand of friendship to Karimov, sending Hillary Clinton, Gen. David Petraeus  and the late Richard Holbrooke to Tashkent to shore up relations. Last February,  Obama announced that the US would resume  military aid to the despotic regime despite its continued grave human rights  abuses.

Turkmenistan: Home to  the world’s fifth-largest natural gas reserves, Uzbekistan’s southern neighbor  was for decades run by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, whose bizarre  cult of personality knew no limits. Niyazov renamed a town, a meteor and the  month of January  after himself. He also scrapped the Hippocratic Oath for  doctors and replaced it with an oath to– guess who– Niyazov. The eccentric  dictator outlawed gold teeth, opera, ballet and lip-syncing. He even published a  ‘Book of the Soul’ that was elevated to the level of the Bible and Koran. When  one Islamic cleric objected, he was sentenced to 23 years behind bars.  Stalinesque show trials, torture and murder were everyday facts of life.

Niyazov died  in 2006. But the nation remains one of the most repressive and corrupt  in the world. Successive US administrations, however, have  ignored the brutality as they pursue lucrative pipeline deals and access to  routes to supply the war in Afghanistan. The dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow  “won” reelection last year with 97 percent of the vote, a troubling development  that was met with silence and continued friendship from the Obama  administration. The US has also provided millions of dollars in aid to the  brutal tyrant.

 

Iran answers IAEA questions if it sees an end to process: Analyst

 

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(PressTV) -A political commentator says Tehran is ready to answer International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) questions provided that when they are answered the process comes to an end.

“I have talked to Iranian diplomats and they told me that Iran has constantly expressed its willingness to answer all the questions that have been raised [by IAEA], provided that when the questions are answered, the process comes to an end,” Hamid Reza Emadi said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.
He went on to say that the United States has stopped the IAEA from fulfilling its duties, making the agency unwilling to end its questioning process with regards to Iran.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is clearly working under a US-dictated mandate that has prevented it from performing its professional obligations, wants to maintain the pressure on Tehran. The agency, as the diplomats told me, does not want the case to be closed any time soon and they want to raise more questions, to raise more issues once the existing questions are fully answered by Iran. So this is going to be an endless process,” Emadi pointed out.

The political commentator further noted that the past dealings of the IAEA with the Islamic Republic show that the atomic agency is not willing to reach an agreement on any framework for mutual cooperation.
“Just take a look at the history of IAEA’s dealings with Tehran, they first raised the issue of a laptop that they got from nowhere and focused on it for several years and then totally forgot about it and moved on to a different issue which is the Parchin military site.”
Emadi stated that Iran is ready to give access to Parchin once a structured framework for cooperation is finalized and signed by the two sides.
“But the IAEA, under pressure from the West, does not want anything to be finalized at this point in time and they want to prolong the issue for an unspecified period of time,” he added.
Referring to reports quoting Western diplomats as saying that Iran has put “unacceptable conditions on the table,” Emadi said, “The bottom line is [that] Iran wants to resolve all the so-called outstanding issues once and forever, provided that the agency wants to do the same thing.”
“This is what those Western diplomats, who I believe most probably work for the IAEA, are rejecting as unacceptable conditions,” Emadi concluded.

Syrian Cluster Fuck:Russia says US blaming Aleppo blasts on Syria govt. ‘blasphemous’

A man is seen at the site of an explosion at Aleppo University in Syria, January 15, 2013.

 
 
 
Related Interviews:

 

(PressTV) -Russia has slammed the United States for its ‘blasphemous’ accusation that the Syrian government was behind the deadly explosions at Aleppo University.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, “Yesterday I saw a semi-neutral report on CNN that it was not ruled out that this terrorist act had been staged by the government forces themselves.”

“I cannot imagine anything more blasphemous,” he stated during his visit to the Tajik capital city of Dushanbe.

On January 15, over 80 people were killed and scores of others injured in two explosions at Aleppo University in the second largest city of Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday and blamed ‘terrorists’ for the “merciless bloody provocation.”

According to the statement, the explosions were the “terrorists’ revenge for the significant losses sustained in their confrontation with [Syrian] government forces.”

However, Washington accused Damascus of organizing the deadly attack in Aleppo.

Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria nearly two years ago.

The Russian foreign minister also stated on Thursday that Moscow would “focus on the actions aimed at” stopping the violence in Syria.

On January 6, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that Damascus was always ready to hold talks with the opposition and political parties and that he would call for a “comprehensive national dialog” after the terrorist activities stopped in the country.

The Syrian president also urged “concerned states and parties” to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.

American Hypocrisy and Idiocracy in violence- Sold by the media bought up by the general public

 

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(CAV News) – When the big bad Federal government and the darlings of corporate media want something discussed, then we discuss it. I’ve come to this conclusion years ago in my teenager days. Why it’s taking some so long to figure that out is beyond me.

This couldn’t be any more true than what happened after the horrific incident at Sandy Hook.

On our Facebook page we posted a few items about the hypocrisy surrounding the government and corporate media in regards to policy. Of course, this was met with quite a few comments such as, ” stop pushing your agenda during a tragedy,” “not now, too soon,” and the ever so popular comment, when someone disagrees, “I’m unliking your page.”

So what was ticking off these people who actually came to like things we touch upon everyday? Idiocracy and hypocrisy and more specifically, UAV strikes a.k.a drone strikes that kill children… just not our children.

That’s right killing children and innocent others in Yemen or Pakistan, is ok.  But I don’t think people really feel that way. I think the government and the media feel that way. I think people are a product of what they see and hear. Do you see FOX, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, or ABC showing you the horrific acts of violence to the children of Yemen? Do you see national stage pundits from both elite parties discussing whether or not this is a good foreign policy to carry on?  Hardly if ever.

That’s because Americans (of course, not all) or the general public only talk about what the media and politicians wish you to know about.

If the corporate media and political elites think you should take your flu shots, well most of you do. Even if the CDC says its effective rate isn’t all that impressive. If the corporate media tells you to spend, spend, spend, and look it here at all of these deals we are getting reports on, you probably go out and spend. If the media tells you Iran is even closer than ever at launching their nuclear program, you just bought yourself a new fear and perceived enemy. Finally, if the media tells you that gun control is crucial, needs to be done, needs support, well you get behind that and support it, don’t you?

The passion the general public shares on gun control was thoughtfully executed  out by the mainstream and political elites. 

The latest survey from PEW Research Center shows that 55% of Americans favor a ban on assault – style weapons.

                                 HYPOCRISY:

We all agree shooting up schools is terrible. You won’t read or hear anybody on this page contesting that. So why does the general public think we should surrender our 2nd amendment rights because of the violence a few nut jobs created, but when it comes to drones and torture… well that’s okay?

In 2009, the American public didn’t find it necessary for Congress to investigate torture tactics carried on by the Bush administration. According to CBS,  the poll said 62% of people could give two turds about the treatment of not convicted detainees but suspected detainees. Is this the same public that went balls to the wall with their demands on gun control to Congress? Are we starting to think that certain violence is okay? Doesn’t sound civilized to me.

Again in 2009, an Associated-Press survey found that just over half of Americans felt that torture was okay and at times necessary. Could this be because they are told so? Do you really think people (sane, rational) think it’s okay to torture? “Well Derek, that was three or four years ago, surely things have changed.”

“No ,you idiot they haven’t .”  Take two more pieces of evidence to show you I’m not wrong. The liberal paper, Huffington Post, conducted a poll that showed 47% Americans think torture is always justified to 41% who thought it is rarely justifiable. Even if the government hasn’t publicly justified to us who we are torturing and why. That’s because they sold you on terrorism. Which is also a huge money-making and global strategical scheme.  Lastly on torture, consider the recent success of the pro-torture film, Zero Dark Thirty. According to box office reports, the movie is a top spotter and has made an estimated $24 million dollars.

                                        DRONES:

Some people will argue that UAV’s or as we simple folks call them, drones, are better for our military. I don’t disagree. Nobody gets hurt, on our side. Yet, we never consider other grey areas when it comes to the use of U.S drones against countries such as Yemen and Pakistan. Who are they targeting and why? What is the end result of these strikes? How much they cost?  How long do we need to use them?

Now if people on network pages like Facebook, asked photos to go viral of Pakistani children covered in blood because of a suspected terrorist was in the region they would probably be disturbed. However, and unfortunately, that doesn’t quite catch the eye to the general American public.  More importantly, an intelligence report based on suspicion killed a child. Yet where’s the media or public uproar? Obama keeps surrounding himself with kids and making cute statements, ‘that not another kid will be killed because of senseless violence,’  and that’s because the media gives him that venue.

Politico, another cute lefty page, released a poll that showed Americans support the use of drones. I don’t think that’s true. I think Americans support what the news anchor tells them when they report fabricated news. “Today a drone strike wiped out six terrorist suspects.” Of course, they didn’t mention the civilians and even worse they are only suspects.

Getting back to that Politico poll released last year, over 80% of Americans agree with Obama’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles against suspected terrorists and two-thirds agree that it is okay to use them on American citizens abroad.

That’s an astounding number if you believe in polls. However, the media only shows you the suspects, with a patriotic American flag in the backdrop, and pretty much makes up your mind for you that this was ok. It took out suspected terrorists. No big deal. Yeah who cares about the people who had nothing to do with any of this?

I think it looks sexier and better for the Obama administration when CNN issues a headline that reads “Civilian causalities plummet in drone strikes,” as opposed to ” over 160 children dead due to drone strikes.” You know because a child is so precious that we should just not report about it but only when it comes down to pushing forward an agenda. 

This is absurd. And what’s more absurd is if these polls are correct (I think they are), then we have become an idiocracy and hypocrisy. Not only have we become barbaric but we have fallen under the same spell that most do when an empire takes control of their people. 

Hypocrisy and Idiocracy, how much longer will it rule our country into the ground?

               Written By: Derek Wood

 

Key House Republicans Push for Bigger US Role in Mali War

(AntiWar) -The Obama Administration’s pledges for aid to the French invasion of Mali have mostly been vague, and while they talk escalation outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has repeatedly ruled out ground troops.

But the appetite for an ever increasing US role in this war seems to be considerable among key House Republicans, with several leaders of top committees pushing for the US to commit broader military and logistics support to the conflict.

“We should have our ally’s back,” said Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ed Royce (R – CA), and while some, like Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Mike Rogers (R – MI) said that meant everything “short of troops on the ground,” some weren’t even willing to limit it in this manner.

Armed Services subcommittee on Emerging Threats Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) didn’t see the need to rule out ground troops, saying the US needed to do whatever it could “to beat this threat back.”

“We are going to have a lot more of these situations,” Thornberry added, saying that the US “always has to do what it takes, unilaterally, to protect our interests.”

President Assad Orders Commanders to Target Israel, US Interests “If Assassinated”

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President Assad Orders Commanders to Target Israel, US Interests "If Assassinated"

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – President Assad’s remarks came after he attended several meetings with his senior commanders, and discussed the country’s security situation with them, the Algerian Al-Shorouq Oline newspaper quoted informed sources close to the Syrian government as saying on Monday.
 
In the meetings presided by President Assad, Syria’s top army commanders told him that “the foreign hostile states will strive to assassinate him instead of launching a military attack on Syria”.
 
According to the report, a Persian translation of which was released by the Iranian students news agency, the Syrian army commanders have told the President that the spy agencies of certain western states and Syria’s neighboring countries have smuggled hi-tech missiles into Syria to provide armed rebels and terrorist groups with a chance to target President Assad’s likely residence.
 
In response, President Assad has ordered his military commanders to target Israel and the US positions in the region, specially in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, if the western states succeed in assassinating him.
 
Earlier this month, President Assad voiced his readiness for dialogue with the opposition and political parties in Syria. The Syrian leader also proposed general elections, adoption of a new constitution as well as a national reconciliation conference.
 
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.
 
Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.
 
The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.
 
In October 2011, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of increasing unrests in Syria.
 
The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling the President Bashar al-Assad’s government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.
 
The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.
 
According to the report, material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border.
 
Opposition activists who several months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said in May that the flow of weapons – most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past – has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.

Up to half our food ends up in the trash, says new British study

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(Digital Journal) -Buy one get one free, often means buy one and bin the other one reports a new British study on food waste from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers titled Global Food, Waste Not Want Not.

According to a new report on global food production, logistics and consumption published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) in the UK, a combination of too strict expiry dates, agricultural practices, demands for perfect looking fruit and vegetables and special offers which encourage over-buying mean that up to half the world’s food production is being thrown out instead of being eaten.
A United Nations study ‘World Population to 2300’ predicts there could be around three billion more people to feed by the end of this century causing increased pressure on the resources required for food production including land, water and energy. The IME, an august body established in 1847, and counting some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books, is calling for urgent action to reduce food waste.
In a hard hitting report entitled ‘Global Food, Waste Not Want Not’, the IME highlights that between 30% and 50% of world food production, estimated at between 1.2 and 2 billion tonnes of food, will end up in the trashcan rather than on a plate at a time when an estimated 1 billion of the world’s population don’t even have the safety-net of the minimum recommended daily nutritional requirements.
According to the IME report, this colossal waste of food has a major impact on the environment:
• Land, often rainforest or ancient woodland, is cleared to give way to agricultural production
• Large amounts of energy inputs are required by farm animals in relation to their feedstuffs whilst fertilisers and chemicals are used in fruit, vegetable and cereal production
That food production is at greater levels than is truly required particularly puts additional demands on water resources, according to the IME report:
• About 550 billion cubic metres of water is wasted globally, growing crops that never reach the consumer
• It takes between 20 and 50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogram of meat compared with 1 kilogram of vegetables
• Demand for water to produce food could reach between 10 and 13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050, some 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than current total human use of fresh water today with the potential to lead to more acute water shortages around the planet

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

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Between developing countries and developed nations, the problem of food waste manifests itself differently. In less well developed nations in areas like sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, both the consumer and the producer can hardly be blamed. Inefficient harvesting in those places, inadequate local transportation, poor storage facilities and less than ideal infrastructure all contribute to food produce often going to waste.
Amongst major economies, such as the UK, efficient production, transport and storage mean that a far greater proportion of food produced reaches shops and supermarkets. The problem of wasted food in richer nations relates primarily to modern consumerism. Often this means that vast amounts of food are ditched either by the retailer or by customer behaviour. The report highlights a number of factors contributing to wasted food in rich countries:
• Entire crops of perfectly edible fruit and vegetables are often rejected by major supermarkets as they have been deemed to be lacking in their physical characteristics such as size and shape. The IME estimates that up to 30% of vegetable crops in the UK are never harvested as their appearance is somehow deficient. Such practices are estimated to waste 1.6 million tonnes of food annually
• BOGOF offers in large grocery chains — buy one get one free — encourage shoppers to buy more than they actually need or are likely to consume. This may be fine with canned foods with a very long shelf life but many bogofs are applied to perishable foodstuffs with a knock-on effect on domestic waste. The Global Food report estimates that between 30% and 50% of food bought in developed countries never gets near a dinner table and is simply binned.
Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at the IME comments,

“The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.
“The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one free offers.
“As water, land and energy resources come under increasing pressure from competing human demands, engineers have a crucial role to play in preventing food loss and waste by developing more efficient ways of growing, transporting and storing foods.
“But in order for this to happen Governments, development agencies and organisations like the UN must work together to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers.”
Not surprisingly, the ‘Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not’ report sees engineering at the core of the challenges facing humanity and has a series of recommendations including:
1. Education and know-how: The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) should work with the international engineering community to ensure governments in developed nations put in place programmes to transfer engineering knowledge, design know-how, and suitable technology to developing countries. The aims would be to improve produce handling in the harvest and subsequent crop storage and transport.
2. Emerging economies: Governments of rapidly developing countries like China and India should incorporate waste minimisation programmes looking particularly at transport infrastructure and storage facilities currently in planning or under construction.
3. Developed economies: Governments should devise and implement policies that change consumer expectations and discourage retailers from embarking on wasteful practices such as rejecting food due to its cosmetic appearance or encouraging excessive consumer buying.
For the full Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ report, see ‘Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not.’

 

Fmr PM: Binyamin Netanyahu ‘wasted $3bn on Iranian attack plan’

Ehud Olmert

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has accused the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, of wasting $3bn preparing for a war on Iran that never took place. Photograph: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images

(Guardian) –Israel‘s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, has accused the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, of wasting almost $3bn preparing for a war on Iran that never took place, underlining how seriously Netanyahu considered launching an attack in the last two years.

The public criticism of Netanyahu, who is expected to be re-elected later this month, follows some scathing criticism of the prime minister by the former head of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin. Diskin accused Netanyahu of spending the money on “harebrained adventures that haven’t, and won’t, come to fruition”. The charge was levelled by Olmert as Netanyahu once again pledged that Iran would be top of his agenda if he was re-elected.

Speaking in a television interview on Israel’s Channel 2, Olmert said: “In the last two years, 11bn shekels [$2.9bn] were spent on operations which were not and will not be carried out. These figures go well beyond the multi-year budgets. We were told that 2012 was the decisive year. They managed to scare the entire world, but nothing was done in the end.”

Olmert also appeared to back the claims by Diskin that Netanyahu and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, discussed launching an attack on Iran over alcohol and cigars.

“Did I hear about it? Yes. Should Diskin have talked about it? I’m glad he didn’t reveal operative details, but when it comes to issues like this, it was his duty to speak up,” said Olmert.

“If a man like Diskin, who has behaved responsibly during all his years of public service, reaches the conclusion that the Israeli public must know what’s going on when their fates are being decided on, it is vital that he does so.”

Jackie Chan Thinks America is ‘The Most Corrupt’ Nation in the World

Jackie Chan Thinks America is 'The Most Corrupt' Nation in the World

 

 (Gawker) -As it turns out, Jackie Chan is not very grateful to the country that helped him roundhouse kick his way into an estimated $130 million fortune. Speaking on a television show in Hong Kong, Chan had some harsh words for the good ol’ U. S. of A.

Chan was discussing recent progress China has made, removing corruption from its government (with limited success) when he called America “the most corrupt [country] in the world.” Chan then continues (as translated by Ministry of Tofu), blaming America for the world’s troubles and spouting some seriously nationalistic nonsense:

Chan: Of course. Where does this Great Breakdown (financial crisis) come from? It started exactly from the world, the United States. When I was interviewed in the U.S., people asked me, I said the same thing. I said now that China has become strong, everyone is making an issue of China. If our own countrymen don’t support our country, who will support our country? We know our country has many problems. We [can] talk about it when the door is closed. To outsiders, [we should say] “our country is the best.”

Host: So he can’t get enough of his more than 20 ambassador titles. I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should ask him to be the ambassador to the United States.

Chan: Seriously, I am always like, when the door is closed, “Our country is like this and this. Who and who is not good.” But outside, “Our country is the best, like so and so, is the best.” You cannot say our country has problems [when you are outside], like “Yes, our country is bad.”

As the Washington Post‘s Max Fisher points out, Chen has a history of controversial political views. Chan once called Taiwan and Hong Kong examples of what happens when you have “too much freedom.” He also once said “Chinese people need to be controlled, otherwise they will do whatever they want,” regarding Chinese censorship of his movies.